Jesu dulcis memoria

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General information

Author: Bernard of Clairvaux.

A poem of 42 to 53 stanzas traditionally ascribed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. It is divided into three Office hymns: "Jesu dulcis memoria" (Vespers), "Jesu Rex admirabilis" (Matins), "Jesu decus angelicum" (Lauds).

View the Wikipedia article on Jesu dulcis memoria.

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Text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Jesu dulcis memoria
Dans vera cordis gaudia:
Sed super mel et omnia
Ejus dulcis præsentia.

Nil canitur suavius,
Nil auditur jucundius
Nil cogitatur dulcius
Quam Jesus Dei filius.

Jesu spes pænitentibus,
Quam pius es petentibus!
Quam bonus te quærentibus!
Sed quid invenientibus?

Nec lingua valet dicere,
Nec littera exprimere:
Expertus potest credere,
Quid sit Jesum diligere.

Sis Jesu nostrum gaudium
Qui es futurus præmium
Sit nostra in te gloria
Per cuncta semper sæcula.

Additional verse in Vogler
(See Iesus dulcedo cordium)
Jesu dulcedo cordium,
fons vivus, lumen mentium,
excedens omne gaudium,
et omne desiderium.

English.png English translation

Jesus, sweet remembrance,
Granting the heart its true joys,
But above honey and all things
Is His sweet presence.

Nothing more pleasing can be sung,
Nothing gladder can be heard
Nothing sweeter can be thought
Than Jesus, son of God.

Jesus, hope of the penitent,
How merciful you are to those who ask,
How good to those who seek,
But O, what you are to those who find!

Tongue has no power to describe
Nor writings to express
But only belief can know by experience
What it is to love Jesus.

Be our joy, O Jesus,
Who will be the prize we win,
May all our glory be in you, always
And through all ages.

Jesus, sweetness of hearts,
fount of life and light of minds,
surpassing all joy,
and every need.
Translation by Mick Swithinbank and Jamie Reid Baxter.

Italian.png Italian translation

O Gesù, dolce memoria,
che dà vere gioie al cuore:
ma più del miele e di ogni altra cosa ,
è dolce la Sua presenza.

Nulla può essere più soavemente cantato,
nulla più gioisamente ascoltato:
nulla di più dolce può essere immaginato
di Gesù, il Figlio di Dio

Gesù, speranza per i penitenti,
quanto sei generoso con chi Ti cerca!
Quanto sei buono con chi anela a Te,
e quanto sarai dolce per chi Ti abbraccia?

Non può dirlo una lingua,
nè esprimerlo uno scritto:
solo chi lo ha provato può dire
cosa sia amare Gesù

Sii, Gesù, la nostra gioia,
Tu che sei il futuro premio:
sia in Te la gloria nostra,
per tutti i secoli dei secoli.

Singing versions

English.png English text

Jesu, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
O 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.

Jesu, our only joy be thou,
As thou our prize wilt be;
Jesu, be thou our glory now,
And through eternity.

Translation by Edward Caswall
English.png English text

Jesu! the very thought is sweet;
In that dear name all heart-joys meet;
But O, than honey sweeter far
The glimpses of his presence are.

No word is sung more sweet that this,
No sound is heard more full of bliss,
No thought brings sweeter comfort nigh,
Than Jesus, Son of God most high.

Jesu, the hope of souls forlorn,
How good to them for sin that mourn!
To them that seek thee, O how kind!
But what art thou to them that find?

No tongue of mortal can express,
No pen can write, the blessedness:
He only who hath proved it knows
What bliss from love of Jesus flows.

O Jesu, King of wondrous might!
O Victor, glorious from the fight!
Sweetness that may not be exprest,
And altogether loveliest!

Abide with us, O Lord, today,
Fulfil us with thy grace, we pray;
And with thine own true sweetness feed
Our souls, from sin and darkness freed.

Translation by John Mason Neale
English.png English text

Jesu, 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.

Thy truth unchanged has 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.

We taste thee, O thou living bread,
And long to feast upon thee still;
We drink of thee, the fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from thee to fill.

Our 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.

O 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.

Translation by Ray Palmer , ca. 1858

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