Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Jesu, Dulcis Memoria

Today is the Feast of the Holy Name, so I offer another office hymn from my growing compendium: Jesu, Dulcis Memoria, "Ascribed to St.Bernard of Clairvaux, d.1153. / Mode 1." A "Vespers Hymn of the Holy Name."

Here are the Latin words - along with Edward Caswall's 19th Century English translation - for Jesu, dulcis memoria (also the Matins hymn for the historical August 7 Feast of the Most Sweet Name of Jesus):
Jesu, dulcis memoria,dans vera cordis gaudia:
sed super mel et omnia
ejus dulcis praesentia.

Nil canitur suavius,
nil auditur jucundius,
nil cogitatur dulcius,
quam Jesus Dei Filius.

Jesu, spes paenitentibus,
quam pius es petentibus!
quam bonus te quaerentibus!
sed quid invenientibus?

Nec lingua valet dicere,
nec littera exprimere:
expertus potest credere,
quid sit Jesum diligere.

Sis, Jesu, nostrum gaudium,
qui es futurum praemium:
sit nostra in te gloria,
per cuncta semper saecula.

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest Name,
O Savior of mankind!

O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

Jesus, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize will be;
Jesus be Thou our glory now,
And through eternity.

(More English verses:

O Jesus, King most wonderful
Thou Conqueror renowned,
Thou sweetness most ineffable
In Whom all joys are found!

When once Thou visitest the heart,
Then truth begins to shine,
Then earthly vanities depart,
Then kindles love divine.

O Jesus, light of all below,
Thou fount of living fire,
Surpassing all the joys we know,
And all we can desire.

Jesus, may all confess Thy Name,
Thy wondrous love adore,
And, seeking Thee, themselves inflame
To seek Thee more and more.

Thee, Jesus, may our voices bless,
Thee may we love alone,
And ever in our lives express
The image of Thine own.

O Jesus, Thou the beauty art
Of angel worlds above;
Thy Name is music to the heart,
Inflaming it with love.

Celestial Sweetness unalloyed,
Who eat Thee hunger still;
Who drink of Thee still feel a void
Which only Thou canst fill.

O most sweet Jesus, hear the sighs
Which unto Thee we send;
To Thee our inmost spirit cries;
To Thee our prayers ascend.

Abide with us, and let Thy light
Shine, Lord, on every heart;
Dispel the darkness of our night;
And joy to all impart.

Jesus, our love and joy to Thee,
The virgin’s holy Son,
All might and praise and glory be,
While endless ages run.)

Here is TPL on Jesu, dulcis memoria:
Iesu, Dulcis Memoria is a celebrated 12th century hymn attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Doctor Mellifluus. The entire hymn has some 42 to 53 stanzas depending upon the manuscript. Parts of this hymn were used for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which was formerly celebrated on the Sunday between the Circumcision and Epiphany, or failing such a Sunday, on January 2. The part below was used at Vespers. In the liturgical revisions of Vatican II, the feast was deleted, though a votive Mass to the Holy Name of Jesus had been retained for devotional use. With the release of the revised Roman Missal in March 2002, the feast was restored as an optional memorial on January 3. Similarly the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary was restored as an optional memorial on September 12 in the revised Missal.

There's much more here at Hymnary.org.

Here is an mp3 file of the chant as sung by the Monks of Brazil, and below is the chant score:

Here's an mp3 of another version of the English words for this hymn, from the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood's "Seasonal Propers Sung" page (listed under "Hymn at Vespers for the Circumcision and the name of Jesus.")  

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