Jerusalem the Golden

Full Text

1 Jerusalem, the golden!
With milk and honey blest;
Beneath thy contemplation
Sink heart and voice opprest.
I know not, O I know not
What joys await us there;
What radiancy of glory,
What bliss beyond compare.

2 They stand, those halls of Zion,
All jubilant with song,
And bright with many an angel,
And all the martyr throng.
The Prince is ever in them,
The daylight is serene:
The pastures of the blessèd
Are decked in glorious sheen.

3 There is the throne of David;
And there, from care released,
The song of them that triumph,
The shout of them that feast;
And they, who with their Leader
Have conquered in the fight,
For ever and for ever
Are clad in robes of white.

4 O sweet and blesséd country,
The Home of God's elect!
O sweet and blesséd 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.

Hymnal: according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, 1871

Author: Bernard of Cluny

Bernard of Morlaix, or of Cluny, for he is equally well known by both titles, was an Englishman by extraction, both his parents being natives of this country. He was b., however, in France very early in the 12th cent, at Morlaix, Bretagne. Little or nothing is known of his life, beyond the fact that he entered the Abbey of Cluny, of which at that time Peter the Venerable, who filled the post from 1122 to 1156, was the head. There, so far as we know, he spent his whole after-life, and there he probably died, though the exact date of his death, as well as of his birth is unrecorded. The Abbey of Cluny was at that period at the zenith of its wealth and fame. Its buildings, especially its church (which was unequalled by any in France); the serv… Go to person page >

Author: John Mason Neale

Neale, John Mason, D.D., was born in Conduit Street, London, on Jan. 24, 1818. He inherited intellectual power on both sides: his father, the Rev. Cornelius Neale, having been Senior Wrangler, Second Chancellor's Medallist, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and his mother being the daughter of John Mason Good, a man of considerable learning. Both father and mother are said to have been "very pronounced Evangelicals." The father died in 1823, and the boy's early training was entirely under the direction of his mother, his deep attachment for whom is shown by the fact that, not long before his death, he wrote of her as "a mother to whom I owe more than I can express." He was educated at Sherborne Grammar School, and was afterwards… Go to person page >

Notes

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Rev. 21:1-2, 21
st. 2 = Rev. 21:12-14, 22-25, Rev. 22:1-2
st. 3 = Rev. 22:3-5
st. 4 = Heb. 11:13-16

This hymn was translated from part of a satiric poem of almost three thousand lines, "De Contemptu Mundi" ("the contemptable world"), written around 1145 by the twelfth-century monk Bernard of Cluny. Not to be confused with Bernard of Clairvaux, Bernard of Cluny is thought to have been born in Murles, France, supposedly of English parents. He spent the greater part of his adult life in the famous monastery of Cluny during the time that Peter the Venerable was its abbot (1122-1156). Founded in 910 with high standards of monastic observance, the monastery was wealthy–its abbey, with splendid worship services, was the largest of its time. In the twelfth century there were more than three hundred monasteries that had adopted the Cluny order. During his life Bernard was known for his published sermons and his piety, but his lasting fame rests on "De Contemptu Mundi."

In that poem Bernard applied dactylic hexameter (six groups of triplets) and intricate internal rhyme schemes to satirize the evils of his culture, as well as those of the church and his own monastery. Amazed at his own skill and discipline, Bernard said, "Unless the Spirit of wisdom and understanding had flowed in upon me, I could not have put together so long a work in so difficult a meter." To put sin in sharp relief, Bernard began his poem by focusing on the glories of heaven.

Seven hundred years later Richard C. Trench published the initial stanzas of the Poem, beginning "Urbs Sion aurea, patria lactea," in his Sacred Latin Poetry(1849). John M. Neale (PHH 342) translated this portion of the poem into English and published it in his Medieval Hymns and Sequences (1851). Neale made revisions and additions to his earlier free translation when he published it in his The Rhythm of Bernard (1858). The text found in the Psalter Hymnal is the most popular of the four hymns derived from Neale's translation.

This text "of such rare beauty" (Neale's words) is based on the imagery of the new Jerusalem found in Revelation 21:22. Like the saints described in Hebrews 11:13-16, Christians today long "for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God … has prepared a city for them." As we sing “Jerusalem the Golden,” we yearn for a fulfillment of this vision, for the Lord to come quickly so that we may be a part of "the city of God's presence.”

Liturgical Use:
Any service in which the new creation (as symbolized in the celestial city) is the theme; as a song of comfort and hope; for meditation.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Timeline

Media

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #527
The Cyber Hymnal #3448
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #618

Instances

Instances (18)TextImageAudioScoreFlexscore
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #527TextImageAudioScore
Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #214Text
Christian Worship: supplement #728Text
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #670
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #747Text
Common Praise #278Text
Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #347
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #624TextImage
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #184
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #573
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #259
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #488Image
Lutheran Service Book #672Text
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #618TextImageAudioScore
Rejoice in the Lord #579Text
Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #429
The Worshiping Church #754TextImage
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #539TextImage