ther is no rose of swych vertu (sa or tb)


  • Catalog ID: S-132b
  • First Line: ther is no rose of swych vertu
  • Composer: Anonymous 4
  • Voicing: sa or tb
  • Accompaniment: a cappella
  • Language: Medieval English
  • Country: England
  • Series: Anonymous Four
  • Other: 2000 holiday, christmas, sacred
  • Score: View Score
  • Sound: Listen


This text has been beautifully set by more than one contemporary composer, but we feel the original is still the best.  The homorhythmic style of the burden (refrain) invites filling out with fauxbourdon, a method of harmonizing in parallel 6/3 chords.  Here, as usual, it’s the missing middle voice that must be filled in, which has been done here.

During the high Middle Ages (the twelfth through fourteenth centuries), poets and musicians of the British Isles produced a vast array of songs, ballads, carols, and liturgical works on the topics of the incarnation and the virgin birth.  The number of these pieces is so large that it sometimes seems as if the British invented the celebration of Christmas. 

On Yoolis Night is published in three separate octavos: no. 1: hodie christus natus est / a nywe werk(S-132a); no. 2: ther is no rose of swych vertu(S-132b); no. 3: owt of your slepe aryse(S-132c).  Significant historical and performance information is included in each octavo.

Audio samples from ”On Yoolis Night” used by arrangement with harmonia mundi usa, CD HMU 907099.  audio clip is from no. 2: ther is no rose