The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Rose Of Ryse

Words and Music: English Traditional, Fifteenth Century
Rickert gives the source as MS 31,042, fol. 110b

Source: Edith Rickert, Ancient English Christmas Carols: 1400-1700 (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914), pp. 142-143.

1. The rose is the fairest flower of all,
That evermore was, or evermore shall,
    The rose of ryse.1
    Of all these flowers the rose bears prize.
The rose, it is the fairest flower,
The rose is sweetest of odour.

2. The rose in care is comforter,
The rose in sickness it is salver,2
    The rose so bright.
    In medicine it is most of might,
Witness these clerkes that be wise.
The rose is the flower most holden in prize.

3. Therefore methinks the fleur-de-lys
Shoulde worship the rose of ryse,
    And be his thrall;
And so should other flowers all.
Many a knight with spear and lance,
Followed that rose to his pleasance.

4. When the rose betided a chance,
Then followed all the flowers of France
    And changed hue,
    In pleasance of the rose so true.


Notes from Rickert:

1. On the branch. Return

2. Saviour.  Return

Editor's Note:

Rickert identifies this as one of several "carols not related to Christmas." She notes at page 156 "Although this incomplete poem is distinctly labelled in the margin in a contemporary hand 'A Christmas Carol,' it seems to be rather political, alluding to the Tudor rose and the fleur-de-lys of France."


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