Hierusalem my happie home

Among the hymns that have struck me afresh when sensitively set is ‘Jerusalem, my happy home’, which is set to the American folk hymn-tune ‘Land of Rest’ in the Hymnal as well as in various twentieth-century American Lutheran hymnals.

Since its first known appearance around 1600, the hymn has been published countless times in many variant forms. According to Julian’s Dictionary of Hymnology, it, along with a somewhat similar hymn in W. Prid’s The Glass of vaine-glorie (London, 1585), is very likely based on a passage in the medieval Liber Meditationum (long attributed to St Augustine) as well as a hymn on Paradise, ‘Ad perennis vitae fontem’, by Cardinal Damiani, frequently found in editions of this work. As only a fraction of the hymn is found in current hymnals (the Hymnal cento focuses somewhat on the saints and singing, the Lutheran one on the flowers and fruits), I present here the full, original, by turns charming and moving, text, as found in British Library Add’l MS 15225:

A song mad by F : B : P.
To the tune of Diana

Hierusalem my happie home
When shall I come to thee
When shall my sorrowes haue an end
Thy ioyes when shall I see

O happie harbour of the saints
O sweete and pleasant soyle
In thee noe sorrow may be found
Noe greefe, noe care, noe toyle

In thee noe sickness may be seene
Noe hurt, noe ache, noe sore
There is noe death, nor uglie deuill
There is life for euermore

Noe dampishe mist is seene in thee
Noe could, nor darksome night
There euerie soule shines as the sunne
There god himselfe giues light

There lust and lukar cannot dwell
There enuie beares no sway
There is noe hunger heate nor coulde
But pleasure euerie way

Hierusalem: Hierusalem
God grant that I once may see
Thy endless ioyes and of the same
Partaker aye to be

Thy wales are made of precious stones
Thy bulwarkes Diamondes square
Thy gates are of right orient pearle
Exceeding rich and rare

Thy terrettes and thy pinacles
With carbuncles doe shine
Thy verie streets are paued with gould
Surpassing clear and fine

Thy houses are of Iuorie
thy windoes cristale cleare
Thy tyles are mad of beaten gould
O god that I were there

Within thy gates nothinge doeth come
That is not passinge cleane
Noe spiders web, noe durt noe dust
Noe filthe may there be seene

Ah my sweete home Hierusalem
Would god I were in thee
Would god my woes were at an end
Thy ioyes that I might see

Thy saints are crownd with glorie great
They see god face to face
They triumph still, they still reioyse
Most happie is their case

Wee that are heere in banishment
Continualie doe mourne
We sighe and sobbe, we weepe and weale
Perpetually we groan

Our sweete is mist with bitter gaule
Our pleasure is but paine
Our ioyes scarce last the lookeing one
Our sorrowes still remaine

But there they liue in such delight
such pleasure and such play
As that to them a thousand yeares
Doth seeme as yeaster day

Thy viniardes and thy orchardes are
Most beutifull and faire
Full furnished with trees and fruits
Most wonderful and rare

Thy gardens and thy gallant walkes
Continually are greene
There groes such sweete and pleasant flowers
As noe where eles are seene

There is nector and ambrosia made
There is muske and ciuette sweete
There manie a faire and daintie drugge
Are troden under feete

There cinomon there sugar groes
There narde and balme abound
What tounge can tell or hart conceue
The ioyes that there are found

Quyt through the streetes with siluer sound
The flood of life doe flow
Vpon whose bankes on euerie syde
The wood of life doth growe

There trees for euermore beare fruite
And euermore doe springe
And euermore the Angels sit
And euermore doe singe

There Dauid standes with harpe in hand
As maister of the Queere
Tenne thousand times that man were blest
That might this musicke hear

Our Ladie singes magnificat
With tune surpassing sweete
And all the virginns beare their parts
sitinge aboue her feete

Te Deum doth Sant Amrose singe
Saint Augustine dothe the like
Ould Simeon and Zacharie
Haue not more songes to seeke

There Magdalene hath left her mone
And cheerfullie doth singe
With blesed saints whose harmonie
In euerie streete doth ringe

Hierusalem my happie home
Would god I were in thee
Would god my woes were at an end
Thy ioyes that I might see

finis finis