Sherwood Gardens, Baltimore
In the Swedish song book Piae Cantiones (1582), John Mason Neale found the melody which he used for Good King Wenceslaus. The tune goes better with the original words.
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.
The time of blossoms is here, for the flowers grow up; the ways of spring are imitated in everything. That which the cold hurt, the heat repairs. We see this to be done through many labors.
The meadows are full of flowers, in a cheerful appearance. Where it is a pleasure to see herbs with delight. Grasses and plants that were dormant in winter grow green and flourish in springtime.
These beautiful things show God the Creator to you, whom we believe to be the maker of all things. O happy time, therefore! in which it is a pleasure to be joyful, while the world is renewed, it becomes us to become new.
The earth is adorned by flowers and by great seemliness, we with good morals and true love; let us rejoice therefore in the happy time and led us praise God from the depth of our hearts.
Here is a performance by Clara Oscura,
Here is a rendition by lively young Finnish maidens.
Here is a well done sprightly version.
Piae Cantiones was written for Swedish schoolboys; this video therefore seems especially appropriate.
There is a loose translation under the name “The Flower Carol.”
The Flower Carol
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 their growth a pleasure:
Gold the green enhancing;
Flowers make glee among the hills,
And set the meadows dancing.
Through each wonder of fair days,
God himself expresses;
Beauty follows all his ways,
As the world he blesses:
So, as he renews the earth, Artist without rival,
In his grace of glad new birth,
We must seek revival.
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.
Praise the Maker, all ye saints;
He with glory girt you,
He who skies and meadows paints,
Fashioned by your virtue;
Praise Him, seers, heroes, kings,
Heralds of perfections;
Brothers, praise him, for he brings
All to resurrection!
Jean Ritchie sings it beautifully.
Here is Jim Carroll doing a meditative modern version.