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The first known record of this carol appeared in a German hymnal in Cologne in 1599. The presumed author of the first two verses is Michael Prätorius, a famous musical scholar. Ten additional verses were added later in order to create a ballad about how Mary learned she was to be the mother of Jesus. The identity of these additional authors is unknown.

Es Ist Ein' Ros’ Ensprungen (Behold a Branch is Growing)
Words and Music by Michael Prätorius(1571-1621). The English translation is traditional.

Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen
aus einer Wurzel zart.
Wie uns die Alten sungen,
von Jesse kam die Art.
Und hat ein Blümlein bracht
mitten im kalten Winter
Wohl zu der halben Nacht.

Das Blümlein, das ich meine,
davon Jesaias sagt,
hat uns gebracht alleine
Marie, die reine Magd.
Aus Gottes ew’gen Rat
hat sie ein Kind geboren,
Wohl zu der halben Nacht.

Wir bitten dich von Herzen,
Maria Rose zart:
Durch dieses Blümleins Schmerzen,
die es empfunden hat,
willst uns verhilflich sein,
dass wir ihm mögen schaffen
ein Wohnung hübsch und fein.

A Spotless Rose is growing,
Sprung from a tender root,
Of ancient seers' foreshowing,
Of Jesse promised fruit;
Its fairest bud unfolds to light
Amid the cold, cold winter,
And in the dark midnight.

The Rose which I am singing,
Whereof Isaiah said,
Is from its sweet root springing
In Mary, purest Maid;
Through God's great love and might
The Blessed Babe she bare us
In a cold, cold winter's night.

O savior, child of Mary,
who felt our human woe;
O savior, king of glory,
who dost our weakness know,
bring us at length, we pray,
to the bright courts of heaven
and to the endless day.


Max Kade German-American Center
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
401 East Michigan Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
(317) 464-9004 Office
(317) 630-0035 Fax

Created: 4 December 2005, SJS
Updated: 13 December 2005, BAS
Comments to: IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center, mkgac@iupui.edu
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