Monday, December 23, 2019

Then Again: The well-known carol ‘We Three Kings’ was composed by a Vermonter

From Vermont-

The words are so familiar that it is hard to imagine a time before they were grouped together into that well-known phrase: “We three kings of Orient are.”

Even a century ago many people erroneously assumed the song of that name was an ancient work. Members of the Episcopal Church, who should have known better, often labeled the song as being of primeval origin, the name of its creator lost to history. 

In reality, the song is much newer than many in the hymnal. It is the work of John Henry Hopkins Jr. Huge swaths of the English-speaking world know his song, while the people of his church, and of his home state, have largely forgotten his name.

When a John Henry Hopkins is remembered in Vermont, it is invariable his father that people recall. That’s perhaps understandable. Hopkins Sr. had an outsized personality, innumerable gifts (ranging from music to writing to architecture), and a prestigious job – Episcopalian bishop of Vermont. But Hopkins Sr., a native of Ireland, also held some beliefs that have not aged well. The elder Hopkins was vehemently anti-Catholic — he wrote a screed in 1834 about Catholicism entitled “Primitive Creed.” He was also pro-slavery, citing scripture to argue that blacks were inferior to whites. 

More here-

and oddly enough here-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These articles leave out one fact important to the Pittsburgh Diocese. John Henry Hopkins, Jr. was born in 1820 in PITTSBURGH. He lived his first 11 years in Pittsburgh. His father became first the organist, then the lay reader in charge, then deacon (1823) and priest (1824) of Trinity Parish in Pittsburgh. The father designed the church that served Trinity from 1825-1869 when the congregation began building the current building. By then the elder Hopkins had moved on, first to Trinity Church in Boston (1831) and a year later moved to Vermont where he served as bishop. When Pittsburgh petitioned the Episcopal General Convention to be admitted as a diocese, Bishop Hopkins was presiding Bishop. He and his namesake son (the author of We 3 Kings) helped to smooth the passage of the required resolutions at General Convention.