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Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee

About the Song

Occasionally I run into a song or hymn and think, “I wish I’d written that.” That’s the case with this beautiful hymn.

The words are attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux who lived in the 12th century, and the translation is by Edward Caswall (1814-1878). The music was composed by John B. Dykes (1823-1876). All that was left for me to do was arrange it to my liking.

I have always thought of this as a gentle hymn, but the third and fourth verses insisted on swelling and taking off on me, so I finally just gave in and let them do as they pleased.

The obbligato and organ scores are optional, and may be used with either the SATB or solo versions.

This song is part of the “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” cantata.

Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by James Loynes:

Accompaniment track:

Apple Music, Amazon

These files may be copied/shared in any quantity in any physical format unless otherwise noted. They may not be re-sold or offered for download.


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Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest.

Nor voice can sing, nor tongue can frame,
Mor can the mem’ry find
A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
O Savior of mankind!

O hope of ev’ry contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind thou art!
How good to those who seek!

Jesus, our only joy be thou,
As thou our prize wilt be;
Jesus, be thou our glory now,
And thru eternity.

If you have questions, please check the FAQ
If you don't find your answer there, feel free to post your question here. 🙂


  1. Deanna Sandes

    I really love this song, I think you did a fantastic job. Thank you, thank you so much!!!!

  2. Christopher Lowe

    This arrangement is absolutely beautiful. The minor section is just so heart-tugging (is that a proper phrase?) You are blessed of God and your blessing blesses us all, Thank You

  3. Salusalu Kuruvakarua

    Dear sister Deford,
    I am ever so grateful to the savior for your talent and time for putting up so much wonderful and inspiring music. I live here in the beautiful Island of Fiji and we were blessed to be visited my Elder Neil L. Anderson yesterday 16th Feb, i have been using your music a lot because it is simple and beautiful for my students. i directed the Church school choir singing “How great is the Miracle” and “Come Thou Fount” and also in the same day at out special stake conference i directed our Ward Choir singing “Jesus the Very thought of Thee”. Elder Anderson wanted a recording of the songs of the school schoir so that he can go and show President Monson it took us an extra 2 hours to get the recording done after the fireside last night. THANK YOU! THANK YOU THANK YOU! for your powerful and inspirational Music.

    With love and appreciation,
    Salusalu Kuruvakarua.

  4. Wendy Palmer

    Dear Sally,

    Wow, your work has graced our Sacrament Meetings and Stake Conferences so many times over. I directed our ward choir singing “Jesus the Very Thought of Thee” several weeks ago and I was delighted this week when I found out we would be performing it in Stake Conference today. As I accompanied the choir and listened to the choir (our small stake choir of only 30 at the most) I heard 100 + voices. Angels had joined us, and to see the expressions on the faces of the stake presidency was beautiful. The spirit was palpable.

    Thank you for your powerful gift of music.

    With love and admiration,
    Wendy Palmer


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