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Jesu Dulcis Memoria

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Jesu Dulcis Memoria is a Christian hymn authored by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. The name can refer either to the entire poem, which, depending on the manuscript, ranges from forty-two to fifty-three stanzas, or only the first part.

Three sections of it are used as hymns in the Liturgy of the Hours of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus: "Iesu dulcis memoria" (Vespers), "Iesu rex admirabilis" (Office of Readings), "Iesu decus angelicum" (Lauds).

Several English hymns sung today are based on translations of Jesu Dulcis Memoria. These include "Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts" (1858 translation by Ray Palmer) and "Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee" (1849 translation by Edward Caswall).

Opening stanzas

(See Thesaurus Precum Latinarum)

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 futurus praemium:
sit nostra in te gloria,
per cuncta semper saecula.
Amen.

English version

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast!
Yet sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy Presence rest.
No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than Jesus' Name,
The Saviour 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 hope be Thou,
As Thou our prize shalt be;
In Thee be all our glory now,
And through eternity. Amen.

Music

The tune to which the hymn was sung can be heard at Oremus Hymnal. It has also been set to music by Tomás Luis de Victoria, Estêvão de Brito, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jason Bahr (1994) and others.

References

External links

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