Something to listen to while you read. Piano sheet music available at Sheet Music Plus.
Charles Wesley (1707-1788), itinerant preacher and the “Bard of Methodism,” penned the Advent hymn text Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus and first published it in his Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord (1744). Like most of the 5000+ hymns Wesley wrote, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus references Scripture passages in nearly every phrase and this hymn text also neatly combines both meanings of Advent – the preparation for Christmas and the preparation for Christ’s second coming. Wesley’s poetic prowess is apparent in the clever use of false rhyme schemes (Jesus-release us, deliver-forever, and Spirit-merit) and he uses repetition for key themes such as repeating “born” at the beginning of three lines in the second stanza to emphasize the incarnation of Jesus.
Wesley’s text is normally paired with one of two tunes, Stuttgart or Hyfrydol, but in my piano arrangement I chose a lesser-used tune for Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus – Jefferson – a folk tune with roots in the early American singing schools that used shaped notes to teach rural people to read music. I matched up earthy and rustic Jefferson with the more ethereal and elegant Advent hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel for a “shabby chic” easy piano arrangement that evokes a feeling of longing perfect for the Advent season. Enjoy!
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.