HomeVisionStatement Of FaithArticlesPhoto GalleryEditor's NoteLinksContact

Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul's glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

Very little is known about the origin of this dearly cherished hymn. There are several stories about how this hymn came about but they cannot be substantiated by research.

Some said that it was the Crusaders' Hymn, stating that the twelfth century German Crusaders, especially their children, sang it as they made their long and weary journey to Israel.

Some said that it was one of the hymns used by the singing followers of John Hus, a small band of believers. They settled in Silesia (now part of Poland) after they were driven out of Bohemia in the anti-Reformation purge of 1620. This hymn was believed to be a folk song derived from these devout Silesian peasants.

The text for the hymn first appeared in the Roman Catholic Munster Gesangbuch of 1677. It was published as the "first of three beautiful selected new hymns." Later it was said that a man by the name of Hoffman Fallersleben heard a group of Silesians singing the hymn in a service. He then recorded the words and music from this oral recitation, and published it in his Schlesische Volkslieder in 1842. This became the music score of the hymn that we know today.

No one knows for sure who first translated the text from German into English. The English version was adapted by Richard Storrs Willis. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 10, 1819. This hymn first appeared in his Church Chorals and Choir Studies in 1850. It is interesting to note that in his collection, he added a notation about the origin of the hymn, stating that it was "sung by the German knights on the way to Jerusalem." This statement undoubtedly did much to foster the Crusader account. Richard Willis was also the composer of the Christmas carol "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."

The fifth verse was a fine translation by Joseph A. Seiss. It described the dual nature of our Savior, Son of God and Son of Man, and all praise is eternally His.

A summary about this hymn:

Text: From Munster Gesangbuch, 1677

Music: From Schlesische Volkslieder, 1842.

Adaptation: Richard S. Willis, 1819-1900
5th verse translated by Joseph A. Seiss, 1823-1904

Please view a pictorial presentation of this hymn:
Fairest Lord Jesus (0.8 MB)