Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

For the eighth text of Christmas, this blogger gives to thee…

A garden reference more familiar than the apple tree from our third text, this poem using a flowering rose to symbolize Christ’s birth was originally a German poem from the sixteenth century. Michael Praetorius wrote his beautiful setting in 1609, though the famous English translation we know wasn’t written until 1894 by Theodore Baker. Much of the piece references the prophecy in Isaiah 11 of a righteous King from the line of David.

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,
From tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung;
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind;
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

O Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious splendour
The darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God,
From Sin and death now save us,
And share our every load.

A stunning performance in the poem’s original German, from Voces8

And more familiarly in English

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