Jerusalem, My Happy Home (Long Sought Home)

DESCRIPTION: "Jerusalem, my happy home, When shall I come to thee?" (Or "Oh how I long for thee.") The glories of the heavenly city are described, and the people to be found there listed
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1941 (Ault); version from c. 1601 in "The Song of Mary"
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain US(SE)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Morris, #92, "Long Sought Home" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Norman Ault, _Elizabethan Lyrics From the Original Texts_, pp. 325-328, "Jerusalem, My Happy Home" (1 text)
John Julian, editor, _A Dictionary of Hymnology_, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), pp. 580-583, "Jerusalem, my happy home" (with portions of at least six texts, notably "A Song Mad (sic.) by F: B: P. To the tune of Diana ["Hierusalem my happie home"]; excerpts from "W. Prid's hymn on The New Jerusalem [excerpt, "Psalme of Zion. 'O Mothere deare Hierusalem'"]; a Rawlinson broadside {"Jerusalem, my happy home"], a text from William Burkitt, and one from Williams & Boden)

Roud #5053
NOTES: This is one of those pieces with a very difficult history. The printing in A Song of Mary dates probably from 1601, and is anonymous; there is a different version in British Museum Add. MS. 15225, dated paleographically to around 1600. This latter is signed "F. B. P," or just possibly "J. B. P.," which perhaps refers to a presbyter, or perhaps a "pater" (father=priest, if the original is Catholic) with the initials F. B. or J. B. (see John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 1656, who notes that the initials J. B. have been thought to be those of one John Brereley, properly known as Lawrence Anderton, but a closer examination of the manuscript seems to confirm the reading "F. B. P."). This is probably earlier than the Song of Mary text, since it has 104 lines, to 76 in the Song of Mary version.
It has been claimed that the text is loosely based on St. Augustine. Since no one cites an actual *passage* in Augustine, this is hard to prove. (We should note that Augustine is one of the people listed as being found in heaven in the text, so he probably isn't responsible for that part of the poem!) It is true that the sprawling W. Prid text (176 lines), some of the added material is from Augustine, and some, according to Julian, a bad paraphrase of the Song of Songs. This does not mean that the original is Augustinian.
The images of Jerusalem itself are largely from the Apocalypse -- e.g. the buildings of precious stones (Rev. 21:19f.), the gates of pearl (Rev. 21:21), the streets of gold (also 21:21).
Most of the characters in the song (David; "Our Lady"; [Mary] Magdalen; Simeon, for whom see Luke 2:25 and following; Zachary=Zacharias, for whom see esp. Luke 1:67 and following) are Biblical, but Ambrose is Bishop Ambrose of Milan, who lived in the time of the emperor Theodosius the Great (died 395), and Augustine (who is not really someone you'd want to meet, the stuck-up predestinarian prig) slightly later.
The original poem, of eighteen or so stanzas, is really rather pedestrian, and few anthologies print it in full. But the first few verses are popular.
Popular enough, in fact, to have been heavily adapted, and from there the waters get muddy. The song appears in the Sacred Harp hymnals, in very short and adapted form, as "Long Sought Home." The Original Sacred Harp, in fact, attributes it to "Francis Baker Priest, about 1750," (note the initials F.B.P.) which tells you how much its attributions are worth! Similarly, the Primitive Baptist Hymnal credits it to Cowper. The music is credited, both in the Sacred Harp and the Christian Harmony, to William Bobo (1865). For more on the question of authorship, see Julian, pp. 580-583, who devotes four pages of small print to the question.
Julian, p. 1574, mentions a Latin translation, "O domus, Hierusalem! beata," and a rewrite with the title "Jerusalem, my glorious home."
Julian also mentions another hymn with the title "Jerusalem! My happy home," which is also of dubious authorship. But since it does not appear to have been traditional, let's not get into its history....
According to William Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976, p. 120, the tune the Baptists use for this is "Sweet Land of Rest," which was adapted by ANnabel Morris Buchanan. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: NrecJMHH

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