the text "Jesu dulcis memoria"
  • CGM
    Posts: 683
    I'm trying to track down the name of the hymn from which the text "Jesu dulcis memoria" was extracted. It shows up as a five-stanza hymn on the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (pp. 542-3 in the 1953 edition of the Liber Usualis), and my understanding is that these verses were part of a larger hymn (42 verses? 53 verses?) written by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, or perhaps by an anonymous 12-century Cistercian monk.

    I've been poking around in different volumes of the Analecta Hymnica as I find them online, but so far the only "Jesu dulcis memoria" I've found is (with the exception of the titular line) not at all the same text as found in the Liber.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction?

  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,702
    This is the best book on the Hymns of the Roman Liturgy...
    Page 59 of the book! onwards, excerpts below... I think the original began Dulcis Jesu...

    [...] date of composition is probably 1170/80-12OO; ... So Probably not St. Bernard who died in 1153.
    As the first and most reliable MSS are English and as the use of the poem spread from England, it is reasonable to conclude that it was written in England. The anonymous English writer was probably a Cistercian. Whoever he was, he was well versed in the Scriptures and their liturgical uses and applications, and acquainted with the writings of St Bernard and with his use of the Scriptures, especially of the Psalms and the sapiential books. These reasons suggest a Cistercian.

    The original poem was of forty-two verses, the text of which can be found in the Oxford Medieval and, with slight changes, in Wilmart. However, copyists and adapters changed the order of verses, omitted, altered and added verses, as they wished. Altogether the MSS show eighteen new verses and nineteen doxologies
    or quasi-doxologies. These make a composite text of seventy-nine verses-apart from twenty-five variations of original or added verses which in the process have become almost new verses. This confusion in the MSS was not detected for some time so that Mabillon's edition, for instance, and the compilers of this Office in 1721 treated
    as original some of the additions. If Roman numerals are used for the verses of the original and Arabic for the additions, the Breviary hymns are made up as follows:
    41: verses I, II, III, V and 74;
    42: verses IX, 14, IV, XII and 79;
    43: verses XVIII, XVI, XXIII, X and XXXI.
    Only in 41 are the verses chosen in anything like a consecutive order, and 42 is a very mixed affair. Hymn for the Transfiguration is also derived from this poem. But there the centoist strung together not verses but unconnected lines and in so arbitrary a fashion that the relation to its source would scarcely be suspected. The revisers made the relationship even more remote.
  • There seem to be several extant titles. I see "Jubilus Rhythmicus de Nomine Jesu" and variations like "The Jubilation of St. Bernard"

    Here is a historical summary of sources and several complete translations.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,702
    Thanks so much for that site, It is wonderful to have links to the manuscripts.
  • CGM
    Posts: 683
    Thanks to you both — this is very helpful.