Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More Jesse Tree: "There is a flower"

Thanks to "A Clerk of Oxford" for pointing this out; here the Cambridge Singers, directed by John Rutter, sing his "There Is a Flower."

The words are taken from John Audelay's absolutely splendid 15th-Century carol; ACoO has added some translation below, in italics, where a word may not be clear.
There is a flower sprung of a tree,
The root thereof is called Jesse,
A flower of price;
There is none such in paradise.

This flower is fair and fresh of hue;
It fades never, but ever is new;
The blessed branch where this flower grew
Was Mary mild who bore Jesu,
A flower of grace!
Against all sorrow it is solace.

The seed thereof was of God's sending,
Which God himself sowed with his hand;
In Bethlehem, in that holy land,
Within her bower he there her found.
This blessed flower
Sprang never but in Mary's bower.

When Gabriel this maiden met,
With "Ave, Maria," he her gret [greeted]
Between them two this flower was set,
And was kept, no man should wit, [know]
Til on a day
In Bethlehem, it began to spread and spray.

When that flower began to spread,
And his blossom to bud,
Rich and poor of every seed, [i.e. kind]
They marvelled how this flower might spread,
Until kings three
That blessed flower came to see.

Angels there came out of their tower
To look upon this fresh flower,
How fair he was in his colour,
And how sweet in his savour,
And to behold
How such a flower might spring amid the cold.

Of lily, of rose on ryse, [branch]
Of primrose, and of fleur-de-lys,
Of all the flowers at my devyse [I can think of],
That flower of Jesse yet bears the prize,
As the best remedy
To ease our sorrows in every part.

I pray you, flowers of this country,
Wherever ye go, wherever ye be,
Hold up the flower of good Jesse,
Above your freshness and your beauty,
As fairest of all,
Which ever was and ever shall be.

ACoO also offers this beautiful image "(Harley 1892, f. 31v, from c.1490-c.1510)," among many others.

See them all here.


Clerk of Oxford said...

Thanks for the link! I enjoyed your post on the Jesse tree yesterday and was pleased to see, since I was already writing my post, that December 10 was assigned to Jesse himself - one of those nice coincidences :)

bls said...

I know! I was quite amazed, actually, that we put up those posts at just about the same time.


And what a beautiful, beautiful carol this is - such a perfect text, and Rutter's setting is just right for it, I think. This one reminds me quite a lot of "What Sweeter Music."

Loving your blog especially this Advent!

Pink Scissors Design said...

My family celebrates Advent with a Jesse Tree. I make felt ornaments for the tree. The ornaments begin with the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1-2 about the root of Jesse. Please visit my Etsy shop to see my ornaments. https://www.etsy.com/shop/PinkScissorsDesign?section_id=12199696

Pink Scissors Design on Etsy
pinkscissorsdesign @gmail .com


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...