Hymn #507: Jesus - The Very Thought to Me

This twelfth-century Latin poem, "Jesu dulcis memoria," has been traditionally attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, although his authorship is questionable.  It was translated in English in 1849 by Edward B. Kaswall (1814-1878), a convert to Roman Catholicism.  Another part of the poem, "Jesus, the Joy of Loving Hearts" (hymn #329).

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) became a Cistercian monk and in 1115 founded the monastery at Clairvaux, France, where he stayed for the rest of his life.  He was the greatest religious presence of his age.

John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876) composed this tune in 1866 for these words.  He named the tune ST. AGNES to honor the thirteen-year-old Roman girl who was executed in 304 C.E. for refusing to marry a nobleman.  She is considered the patroness of purity and innocence.

John B. Dykes was an outstanding musician of the mid-Victorian ere and contributed many new tunes that have endured to the present day.  He served as a clergyman in the Church of England and was a somewhat controversial figure because of his high-church views.