Jesu! The Very Thought Is Sweet

Representative Text

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

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

3 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?

4 Jesu, thou sweetness, pure and blest,
Truth’s fountain, Light of souls distrest,
Surpassing all that heart requires,
Exceeding all that soul desires!

5 No tongue of mortal can express,
No letters write its blessedness:
Alone who hath thee in his heart
Knows, love of Jesus, what thou art.

6 *I seek for Jesus in repose,
When round my heart its chambers close;
Abroad, and when I shut the door,
I long for Jesus evermore.

7 *With Mary in the morning gloom
I seek for Jesus at the tomb;
For him with love's most earnest cry,
I seek with heart and not with eye.

8 *Jesus, to God the Father gone,
Is seated on the heavenly throne;
My heart hath also passed from me,
That where he is there it may be.

9 We follow Jesus now, and raise
The voice of prayer, the hymn of praise,
That He at last may make us meet
With him to gain the heavenly seat. Amen.

Source: The New English Hymnal #291a

Author: St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux, saint, abbot, and doctor, fills one of the most conspicuous positions in the history of the middle ages. His father, Tecelin, or Tesselin, a knight of great bravery, was the friend and vassal of the Duke of Burgundy. Bernard was born at his father's castle on the eminence of Les Fontaines, near Dijon, in Burgundy, in 1091. He was educated at Chatillon, where he was distinguished for his studious and meditative habits. The world, it would be thought, would have had overpowering attractions for a youth who, like Bernard, had all the advantages that high birth, great personal beauty, graceful manners, and irresistible influence could give, but, strengthened in the resolve by night visions of his mother (who had died in 1… Go to person page >

Translator: J. M. Neale

John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Jesus, the very thought is sweet
Title: Jesu! The Very Thought Is Sweet
Latin Title: Jesu, dulcis memoria
Author: St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Translator: J. M. Neale
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



Derived from the fourth piano piece in Robert A. Schumann's Nachtstücke, Opus 23 (1839), CANONBURY first appeared as a hymn tune in J. Ireland Tucker's Hymnal with Tunes, Old and New (1872). The tune, whose title refers to a street and square in Islington, London, England, is often matched to Haver…

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The Cyber Hymnal #3492
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The New English Hymnal #291a

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