Blossom like a desert rose

by N.F.S. Grundtvig and translated by Mark Safstrom

Blossom like a desert rose,
Shall the field long barren,
Blossom, as the birds compose
Songs of exultation.
Carmel’s dazzling gilded heights
Join with Lebanon’s delights,
Sharon’s fabled splendor.

Steady those with quaking knees;
Frail hands be strengthened.
Shoots appear on withered reeds.
Fallen courage quickened,
Fearful hearts again are soothed.
All rough places must be smoothed,
Fear and sorrow vanish!

Darkened eyes regain their sight,
Overwhelmed by vision;
Silent ears are healed aright,
Now hear jubilation!
As the deer once wounded, lame,
Limped along on feeble frame,
Now will leap her praises!

Grand the vision once foretold
As Isaiah witnessed.
Time rolled on, and now – behold:
God kept what was promised!
When his Son, in human form,
Showed us grace that could transform
Desert into paradise.

Glory to our heav’nly King
And his Holy Spirit!
Kingdom come, they work to bring;
Us good gifts within it.
Muted tongue and stopped-up ear,
Praise will speak and sound will hear,
Bursting from their deathbed.

Herald loud the new year’s praise,
Golden year to open:
Blossom like a desert rose
Shall the field long barren.
Carmel’s dazzling gilded heights
Join with Lebanon’s delights,
Sharon’s fabled splendor!

An essential figure in Danish hymnody, N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872) was also at the forefront of a religious, economic, and educational reform movement which bore his name.

See all articles by N.F.S. Grundtvig

Mark Safstrom is Chief Editor of Pietisten, and an assistant professor of Scandinavian Studies at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.

See all articles by Mark Safstrom