Hymnary Friends,

Please pardon this brief interruption, and please consider a gift today to support the work of Hymnary.org. Here's why.

Each month half a million people visit this website for free access to the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet. But this project does not come without a cost, and we have limited sources of revenue. Twice a year we hold a fund drive, and these drives are critical to our future.

So if you benefit from Hymnary.org, would you consider a donation today? Even small amounts help, and they also let us know you're behind us and support what we do.

Click the Donate button below to be taken to a secure giving site. Or you can make your tax-deductible contribution by sending a check to Hymnary.org at 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

On behalf of the entire Hymnary.org team, our thanks.
Harry Plantinga

480. Jesus, the Very Thought of You

1 Jesus, the very thought of you
fills us with sweet delight,
but sweeter far your face to view
and rest within your light.

2 No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
nor can the memory find
a sweeter sound than your blest name,
O Savior of mankind!

3 O Hope of every contrite heart,
O Joy of all the meek,
how kind you are to those who fall,
how good to those who seek!

4 But what to those who find? Ah, this
no tongue or pen can show;
the love of Jesus, what it is
none but his loved ones know.

Text Information
First Line: Jesus, the very thought of you
Title: Jesus, the Very Thought of You
Original Language: Latin
Translator: Edward Caswall (1849, alt.)
Meter: CM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ;
Topic: Love: God's Love to Us; Redemption; Hope (1 more...)
Source: Latin, 12th cent
Tune Information
Composer: John B. Dykes (1866)
Meter: CM
Key: G Major

Text Information:

Scripture References:
all st. = Eph. 3:19

The extended (forty-two stanzas) Latin poem 'Jesu, dulcis memo¬ria" is the source of this text (see discussion at PHH 307, which includes its traditional attribution to Bernard of Clairveaux). Although some scholars believe the poem was written by Bernard, others suggest that it originated in Britain at the end of the twelfth century. Most agree, however, that the poem's fervor was influenced by the famous Bernard. The English text is taken from a fifty-stanza translation by Edward Caswall (PHH 438) published in his Lyra Catholica (1849), where the opening line read “Jesu, the very thought of Thee.”

Displaying a passionate devotion to Christ, the text provides a clear hint of its original use as a text for personal devotion. Its focus is entirely on Christ and his saving love, a love that gives hope, joy, and rest to believers (st. 1,3), a love that excels any human love (st. 2, 4).

Liturgical Use:
Worship that focuses on Christ's redemptive work; Lord's Supper; Lent.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

John B. Dykes (PHH 147) composed ST. AGNES for this text. Dykes named the tune after a young Roman Christian woman who was martyred in A.D. 304 during the reign of Diocletian. St. Agnes was sentenced to death for refusing to marry a nobleman to whom she said, "I am already engaged to Christ, to Him alone I keep my troth." The tune was published in John Grey's Hymnal for Use in the English Church (1866).

ST. AGNES is a simple tune, best sung in two long lines and in harmony. To encourage meditation on the text (as was the practice with its Latin original), consider having the congregation follow the text of stanza 2 ("No voice can sing") without singing, but simply listening to it as played by the organ.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
More media are available on the text authority and tune authority pages.

Suggestions or corrections? Contact us