A-cappella SATB – traditional – arr. Peter Amidon
In Amidons’ book ‘Fifty-five Anthems for the Small Church Choir‘. Sung here by the Friends-of-the-Amidons-Singers. Originally a 13th century Latin poem set to the tune “Tempus Adest Floridum” (later used as the tune for “Good King Wenceslas”), this beautiful English translation was done for the Oxford Book of Carols in 1928. The Amidons learned this spring carol from Tony Barrand. Below are the English lyrics; below that are the original Latin lyrics; both scan beautifully. Here is Jean Ritchie singing the Flower Carol.
original Latin from the Swedish Piae Cantiones, 1582
translated to English for the Oxford Book of Carols in 1928
Spring has now unwrapped the flowers,
Day is fast reviving.
Life in all her growing powers,
Towards the light is striving.
Gone the iron touch of cold,
Winter time and frost time,
Seedlings working through the mould,
Now make up for lost time.
Herb and plant that, winter long,
Slumbered at their leisure,
Now bestirring, green and strong,
Find in growth their pleasure:
All the world with beauty fills,
Gold the green enhancing;
Flowers make glee among the hills
And set the meadows dancing.
Earth puts on her dress of glee;
Flowers and grasses hide her;
We go forth in charity–
Brothers all beside her;
For as man this glory sees
In the awakening season,
Reason learns the heart’s decrees,
And hearts are led by reason.
Through each wonder of fair days
God herself expresses
Beauty follows all her ways
As the world she blesses;
So as she renews the earth,
Artist without rival,
In the grace of glad new birth
We must seek revival.
Tempus adest floridum, surgent namque flores
Vernales in omnibus, imitantur mores
Hoc quod frigus laeserat, reparant calores
Cernimus hoc fieri, per multos labores.
Sunt prata plena floribus, iucunda aspectu
Ubi iuvat cernere, herbas cum delectu
Gramina et plantae hyeme quiescunt
Vernali in tempore virent et accrescunt.
Haec vobis pulchre monstrant Deum creatorem
Quem quoque nos credimus omnium factorem
O tempus ergo hilare, quo laetari libet
Renovato nam mundo, nos novari decet.
Terra ornatur floribus et multo decore
Nos honestis moribus et vero amore
Gaudeamus igitur tempore iucundo
Laudemusque Dominum pectoris ex fundo.