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The Garden of Roses

This piece was commissioned by the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus for their Christmas Concert in 2010. The Russian text is based on a poem by Alexei Pleshcheyev (1825-1893) and was set to music by P.I.Tchaikovsky.

Here is the English version of the text, translation by Geoffrey Dearmer (1893-1996).


The Crown of Roses

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 pluck'd 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 press'd it down,
Till on his forehead fair and young,
Red drops of blood, like roses sprung.

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