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Background

The Hymns and Hymn Writers of The Church
Charles S. Nutter & Wilbur F. Tillett, 1911

The date and authorship of this hymn are unknown. It has been most frequently accredited to Robert II., who was King of France for thirty-five years (996-1031). It is said that he was accustomed to go to the Church of St. Denis in his crown and robes and direct the singing. He was a composer of music as well as of hymns. Dr. Duffield, who has made a specially careful and extensive study of the Latin hymns, pronounces in favor of Hermannus Contractus (1013-1054) as the author, while Dr. Julian contends that the preponderance of evidence is in favor of Pope Innocent III.

Others have maintained that it was written by Stephen Langton, who was Archbishop of Canterbury 1207-1228.

The following is the first stanza of the original Latin:

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
Et emitte coelitus
Lucis tuae radium.
Veni, pater pauperum,
Veni, dator munerum,
Veni, lumen cordium.

“The loveliest of all the hymns in the whole circle of Latin poetry,” is what Archbishop Trench calls this hymn. “It could only have been composed by one who had been acquainted with many sorrows and also with many consolations.” Dean Stanley, whose translation of the hymn into English ranks among the best, speaks of it as “the most beautiful of all the Latin hymns.” “It combines,” says Julian, “a stately grace, a perfect rhythmic melody, and a faculty of saying just the right thing in just the fitting words, in such a measure as to disarm criticism and at once to defy comparison with any other hymn in any other language, and to make it almost impossible to present an adequate translation.”

There are no less than forty translations of this hymn into English. It is no small compliment to Dr. Ray Palmer that the editors of this Hymnal should have given his translation the preference over all others. It was first published in the Sabbath Hymn Book, Andover, 1858. The fourth stanza of the original is omitted:

Exalt our low desires;
Extinguish passion’s fires;
Heal every wound:
Our stubborn spirits bend,
Our icy coldness end,
Our devious steps attend,
While heavenward bound.

#HymnalShort NameTitleAuthorTuneComposerVerses
210The New Psalms and Hymns, 1901NPH01Come, Holy Ghost! In LoveAnonymous (Latin, 13th century), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858New HavenThomas Hastings, 18325
153Church Praise, 1907CP07Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveLatin, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)Fiat LuxRev. John B. Dykes (1823-1876)5
143Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, 1918CSB18Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveLatin Sequence of 12th Century, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858Fiat LuxHenry Hiles (1826-1904)5
185Congregational Hymnary, 1916CH16Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveLatin, probably 12th century, Paraphrase by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)St. AmbroseWilliam H. Monk (1823-1889)5
284Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1878HME78Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveRobert II, King of France (972-1031), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)New HavenThomas Hastings (1784-1872)4
139The Church Hymnary (Scotland), 1898TCH98Come, Holy Ghost, in LovePope Innocent III ? (died 1216), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)St. AmbroseWilliam Henry Monk (1823-1889)5
280bThe Hymnal (Presbyterian), 1895THP95Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveAnonymous (Latin, 13th century), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858Olivet (Mason)Lowell Mason, 18325
280aThe Hymnal (Presbyterian), 1895THP95Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveAnonymous (Latin, 13th century), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858BraunJohann G. Braun, 16755
281bThe Hymnal Revised (Presbyterian), 1911THR11Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveAnonymous (Latin, 12th century), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858Olivet (Mason)Lowell Mason, 18325
281aThe Hymnal Revised (Presbyterian), 1911THR11Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveAnonymous (Latin, 12th century), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858BraunJohann G. Braun, 16755
184bThe Methodist Hymnal, 1905TMH05Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveRobert II, King of France (972-1031), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)OlivetLowell Mason (1792-1872)4
184aThe Methodist Hymnal, 1905TMH05Come, Holy Ghost, in LoveRobert II, King of France (972-1031), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)BethelJohn H. Cornell (1828-1894)4
138The Church Hymnary (Scotland), 1898TCH98Come, Thou Holy ParacletePope Innocent III ? (died 1216), Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)St. PhilipWilliam Henry Monk (1823-1889)10
155bThe English Hymnal, 1906TEH06Come, Thou Holy Paraclete13th century, Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)Veni sancte Spiritus (Webbe)Samuel Webbe the elder, 1740-18165
155aThe English Hymnal, 1906TEH06Come, Thou Holy Paraclete13th century, Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)Veni, sancte SpiritusThe Golden Sequence, Benedictines of Solesmes, Mode i5
259bThe Hymnal Companion to the Book of Common Prayer, Third Edition, 1890THC90Come, Thou Holy ParacleteFrom the Latin, Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)LacrymæSir Arthur S. Sullivan (1842-1900)10
259aThe Hymnal Companion to the Book of Common Prayer, Third Edition, 1890THC90Come, Thou Holy ParacleteFrom the Latin, Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)St. ChrysostomEdmund H. Turpin (1835-1907)10
323The Hymnary, 1872HYM72Come, Thou Holy ParacleteAscribed to Pope Innocent III (died 1216), Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in the Hymnal Noted, 1854 Old Melody5
117The Oxford Hymn Book, 1908OHB08Come, Thou Holy ParacletePope Innocent III ? (died 1216), Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)Veni Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe the elder (1740-1816)5
110The Presbyterian Book of Praise, 1897PBP97Come, Thou Holy ParacleteRev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866) from the LatinBerlinJohann Crüger (1598-1662)10
095The Scottish Hymnal, 1892TSH92Come, Thou Holy ParacleteRobert II, King of France (972-1031), Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)St. PhilipWilliam H. Monk (1823-1889)10
184bHymns Ancient and Modern, New Edition, 1904HAM04Come, Thou Holy Spirit, ComeRev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) and Compilers: from the LatinVeni Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe (1740-1816)5
184aHymns Ancient and Modern, New Edition, 1904HAM04Come, Thou Holy Spirit, ComeRev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) and Compilers: from the LatinVeni Sancte SpiritusProper Melody from Dublin Troper, circa 13005
156Hymns Ancient and Modern, Standard Edition, 1922HAM22Come, Thou Holy Spirit, ComeRev. Edward Caswall and Compilers: from the Latin of Archbishop Stephen Langton (?)Veni Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe, 17825
128Hymns Ancient and Modern, with Appendix, 1868HAM68Come, Thou Holy Spirit, ComeRev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878): from the Latin of Archbishop Stephen Langton (?-1228) (?)Veni Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe (1740-1816), setting by William H. Monk (1823-1889)5
378The Church Hymnal Revised and Enlarged, 1892TCH92Come, Thou Holy Spirit, Come!Latin, 13th century, Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall, 1849, alteredVeni Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe, 17825
196bThe Hymnal (Episcopal), 1916THE16Come, Thou Holy Spirit, Come!Latin, Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall, 1849, altered and abridged, 1859Veni Sancte Spiritus (Webbe)Samuel Webbe, 17825
196aThe Hymnal (Episcopal), 1916THE16Come, Thou Holy Spirit, Come!Latin, Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall, 1849, altered, 1859Veni Sancte Spiritus (Plainsong)Eleventh Century Plainsong, Mode I, Setting by Rev. C. Winfred Douglas (1867-1944)5
027The Mission Hymnal, Enlarged Edition, 1913TMH14Come, Thou Holy Spirit, Come!Latin, Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)Veni Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe (1740-1816)5
237bThe Methodist Hymn-Book, 1904MHB04Holy Ghost! My Comforter!Latin, Translation by Miss Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878) from Lyra Germanica, 1st Series, 2nd edition, 1856Stabat MaterFrom An Essay on the Church Plain Chant, 178210
237aThe Methodist Hymn-Book, 1904MHB04Holy Ghost! My Comforter!Latin, Translation by Miss Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878) from Lyra Germanica, 1st Series, 2nd edition, 1856LacrymæSir Arthur S. Sullivan (1842-1900)10
165Church Praise, 1907CP07Holy Spirit, Lord of LightLatin, Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)Veni, Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe (1740-1816)5
144Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, 1918CSB18Holy Spirit, Lord of LightLatin Sequence of 12th Century, Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall, 1849Veni, Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe, 17825
283The Hymnal (Presbyterian), 1895THP95Holy Spirit, Lord of LightAnonymous (Latin, 13th century), Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall, 1849St. PhilipWilliam H. Monk, 186110
284bThe Hymnal Revised (Presbyterian), 1911THR11Holy Spirit, Lord of LightAnonymous (Latin, 12th century), Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall, 1848Melford“M.B.F.,” 188610
284aThe Hymnal Revised (Presbyterian), 1911THR11Holy Spirit, Lord of LightAnonymous (Latin, 12th century), Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall, 1848St. PhilipWilliam H. Monk, 186110
184bCongregational Hymnary, 1916CH16Holy Spirit, Lord of Light!Latin, probably 12th century, Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)Veni Sancte SpiritusSamuel Webbe (1740-1816)5
184aCongregational Hymnary, 1916CH16Holy Spirit, Lord of Light!Latin, probably 12th century, Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)LacrymæSir Arthur S. Sullivan (1842-1900)10

The texts from any two of the above sources (assuming two or more exist) can be selected to appear below side by side by selecting the source name from the drop-down lists. The Short Name abbreviations following the titles are shown in the table above:

1Come, Holy Ghost, in love,
Shed on us from above
Thine own bright ray!
Divinely good Thou art;
Thy sacred gifts impart
To gladden each sad heart:
O come today!
2Come, tenderest Friend, and best,
Our most delightful Guest,
With soothing power:
Rest, which the weary know,
Shade, ’mid the noontide glow,
Peace, when deep griefs o’erflow,
Cheer us, this hour!
3Come, Light serene, and still
Our inmost bosoms fill,
Dwell in each breast;
We know no dawn but Thine,
Send forth Thy beams divine,
On our dark souls to shine,
And make us blest!
4Come, all the faithful bless;
Let all who Christ confess
His praise employ;
Give virtue’s rich reward,
Victorious death accord,
And, with our glorious Lord,
Eternal joy! Amen.
1Come, Thou holy Paraclete,
And from Thy celestial seat
Send Thy light and brilliancy:
Father of the poor, draw near;
Giver of all gifts, be here;
Come, the soul’s true radiancy:
2Come, of comforters the best,
Of the soul the sweetest guest,
Come in toil refreshingly:
Thou in labor rest most sweet,
Thou art shadow from the heat,
Comfort in adversity.
3O Thou Light, most pure and blest,
Shine within the inmost breast
Of thy faithful company.
Where Thou art not, man hath nought;
Every holy deed and thought
Comes from Thy Divinity.
4What is soilèd, make Thou pure;
What is wounded, work its cure;
What is parchèd, fructify;
What is rigid, gently bend;
What is frozen, warmly tend;
Strengthen what goes erringly.
5Fill Thy faithful, who confide
In Thy power to guard and guide,
With Thy sevenfold Mystery.
Here Thy grace and virtue send:
Grant salvation in the end,
And in heaven felicity. Amen.
BookReferenceBible Text
Psalm43:3O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
Psalm68:5A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
Psalm104:30Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.
Psalm119:176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
Isaiah11:2And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
Isaiah25:4For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
Isaiah32:2And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
Ezekiel11:19And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
Ezekiel36:24For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Ezekiel36:25Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Zechariah3:9For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Matthew3:16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Luke1:79To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
John3:27John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
John14:16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
John14:16,1716 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John14:26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John15:26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
John16:8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
John16:13,1413 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Acts1:8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Romans5:5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Romans14:17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians3:16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Corinthians6:19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1 Corinthians12:3Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians12:4-114 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
1 Corinthians15:42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
Galatians5:5For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Galatians5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Galatians5:22,2322 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Ephesians1:13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians4:30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
1 Thessalonians1:6And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.
James1:17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
1 John4:2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
Revelation5:6And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.