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 tr. 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.
2. Alleluia! song of sweetness, Voice of everlasting glee. By W. J. Blew, printed on a broad¬sheet for use in his church, cir. 1850 [E. MSS.], and then included in his Church Hymn & Tune Book, 1852, from whence it passed into Rice's Selection from that work, 1870, No. 23.
3. Alleluia! song of sweetness. Voice of joy, eternal lay. By J. M. Neale. It appeared in the first edition Mediaeval Hymns, 1851, p. 130, in 4 stanzas of 6 lines.
4. Alleluia! song of gladness, Utterance of perennial joy. By J. A. Johnston, given in his English Hymnal, 1852, No. 75, and in later editions.
5. Alleluia! song of gladness, Voice of everlasting joy. This translation appeared in Cooke and Denton's Hymnal, 1853, No. 44.
6. Alleluya! song of sweetness. By J. D. Chambers, in his Lauda Syon, 1857, i. p. 120, and from thence, in an altered form, into the Wellington College Hymn Book, 1860, p. 65.
7. Alleluia, sweetest anthem, Voice of joy that may not die. By J. Keble. This tr. is based upon Dr. Neale's.
8. Alleluia! song of sweetness, No. 61 in Pott's Hymns, &c, 1861, is the Hymns Ancient & Modern text, slightly altered.
9. Alleluia, song of sweetness, Strain of everliving joy. By R. C. Singleton, made for, and first published in his Anglican Hymn Book, 1868. It was rewritten for the 2nd edition, 1871.
The close resemblance of these translations to each other has made the annotations a task of some difficulty. By far the greater number of compilers have worked with second-hand materials, and these, when rearranged, have produced complications in the text of the most embarrassing nature.
Translations not in common use:
1. O, Glorious is the song. J. Chandler (2nd tr.)
2. Hallelujah! note of gladness. W. L. Alexander, 1849.
3. Alleluia, sweetest lay. S. Campbell, 1350.
4. Alleluia, song of sweetness. Sonar, 1856.
5. Alleluia, sweetest music. Mrs. Charles, 1858.
6. Alleluia, music sweetest. Kynaston, 1862.
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)