Urbs Beata Hierusalem
Urbs Beata Hierusalem This rugged but fine old hymn, composed in dedicatione ecclesiae, and of which the author is not known, belongs to the 8th or 9th century. Trench calls it" a hymn of degrees ascending from things earthly to things heavenly, and making the first to be interpreters of the last. The prevailing intention in the building and the dedication of a church, with the rites thereto appertaining, was to carry up men's thoughts from that temple built with hands, which they saw, to that other built of living stones. in heaven, of which this was but a weak shadow." This fine hymn, the first lines of which run thus, "Urbs beata Hiernsalem, dicta paucis visio, Quae construitni in coelis vivis ex lapidibus, Et ab augelis orunat, velut sponsa nobilis Nova veniens e caelo, nuptiali thalamo Praeparata, ut sponsata copuletnr Domino; Platese etniuri ejus exanuro purissimo," has proved the source of manifold inspiration in circles beyond its own. To it we owe the
"Jerusalem, my happy home;"
or the same in a less common but still more beautiful form,
"O mother, dear Jerusalem!"
It has also inspired some of the singers of Protestant Germany. In the German language we have two noble hymns which at least had their first motive here. The one is that by Meyfahrt,
"Jerusalem, du bochgebaute Stadt;"
the other by Kosegarten,
"Stadt Gottes, deren diamant'nen Ring."
In English our hymn is found in Lyra Mystica (Lond. 1869), p. 409:
"Blessed city, holy Salem, Home of peace, by seers descried; Rising in the courts of heaven, Built of living stones and tried;
By angelic hands adorned, As her fellows deck a bride. Coming newly formed from heaven, Ready for the nuptial bower,
Wedded to the Lamb forever, As a bride in blissful hour. All her streets have golden pavement, Golden ramparts round her tower," etc.
Our hymn has been translated into German by Schlosser, Simrock, Rambach, and others. The original is given by Trench, Sacred Latin Poetry, p. 311; Bassler, Auswahl altchristlicher Lieder, p. 201; Rambach, Anthologie christl. Gesänge, p. 179; Simrock, Lauda Sion, p. 322. (B. P.)