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Jesu Dulcis Memoria





A poem ranging from forty two to fifty three stanzas (in various manuscripts), to form the three hymns of the Office of the Holy Name: "Jesu dulcis memoria" (Vespers), "Jesu rex admirabilis" (Matins), "Jesu decus angelicum" (Lauds). A feature of the long poem is the single rhymic scheme for a stanza, e.g.:



Jesu dulcis memoria,
Dans vera cordis gaudia,
Sed super mel et omnia
Ejus dulcis præsentia.

The ascription of authorship to St. Bernard is general and, thinks Mearns, (Dict. of Hymnology, 1892), probable — a view which he is still inclined to in the second edition of the "Dictionary" (1907). Guéranger thought that certain manuscripts "prove beyond a doubt" that it was composed in the fourteenth century by a Benedictine abbess — a view contradicted by the manuscript cited by Mearns, of about 1200. Blume (see Hymnody and Hymnology) denies its authorship by St. Bernard, and Dom Pothier (Revue bénédictine, X, 147) found it in a manuscript of the eleventh century ascribed to a Benedictine abbess (St. Bernard was born in 1090). Mearns in Dictionary of Hymnology (2nd ed., London, 1907), 585, 1536, 1656; to the list should be added trs. by Bagshawe, Breviary Hymns and Missal Sequences (London, 1900); Donahoe, Early Christian Hymns, series I (New York, 1908); Henry in American Ecclesiastical Review (Jan., 1900), Latin text, tr., and comment, and (Feb., 1900), comment on authorship.

H.T. HENRY








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