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Background

The Hymns and Hymn Writers of The Church
Charles S. Nutter & Wilbur F. Tillett, 1911

This is one of the happiest and most popular of all the translations of a famous hymn of forty-two stanzas, beginning, “Jesu dulcis memoria,” which Dr. Schaff designates as “the sweetest and most evangelical hymn of the Middle Ages.” It is almost universally accredited to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, but it is not absolutely certain that he wrote it. The internal evidence points strongly to him as the author. He had a perfect passion for Christ– was “enamored of his Lord.” In Dr. Ray Palmer’s rendering above we have a translation respectively of verses four, three, twenty, twenty-eight, and ten of the original. Dr. Edward Caswall’s translation of select verses of the original, beginning, “Jesus, the very thought of Thee,” is scarcely less popular than this by Dr. Palmer. (See No. 533.)

“It is in this hymn,” says Duffield, author of English Hymns, “that the great theologian and scholar and preacher of crusades has set the key for modern hymnology. No one can fail to recognize how its spirit has gone into the German and English lyrics.” “Some hymns,” says George John Stevenson, “have so much divine inspiration in them that the world will not let them die. This hymn has been like a charm in the Church for eight hundred years, and its music is as fresh as ever.”

The Methodist Hymn-Book Illustrated
John Telford, 1909

This translation of Jesu dulcis memoria (11o) appeared in the American Andover Sabbath Hymn-book, 1858.

Jesu dulcis memoria was probably written about 1150, when he was living in retirement. Dr. Schaff calls it ‘the sweetest and most evangelical hymn of the Middle Ages.’ It is known as the ‘Joyful Rhythm of St. Bernard on the Name of Jesus.’ The oldest form of the text is given by a twelfth-century manuscript in the Bodleian, in forty-two verses of four lines.

Bernard’s devotion to his Master breathes in his famous words, which embody the spirit of the hymn, ‘If thou writest, nothing therein has savor to me unless I read Jesus in it. If thou discoursest or conversest, nothing therein is agreeable to me unless in it also Jesus resounds. Jesus is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, a song of jubilee in the heart. He is our medicine as well. Is any among you saddened? Let Jesus enter into his heart, and thence leap to his lips, and lo! at the rising illumination of His name every cloud flies away, serenity returns.’
#HymnalShort NameTitleAuthorTuneComposerVerses
492aHymns Ancient and Modern, New Edition, 1904HAM04Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsRev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887): from St. Bernard (1091-1153)Jesu dulcedo cordiumSolesmes Hymnal5
492bHymns Ancient and Modern, New Edition, 1904HAM04Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsRev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887): from St. Bernard (1091-1153)Hymnary No. 170Henry Smart (1813-1879)5
205aThe Church Hymnary (Scotland), 1898TCH98Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsSt. Bernard of Clairvaux (?) (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)Maryton (Sun of My Soul)Rev. H. Percy Smith (1825-1898)5
205bThe Church Hymnary (Scotland), 1898TCH98Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsSt. Bernard of Clairvaux (?) (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)St. BernardWilliam Henry Monk (1823-1889)5
447bChurch Hymns, 1903CH03Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)WaltonAnonymous5
447aChurch Hymns, 1903CH03Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)Jesu dulcedo cordiumSarum5
190Hymns Ancient and Modern, Standard Edition, 1922HAM22Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887): from the LatinEalingSir Herbert S. Oakeley (1830-1903)5
214aIrish Church Hymnal, 1919ICH19Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!Ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858Christe, Redemptor omniumSarum, 13th century, Mode i5
214cIrish Church Hymnal, 1919ICH19Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!Ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858MelcombeSamuel Webbe, 17825
214bIrish Church Hymnal, 1919ICH19Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!Ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858Jam LucisAncient Melody5
430The Church Hymnal Revised and Enlarged, 1892TCH92Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1150 (?), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858ThirskWilliam A. Wrigley (1854-1923)5
676The Presbyterian Hymnal, 1874TPH74Jesus! Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)WeltonTheme by Rev. H. A. Cæsar Malan (1787-1864)5
110bChurch Praise, 1907CP07Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsSt. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)MarytonRev. Henry Percy Smith (1825-1898)5
110aChurch Praise, 1907CP07Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsSt. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)St. VincentJohn Üglow (1814-1894)5
334The Hymnal (Presbyterian), 1895THP95Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsSt. Bernard of Clairvaux, circa 1150, Arrangement and Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858QuebecHenry Baker, 18665
435bThe Hymnal Companion to the Book of Common Prayer, Third Edition, 1890THC90Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsFrom the Latin, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)Santa TrinitaEmilio V. Pieraccini (1833-1902)5
435aThe Hymnal Companion to the Book of Common Prayer, Third Edition, 1890THC90Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsFrom the Latin, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)BexfieldWilliam R. Bexfield (1824-1853)5
327The Hymnal Revised (Presbyterian), 1911THR11Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsAnonymous (Latin, 11th century), Arrangement and Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858QuebecHenry Baker, 18625
418bThe Presbyterian Book of Praise, 1897PBP97Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsSt. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887) from Andover Sabbath Hymnbook, 1858OntarioCanadian Melody5
418aThe Presbyterian Book of Praise, 1897PBP97Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving HeartsSt. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887) from Andover Sabbath Hymnbook, 1858St. AlkmundEasy Music for Church Choirs, 18535
362Church Hymnal (Ireland), 1891ICH95Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!From the Latin of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, circa 1130, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1833Jam LucisAncient Melody5
354Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, 1918CSB18Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858GermanyMelody adapted from Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) (?) in William Gardiner’s Sacred Melodies, 18155
070Methodist Hymn and Tune Book, 1918MHT18Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)RockinghamEdward Miller (1735-1807)5
328aThe Hymnal (Episcopal), 1916THE16Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux, circa 1150, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858St. BernardWilliam H. Monk, 18615
328bThe Hymnal (Episcopal), 1916THE16Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux, circa 1150, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858Christe RedemptorSarum Plainsong, Mode I, Setting by Rev. C. Winfred Douglas (1867-1944)5
536The Methodist Hymnal, 1905TMH05Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux, circa 1150, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)WestcottSir Joseph Barnby (1838-1896)5
450The New Psalms and Hymns, 1901NPH01Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux, circa 1150, Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer, 1858QuebecHenry Baker, 18665
190aThe Scottish Hymnal, 1892TSH92Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)RochesterDaye’s Psalter, 15625
190bThe Scottish Hymnal, 1892TSH92Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts!St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Ray Palmer (1808-1887)St. GregoryDarmstadt Gesangbuch, 16985
408Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1878HME78We Sinners, Lord, with Earnest HeartSt. Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), Translation by Rev. Robinson Porter Dunn (1825-1867)ParsonsArranged from S. Hubbard4

The texts from any two of the above sources (assuming two or more exist) can be selected to appear below side by side by selecting the source name from the drop-down lists. The Short Name abbreviations following the titles are shown in the table above:

1Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts
We turn unfilled to Thee again.
2Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee All in all.
3We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
4Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Where’er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blest when our faith can hold Thee fast.
5O Jesus, ever with us stay,
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed o’er the world Thy holy light. Amen.
1Jesu, Thou Joy of loving hearts!
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men!
From the best bliss that earth imparts
We turn unfilled to Thee again.
2Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good;
To them that find Thee All in all.
3We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
4Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Where’er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blest, when our faith can hold Thee fast.
5O Jesu, ever with us stay;
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away;
Shed o’er the world Thy holy light. Amen.
BookReferenceBible Text
Nehemiah9:15And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.
Psalm73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. 7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. 8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. 15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. 21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. 22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. 28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Psalm107:9For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
Song of Songs5:16His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
Isaiah51:11Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
Isaiah55:6Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Isaiah55:7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Matthew5:6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Matthew7:7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Luke6:21Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Luke11:9And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
John4:14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John4:23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
John6:32Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
John6:32-3532 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John6:35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John6:48I am that bread of life.
John6:50-5650 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
John6:51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
John7:37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
John8:12Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John15:4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
1 Corinthians10:4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
1 Peter1:8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1 Peter1:8,98 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1 John1:4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.