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.
5. Alleluia! song of gladness, Voice of everlasting joy. This translation appeared in Cooke and Denton's Hymnal, 1853, No. 44. It is based upon Chandler; but it has so much in it that is new, that practically it is a fresh translation. In 1857 it was included in the Winchester Church Hymn Book, No. 247, and subsequently in Barry; Snepp's Songs of Grace & Glory; Hymnal Companion; the Stoke Hymn Book, and others. It is also given, but somewhat altered in the Parish Hymn Book; the R.T.S.'s Hymns No. 337; and the New Congregational Hymn Book, No. 725. In some of these it is ascribed to Dr. Neale in error.
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.
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)