The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5462   Message #1632620
Posted By: Artful Codger
21-Dec-05 - 11:07 PM
Thread Name: Origins: America, The Beautiful
Title: Materna (O Mother Dear, Jerusalem)
Author: Ward, Samuel Augustus
Published in Hymns of Hope, Hymn no. 325
Publisher: Knickerbocker Press/The Century Company, New York, 1906

Source: The Library of Congress: I Hear America Singing

Click here
for a scan of the music and text.


Words: David Dickson (1583-1663), "O Mother dear, Jerusalem", 17th c.
Music: Samuel A Ward (1848-1903), 1882
First published in 1888?

1. O Mother dear, Jerusalem!
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end?
They joys when shall I see?...
O happy harbor of god's saints!
O sweet and pleasant soil!...
In thee no sorrow may be found,
No grief, no care, no toil.

2. No murky cloud o'ershadows thee,
Nor gloom, nor darksome night;
But every soul shines as the sun;
For God Himself gives light,
O my sweet home, Jerusalem,
Thy joys when shall I see?
The King that sitteth on thy throne
In His felicity?

3. Thy gardens and thy goodly walks
Continually are green,
Where grow such sweet and pleasant flowers
As nowhere else are seen.
Right through thy streets, with silver sound,
The living waters flow,
And on the banks, on either side,
The trees of life do grow.

4. Those trees for evermore bear fruit,
And evermore do spring:
There evermore the angels are,
And evermore do sing.
Jerusalem, my happy home,
Would God I were in thee!
Would God my woes were at an end,
Thy joys that I might see!


(Founded on "F.B.P." MSS., 16th or 17th Cent.)
David Dickson was a Scots Presbytarian clergyman, and his poem/hymn was partly based on a number of medieval sources. The complete poem has 31 stanzas.

Ward wrote the melody for "Materna" on his way home from Coney Island, riding on the boat back to Newark. Supposedly, lacking paper, he wrote the notes on a shirt-cuff loaned by a friend. He died the year before Dr. Clarence A. Barbour, a Baptist minister in Rochester, NY, put the words of "America" and the tune of "Materna" together (1904). Ward's widow gave permission to use the tune in this setting.