Jerusalem, My Happy Home

Representative Text

1 Jerusalem, my happy home,
When shall I with you be?
When shall my sorrows have an end?
Your joys when shall I see?

2 Your saints are crowned with glory great;
They see God face to face;
They triumph still, they still rejoice
In that most holy place.

3 There David stands with harp in hand
As master of the choir:
Ten thousand times would we be blessed
Who might this music hear.

4 Our Lady sings Magnificat
With tune surpassing sweet;
And all the virgins join the song
While sitting at her feet.

5 There Magdalene has left her tears,
And cheerfully does sing
With blessed saints, whose harmony
In ev'ry street does ring.

6 Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
God grant that I may see
Your endless joy, and of the same
Partaker ever be!

Source: RitualSong (2nd ed.) #963

Alterer: Joseph Bromehead

Bromehead, Joseph, M.A., was born in 1748 and educated at Queen's College, Oxford; B.A. 1768, M.A. 1771. Subsequently he was Curate of Eckington, Derbyshire, to his death, January 30, 1826. He was the author of The Melancholy Student, 2nd edition 1776, of some Psalm versions, and the popular form of “Jerusalem, my happy home," q.v. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)  Go to person page >

Author: F. B. P.

(no biographical information available about F. B. P..) Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Jerusalem, my happy home, Name ever dear to me
Title: Jerusalem, My Happy Home
Alterer: Joseph Bromehead
Author: F. B. P.
Source: F. B. P. in MSS. of 16th or 17th century (based on); Augustine (based on)
Language: English
Refrain First Line: I want my friends to go with me
Notes: The authorship of this text is unclear. Some hymnals claim the original author is St. Augustine and that F.B.P.'s text in a 16th or 17th century manuscript was based on the Augustine text. Other hymnals say Joseph Bromehead is the author and it is based on F. B. P.'s version. Other hymnals attribute the text to James Montgomery. Although the first stanza is similar to the first stanza of the hymn "Jerusalem, my happy home, O how I long for Thee" from Southern Harmony, 1835, the other stanzas from the Southern Harmony hymn are not shared by any of the full text instances Hymnary has so far of this version which is identified with F. B. P. - Dianne Shapiro
Copyright: Public Domain


Jerusalem, my happy home. [The Heavenly Jerusalem.] The importance of this poem, the varying forms in which it, or some portions of it, are found in modern hymn-books, and the doubt which attaches to its authorship, necessitate an exhaustive treatment of its text and history. The fact that two versions are known, both dating from the latter part of the 16th century, (those of F. B. P. and W. Prid), points naturally to a common source from whence each was taken. After indicating this probable source of the poem, we will give the text and history in detail.
i. Probable source of the Poem. For some centuries the volume known to us as The Meditations of St. Augustine (Liber Meditationum) had been popular, and had widely influenced the thought of the Church. At the time of the Reformation, Roman Catholic and Protestant alike vied in translations of it, in whole or in part. In many editions Cardinal P. Damiani's hymn on Paradise, "Ad perennis vitae fontem," is given as a part of the Manual, and has thus become frequently ascribed to St. Augustine. A passage in the Liber Meditationum [ed. Divi Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis Episcopi Meditationes, Soliloquia et Manuale, Venice, 1553, c. 25], …together with Card. P. Damiani's hymn, seems to have been the source of the hymn by F. B. P., as it is certainly of that by W. Prid.
ii. The Hymn by F. B. P. This is in a manuscript book in the British Museum, numbered Add. 15,225. The manuscript is undated, but is of the latter part of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century….
In 1601 this hymn, abbreviated to 19 stanzas, was printed in The Song of Mary the Mother of Christ... with the Description of Heavenly Jerusalem. London: E. Allde, 1601. This text is very corrupted and incomplete, and variations in arrangement and in phrase are numerous. These two versions, if the latter is not derived from the former, must have had one common source, and suggest the possibility of an earlier and probably printed version of the hymn now unknown being the source of both.
iii. W. Prid's hymn on The New Jerusalem. This hymn is contained in:—
The Glasse of vaine-glorie: Faithfully translated (out of S. Augustine his booke, intituled Speculum peccatoris) into Englishby W. P.[rid], Doctor of the Lawes. Printed at London by John Windet dwelling at the signe of the white Beare, nigh Baynard's Castle 1585 (2nd ed. 1593) ….
To this point the history is clear. It is certain that W. Prid translated direct from the work known to us as St. Augustine's Meditation; and it is highly probable that F. B. P. derived his directly from the same source, or indirectly through the translation of another. It now remains for us to show how later writers have availed themselves of these materials.
iv. Additional forms of the Hymn. From this point we have a great variety of texts, the more important of which are as follows:—
(i.) The most noted of these is a broadside of the 18th century, which was reprinted by Dr. H. Bonar in his work The New Jerusalem; a Hymn of the Olden Time, 1852. Dr. Bonar attributes this text to David Dickson, a Scottish Presbyterian Minister (1583-1663). It is in 248 lines, all of which, with the exception of lines 25-32, and 233-236, are altered either from F. B. P. or from W. Prid. From the following extract from Robert Wodrow's Life of D. Dickson, 1726, it is evident that Wodrow regarded the production as an original poem by Dickson:—
“Some short poems on pious and serious subjects, such as the ‘Christian Sacrifice,' ‘0 Mother dear, Jerusalem,' and (on somewhat larger, octavo 1649), 'True Christian Love,' to be sung with the common tunes of the Psalms. "This is all of his I have seen in print.
The opening stanza of this combined version of F. B. P. and W. Prid, is:—

”0 Mother dear, Jerusalem !
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end,
Thy joys, when shall I see?
0 happy harbour of God's saints !
0 sweet and pleasant soil!
In thee no sorrow may be found
No grief, no care, no toil."

The full text is given in Dr. Bonar's work.
(ii.) Contemporary with this broadside in Scotland was another in England. It is in the Rawlinson Collection, 4to, 566, 167, and entitled "The true description of the everlasting toys of Heaven. To the Tune of ‘0 man in desperation.'" It is undated, but "Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere, and J. Wright," who are known to have issued many broadsides, ranging from 1650 to 1670. This broadside we date from internal evidence, circ. 1660, or a little later. The first six stanzas will be sufficient to show that it is merely F. B. P. more or less altered, and that if contains no trace whatever of W. Prid's version.

”1 Jerusalem, my happy home,
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end?
thy joys when shall I see?
“2 Where happy harbour is of Saint,
with sweet and pleasant soyl:
In thee no sorrow ever found,
no grief, no care, no toyl.
"3 In thee no dampish Mists are seen,
nor cold, nor darksome night:
In thee all souls for ever sing
there God always gives light.
“4 Heaven is the Spring where waters flow
to quench our heat of sin
There is the tree where truth doth grow
to lead our lives therein.
" 5 There Christ is judge that stints the strife
when men's devises fail
There is the bread that feeds the life
that death cannot assail
" 6 The tidings of salvation dear
comes to our ears from thence:
The fortress of our faith is there
and shield of our defence."

The last three stanzas (which we have given in italics to mark them off from the rest) are the familiar lines prefixed in an altered form to several editions of the English Bible in the early part of the 17th century, and beginning:—
"Here is the spring whence waters flow."
By a slight alteration in the opening line that and the eleven lines which follow are made to set forth the beauties and treasures of Holy Scripture instead of those of Heaven. The concluding lines of the poem fix the date at or a short time after the Restoration of Charles II. (1660):—

"God still preserve our Royal King,
Our Queen likewise defend,
And many happy, joyful days
good Lord, unto them send.
Thus to conclude I end my song
wishing health, wealth, and peace:
And all that wish the Commons good,
good Lord their wys increase."

(iii.) In 1693 William Burkitt, the Expositor, published an Help and Guide to Christian Families. This work is in three parts, together with the addition of 8 Divine Hymns on several Occasions.
(iv.) Another transformation of F. B. P.'s text appeared in Psalms & Hymns . . . . by W. S. , London, 1725. It is in 40 stanzas of 4 lines and is superior to many arrangements of the poem.
(v.) In Williams & Boden's Collection of above Six Hundred Hymns designed as a New Supplement to Dr. Watts's Psalms & Hymns, Doncaster, 1801, the most popular form of the hymn is found as No, 193.
(vi.) This list of versions of the New Jerusalem hymn, although far from being exhaustive, yet contains all that is of value for ascertaining the origin and history of the various texts which are in modern hymn-books. We may note in addition an American form of the hymn, given in Dr. Bonar's work, The New Jerusalem, &c, 1852, the opening of which is:—

“O heavenly Jerusalem,
Thou City of my King;"

and another in 3 stanzas in Card. Newman's Hymns for the Use of the Birmingham Oratory, Dublin, J. F. Fowler, 1857:—

"O fair, 0 fair Jerusalem."

v. The Initials "F. B. P." Various attempts have been made to explain these initials, the principal of which are:—
(1) Dr. Neale's suggestion in his Hymns Chiefly Mediaeval on the Joys & Glories of Paradise, 1865, p. 16, is: "It [the Brit. Mus. MS.] contains several other pieces of poetry, evidently by Roman Catholics; one headed—'Here followeth the song Mr. Thewlis wrote himself;' and another, ‘Here followeth the song of the death of Mr. Thewlis.' Now John Thewlis was a priest, barbarously executed at Manchester, March 18, 1617. It is probable therefore, that ‘F. B. P.' was another sufferer (in all likelihood a priest) in the persecution either of Elizabeth, or of James I."
(2) Again, in the 2nd edition of the same work, 1866, p. 19, Dr. Neale says, "I have since been informed by Mr. Daniel Sedgwick, whose knowledge of English Hymnology is as astounding as it is unrivalled, that the initials stand for Francis Baker Porter, a Secular Priest for some time imprisoned in the Tower, and the author of a few short devotional treatises."
(3) J. Miller, in his Singers and Songs of the Church, 1869, p. 85, says: "It has been suggested that the initials 'F. B. P.' stand for Francis Baker, 'Pater' or priest."
From an intimate acquaintance with the late Daniel Sedgwick we are in a position to state that what he contributed to Dr. Nealo was “Francis Baker, Pater," and that Dr. Neale misread "Pater" as " Porter." J. Miller's suggested reading was also from Sedgwick. This reading by Sedgwick was a pure guess on his part, and cannot be received. The writer, probably a Roman Catholic, and possibly a priest, remains unknown. [William T. Brooke]

--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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