The History of Come with Us, O Blessed Jesus
“Come with Us, O Blessed Jesus” was written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. (1820-1891). It was first published in the enlarged second edition of Hopkins’s Carols, Hymns and Songs in 1872 in New York. The original title of the hymn was “Retrocessional for Christmas Day” as it provides an excellent conclusion to the service held on the 25th of December. The first stanza of the hymn was printed in H40 after being forgotten for many years and it was paired to a tune called WERDE MUNTER by Johann Schop. The tune was after the hymn by Johann Rist*, ‘Werde munter, mein Gemüte,’ more widely known for its setting of ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’ by Johann Sebastian Back. The tune accommodated the irregularities of meters in the four stanzas.
John Henry Hopkins, Jr. was the 8th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the first bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Vermont. He was a lawyer, an ironmonger, a musician and composer, a theologian, and an artist for both in water-color and oils. He was also the architect who first introduced Gothic architecture into the United States. He was born on January 30, 1792, in Dublin to Thomas and Elizabeth Hopkins. He was their only child. By the time John was weaned, his parents had sent him to live in the town of Athlone in Ireland with his paternal grandmother for several years. His grandmother taught him the value of daily private prayer and reading the Bible, which he kept up for the rest of his life.
Johann Schop, the author of the tune, was a German violinist and composer. He was admired for being a musician and a technician at the same time. His violin compositions had set impressive technical demands at the time. Leopold Mozart commented in 1756 on the difficulty of a trill of his works. He worked in Hamburg and published books for violin music in 4-6 parts. Some of his pieces were played at the Peace of Westphalia celebrations.