The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Jerusalem, Our Happy Home

Song of Jerusalem

First Carol For Christmas Day

Author: Unknown

Tune: "Song of Jerusalem"


The Kilmore Carols

Christmas Carols of Waddinge and Devereux

Source: Joseph Ranson, “The Kilmore Carols” from The Past, no. 5 (1949), pp. 92-95.

Jerusalem our happy home, When shall we come to thee?
When shall our sorrows have an end? Thy joys when shall we see?
Jerusalem our happy home, When shall we come to thee?
When shall our sorrows have an end? Thy joys when shall we see?

There is no rain nor sleet nor snow, nor filth mar there be found,
There is no sorrow nor no grief; all joys do there abound.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

(The two first two lines are repeated after each stanza).

Thy walls are all of precious stones, thy streets are paved with gold,
Thy gates are all of pearls unheard, most glorious to behold.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

No pain, no care, no sorrows there, nor aught but peace is found.
No tongue can tell nor heart can think what joys do there abound.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

Through the vast streets in purling streams the flood of life doth flow,
And on the banks on every side the wood of life doth grow.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

For evermore the trees bear fruit, and evermore they spring,
And evermore the Saints are glad and evermore they sing.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

There’s cinnamon that scenteth sweet, there palms spring on the ground;
No tongue can tell, no heart can think what joys do there abound.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

David stands with harp in hand as master of the choir;
Ten thousand times would he be blessed who could that music hear.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

“Te Deum” doth St. Ambrose sing, St. Augustine doth him join;
Old Simeon and good Lazarus have each their songs to sing.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

There Magdalen she has less moan, likewise there she doth sing,
The happy saints in harmony through every street doth ring.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

Fair Magdalen hath dried her tears, she’s seen no more to weep,
Nor wet the ringlets of her hair to wipe our Saviour's feet.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

“Magnificat” with notes divine, Our Lady doth rehearse,
The Virgins all in choir joined charming angels with each verse.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

They all do live in such delight, so pleasant and so gay,
That a thousand thousand years ago would seem like yesterday.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

Here’s the triumphant church above, we are the militant below;
The Son of God came down from Heaven to join them both, you know.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

Lord hear our prayers in this house, let our cry come unto Thee,
Let us poor banished sons of Eve, Thy Face adore and see.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

Until that happy, happy day we’ll join them with a hymn,
Having for comfort and recourse, this house of God and gate of heaven.

                                                          Jerusalem, etc.

Instead of pearls and purest gold our walls are only clay;
Our bodies, too, of the same stuff, must moulder first away.
Jerusalem, thou happy home, then let us come to thee,
Our sorrows then shall have an end; thy joys then shall we see.

Sheet Music "Song of Jerusalem" from Ranson, "The Kilmore Carols," p. 62.

Note from Joseph Ranson:

The “Song of Jerusalem” is sung at the first Mass on Twelfth Day. Mr. Mun Hare says that in his native parish (Lady’s Isand?), “Jerusalem” used to be sung on the Sunday not falling on a festival day occurring between Christmas and Epiphany. – Letter, “The Peop1e,” Jan. 27th, 1872.

A variation of this song was printed in Ralph Dunstan’s “Christmas Carols” (Book 2, p 26). There it is attributed to Fr Richard Shann, c. 1600, but a footnote (Ibid) makes it clear that the song was not composed by Rev R. Shann, but was transcribed by him in 1611 into the Commonplace Book of the Shann family of Methley, Yorkshire. The Commonplace Book (1561-1627) is now in the British Museum and Mr. Dunstan says that the Shann transcription is the oldest known version of this Carol.

A version of this song is given in R. Palmer’s “Book of Praise,” p. 120, where it is inscribed — “Anon. F.B.P. 1616.”

Mr. James Howlin of Kilmore, writing to “The People,” Jan. 20th. 1872, says —“It appears the song (Jerusalem) was originally written by a Father Bennett, a Franciscan martyr while in a prison in Lancashire, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. I have been unable to check any authority for Mr. Howlin's statement, but it is clear from what evidence we have that the song, “Jerusalem,” in its original form dates back to the end of the 16th century.

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