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Jesu, the very thought of thee – St Botolph

First line:
Jesu, the very thought of thee
author of text
'Jesu, dulcis memoria', possibly by Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), more probably 12-century anonymous Latin
translator of text

This is part of a much longer hymn in several sections, intended for singing at various services of the day in a monastery, particularly on the Festival of the Holy Name of Jesus. Its theme of devotion to Jesus and a longing to be with the Saviour is expressed in every verse of the poem. The emotion of this comes over well in the translation by Edward Caswall. He began his ministry in the Church of England, but followed Newman into the Roman Catholic Church in 1847. He did outstanding work among the poor in Birmingham from his base in the Oratory founded by Newman.

The tune’s name recalls the composer’s first post as organist at St Botolph’s Parish Church, Boston, Lincolnshire, whence he moved to Leicester Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral. He was well known as a recitalist, and as a composer, though this tune is now the only piece by which he is remembered.

from notes by Alan Luff © 2004


The English Hymn, Vol. 5 - Lead, kindly Light


Track 18 on CDP12105 [2'10]

Track-specific metadata for CDP12105 track 18

Recording date
13 November 2003
Recording venue
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. The English Hymn, Vol. 5 - Lead, kindly Light (CDP12105)
    Disc 1 Track 18
    Release date: August 2004
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