There’s a light upon the mountains

There’s a light upon the mountains,
  and the day is at the spring,
When our eyes shall see the beauty
  and the glory of the King;
Weary was our heart with waiting, and
  the night-watch seemed so long,
But His triumph-day is breaking, and
  we hail it with a song.
In the fading of the starlight we can
  see the coming morn;
And the lights of men are paling in
  the splendors of the dawn;
For the eastern skies are glowing as
  with lights of hidden fire,
And the hearts of men are stirring
  with the throb of deep desire.
There’s a hush of expectation, and
  a quiet in the air;
And the breath of God is moving in
  the fervent breath of prayer;
For the suffering, dying Jesus is the
  Christ upon the throne,
And the travail of our spirit is the
  travail of His own.
He is breaking down the barriers,
  He is casting up the way;
He is calling for His angels to build
  up the gates of day;
But His angels here are human, not
  the shining hosts above,
For the drum-beats of His army are
  the heart-beats of our love.
Hark! we hear a distant music, and
  it comes with fuller swell;
’Tis the triumph song of Jesus, of
  our King Emmanuel;
Zion, go ye forth to meet Him,
  and my soul, be swift to bring
All thy sweetest and thy dearest for
  the triumph of our King.
Carol N

Clinton, Massachusetts, United States

This hymn is in my hymnal, but I've never read or sung it. It brought me to tears this morning. "And the breath of God is moving in the fervent breath of prayer." Thank you, Wendy, for sharing. May God continue to comfort you, dear sister.

Wendy Elaine

Eastern Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

I requested a recording of two of the verses to be played at the end of the memorial service for my 97 year old father 7 weeks ago as the congregation left the sanctuary.

I was googling the lyrics now and found this site with two comments at the top from South Africans which made me feel at home.

I think only Methodists, I may be wrong, at the church would have recognised the hymn. It is indeed a very special hymn. I loved it attending weekly services as a teenager and a young adult.

Mavis Lotter

Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa

This beautiful hymn (my favourite since I was a teenager) is unknown to the young folk of today.

One morning, very early, I was travelling west from OR Tambo Airport (Johannesburg). The lights of the skyscrapers in Johannesburg were visible ahead of me in the distance. In my rearview mirror I could see the sun rising in its splendour, and the second verse of the amazing hymn was a reality. I prayed that the last line of that verse was also a reality in the hearts of all who witnessed that sunrise.

Graham Barlin

Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa

Reminded me of my days as a schoolboy at a Methodist School. Such beautiful poetry and wonderfully matchef with the inspiring melody. Stumbled upon this majestic work when writing a new song and two lines came to mind. Reaching for my old hymnal traced them in verse 3. (first two lines) Now of two minds: to leave as is and run the risk of plagiarism yet tip the hat to the greats of the past or to change and possibly demean. Any suggestions out there?

Hussein Brewster

Durants, Christ Church, Barbados

Let us keep that light burning.........until He comes.

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI

Born in England, Henry Burton moved as a child with his family to the U.S. where he was educated at Beloit College. In 1865 he returned to England and joined the Wesleyan Methodists. He traveled as a minister with the leading circuit preachers of the time. - Songs of the Spirit by Martin

This hymn is also sung to the tune "Autumn" by Francois H. Barthelemon, which tune is also often used for "Jesus, I my cross have taken". I prefer that tune because it is simpler for me to sing.

Belinda Freeman

Dunstable, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom

What an incredible hymn, busy studying it in unit 15 of Faith and Worship, Methodist Local Preacher. It is about understanding the present and future aspects of the kingdom of God.

Bill Kerr

Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire, United Kingdom

This is the hymn I have picked for my funeral - but the tune will be the tune of Ode to Joy.


Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa

My dad was a Methodist minister. This was one of his favourite hymns which all the ministers sang at his funeral. Will never forget the sound of their voices.

Keith Bailey

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

it has been a favourite of mine since my 1940s boyhood in Rushden, Northants. The melody and words match just so joyfully! I have sung it several times as an Advent solo (here in Ottawa). This audio has a slightly different harmony from that in the 1930s' Methodist Hymn Book #256. Does anyone have info on Wostenholm and particularly his magnificent "Defiance" MHB #483 © Methodist Conference of 1912?