There Is No Rose of Such Virtue

The author and composer of this medieval (15th century) carol are unknown.

A great many settings have been made. Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) included a setting of it in his Ceremony of Carols, and a number of contemporary composers have also produced settings.

See the Hymns and Carols of Christmas page for more information about historic versions.



Close harmony group:

Soloist with accompaniment and backing group:


Medieval English

This is an interpretation of the original text (the manuscript is now difficult to read in places):

There is no rose of swich vertu
As is the rose that bare Jhesu.

There is no rose of swich vertu
As is the rose that bare Jhesu.

For in this rose conteynyd was
Heven and erthe in lytyl space,
Res miranda.

Be that rose we may weel see
That he is God in personys three,
Pari forma.

The aungelys sungyn the shepherdes to
'Gloria in excelcis Deo.'

Leve we all this wordly merthe,
And folwe we this joyful berthe;

A modern-English setting:

There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bore Jesu.

For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space;
A marvellous thing!

By that rose we may truly see
That he is God in persons three,
Equal in form.

The angels sang to the shepherds
'Glory to God in the highest';
Let us rejoice!

Let us leave all this worldly mirth,
And follow this joyful birth;
Let us go!

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