Happy Retribution (Jeremiah Ingalls)

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Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-10-15).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 47 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition. Counter part written by B. C. Johnston, 2017. Three stanzas included, each with two selected from the original stanzas.
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2017-10-15).   Score information: 7 x 10 inches (landscape), 1 page, 31 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Note shapes added (4-shape). Counter part written by B. C. Johnston, 2017. Three stanzas included, each with two selected from the original stanzas.

General Information

Title: Happy Retribution
First Line: Brief life is here our portion
Composer: Jeremiah Ingalls
Lyricist: Bernard of Cluny

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: Sacred   Meter: 76. 76 (Bernard), Meter: 76. 76. D (Ingalls)

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1805 in Ingalls' The Christian Harmony, as The Heavenly Courtier, for three parts

Description: These editions have different words and have a Counter part added. Words by Bernard of Cluny, 1145, translated by John Mason Neale, 1858, with seventeen stanzas, meter 76. 76.


  • Bernard of Cluny. 1900. The Celestial Country: From the Rythym of Saint Bernard of Cluny, Translated by John Mason Neale. New York: Edwin S. Gorham, Church Missions House. 20 pp.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Brief life is here our portion;
Brief sorrow, short-lived care:
The life that knows no ending.
The tearless life, is there.

O happy retribution!
Short toil, eternal rest;
For mortals and for sinner
A mansion with the blest!

That we should look, poor wanderers,
To have our home on high!
That worms should seek for dwellings
Beyond the starry sky!

To all one happy guerdon
Of one celestial grace;
For all, for all, who mourn their fall,
Is one eternal place:

And martyrdom hath roses
Upon that heavenly ground:
And white and virgin lilies
For virgin-souls abound.


There grief is turned to pleasure:
Such pleasure, as below
No human voice can utter.
No human heart can know.

And after fleshly scandal,
And after this world's night,
And after storm and whirlwind
Is calm, and joy, and light.

And now we fight the battle.
But then shall wear the crown
Of full and everlasting
And passionless renown:

And now we watch and struggle
And now we live in hope.
And Zion, in her anguish.
With Babylon must cope:

But He Whom now we trust in
Shall then be seen and known.
And they that know and see Him
Shall have Him for their own.


The miserable pleasures
Of the body shall decay:
The bland and flattering struggles
Of the flesh shall pass away:

And none shall there be jealous;
And none shall there contend:
Fraud, clamor, guile — What say I?—
All ill, all ill shall end!

And there is David's Fountain,
And life in fullest glow.
And there the light is golden,
And milk and honey flow:

The light that hath no evening,
The health that hath no sore.
The life that hath no ending,
But lasteth evermore.

There Jesus shall embrace us
There Jesus be embraced —
That spirit's food and sunshine
Whence meaner love us chased.


Amidst the happy chorus,
A place, however low,
Shall show Him us; and showing,
Shall satiate evermo.

By hope we struggle onward,
While here we most be fed
With milk, as tender infants.
But there with Living Bread.