The text of We Three Kings of Orient Are is based on the biblical story of the three wise men who traveled to Bethlehem to see the birth of Christ. The lyrics describe each of the gifts that were brought to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The music and the lyrics were composed by Episcopal preacher John Henry Hopkins in 1857, the same year that Jingle Bells was published. He published We Three Kings of Orient Are in 1863, in his book Carols, Hymns, and Songs. Hopkins lived from 1820 to 1891, and was a bit of a Renaissance man -- besides composing hymns he also taught music, illustrated books, wrote for a magazine, and designed stained glass windows.
Select the song image below for a printable PDF of We Three Kings of Orient Are. The site will soon have versions of the carol in several other keys. You can also view and print the lyrics to We Three Kings of Orient Are.
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Tap the image of the sheet music for a full-size PDF of We Three Kings of Orient Are.