Blessed city, heavenly Salem (Henry Purcell)

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  • (Posted 2021-03-07)  CPDL #63367:       
Editor: Andrew Sims (submitted 2021-03-07).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 75 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: The hymn with four-part harmony and underlaid words to the alternative tune Westminster Abbey in the longer version published in Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard
  • (Posted 2021-03-07)  CPDL #63366:       
Editor: Andrew Sims (submitted 2021-03-07).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 120 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: The hymn to the alternative tune Westminster Abbey in the longer version published in Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard, melody with words.
  • (Posted 2021-02-19)  CPDL #63059:       
Editor: Andrew Sims (submitted 2021-02-19).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 47 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: The hymn with four-part harmony and underlaid words to the alternative tune Westminster Abbey in the shorter version published in Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard
  • (Posted 2021-02-19)  CPDL #63058:       
Editor: Andrew Sims (submitted 2021-02-19).   Score information: A4, 1 page, 99 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: The hymn to the alternative tune Westminster Abbey in the shorter version published in Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard, melody with words.

General Information

Title: Blessed city, heavenly Salem
Composer: Henry Purcell
Tune: Westminster Abbey

Translation by John Mason Neale and Henry Williams Baker [[John Mason Neale and Henry Williams Baker translations| ]]

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SacredHymn   Meter: 87. 87. 87

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella or keyboard

First published:
  2nd published: 1983 Short version in Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard, no. 283
  2nd published: 1983 Long version in Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard, no. 332
Description: Text translated from the Latin by John Mason Neale, Henry Williams Baker and others

External websites:

Original text and translations

Long version:

English.png English text

Part 1
Blessèd city, heavenly Salem,
vision dear of peace and love,
who of living stones art builded
in the height of heaven above,
and, with angel hosts encircled,
as a bride dost earthward move.

From celestial realms descending,
bridal glory round thee shed,
meet for him whose love espoused thee,
to thy Lord shalt thou be led;
all thy streets and all thy bulwarks
of pure gold are fashionèd.

Bright thy gates of pearl are shining,
they are open evermore;
and by virtue of his merits
thither faithful souls do soar,
who for Christ’s dear name in this world
pain and tribulation bore.

Many a blow and biting sculpture
polished well those stones elect,
in their places now compacted
by the heavenly Architect,
who therewith hath willed for ever
that his palace should be decked.

Part II
Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and corner-stone,
chosen of the Lord, and precious,
binding all the Church in one,
holy Sion’s help for ever,
and her confidence alone.

All that dedicated city,
dearly loved of God on high,
in exultant jubilation
pours perpetual melody,
God the One in Three adoring
in glad hymns eternally.

Part III
To this temple, where we call thee,
come, O Lord of Hosts, to-day;
with thy wonted loving-kindness
hear thy servants as they pray,
and thy fullest benediction
shed within its walls alway.

Here vouchsafe to all thy servants
what they ask of thee to gain,
what they gain from thee for ever
with the blessèd to retain,
and hereafter in thy glory
evermore with thee to reign.

Doxology
Laud and honour to the Father,
laud and honour to the Son,
laud and honour to the Spirit,
ever Three, and ever One,
consubstantial, co-eternal,
while unending ages run.

Short version:

English.png English text

Blessèd city, heavenly Salem,
vision dear of peace and love,
who of living stones art builded
in the height of heaven above,
and by angel hosts encircled
as a bride dost earthward move!

Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and corner-stone,
chosen of the Lord, and precious,
binding all the Church in one,
holy Sion’s help for ever,
and her confidence alone.

To this temple, where we call thee,
come, O Lord of hosts, to-day;
with thy wonted loving-kindness
hear thy servants as they pray;
and thy fullest benediction
shed within its walls alway.

Here vouchsafe to all thy servants
what they ask of thee to gain,
what they gain from thee for ever
with the blessèd to retain,
and hereafter in thy glory
evermore with thee to reign.