Hills of the North Rejoice

This is a hymn for Advent, which was originally created for missionary use.

The words were written by English Anglican rector and hymn-writer Charles Edward Oakley (1832-1865).

By the mid 20th century, some people regarded the original text as unusable due to being inaccurate (the lands of the west had been explored) and expressing a patronising attitude to non-English people and places. As a result, many editors have made changes to the text - not always approved of by commentators.    It is difficult to track down who made exactly what changes - and thus copyright ownership is unclear.    Both the original and commonly-published-versions are given below.

With meter, tunes the hymn has been set to include:
  • LITTLE CORNARD, written in 1915 by English Anglican vicar and composer Martin Edward Fallas Shaw (1875–1958) - the most commonly used tune 
  • DARWALL's 148TH by English vicar and composer John Darwall (1731-1789)


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Cathedral choir with organ, professional recording:

Large choir with orchestra, TV programme recording:

Small group with band, contemporary arrangement - tune TBA:

Choir with organ - live recording:

Guitar led band - professional recording:

Instrumental - band arrangement:

Instrumental - brass band:

Instrumental - organ:


Original text

Hills of the orth, rejoice;
River and mountain spring,
Hark to the advent voice;
Valley and lowland, sing;
Though absent long, your Lord is nigh;
He judgement brings and victory.

Isles of the southern seas,
Deep in your coral caves
Pent be each warring breeze,
Lulled by your restless waves:
He comes to reign with boundless sway,
And makes your waves His great highway.

Lands of the East, awake,
Soon shall your sons be free;
The sleep of ages break,
And rise to liberty.
On your far hills, long cold and gray,
Has dawned the everlasting day.

Shores of the utmost West,
Ye that have waited long,
Unvisited, unblest,
Break forth to swelling song;
High raise the note, that Jesus died,
Yet lives and reigns, the Crucified.

Shout, while ye journey home;
Songs be in every mouth;
Lo, from the North we come,
From East, and West, and South.
City of God, the bond are free,
We come to live and reign in thee!

Adapted text

Hills of the north, rejoice,
river and mountain-spring,
hark to the advent voice;
valley and lowland, sing.
Christ comes in righteousness and love,
he brings salvation from above.

2 Isles of the Southern seas,
sing to the listening earth,
carry on every breeze
hope of a world's new birth:
In Christ shall all be made anew,
his word is sure, his promise true.

3 Lands of the East, arise,
he is your brightest morn,
greet him with joyous eyes,
praise shall his path adorn:
your seers have longed to know their Lord;
to you he comes, the final word.

4 Shores of the utmost West,
lands of the setting sun,
welcome the heavenly guest
in whom the dawn has come:
he brings a never-ending light
who triumphed o'er our darkest night.

5 Shout, as you journey home,
songs be in every mouth,
lo, from the north they come,
from east and west and south:
in Jesus all shall find their rest,
in him the universe be blest.

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