The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

For Thee, O Dear, Dear Country

A General Hymn

"A better country, that is, an heavenly."

Words: Excerpted from "De Contemptu Mundi," St. Bernard, 12th Century
Translated by Rev. John Mason Neale in Hora Novissima

Music: Ewing
Meter: 76 76 D

Source: Hymns Ancient and Modern. London: William Clowes and Sons, Ltd., 1922, #227, p. 238.

1. For thee, O dear, dear country,
    Mine eyes their vigils keep;
For very love, beholding
    Thy happy name, they weep.
The mention of thy glory
    Is unction to the breast,
And medicine in sickness
    And love, and life, and rest.

2. O one, O only mansion!
    O Paradise of joy!
Where tears are ever banish'd,
    And smiles have no alloy;
The Lamb is all thy splendour;
    The Crucified thy praise;
His laud and benediction
    Thy ransom'd people raise.

3. With jasper glow thy bulwarks, 1
    Thy streets with emeralds blaze;
The sardius and the topaz
    Unite in thee their rays;
Thine ageless walls are bonded
    With amethyst unpriced;
The Saints build up thy fabric,
    And the corner-stone is Christ.

4. Thou hast no shore, fair ocean!
    Thou hast no time, bright day!
Dear fountain of refreshment
    To pilgrims far away!
Upon the Rock of ages
    They raise thy holy tower;
Thine is the victor's laurel,
    And thine the golden dower.

5. O sweet and blessÚd country,
    The home of God's elect!
O sweet and blessÚd country
    That eager hearts expect!
Jesu, in mercy bring us
    To that dear land of rest;
Who art, with God the Father
    And Spirit, ever Blest.

Sheet Music "Tours" by B. Tours from Hymns Ancient and Modern. London: William Clowes and Sons, Ltd., 1922, #227, p. 238.

Note from Neale's Hora Novissima:

1. It is not without a deep mystical meaning that these stones are selected by the poet: as the reader will see by referring to pp. 62-66. [Notes following the poem Cives Cťlestis PatriŠ, which is coming soon.] Return

Editor's Note:

John Mason Neale's Hora Novissima, a translation of an excerpt from St. Bernard's De Contemptu Mundi (ca. 1145), was the source of at least four modern hymns including "Jerusalem The Golden," "The World Is Very Evil," "Brief Life is Here Our Portion," and "For Thee, O Dear, Dear Country."

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