Lo, how a Rose ever blooming

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Lo, how a Rose ever blooming
from tender stem has sprung!  
Of Jesse's lineage coming
as saints of old have sung.  
It came, a floweret 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 us a savior,
when half-spent was the night.

Flower, whose fragrance tender
with sweetness fills the air,
dispel in glorious splendor
the darkness everywhere.  
True man, yet very God,
from sin and death he saves us,
and lightens every load.

#211 in Hymnal: A Worship Book

Words:  anonymous, Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen, (Sts. 1-2), 
                        Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengeseng, 1599,
                                      Friedrich Layritz (St. 3), Liederschatz, 1832;
                    tr. Theodore Baker, (Sts. 1-2), 1894, tr. Harriet K. Spaeth (St. 3), 1875

   Tune:  Alte Catholische Geistliche Kirchengeseng, 1599;
                        harmonized by Michael Praetorius, Musae Sionae, VI, 1609

            This song of unknown authorship may be derived from a German Marienlied (Song of Mary), songs popular in the fifteenth century. Mary herself was sometimes referred to as "the rose without thorns." The hymn was later rewritten for Protestant use, switching the emphasis from Mary to Jesus.
            The reference to Isaiah's prophecy is from Isaiah 11:1-2. The birth of Christ is set against this backdrop of prophecy, with strands of folklore woven in. Or might the "cold of winter" heighten the irony of the presence of a "floweret bright"? Stanza 3 then introduces the theology of the birth story, explaining the significance of the prophecy fulfillment.

from Hymnal Companion

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