A Little History of “Alleluia, Song Of Gladness”"
The earliest form of “Alleluia, Song Of Gladness” is found in the manuscript of the 11th century in the British Museum. The translation made by J.M. Neale appeared in the first edition of Mediaeval Hymns, way back in 1851 and was corrected for the Hymnal Noted in 1852. The original author of this hymn remained unknown. It was composed of four stanzas with six lines and was altered many times. In 1851, it was published under the title “Alleluia! Song of sweetness. Voice of joy, eternal lay. '' In 1861 and 1875, it appeared as “Alleluia, song of sweetness, Voice of joy that cannot die,” and in 1882, it was altered to "Hallelujah! song of gladness, Voice of joy that cannot die."
The brilliant translator, John Mason Neale, D.D., was born in London on January 24, 1818. Neale inherited his intellectual genes from both of his parents. His father died when he was five years old, living him with his mother alone by his side at a very young age. He was attached to his mother so dearly, and before he died, he wrote prose for her mother that says “a mother to whom I owe more than I can express.”
Neale enrolled at Sherborne Grammar School when he was in grade school. Professor Challis and Rector of Shepperton Rev. William Russell became his private tutor. He received a scholarship in 1836 at Trinity College in Cambridge and graduated with a Seatonian Prize in 1841. Neale won the Members’ Prize and elected as Fellow and Tutor of Downing College in the same year. He co-founded Cambridge Camden Society and later became the editor of The Church Quarterly Review.
Moreover, he was a well-known Vicar of St. Andrews. He married the daughter of an evangelical clergyman, Miss Sarah Norman Webster in 1842. Neale was an industrious and voluminous writer both in prose and verse; it is of course with the latter class of his writings that this sketch is chiefly concerned. He authored and translated almost 378 text and 2 Hymns.