Jesu Rex Admirabilis
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 157
    I am currently planning music for the fall/winter and am hoping to introduce Jesu Rex Admirabilis (palestrina) to the choir.

    I would like to use Verse 1 antiphonally, alternating with english verses set to the chant melody. (OF mass)

    Does anyone have a good translation of this hymn to english?
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 972
    I believe there are several translations on
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,565
    Caswell's is indeed the common version (I remember my Lutheran choir looking askance at "You may our tongue forever bless" in David Hogan's setting: as if "thou mayest..." would ever have fit the meter!)
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • I second the Caswell. We sing it with Walter MacNutt's chorale adaptation from RVW's Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.
    Thanked by 2Settefrati93 Jes
  • Settefrati,

    [I should have asked this at some point in the past, since it's off topic, but- -- if there are sette frati, are there seven brides, too?]

    To the matter at hand. I don't follow, at all, what you mean by using the first verse of Jesu Rex Admirabilis, antiphonally, and then having English chant verses interspersed.

    Do you mean that you want this verse to serve as an antiphon, for which the chanted English might be the verses of, say, Psalm 83 "How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts?"

    Or do you mean that you want the verse to be sung, alternately by decani and cantoris, with a cantrix intoning the English verses, again, assuming "How Lovely are thy dwelling places"?

    As a follow on...... by what process did you decide (assuming I grasp what you mean by "antiphonally") to extract this one part of a piece to serve in this capacity?

    I guess I should add: if you're using Jesu Rex Admirabilis, why do you want a translation of this. Is the goal to sing the translation, or to have it for devotional reference purposes?
  • CGM
    Posts: 416
    CGZ, I think he means that there are editions of the piece (e.g. Rick Wheeler's) where the polyphony is alternated with chanted verses from the same hymn of St. Bernard of Clairvaux whence came Palestrina's original text. So SF93 wants to use the first polyphonic verse as an antiphon in Latin, and alternate that with successive unison verses of St. Bernard's hymn in English translation. I think it could work well.
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 157
    Yes... what CGM says
  • Settefrati,

    You need, therefore, a metrical, beautiful, poetic translation of the whole of the text of Jesu Rex Admirabilis, if I understand you.
    Thanked by 2Settefrati93 Jes
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 157
    Thanked by 1Jes
  • Do you already have one?
  • Settefrati93
    Posts: 157
    I planned to use the caswell and slightly modify it to fit the meter...thanks to the fine assistance I received :-)
  • ronkrisman
    Posts: 1,292
    The Latin text and the chant melody are in long meter (8888), while the Caswell translation is in common meter (8686). That means you would have to add two syllables to every second line of the hymn.

    You would do better to find a long meter translation. Perhaps Ray Palmer and/or Robert Bridges did one.
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • Heath
    Posts: 762
    Bumping . . . if anyone knows of a long meter translation, I'd love to see it!
  • By the way, that MacNutt adaptation is really just Tallis Third Mode Melody if you have it in any of your hymnals.
  • Noel Jones, AAGO has a lovely translation here.
    Thanked by 1Heath
  • @baritenor if only there were more!

    We ended up learning these two verses in Latin instead of doing the alternatim thing that I was hoping to do.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,198
    Dom M. Britt, in 'The Hymns of of the Breviary and Missal' tells us there are 6 translations of the full hymn (I presume all 48 stanza, Connelly says 42 are in the original and a composite text would have 79) many of the centos from the Hymn have been translated more frequently, He uses Caswall's translation, and mentions Shipley's in the 'Annus Sanctus'. See also the article in the 'Dictionary of Hymnody', and it is also mentioned in the 'Cath. Encycl.' in the article on Hymnody.

    All the above books can be found online!

    There is also a Translation in Gueranger 'Liturgical year'.

    A metrical translation can be found in Aquinas Byrnes, 'Hymns of the Dominican Missal and breviary' pg. 220 in book or pg. 118 in the online pdf.

    For more information about this Hymn, read Connelly, 'Hymns of the Roman Liturgy' or the article of c. 300 pages by Dom Walmart in the 'Ephemerides Liturigicae' of 1943. These two books are not as far as I am aware online.

    Has anyone checked if Newman translated this hymn? Of course since the above books were published more translations have been made.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Heath
  • ...if Newman...

    I have an 1888 edition of Newman's complete verse in which Jesu rex admirabilis does not appear. Newman translated quite a large number of office hymns, but altered them all to common metre.

    Nor have I found this hymn in my complete edition of Neale's translations.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,198

    It may be under Jesu Dulcis Memoria... and could be verse 5 or 6 if a translation of the Office hymn or verse IX of the original text as found in the 'Oxford Mediaeval'.
  • tomjaw -

    It is given in The English Hymnal, part II of hymn 419, but, alas, is in common metre.

    It begins, 'O Jesus, King most wonderful', etc. (Caswall)

    I have seen this same version set to a certain composition of Christopher Tye's, which has appeared, as well, with other texts, including a Christmas text which begins 'A choir (host?) of angels...'.

    Also in The English Hymnal, part II of hymn 238, is a long metre version.
    This version is also stanza 5 of hymn 188 in Hymns A&M Revised

    It begins, 'O Jesu! King of wondrous might', etc. (Neale)

    The same is found in Collected Hymns, Sequences and Carols of John Mason Neale, as Ss. 5-8 of 'Jesu!-the very thought is sweet' (Jesu dulcis memoria).

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

    More glorious than the sun to see,
    More fragrant than the balsam-tree,
    My heart's desire, and boast, and mirth,
    Jesu, salvation of the earth.

    Remain with us, O Lord, to-day!
    In every heart thy grace display;
    That, now the shades of night are fled,
    On thee our spirits may be fed.

    All honour, laud, and glory be,
    O Jesu, Virgin-born, to thee!
    All glory, as is ever meet,
    To father and to Paraclete.

    (Jesu dulcis memoria in its entirety is traditionally attributed, with some reservation, to Bernard of Clairvaux, but scholarly opinion now holds that it is the work of an anonymous XIIth century English Cistercian.)

  • Heath
    Posts: 762
    Thanks, all! I think that Neale version will work perfectly for my purposes!
  • CGM
    Posts: 416
    There's also an LM translation of Jesu Rex admirabilis on pp. 235-6 of the excellent 2013 Hymnarium OP:

    O Jesus, ever-wondrous king,
    Great conqueror all-triumphing;
    Delight surpassing words inspired,
    In ev’ry way to be desired!

    When you within the heart take rest
    There truth displays its brightness blest;
    The vanity of earth we know,
    And inwardly with love we glow.

    O Jesus, Lord, the heart’s delight,
    The living spring, the soul’s true light;
    Exceeding all the joys that are
    And all desire surpassing far!

    Acknowledge Jesus, all mankind,
    And pray that you his love may find;
    Seek Jesus earnestly; and so,
    By seeking, still more fervent grow.

    O may our voices tell of you
    And lives reflect you, Jesus, too;
    O may our hearts still show you love,
    Both now and in the realms above.

    For additional verses, there's an LM translation of Jesu dulcis memoria on pp. 239-40 of the same volume.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,198
    Here is the translation from 'Hymns of the Dominican Missal and breviary, Aquinas Byrnes.'

    O Jesus, ever-wondrous king,
    Great victor, nobly triumphing;
    The all-desirable, the spring
    Of sweets beyond imagining:

    When Thou inhabitest the heart
    Then does the truth its light impart
    The vanities of earth depart,
    And all but love's enkindled dart.

    Thou balm of hearts, in whom unite
    The living fount, the Spirit's light;
    And joy, surpassing far the might
    Of all desire and all delight.

    Then Jesus one and all proclaim:
    Implore His love and bless His name;
    To seek Him be your fervent aim,
    Till in the search ye grow aflame.

    Thee, Jesus, may our tongues adore,
    Out lives in Thine example soar,
    Our hearts to Thee their homage pour,
    And love Thee now and evermore.
  • CGM
    Posts: 416
    (The Byrnes volume was one of numerous sources cited in the 2013 Hymnarium OP.)
    Thanked by 1Settefrati93
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,198
    Just in case anyone wants a link to Hymns of the Dominican Missal and breviary, Aquinas Byrnes.

    Searchable version,;view=1up;seq=5

    Download with extra art!

    Download without extra art! of the Dominican Missal and Breviary.pdf
  • Wunderbar!

    Many thanks for these links, tomjaw!
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 972
    I have an arrangement for TTBB that we have done for years if anyone is interested.
    Thanked by 1jefe
  • jefe
    Posts: 157
    ghmus7, I would like the TTBB arrangement to use with our ATBarB Compline Choir. Could you post a link or load the arr. right here? Voces angelorum chanted the 3-part, SSA, Jesu Rex admirabilis of Palestrina a few weeks ago, but it was only 2 verses. I'd like to do all five verses with chant alternating with through composed with the men. jefe