A Rose Unpetalled

This hymn is based on a poem, La Rose effeuillée, written in French by religious sister, now saint, Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897).

It was translated by English writer, Anglican priest and later Roman Catholic convert Fr Ronald Knox (1888-1957).

The song was recorded by Irish tenor Frank Patterson (1938 – 10 June 2000) in his album Faith of our Fathers which was released in 1997, and included in his compilation Sacred Songs of Ireland released in 1999.  On this album, it is set to a an unnamed tune by Irish Roman Catholic priest and author John V Moloney (1916 – 2014).  Basic sheet music for this tune is available here.

It was also recorded on the album Angels and Saints at Ephesus produced by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in 2013. A different tune, attributed to the Benedictines of Mary, was used for this. Sheet music for it can be purchased directly from their website. (Delivery by email, includes permission to make unlimited copies.)



Women's choir, unaccompanied:


The lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. But they, and the text of the original poem, are currently available on this website. The song has three versea and a rough outline is:
1 Jesus, to aid thy feeble powers,
I see thy Mother’s arms outspread,
.... Thy feet, so light, may softly rest. …

2 Dear infant Christ, this fallen rose
An image of that heart should be
Which makes, as every instant flows,
Its whole burnt sacrifice to thee.
Upon thy altars, Lord, there gleams
Full many a flower whose grand display
Charms thee; but I have other dreams
Bloomless, to cast myself away.

3 Dear Lord, the flowers that blossom yet
Thy feast-day with their perfume fill;
The rose that´s fallen, men forget,
And winds may scatter where they will:
The rose that´s fallen questions not,
Content, as for thy sake, to die,
Abandonment its welcome lot
Dear infant Christ, that rose be I!

4 Yes those same petals, trampled down
I read the message in my heart
In patterns here and there are blown
That seem too beautiful for art:
Living to mortal eyes no more,
Rose of a bloom forever past,
See to thy love a life made o´er,
A future on thy mercy cast!

5 For love of Loveliness supreme,
Dying, to cast myself away
Were bright fulfillment of my dream;
I´d prove my love no easier way:
Life, here below, forgotten still,
A rose before thy path outspread
At Nazareth, or on Calvary´s hill
Relieve thy last, thy labouring tread.

See also

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