De Contemptu Mundi

Hora novissima, tempora pessima sunt, vigilemus

translated as
The world is very evil
Brief life is here our portion
For thee, O dear, dear country
Jerusalem the golden

with
EWING
AURELIA
ST. ALPHEGE

I. Latin Text.

This poem is by Bernard of Cluny, a French monk, written ca. 1145. Bernard’s birthplace has been described variously as Morlaix or Morlaàs or Morval, neither of which is near the other. Regarding his place of origin, he is described in manuscripts as Bernardus Morlanensis or Morlacensis or Morvalensis; the first two pertain to Morlaàs, the last one to Morval. Morlaix was known in Latin as “Mons Relaxus,” so this city does not correspond to the manuscript record, but Bernard’s work shows a familiarity with English culture, which presents a circumstantial case for the city closest to England.[1] Some sources claim, without substantiation, Bernard was born of English parents. In the 1929 edition of Bernard’s poem edited by H.C. Hoskier, Hoskier was clear about his assessment: “The earliest MSS, however, are quite clear for Morvalensis. … I cannot accept Morlas or Morlaix in view of the fact of my XIIIth century MSS speaking of him as Morvalensis” (p. xv).

At the time of the poem’s writing, Bernard was a member of the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny. This poem, “On the contempt of the world,” is epic in length, spanning nearly 3,000 lines. It is divided into three parts. The poem has its own preface, in which the writer dedicated the work to Peter the Venerable, who was abbot of Cluny from 1122 to 1155.

In the preface, the writer offered some insight into his work. The poetry is in dactylic hexameter (six triplets per line, the last being only two syllables), rhymed in couplets, with each line also containing an internal rhyme (leonine rhyme)—a tremendous feat of language. The writer acknowledged the challenge of his chosen meter, saying:

Unless the spirit of wisdom and understanding had flowed in upon me, I could not have put together so long a work in so difficult a metre. For this kind of metre, preserving as it does an unbroken line of dactyls, except for the last foot, and the leonine sonority, has, in consequence of its difficulty, fallen almost, not to say quite, into disuse.[2]

Bernard also noted the appeal of writing in verse rather than offering his treatise in prose:

If anyone or you yourself should want to know why I preferred to bind myself to verse rather than to write in prose, I will say, quoting the words of the poet, “A poet seeks to profit or to please or both, and to say things worthy and fit to live,” because what is put forth in metre is more eagerly read, and more easily sinks deep into the memory. … For he who gazes with eagerness upon the beauty of the words often grasps more eagerly the fruit of the thought. Hence it happens that all, or nearly all, that poets have written, they have put forth with a metrical safeguard, so to speak, expecting to make attractive, when painted in verse, what they could not make so in prose.[3]

Finally, he offered this summary of the message of the poem:

It is not irrelevant to mention briefly beforehand what subject I have treated in each book. In the first I have discussed Scorn of the World. In the two subsequent books both the subject and the purpose are the same, the subject being the castigation of sin, the purpose to recall from sin.[4]

Literary scholar George Engelhardt felt the opening line of Bernard’s poem, which also bookends part 1, was an apt reflection of the entire text:

This verse does not merely enclose Part One, it epitomizes the meaning of the whole poem. As the third member, “vigilemus,” expresses the theme metaphorically, the second member, “tempora pessima sunt” comprises in a phrase of Micah the two commonplaces, misery and iniquity. Here the superlative “pessima” is apt because misery, the malum poenae, and iniquity, the malum culpae, are associated by the poet with the extreme aggravation of the last epoch. The first member, “hora novissima,” relates to the commonplace doom. In this member Bernard adverts explicitly to a passage from St. John implicit elsewhere throughout the poem (1 John 2:15-18). This passage from the disciple whom Jesus loved is the text of the contemptu mundi in the Christian tradition.”[5]

Samuel Macauley Jackson, a devoted scholar of Bernard’s poem, described the message of the text as follows:

The poem runs to 2,991 lines. In the first of its three books, which contains 1,103 lines, and which ends with the same line with which it begins, the author puts some really beautiful words about heaven and goodness, but has more to say about hell and wickedness, and says it with gusto. In his second book, which has 974 lines, he vapors on a golden age which never existed, and very much more animatedly on the alleged wickedness of an age which did. He says he spoke of what he had seen—yes, through his jaundiced eyes, with a magnifying glass. In it he pays his score on woman, whom he loads with all the insults he could rake together. … In his third book, running to 914 lines, he continues his general theme, the corruption of the age. He upbraids Rome for its love of money; next, upbraids the whole human race, save monks and nuns; and concludes his satire with a call for that golden age which he thought so attractive.[6]

Jackson noted Bernard’s text is satirical, which is to say, “its exaggerations are to be expected and pardoned.” (“How the monks must have roared as they heard those lines read! How often the author must have stopped in his reading to remark that he did not speak altogether seriously!”)[7]

Another scholar, Ray C. Petry, was less generous. In a 1949 assessment, he believed the poem contained “much that is fragrantly unfair”:

He not only exaggerates the evils of current society, but ascribes them all too frequently to unilateral causes. As is customary, even among the literary leaders of our own day, sexual perversions play altogether too heavy a role in his account. His attacks upon womankind as a whole are as unwarranted as they are un-christian. At times it seems as if Bernard’s sole concern was to describe with obvious relish the descent of all humanity into merited destruction.[8]

Even so, the continued interest and value in Bernard’s poem is in his glorious descriptions of heaven. Petry conceded, “The main outlines of Bernard’s description of ‘Jerusalem the Golden’ found in Book I run fairly true to mediaeval form. The peace, comeliness, and unity of the celestial city are dwelt upon extensively.”[9] Latin scholar F.J.E. Raby wrote, “Of Bernard of Morlas it can be said that no one before him … had risen to such heights in describing the longing of the pilgrim for his home.”[10] Esteemed hymnologist Erik Routley framed it this way:

The vital issue on which a responsible person must at some point decide is this: what is reality? Is it the squalor or is it the love? Do we say that the ugly is a perversion of the noble, or that the noble is an illusory escape from the ugly? Bernard is perfectly clear about it. He says, in the plain indicative mood, that the beautiful, the desirable, the happy, and the noble are the real things.[11]

Bernard’s work includes a number of literary references, indicating familiarity with classical literature:

He frequently punctuates his lengthy descriptions with references to ancient auctores, to figures drawn from classical myths and history. Thus, for example, in reviling the vices of his day, he establishes a kinship with the Roman satirists by saluting Horace, Persius, Juvenal, even Lucilius, by name. Moreover, his widespread use of proper names, themes, and phrases and whole lines from their works, and those of numerous others, suggests that he had read many works entirely.[12]

Manuscripts

Samuel Jackson’s study (1910) of the text included detailed descriptions of several manuscripts he examined (pp. 10-21). Hoskier (1929) likewise provided a detailed description and assessment of known manuscripts (pp. xxii-xxxiv). The dating of these documents is not always consistent between editions and the various library catalogs. The earliest include British Library, Cotton MSS Cleopatra A VIII, fols. 5r-54r (12th/13th century); British Library, Additional MS 22287, fols. 57r-122v (12th/13th century); British Library Additional MS 35091, fols. 68v-112v (13th century); British Library MS Harley 4092; Bodleian Library, Digby 65, fols. 42v-56r (13th century); Bibliothèque municipale de Douai, MS 825 (13th century); Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, Latin 8433 (early 13th century); Saint-Omer, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 115 (12/13th century); and British Library, Additional MS 16895 (14th century).

Editions

The first printed edition was compiled by Matthias Flacius, Varia doctorum piorumque virorum, De corrupto Ecclesiae statu, Poemata (“Various poems of learned and pious men on the corrupt state of the church”) (Basel: Ludwig Lucius, 1556/7). In this copy, the preface begins on p. 240, with the poem starting on p. 247 and extending to p. 349, without breaks between the three sections. The paragraph on p. 246, “Incipit argumentum in subiectum opus,” is not by Bernard; it is an editorial insertion and is either by Flacius or was taken from a later manuscript. Flacius did not name his source.

 

Fig. 1. Matthias Flacius, Varia doctorum piorumque virorum, De corrupto Ecclesiae statu, Poemata (Basel: Ludwig Lucius, 1556/7).

 

An older edition of 1483 mentioned uncertainly by Julian (1892), p. 533, is for a different text, similarly named “De Contemptu mundi rhythmus” but beginning “O miranda vanitas! O divitiarum,” attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux; therefore the claim of 1483 can be disregarded. Jackson’s 1910 study named five additional printings of the “Hora novissima” through 1754 (pp. 21-52).

After the renewal of interest in the poem among English Christians in the middle of the 19th century, the poem was published by Thomas Wright, in the second volume of The Anglo-Latin Satirical Poets and Epigrammatists of the Twelfth Century (1872), pp. 3-102. In Wright’s edition, he consulted three manuscripts, abbreviated as A, B, and P, but he did not include a key to decode these abbreviations. The preface to the first volume does mention the British Library Cleopatra MS, and it mentions Bodleian Library MS Digby 65. Because of the poor editorial documentation, Wright’s edition has been criticized by later scholars. Jackson said, “It is to be hoped that some scholar will re-edit it, as Mr. Wright has left much to be done,” and he called it a “slovenly piece of work” (pp. 52-53). Ray C. Petry, writing in 1949, called it “feeble and careless at best” (p. 208, n. 12).

Nonetheless, Wright’s edition apparently served as the basis for a complete English translation by Henry Preble, initially released in three parts in The American Journal of Theology, 1906, in the January, April, and July issues, then included in Jackson’s 1910 study. Preble’s translation is prose in paragraphs, not line-by-line, thus limiting the usefulness of being able to compare Latin to English in a systematic fashion.

This work was followed by a masterful edition by H.C. Hoskier, De Contemptv Mvndi: A Bitter Satirical Poem of 3000 Lines upon the Morals of the XIIth Century (1929). Ray Petry said of it, “Bernard’s poem, freed from the grosser errors of previous editors and translators, stands forth, perhaps for the first time, in its true light” (p. 208). George J. Engelhardt, whose detailed literary analysis of the poem drew mainly from Hoskier’s edition, seemed to have only one complaint: “This edition is marred by its punctuation, which distorts both meaning and prosody. … Most deplorable is the forced concurrence of rime and caesura because it abets the notion that Bernard’s prosody is monotonous.”[13]

Hoskier’s edition reflects on some of the previous editions. He offered his own analysis of Preble’s translation (“a useful one, but only as a base for something better,” p. xii). He compiled a useful side-by-side comparison of Neale’s translation with the original Latin (pp. xvii-xxi; see the discussion of Neale below). Hoskier attempted to untangle Wright’s sources and believed A was both Cleopatra and Digby (being nearly identical), B was unknown, and P was related to an edition printed in Bremen in 1597 (pp. xxii-xxiii, xxxv, xxxiii). Hoskier’s detailed assessment of available manuscripts is still unmatched.

Finally, the most recent edition was produced by Ronald E. Pepin as Scorn for the World: Bernard of Cluny’s De Contemptu Mundi (East Lansing: Colleagues Press, 1991). Like his predecessors, Pepin reviewed the previously available publications and editions and he summarized the message of the text. Pepin gave the official length as 2,966 lines, based on Hoskier. He identified Wright’s source B as the British Library’s MS Harley 4092. He agreed with Engelhardt’s criticism of Hoskier’s punctuation, and he disagreed with Hoskier’s choices in some places. The great value in Pepin’s edition is in the way it presents the Latin and English on opposing pages for easy comparison.


II. English Hymnic Translations.

Bernard’s lengthy text entered English hymnody through an excerpt of the poem published by Richard Trench in Sacred Latin Poetry (1849 | Archive.org | Fig. 2), pp. 285-290. Trench gave only 96 lines, focusing on the vision of heaven. In spite of including this hymn in his book, Trench was not a great fan: “Besides the awkwardness and repulsiveness of the metre, … the chief defect of the poem … is its want of progress; the poet, instead of advancing, eddies round and round his subject, recurring again and again to that which he seemed to have thoroughly treated and dismissed” (p. 286). This excerpt was translated by John Mason Neale and included in his Mediaeval Hymns & Sequences (1851), pp. 51-58, beginning “Brief life is here our portion.” Neale did not attempt to imitate Bernard’s complex metre (more on Neale’s versions below).

 
 

Fig. 2. Richard Trench, Sacred Latin Poetry (London: John W. Parker, 1849).

1. Samuel W. Duffield

Some others who have attempted to reproduce Bernard in English include Samuel W. Duffield, in The Heavenly Land, from the De Contemptu Mundi (NY: A.D.F. Randolph, 1867 | HathiTrust | Fig. 3). Duffield endeavored to produce a faithful rendering “line for line, and often word for word,” with some allowances described in his preface. His version begins “These are the latter times, these are not better times; let us stand waiting” and follows the first eight lines of the Latin, then covers Trench’s excerpt of 96 lines. Duffield kindly provided the Latin and English on opposing pages for easy comparison.

 

Fig. 3. Samuel W. Duffield, The Heavenly Land, from the De Contemptu Mundi (NY: A.D.F. Randolph, 1867).

2. Gerard Moultrie

A similar attempt was made by Gerard Moultrie in Lyra Mystica (London: Longman, etc., 1865 | HathiTrust | Fig. 4). Moultrie’s version begins “Here we have many fears, this is the vale of tears, the land of sorrow” and extends to 50 lines. Samuel Jackson said of it, “As the Latin text is not given, it is difficult in so free a translation to determine exactly what lines have been rendered.”[14]

 

Fig. 4. Lyra Mystica, ed. Orby Shipley (London: Longman, etc., 1865).

 

3. Jackson Mason

One other such translation was created by Jackson Mason, published as The Rhythm of Bernard de Morlaix in English, on the Heavenly Country (1880). His began, “Earth very evil is; time through the last of his journeys is hasting.” Mason’s version is not as well liked. While Samuel Jackson said “The translation … is very close, and the imitation of the metre is good,”[15] J.R. Watson called it “brave but misguided.”[16] Mason’s version, like the others, is only an excerpt of the original and focuses on the heavenly vision.

4. John Mason Neale

Out of these early attempts at poetic translation, only Neale’s has had any endurance. In his first attempt, given in Mediaeval Hymns & Sequences (1851 | Fig. 2), he admitted to avoiding Bernard’s meter, in part because it would not be suitable for any existing tunes, but also because he was doubtful anyone could do it well:

As it is evident that no labour nor skill could have given, in such bonds, anything approaching to an adequate idea of the beauty of Bernard’s poem, I have preferred a simple measure: the rather that the verses were not of that class which are intended for music. I should also add that I have very much abbreviated the original: and perhaps the lines that follow cannot claim to be more than a close imitation.

Neale converted Bernard’s couplets of dactylic hexameter into iambic quatrains of 7.6.7.6., rhymed ABCB.

 

Fig. 5. J.M. Neale, Mediaeval Hymns & Sequences (1851).

 

At the end of Neale’s 1851 text, he esteemed this Latin poem to be one of the finest in existence:

I have no hesitation in saying that I look on these verses of Bernard as the most lovely, in the same way that the Dies Irae is the most sublime, and the Stabat Mater the most pathetic of mediaeval poems. They are even superior to that glorious hymn on the same subject, the De Gloria et gaudiis Paradisi of S. Peter Damian (pp. 58-59).

Whereas his first attempt was translated directly from Trench (1849 | Fig. 2), Neale developed his translation into a longer hymn, published on its own as The Rhythm of Bernard de Morlaix, Monk of Cluny (London: J.T. Hayes, 1858). This longer version contained 218 lines, from which hymnal compilers have extracted portions to greater and lesser degrees of success, especially excerpts beginning “The world is very evil,” “Brief life is here our portion,” “For thee, our dear, dear country,” and “Jerusalem the golden.” In his 1858 preface, he provided a historical background of the poem and its author, much improved over his 1851 commentary. He again recognized the loose quality of the translation, “so free as to be little more than an imitation.” He also recognized the pitfalls of originally translating from Trench, whose work he admitted was “a mere patchwork—much being transposed as well as cancelled.”

At the end of the volume, Neale included the portions of the Latin he had translated, but he did not indicate which edition he used. Hosker’s edition of the Latin text (1929) includes a more helpful side-by-side comparison of Neale with the Latin (pp. xvii-xxi). Hoskier was not a fan of Neale’s work, opining, “Some lines in the above of Dr. Neale are very weak. All is unequal and utterly inferior to the original” (p. xxi). Another side-by-side comparison was published in Stephen A. Hurlbut, Hortus Conclusus, vol. 7 (1932). pp. 4-17.

Neale’s long-form translation went through seven editions in his lifetime. In the third edition (ca. 1861), he indicated “a few verses have been a little polished, and one or two phrases brought nearer to the original.” The seventh edition (1865) is shown here for reference (Fig. 6).

 

Fig. 6. J.M. Neale, The Rhythm of Bernard de Morlaix, Monk of Cluny, 7th ed. (London: J.T. Hayes, 1865).

 

Samuel Jackson’s study of the hymn (1910), pp. 69-71, made note of several errors in Neale’s preface; scholars should consult the work of Jackson (1910) and Hoskier (1929) before repeating any of Neale’s commentary. Neale incorporated this longer translation into the 2nd ed. of Mediaeval Hymns & Sequences (1863). Among the extracts mentioned above—“The world is very evil,” “Brief life is here our portion,” “For thee, our dear, dear country,” and “Jerusalem the golden”—the latter has been the most popular. The last three of those were incorporated into the first edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern (1861 | see Fig 9); the first was added in the 1868 Appendix. The editors of HA&M added a doxology to Neale’s text:

Jesu, in mercy, bring us
To that dear land of rest,
Who art, with God the Father,
And Spirit, ever blest.

Neale acknowledged this addition in the 7th edition of the Rhythm, saying, “Where any cento from the following poem is sung, it would be well to conclude it with the Doxology as given in Hymns Ancient & Modern.”

One commentator on the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 made a curious and somewhat misguided assertion of the other three extracts beside “Jerusalem the golden,” which were not included in the Hymnal 1982: “The deleted texts … with their picture of the world filled with evil, do not currently speak to Christians.”[17]


III. Tunes

EWING

Of the various tunes which have been used for Neale’s text, one of the most successful has been EWING by Alexander Ewing (1830–1895). Ewing wrote this tune when we was a member of the Aberdeen Harmonic Choir, under the direction of William Carnie, and the group became the first to perform the tune. Carnie recalled the circumstances of the composition of the tune in the Aberdeen Daily Free Press shortly after Ewing’s death on 11 July 1895. Ewing’s tune was intended for Neale’s text. It is reported to have been composed and printed as sheet music as early as 1853. One surviving edition published by John Blockley, undated, uses Neale’s revised text, so it cannot have been published before 1860 (Fig. 7). This arrangement is written in 6/2, but the staid rhythms, especially the opening whole notes of every phrase, give the tune more of a duple feel than triple.

 
 

Fig. 7. J.M. Neale & Alexander Ewing, “Jerusalem the golden” (London: John Blockley, n.d.).

The first appearance of this tune in a hymnal was in John Grey’s Manual of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1857 | Fig. 8, image pending), were it was called ST. BEDES, named after the English monk Bede the Venerable (672–735).

When Ewing’s tune was adopted into the first edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern (1861 | Fig. 9), it was adapted by William Monk to eliminate the pauses and the long notes at the beginnings of the phrases, making the tune flow a little better.

Fig. 9. Hymns Ancient & Modern (London: Novello, 1861).

As one source in Ewing’s lifetime reported, Ewing did not approve of this change:

The tune seems to have been first published in common time in Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1861, and this was done without reference to the composer, who was then in a distant quarter of the globe, but in other respects no alterations were made on the tune. “In my opinion,” says the composer, “the alteration of the rhythm has very much vulgarised my little tune. It now seems to me a good deal like a polka. I hate to hear it.”[18]

J.M. Neale was an admirer of Ewing’s tune. In the fourth edition of the Rhythm of Bernard (1861), he wrote:

I have so often been asked to what tune the words of Bernard may be sung, that I may here mention that of Mr. Ewing, the earliest written, the best known, and with children the most popular (no small proof, in my estimation, of the goodness of church music).

AURELIA

The genesis of this tune by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876) was witnessed by Wesley’s pupil, James Kendrick Pyne (1852–1938), who was living with the Wesleys at the time. Pyne recalled the event several times in various publications, including a brief statement in The Musical Times, June 1899:

“He did somewhat pander to the popular taste in AURELIA—which I will remember his writing in Winchester, and running up to the drawing room to play over as an attempt at a popular psalm tune.”[19]

He published a fuller account in English Church Music in 1935:

I was in his drawing-room in the Close, Winchester, as a lad of thirteen … when Dr. Wesley came rushing up the stairs from below with a scrap of MS in his hand, a psalm tune just that instant finished. Placing it on the instrument, he said: “I think this will be popular.” My mother was the first to sing it to the words “Jerusalem the golden.” The company liked it, and Mrs. Wesley on the spot christened it “Aurelia.”[20]

“Aurelia” is a mistranslation of “golden,” which is actually “aurea.” Wesley published the tune in 1864, in a collection for which he edited the music, A Selection of Psalms and Hymns: Arranged for the Public Services of the Church of England (London: John F. Shaw, 1864 | Fig. 10). This collection was published in the “Dutch door” format, with tunes at the top and texts on the bottom, such that tunes and texts could be interchangeable. In the index, the only suitable texts listed for this tune are Nos. 601–603, which are “Brief life is here our portion,” “For thee, O dear, dear country,” and “Jerusalem the golden,” all from Neale’s translation of Bernard.

 

Fig. 10. A Selection of Psalms and Hymns: Arranged for the Public Services of the Church of England (London: John F. Shaw, 1864).

 

AURELIA was also included in Wesley’s European Psalmist (1872), no. 451, with “Jerusalem the golden.” In spite of the initial connection to Neale, Wesley’s tune is more closely associated with “The church’s one foundation,” starting with this pairing in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient & Modern (1868).

Wesley’s tune has been both loved and reviled. After Wesley’s tune had been prominently featured in a Thanksgiving Service for the recovery of Edward VII, the Prince of Wales, 27 Feb. 1872, fellow church musician H.J. Gauntlett issued a scathing rebuke, calling it “inartistic, and not fulfilling the conditions of a hymn tune,”[21] and claimed the tune was made up from strains of a song known as “Auld Robin Gray.” One observer at the time noted a hint of resentment related to Gauntlett’s own Thanksgiving hymn:

It is somewhat singular that this attack appears simultaneously with an advertisement of a “New Thanksgiving Hymn” by the Doctor himself, which we are informed is “proper to be sung in all churches, chapels, and homes, as an offering of praise, etc., etc.” and is warranted to be handsomely printed on thick toned paper. We fear that the old legend of “sour grapes” is very applicable to this professional mud throwing.[22]

Samuel Wesley also found himself defending the tune against a different charge of borrowing:

As to my AURELIA being like a piece of Pearsall, “O’er the downs,” I am sure I never saw “O’er the downs.” I hardly ever heard two things by Pearsall and did not care for those. The first line of my tune AURELIA is like a song of Spohr but I find that is from MOzart and so on backwards.[23]

In spite of the early criticism, this tune’s continued, universal use in churches and hymnals is ample evidence for its quality. Erik Routley described it this way:

Most hymnals contain only a few of his tunes, of which the one which is popular world-wide is AURELIA. There is a case for saying that this is his most uncharacteristic tune, since is it the only one which has that rugged congregational quality which ensured success in an age in which congregational demands were being taken seriously. [24]

In only a few decades, AURELIA had become a staple in the Christian church. In 1900, one writer acknowledged, “The smallest tribute that can be paid to the merit of AURELIA as an ideal tune for congregational song is to say that any hymnal is considered incomplete without it.”[25] Hymnologist Carl Daw felt the strength of the tune was in the harmonization just as much as it was in the melody:

Much of the energy in the tune, however, is not in the melodic shape but in the relationship of the parts to the melody. Tenor and bass take turns shadowing soprano and alto lines, and both indulge in chromaticisms not seen in other parts. That it is almost impossible to hum this tune without hearing phantom harmonies is a measure of how integral the parts really are.[26]

ST. ALPHEGE

According to James T. Lightwood, this tune was written in a flash by Henry Gauntlett during the preparation of the Church Hymn and Tune Book (1852 | Fig. 11):

One day, during the compilation of The Church Hymn and Tune Book, Dr. Gauntlett was sitting at dinner, when a messenger came to say that the printers could not find the tune assigned to the words “The hymn of glory sing we.” “Give me some paper,” he said, pushing aside his plate, and in a few minutes the well-known melody was composed.[27]

“The hymn of glory sing we” is a text by William J. Blew, Gauntlett’s co-editor, a translation from “Hymnum canamus gloriae,” attributed to the Venerable Bede (11th century). St. Alphege (953–1012) was Archbishop of Canterbury, a martyr.

 
 

Gauntlett’s tune was adopted into the first edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern (1861), where it was paired with Neale’s translation, “Brief life is here our portion” and thus became associated with the Bernard’s text. This tune is also sometimes set to “The voice that breathed o’er Eden,” a hymn by John Keble.

by CHRIS FENNER
for Hymnology Archive
16 July 2019


Footnotes:

  1. Samuel Macauley Jackson, The Source of “Jerusalem the Golden” (University of Chicago Press, 1910), pp. 3-4.

  2. Translated by Henry Preble, in “The Scorn of the World: A Poem in Three Books,” The American Journal of Theology, vol. 10, no. 1 (Jan. 1906), p. 76.

  3. Henry Preble, “The Scorn of the World,” AJT 10/1, p. 75.

  4. Henry Preble, “The Scorn of the World,” AJT 10/1, p. 77.

  5. G. J. Engelhardt, “The ‘De contemptu mundi’ of Bernardus Morvalensis,” Mediaeval Studies, vol. 22 (1960), pp. 134-135.

  6. Samuel Macauley Jackson, The Source of “Jerusalem the Golden,” pp. 8-9.

  7. Samuel Macauley Jackson, The Source of “Jerusalem the Golden,” pp. 8-9.

  8. Ray C. Petry, “Mediaeval eschatology and social responsibility in Bernard of Morval’s De Contemptu Mundi,Speculum, vol. 24, no. 2 (April 1949), pp. 208-209.

  9. Ray C. Petry, Speculum, vol. 24, no. 2 (April 1949), pp. 215-216.

  10. F.J.E. Raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953), p. 317.

  11. Erik Routley, “Jerusalem the golden,” Hymns and the Faith (London: John Murray, 1955), p. 295.

  12. Ronald E. Pepin, Scorn for the World: Bernard of Cluny’s De Contemptu Mundi (East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, 1991), p. xii.

  13. G. J. Engelhardt, “The ‘De contemptu mundi’ of Bernardus Morvalensis,” Mediaeval Studies, vol. 22 (1960), pp. 108–109, note 1.

  14. Samuel Macauley Jackson, The Source of “Jerusalem the Golden,” p. 73.

  15. Samuel Macauley Jackson, The Source of “Jerusalem the Golden,” p. 81.

  16. J.R. Watson & Emma Hornby, “Hora novissima,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology.

  17. Louis Weil & Morgan Simmons, “Jerusalem the golden,” The Hymnal 1982 Companion, vol. 3B (NY: Church Hymnal Corp., 1994), no. 624.

  18. James Love, “Alexander Ewing,” Scottish Church Music: Its Composers and Sources (Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons, 1891), p. 122.

  19. J. Kendrick Pyne, “Wesleyana,” The Musical Times, vol. 40, no. 676 (1 June 1899), p. 381 | JSTOR

  20. J. Kendrick Pyne, “Dr. Samuel Sebastian Wesley,” English Church Music, vol. 5 (1935), pp. 5-6. Pyne had also issued a contradictory account in The Musical Times, vol. 47, no. 764 (1 Oct. 1906), p. 676, in which he said, “I was in the Close at Winchester, sitting in the drawing-room with Mrs. Wesley and Mrs. Stewart, mother of General Sir Herbert Stewart, when he (S.S.W.) came up, and said, ‘I think I have written a tune for “The voice that breathed o’er Eden,” which will be popular.’ He played it over many times, and we all agreed with him” (JSTOR). In the following issue (1 Nov. 1906, p. 747), S.S. Wesley’s son F.G. Wesley wrote a rebuttal: “Dear Sir—In one respect, I feel sure, Dr. Pyne’s recollections of ‘Aurelia’ are erroneous. The tune was written for the hymn beginning ‘Jerusalem the golden,’ and it was in consequence of the words that my mother, on a name being asked for, suggested Aurelia on the occasion described by Dr. Pyne. I am, yours faithfully, F.G. Wesley. Durham, October 20, 1906” (JSTOR).

  21. Robert G. McCutchan, “Aurelia,” Our Hymnody, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1937), p. 349; citing The Choir: A Weekly Journal (1872).

  22. The Musical Standard (2 March 1872), p. 107: Google Books

  23. Letter from S.S. Wesley to Joseph Barnby, 3 April 1872, quoted in The Hymnal 1940 Companion, 3rd rev. ed. (NY: Church Pension Fund, 1962), p. 253.

  24. Erik Routley, “Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1810-1876,” The Music of Christian Hymns (Chicago: GIA, 1981), p. 105.

  25. F.G. Edwards, “Samuel Sebastian Wesley,” The Musical Times, vol. 41, no. 689 (1 July 1900), p. 453.

  26. Carl P. Daw Jr. “AURELIA,” Glory to God: A Companion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2016), p. 325.

  27. James T. Lightwood, “ST. ALPHEGE,” The Music of the Methodist Hymn-Book (London: Epworth Press, 1935), p. 380.

Related Resources:

Samuel W. Duffield, The Heavenly Land, from the De Contemptu Mundi (NY: A.D.F. Randolph, 1867): PDF

Thomas Wright, The Anglo-Latin Satirical Poets and Epigrammatists of the Twelfth Century, vol. 2 (London: Longman & Co., 1872), pp. 3–102: HathiTrust

James Love, “Alexander Ewing,” Scottish Church Music: Its Composers and Sources (Edinburgh: William Blackwood & Sons, 1891), pp. 121-122.

John Julian, “Hora novissima, tempora pessima sunt, vigilemus,” A Dictionary of Hymnology (London: J. Murray, 1892), pp. 533-534: Google Books

Henry Preble & Samuel Macauley Jackson, “The Scorn of the World: A Poem in Three Books,” The American Journal of Theology, vol. 10, no. 1 (Jan. 1906: PDF), pp. 72-101; no. 2 (Apr. 1906: PDF), pp. 286-308; no. 3 (July 1906: PDF), pp. 496-516.

Henry Preble & Samuel Macauley Jackson, The Source of “Jerusalem the Golden,” Together with Other Pieces Attributed to Bernard of Cluny (University of Chicago Press, 1910): PDF

H.C. Hoskier, De Contemptv Mvndi: A Bitter Satirical Poem of 3000 Lines upon the Morals of the XIIth Century (London: B. Quaritch, 1929).

C. D’Evelyn, “A lost manuscript of the De Contemptu Mundi,” Speculum, vol. 6 (1931), pp. 132-133.

Stephen A. Hurlbut, Hortus Conclusus, vol. 7 (Washington, DC: St. Albans, 1932).

Percy Dearmer & Archibald Jacob, “Jerusalem the golden,” Songs of Praise Discussed (Oxford: University Press, 1933), pp. 125-126.

James T. Lightwood, “EWING,” “ST. ALPHEGE,” The Music of the Methodist Hymn-Book (London: Epworth Press, 1935), pp. 379-380.

Robert G. McCutchan, “Aurelia,” Our Hymnody, 2nd ed. (Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1937), pp. 348-349; “Jerusalem the golden,” pp. 510-514.

Ray C. Petry, “Mediaeval eschatology and social responsibility in Bernard of Morval’s De Contemptu Mundi,Speculum, vol. 24, no. 2 (April 1949), pp. 207-217.

F.J.E. Raby, A History of Christian-Latin Poetry, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953), pp. 315-319.

Erik Routley, “Jerusalem the golden,” Hymns and the Faith (London: John Murray, 1955), pp. 293-300.

G. J. Engelhardt, “The ‘De contemptu mundi’ of Bernardus Morvalensis,” Mediaeval Studies, vol. 22 (1960), pp. 108–35; vol. 26 (1964), pp. 109–42; and vol. 29 (1967), pp. 243–72.

“AURELIA,” The Hymnal 1940 Companion, 3rd rev. ed. (NY: Church Pension Fund, 1962), p. 253; “The world is very evil,” pp. 350-352.

Marilyn Kay Stulken, “The clouds of judgment gather,” Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981), pp. 378-379.

Erik Routley, “Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1810-1876,” The Music of Christian Hymns (Chicago: GIA, 1981), pp. 105-106.

J.R. Watson, “AURELIA,” Companion to Hymns & Psalms (Peterborough: Methodist Publishing House, 1988), p. 306.

Ronald E. Pepin, Scorn for the World: Bernard of Cluny’s De Contemptu Mundi: The Latin Text with English Translation and an Introduction (East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, 1991).

Louis Weil & Morgan Simmons., “Jerusalem the golden,” The Hymnal 1982 Companion, vol. 3B (NY: Church Hymnal Corp., 1994), no. 624.

Nicholas Temperley, “AURELIA,” The Hymnal 1982 Companion, vol. 3B (NY: Church Hymnal Corp., 1994), no. 525.

J.R. Watson, “Jerusalem the golden,” An Annotated Anthology of Hymns (Oxford: University Press, 2002), pp. 47-49.

J.R. Watson & Emma Hornby, “Hora novissima,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:
http://www.hymnology.co.uk/h/hora-novissima