Bernard of Clairvaux, saint, abbot, and doctor, fills one of the most conspicuous positions in the history of the middle ages. His father, Tecelin, or Tesselin, a knight of great bravery, was the friend and vassal of the Duke of Burgundy. Bernard was born at his father's castle on the eminence of Les Fontaines, near Dijon, in Burgundy, in 1091. He was educated at Chatillon, where he was distinguished for his studious and meditative habits. The world, it would be thought, would have had overpowering attractions for a youth who, like Bernard, had all the advantages that high birth, great personal beauty, graceful manners, and irresistible influence could give, but, strengthened in the resolve by night visions of his mother (who had died in 1… Go to person page >
Translator: John Henry Newman
Newman, John Henry , D.D. The hymnological side of Cardinal Newman's life and work is so small when compared with the causes which have ruled, and the events which have accompanied his life as a whole, that the barest outline of biographical facts and summary of poetical works comprise all that properly belongs to this work. Cardinal Newman was the eldest son of John Newman, and was born in London, Feb. 21, 1801. He was educated at Ealing under Dr. John Nicholas, and at Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated in honours in 1820, and became a Fellow of Oriel in 1822. Taking Holy Orders in 1824, he was for a short time Vice-Principal of St. Alban's Hall, and then Tutor of Oriel. His appointment to St. Mary's, Oxford, was in the spring of… Go to person page >
Lux alma Jesu mentium. St. Bernard. [The Transfiguration.] In the revised Roman Breviary, 1568, a cento from St. Bernard's "Jesu dulcis memoria" (q. v.), beginning "Amor Jesu dulcissime" [not the cento in Hymns Ancient & Modern "Jesu, Thy mercies are untold," was appointed for Lauds on the Festival of the Transfiguration. The lines were taken from St. Bernard's poem without the least regard to their original connection, and were considerably altered to adapt them to their purpose. We give this altered text below from the Roman Breviary, published at Rome in 1570, p. 778. In the Roman Breviary revised under Urban VIII., 1632, it was recast as "Lux alma Jesu mentium” and this recast has been repeated in all subsequent editions of that revision.
It will be noted that 1.9, “Splendor Paternae," is the first line of the well-known Ambrosian hymn, and is not from St. Bernard's poem. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
The older of the above centos has not been translated into English. The translations of the Lux Jesu mentium are:—
1. Light of the anxious heart, Jesu, Thou dost appear. By Card. Newman, in Tracts for the Times, 1836, No. 75, p. 115; and again in his Verses on Various Occasions, 1868, p. 261. It has been repeated in several collections, but must be distinguished from R. Campbell's translation as given below.
2. Light of the soul, 0 Saviour blest. By E. Caswall, in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 168; and his Hymns & Poems , 1873, p. 91. This is in several modern hymn-books.
3. Light of the anxious heart, Jesu, Thy suppliants cheer. By R. Campbell, in his Hymns & Anthems, 1850, p. 56. In 0. Shipley's Annus Sanctus, 1884, it is given from Campbell's MSS. as, "Light of the troubled heart."
Other translations are:—
1. 0 Christ, when Thy chaste light inspires. Primer. 1706 and 1732.
2. Jesu, Light of souls indwelling. W. J. Copeland. 1848.
3. 0 Jesus, when Thy sweetest light. J. Wallace. 1874.
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)