1 Alleluia! best and sweetest
Of the hymns of praise above!
Alleluia! thou repeatest,
Angel host, these notes of love.
This ye utter,
While your golden harps ye move.
2 Alleluia! Church victorious,
Join the concert of the sky!
Alleluia! bright and glorious,
Lift, ye saints, this strain on high!
We, poor exiles,
Join not yet your melody.
3 Alleluia! strains of gladness
Suit not souls with anguish torn:
Alleluia! sounds of sadness
Best become our state forlorn:
We with bitter tears must mourn.
4 But our earnest supplication
Holy God, we raise to Thee:
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Make us all Thy joys to see!
Ours at length this strain shall be.
Source: Church Book: for the use of Evangelical Lutheran congregations #20
Alleluia, dulce carmen. [Week before Septuagesima.] The earliest form in which this hymn is found is in three manuscripts of the 11th century in the British Museum. From a Durham manuscript of the 11th century, it was published in the Latin Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church (Surtees Society), 1851, p. 55. The text is in Daniel, i. No. 263, and with further readings in iv. p. 152; and in the Hymnarium Sarisuriense, 1851, p. 59. [Rev. W. A. Shoults, B.D.]
Translations in common use:—
1. Alleluia! best and sweetest. Of the hymns of praise above. By J. Chandler, first published in his Hymns of the Primitive Church, 1837, No. 59, in 4 stanzas of 6 lines, as the first of two renderings of the hymn. This translation is found in a great number of collections with the first two lines complete, but usually with a few alterations in the rest of the hymn.
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)