The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Jesu! The Very Thought Is Sweet!

Morning during Epiphany and the following week.
Also on August 7th
, De nomine Jesu.

Words: Jesu dulcis memoria, with notes.
Attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)
Translation by Rev. John Mason Neale

Compare: Jesu! The Very Thought Is Sweet! (Neale, #72, Sequence)

Music: "From the Salisbury Hymnal."

Source: Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #18 (Combined Edition #43), pp. 44-45.

Phil. ii. 8.— "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name : That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow."

Acts iv. 12.—"There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

1. a Jesu! —The very thought is sweet!
b In that dear Name all heart-joys meet :
c But sweeter than the honey far
The glimpses of His Presence are.

2. d No word is sung more sweet than this :
e No name is heard more full of bliss :
f No thought brings sweeter comfort nigh,
g Than Jesus, Son of God most High.

3. h Jesu ! the hope of souls forlorn!
i How good to them for sin that mourn!
k To them that seek Thee, oh how kind!
l But what art Thou to them that find?

4. m No tongue of mortal can express,
No letters write its blessedness :
n Alone who hath thee in his heart
Knows, love of Jesus ! what thou art.

5. o O Jesu! King of wondrous might!
p O Victor, glorious from the fight!
q Sweetness that may not be express'd,
And altogether loveliest!

6. r Remain with us, O Lord, to-day :
s In every heart Thy grace display ;
That, now the shades of night are fled,
t On Thee our spirits may be fed.

7. All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee!
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.

Notes from A Short Commentary on the Hymnal Noted (London: Joseph Masters, 1852), #XVIII, p. 17.

This Hymn is by S. Bernard, a most holy man, who lived about a.d. 1150. It needs no explanation. Many persons consider it the sweetest hymn ever written. It is suitable to the Epiphany, because, although our Lord did not then receive His Name, it was, so to speak, confirmed in Him, and manifested to others ; and it is said on the 7th of August, because that day is fixed in our Calendar for the festival of the "Name of Jesus."

    These notes are Limited to Part I, Hymns 1-46.

Notes from The Words of the Hymnal Noted Complete With Scriptural References (London: J. A. Novello and J. Masters, no date, circa 1855), pp. 47-48

a. Psalm cxix. 55. Return

b. Cant. i 3. Return

c. Cant. iv. 11. Cant. ii. 3. Return

d. Psalm cxix. 103. Ex. xv. 25. Return

e. Mal. iv. 2. Psalm ix. 16. Psalm xx. 7. Return

f. 2 Thess. ii. 17. Isaiah li. 3. Prov. xviii. 10. Return

g. S. Mark v. 7. Return

h. Heb. vi. 18. Heb. vii. 25. Return

i. Psalm cxlvii. 3. Isaiah lvii. 15. Return

k. Psalm cxlv. 18. Prov. viii. 17. Return

l. S. Matt. xiii. 46. Cant. iii. 3. Return

m. Psalm cvi. 2. Psalm xl. 6. Return

n. Eph. iii. 19. Prov. xiv. 10. Return

o. Psalm xxiv. 10. Return

p. Isaiah lxiii. 1. Return

q. Cant. v. 16. Return

r. S. Luke xxiv. 29. Return

s. Rom. v. 5. Return

t. Ex. xvi. 14. Return

Sheet Music to Tunes 1 and 2 from Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #18, pp. 44-45.

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Sheet Music from Thomas Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted. Part I (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., and Masters and Son, 1852), Part II (London: Novello and Co., Joseph Masters and J. T. Hayes, 1858), #18, Jesu dulcis memoria, pp. 80-81.

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Rev. Helmore observed "A cento from the hymn called the Jubilus of S. Bernard, and known to the medieval writers as the "Rosy Hymn."

For researchers, he recommended only two sources:

Sheet Music from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #88, p. 136.

Editor's Note.

Rev. Neale had this observation concerning this hymn:

Our list of writers may close with S. Bernard, who has left that sweetest of all hymns, the Jesu dulcis memoria. No. 18 in our book [Hymnal Noted]. It is generally known as the Jubilus S. Bernardi, and in the original contains about fifty stanzas, out of which several centos have been made. It will now be sung to you to its proper melody, which is that for Ascension; with reference to that saying of the Apostle, "wherefore God also," &c., which thus connects the glorification of that Holy Name with the Ascension of our Lord. We have put it in the week following Epiphany, because many churches celebrated the festival at that time, and because it is certainly appropriate to it. The Sarum use, as that of our own Prayer Book, appropriates to it the 7th of August, some German books the 17th of March, some the Octave of the Epiphany, some, as the present Roman, the second Sunday after Epiphany.

Source: Rev. J. M. Neale, "On The History of Hymnology," from The Ecclesiologist, Volume 12 (New Series Volume 9), No. 85, August, 1851 (London: Joseph Masters, 1851), pp. 241-250. This was from a paper read before the Ecclesiological (late Cambridge Camden) Society, on Monday, June 23rd, 1851, by the Rev. J. M. Neale, M.A. Following Rev. Neale's paper was another of interest to us, "On The Music of the Hymnal Noted," a paper read before the Ecclesiological Society, June 23, 1851, by the Rev. Thomas Helmore, M.A.

The complete Latin title is the "Jubilus Rhythmicus de Nomine Jesu." A translation of the complete Jubilee can be found in Rev. Dr. Alfred Edersheim, The Jubilee Rhythm of St. Bernard of Clairvaux on the Name of Jesus and Other Hymns (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1847), pp. 5-15.

See additional notes following Jesu dulcis memoria.

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