Monday, December 17, 2012

Who is Good King Wencelas?

This song often comes up at Christmas although few people know anything about it. So who is King Wencelas? Well, he was actually a Duke (later declared a Saint), Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia and the song is trying to depict the way he is said to have lived his life.

The Christmas carol tells a story of Good King Wenceslas braving harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (the second day of Christmas, December 26). During the journey, his servant is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king's footprints through the deep snow.

This carol encourages me to not forget others during the Christmas season who are having a rough time. Also that like the servant, I must walk in my King's footsteps, step by step, to continue my journey, especially when I feel the way is hard. And yet, even if my way seems tough I need to remember that others are in need and I want to meet others needs and love them. Here's a link to the song, if you've forgotten the tune: Bing Crosby singing Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas: Neale's (1853)
Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho' the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath'ring winter fuel.
"Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know'st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes' fountain. "
"Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither. "
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
Through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather.
"Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page. Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly. "
In his master's steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.

No comments:

Post a Comment