1 Jerusalem the golden, with milk and honey blest—
the sight of it refreshes the weary and oppressed.
I know not, oh, I know not what joys await us there,
what radiancy of glory, what bliss beyond compare:
to sing the hymn unending with all the martyr throng,
amidst the halls of Zion resounding full with song.
2 O sweet and blessed country, the home of God’s elect!
O sweet and blessed country that eager hearts expect,
where they who with their leader have conquered in the fight
forever and forever are clad in robes of white:
in mercy, Jesus, bring us to that dear land of rest
where sings the host of heaven your glorious name to bless.
3 The Christ is ever with them, the daylight is serene;
the pastures of the blessed are ever rich and green.
There is the throne of David, and there, from care released,
the shout of them that triumph, the song of them that feast.
To God enthroned in glory the Church’s voices blend,
the Lamb forever blessed, the Light that knows no end.
Source: Christian Worship: Hymnal #889
|First Line:||Jerusalem the golden, With milk and honey blest!|
|Title:||Jerusalem the Golden|
|Latin Title:||Urbs Syon aurea|
|Author:||Bernard of Cluny|
|Translator:||J. M. Neale|
|Notes:||German translation: See "Jerusalem von golde" by W. Rauschenbusch|
st. 1 = Rev. 21:1-2, 21
st. 2 = Rev. 21:12-14, 22-25, Rev. 22:1-2
st. 3 = Rev. 22:3-5
st. 4 = Heb. 11:13-16
This hymn was translated from part of a satiric poem of almost three thousand lines, "De Contemptu Mundi" ("the contemptable world"), written around 1145 by the twelfth-century monk Bernard of Cluny. Not to be confused with Bernard of Clairvaux, Bernard of Cluny is thought to have been born in Murles, France, supposedly of English parents. He spent the greater part of his adult life in the famous monastery of Cluny during the time that Peter the Venerable was its abbot (1122-1156). Founded in 910 with high standards of monastic observance, the monastery was wealthy–its abbey, with splendid worship services, was the largest of its time. In the twelfth century there were more than three hundred monasteries that had adopted the Cluny order. During his life Bernard was known for his published sermons and his piety, but his lasting fame rests on "De Contemptu Mundi."
In that poem Bernard applied dactylic hexameter (six groups of triplets) and intricate internal rhyme schemes to satirize the evils of his culture, as well as those of the church and his own monastery. Amazed at his own skill and discipline, Bernard said, "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 meter." To put sin in sharp relief, Bernard began his poem by focusing on the glories of heaven.
Seven hundred years later Richard C. Trench published the initial stanzas of the Poem, beginning "Urbs Sion aurea, patria lactea," in his Sacred Latin Poetry(1849). John M. Neale (PHH 342) translated this portion of the poem into English and published it in his Medieval Hymns and Sequences (1851). Neale made revisions and additions to his earlier free translation when he published it in his The Rhythm of Bernard (1858). The text found in the Psalter Hymnal is the most popular of the four hymns derived from Neale's translation.
This text "of such rare beauty" (Neale's words) is based on the imagery of the new Jerusalem found in Revelation 21:22. Like the saints described in Hebrews 11:13-16, Christians today long "for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God … has prepared a city for them." As we sing “Jerusalem the Golden,” we yearn for a fulfillment of this vision, for the Lord to come quickly so that we may be a part of "the city of God's presence.”
Any service in which the new creation (as symbolized in the celestial city) is the theme; as a song of comfort and hope; for meditation.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook