Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

Full Text

1 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 flower bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half-gone was the night.

2 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-gone was the night.

3 This Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load

Baptist Hymnal 2008

Translator: Theodore Baker

Theodore Baker (b. New York, NY, 1851; d. Dresden, Germany, 1934). Baker is well known as the compiler of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (first ed. 1900), the first major music reference work that included American composers. Baker studied music in Leipzig, Germany, and wrote a dissertation on the music of the Seneca people of New York State–one of the first studies of the music of American Indians. From 1892 until his retirement in 1926, Baker was a literary editor and translator for G. Schirmer, Inc., in New York City. In 1926, he returned to Germany. Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987 Go to person page >

Notes

Scripture References:
st. 1-2 = Isa. 11:1, Isa. 35:1-2, Luke 1-2, Matt. 2
st. 3 = John 1

This “Twelfth Night” German carol from the Rhineland region combines the story of Luke 1-2 and Matthew 2 with Isaiah's prophecies about the "rose" from the "stem of Jesse " (Isa. 11:1; 35:1-2). Stanzas 1 and 2 are a combination of folklore ("amid the cold of winter") and Christological interpretation of Isaiah 11:1 and 35: 1-2. Stanza 3 introduces imagery from John 1.

Originally "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen," the carol may date back to the fifteenth century. However, the earliest manuscript containing the text, found in St. Alban's Carthusian monastery in Trier and preserved in the Trier munici¬pal library, is dated around 1580. It was first published with twenty-three stanzas in Alte catholische geistliche Kirchengesiinge (Cologne, 1599). Originally stanza 2 interpreted the "rose" as being Mary, mother of Jesus. But in Musae Sionae (1609) Michael Praetorius changed the interpretation to point to Christ as the rose in accord with actual biblical imagery. In that hymnbook Praetorius published only stanzas 1 and 2.

The English translation of stanzas 1 and 2 in the Psalter Hymnal are by Theodore Baker (b. New York, NY, 1851; d. Dresden, Germany, 1934) and are possibly from anthem setting published by G. Schirmer, Inc., in 1894 when Baker was music editor there. Baker is well known as the compiler of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (first ed. 1900), the first major music reference work that included American composers. Baker studied music in Leipzig, Germany, and wrote a dissertation on the music of the Seneca people of New York State–one of the first studies of the music of American Indians. From 1892 until his retirement in 1926, Baker was a literary editor and translator for G. Schirmer, Inc., in New York City. In 1926, he returned to Germany.

Stanza 3 is a translation by Gracia Grindal (b. Powers Lake, ND, 1943), originally published in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978). Grindal was educated at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minnesota; the University of Arkansas; and Luther-Northwestern Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, where she has served since 1984 as a professor of pastoral theology and communications. From 1968 to 1984 she was a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. Included in her publications are Sketches Against the Dark (1981), Scandinavian Folksongs (1983), Lessons in Hymnwriting (1986, 1991), and We Are One in Christ: Hymns, Paraphrases, and Translations (1996). She was instrumental in producing the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and The United Methodist Hymnal (1989).

Liturgical Use:
Advent and the Christmas season; useful as a response to the Isaiah 11 passage, especially in services of lessons and carols or "carols from many lands."

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune

ES IST EIN ROS (5556553)

First published with the text in the Cologne Gesangbuch of 1599 (see above), ES IST EIN ROS is a rounded bar form tune (AABA). The tune has characteristics of a Renaissance madrigal; it invites performance by an unaccompanied choir so that all the fine part writing and subtle rhythms can be clearly…

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