The Hymn of Joy

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The Hymn of Joy
by Henry van Dyke
Henry van Dyke
Based onOde an die Freude by Friedrich Schiller Ode to Joy
Meter8.7.8.7 D
Melody"Ode to Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven

"The Hymn of Joy"[1] (often called "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" after the first line) is a poem written by Henry van Dyke in 1907 in being a Vocal Version of the famous "Ode to Joy" melody of the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's final symphony, Symphony No. 9.[2]


Van Dyke wrote this poem in 1907 while staying at the home of Williams College president Harry Augustus Garfield. He was serving as a guest preacher at Williams at the time. He told his host that the local Berkshire Mountains had been his inspiration.[3]

The lyrics were first published in 1911 in Van Dyke's Book of Poems, Third Edition.[3]

Van Dyke wrote of this hymn:

These verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time—hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion, or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven. Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope.

"This hymn is generally considered by hymnologists to be one of the most joyous expressions of hymn lyrics in the English language."[3][who?] It is also used as a Christian song for children.[4]

Ludwig van Beethoven in 1820

Original text[edit]

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee
God of glory, Lord of love
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee
Op'ning to the Sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness
drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness
fill us with the light of day

All Thy works with joy surround Thee
Earth and heav'n reflect Thy rays
Stars and angels sing around Thee
center of unbroken praise
Field and forest, vale and mountain
Flow'ry meadow, flashing sea
chanting[a] bird and flowing fountain
call us to rejoice in Thee

Thou art giving and forgiving
ever blessing, ever blest
well-spring of the joy of living
ocean-depth of happy rest
Thou the [b] Father, Christ our Brother—
all who live in love are Thine
Teach us how to love each other
lift us to the Joy Divine

Mortals join the mighty[c] chorus
which the morning stars began
Father-love[d] is reigning o'er us
brother-love binds man to man.[e]
Ever singing, march we onward
victors in the midst of strife
joyful music lifts us sunward

in the triumph song of life

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Some hymnals: "singing"
  2. ^ Some hymnals: "our"
  3. ^ Some hymnals: "happy"
  4. ^ Some hymnals: "Love Divine" (United Methodist Hymnal) or "God's own love"
  5. ^ Some hymnals: "binding all within its span" (United Methodist Hymnal) or "joining people hand in hand"


  1. ^ Devine, Edward Thomas; Kellogg, Paul Underwood (1914). "The Hymn of Joy". The Survey. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  2. ^ Rev. Corey F. O'Brien, "November 9, 2008 sermon" at North Prospect Union United Church of Christ in Medford.
  3. ^ a b c Osbeck, Kenneth W. (1982). 101 Hymn Stories. Kregel Publications. p. 145. ISBN 9780825434167. joyful we adore thee.
  4. ^ For example, it is song number 147 in Bobb, Barry All God's People Sing. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1992, 316 pp.