Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Reading the poignant note from Egri Nök that was posted at Vlad Tepes last night made me think of Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen, which we sang in church today in the English-language version, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”.

So, in honor of the Third Sunday of Advent, and of Germany-That-Was, here are The King’s Singers performing Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen:

No wonder it makes the Germans sad to see the East — that’s what they used to have, but they threw it all away. Western Europeans have sold their birthright, and they didn’t even get a mess of pottage in return, just a pocketful of scorpions.

Here’s what Egri had to say:

“Prague is Like it Used to be With Us” – A Berliner’s Thoughts in Festive Prague

By Egri Nök

A friend who lives in Berlin sent this note from Prague:

Tonight, I strolled home from a bar, between 4 and 5 in the morning, for half an hour, alone, across the city. The city was quiet. No rubbish, no screaming. At important buildings, there was the occasional police officer, not paying attention to me. At the access road to the old city, there was another police officer, freezing and bored in the middle of the road, but he was there. Scattered party-goers came my way, with civilized behavior. An elderly man walked his dogs on a leash. I felt safe on the whole way, I had nothing* in my pockets, I dilly-dallied and enjoyed the Christmas decorations at the castle hill. All of it was simply enchanting, peace in freedom. Precious Christmas decorations were fixed even on the outside of the ground floor windows, little trees with balls, and mangers stood directly on the pedestrian walk, or on the doorsteps. Apparently, no one here is expecting theft, vandalism, riots.

Prague is like it used to be with us.

There had been only nice, civilized people in the bar, most of them Czech, and a single black person among them who was eager to be the nicest person, too. Earlier this night a friend had told me about Mannheim, where, as a woman, you don’t go anywhere alone at night anymore. And WE are lecturing the Visegrad states? On what? Spare your words!

(* translator’s note: no pepper spray)

To add to this bittersweet note, below are photos taken yesterday evening in a Christmas market in the Hungarian town of Székesfehérvár, where Viktor Orbán grew up and went to school. No soldiers carrying automatic weapons, and not a Merkel Lego in sight:

18 thoughts on “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

  1. Praha, Czech Republic: medieval jewel restored to its original glory and even more.

    I recall my ocassional visits of our capital in the 70’s and 80’s – gray city with dirty facades and filthy stores with basic staples only. Country with very little faith in God, one of the most atheistic lands you can find in the whole world.

    We were quietly waiting for the nightmare of real socialism to come to its inglorious end – watching the Western Europe next door enjoying all the freedoms we could only dreamt of.

    Not any longer … the times when we Czechs were looking up to the West are history. I am with Orban on his assessment about who is the West now – Visegrad 4 is the torch bearer of the Western Europe.

    Are we going to succumb to the same malaise as the world west of the Iron Curtain has? I strongly feel that V4 won’t.

    The West is now V4 and my new homeland – America. And realizing that, as a pretty sober atheist and a man of little faith in anything, profess clearly and simply: if there is any higher power, and that power be God of the Bible, I implore that being: please bless America as that’s your humanity’s last hope.

    • Hello, Lu. What’s your assessment of other Czech cities in terms of the changes or refurbishments between the 80s and now? Prague obviously gets most of the attention, but I’d be interested in a comparison of the state of things in Karlovy Vary, for example. (I was there once, very briefly. I still have the pocket chess set I got there.) Plzen is about the only other Czech city with which I have any even geographical familiarity, unfortunately.

      I was going to say I’m a little dumbfounded at the idea of a big city in which one can walk around alone at 4 a.m. on a Friday night and find everything clean and in order. But I suppose it’s possible at that!

      • I can confirm that, it is possible! It’s been 2, 3 years since I’ve been to Prague, but I don’t expect things changed for the worse.

      • All the towns and cities and their historical buildings are pretty much restored and very nice to visit. I have not been to Karlovy Vary for about 30 years, but I believe the Russian real-estate owners take a good care of their properties :-).

        There is no comparison with the 1908’s. Germany still seems to me to be more gemutlich und rein, but that’s Germans – we Bohemians have never had this sense of Ordnung 🙂 …

        • Soon Europe [the European countries] will be under the same conditions as the Czech Republic, with an atheism so strongly established, as when it was established in the Soviet era in that country, or in the periods you quoted, 70-80.

  2. Lovely clip of the King’s Singers, currently celebrating their half-century; do you know where it was recorded?

    I had the good fortune to visit Prague four years ago, and would love to go again.

  3. if it says by kind permission of the provost and scholars of King’s College, Cambridge then I would contact them to learn where it was recorded. Simple really.

  4. How wondrous this singing is. So this is what needs enriching, this is what we’re supposed to be ashamed of. I want to go and live in the east but I’m old- and there’s the small matter of the language.

    • Quite! I could include, Shakespeare, Milton, Bach, Plainsong, Chaucer, Dickens, The pre-Raphaelites, Turner, oh and many, many more. That doesn’t include all the scientists of the West, the list would become a little tedious. What pray, needs enrichment from a culture that is full of destruction and hate?
      In fact a negative cannot enrich a positive, it can only detract.

  5. I am learning Polish as we speak. One of the hardest languages to get right….and I speak Irish.. it is either Gdansk or Argentina for us.

  6. And Prague is considered one of our worst cities, if you liked it, imagine how peaceful it is in other cities like Brno, Pilsen or Budweis, where you have far less tourists and immigrants (aside the north where the majority of the problematic groups reside).

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