The Crown of Roses (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)

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  • (Posted 2020-01-18)  CPDL #56681:     
Editor: Matthew Watts (submitted 2020-01-18).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 56 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2009-02-07)  CPDL #18886:       
Editor: Mark Chapman (submitted 2009-02-07).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 312 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The Crown of Roses (Легенда, Legend, Op 54 No. 5)
Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Lyricist: Aleksey Pleshcheyevcreate page , after Richard Henry Stoddard

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
(with minor divisi in bass)
Genre: SacredAnthem

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1883
Description: First published as #5 in the composer's collection "Songs for the Young" for voice & piano; arr. by the composer for chorus 1889. Stoddard's poem Roses and Thorns begins "The young child Jesus had a garden". English versions matching the 8-syllable lines of Pleshcheyev's imitation are "When Jesus Christ was but a child" (G. Deamer) and "Fair was the garden, blest with flow'rs" (William Gurney Rothery).

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

When Jesus Christ was yet a child
He had a garden small and wild,
Wherein He cherished roses fair,
And wove them into garlands there.

Now once, as summer time drew nigh,
There came a troop of children by,
And seeing roses on the tree,
With shouts they plucked them merrily.

Do you bind roses in your hair?
They cried, in scorn, to Jesus there,
The Boy said humbly: "Take, I pray,
All but the naked thorns away."

Then of the thorns they made a crown,
And with rough fingers pressed it down,
Till on His forehead fair and young,
Red drops of blood like roses sprung.

German.png German translation

Als Jesus noch ein Kind war,
hatte er einen Garten, gar klein und wild,
dort hegte er Rosen, hold und schön,
aus welchen er Girlanden wob.

Einmal dann, der Sommer nahte,
kam eine Schar Kinder vorbei,
sie sahen Rosen oben am Baum,
und mit glücklichem Geschrei pflückten sie diese.

„Bindest du dir Rosen ins Haar?“
fragten sie Jesus voller Hohn.
Der Junge sprach in bescheidnem Ton:
„Nehmt alles ausser der blanken Dornen fort,
das nur bitte ich euch.“

Aus den Dornen dann machten sie eine Krone,
und mit groben Händen pressten sie diese auf seinen Kopf,
bis auf seiner Stirn – schön und zart –
rote Tropfen Bluts wie Rosen erblühten.