Monday, December 2, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Carols: Good King Wenceslas

The Ozinga Outlook
I love Christmas music.  Old, new, it doesn't matter.  Growing up in kid choir at church meant we learned the stories behind the carols we sang.  I remember so many of these stories and have fact checked many of them over the years with the invention of the internet.  :)  Check back each day for a new carol and story!  I'll be including a video of one of my favorite versions of the carol as well.  Grab the button and share the fun with your friends! 

December 2nd: Good King Wenceslas

This carol by JM Neale was published in 1853.  Wenceslas was a real duke of Bohemia who was known as kind and considerate.  Wenceslas was murdered by his brother Boleslaw in the 900s.  Since then, Wenceslas has been named the patron saint of the Czech Republic.  The song encourages giving and charity, and was originally to be sung for Boxing Day, the day after Christmas when the wealthy would give gifts to the poor.  I love the cheery feel of this song and the reminder to do good during Christmas.

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
Though 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, good my 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.

In case you've missed any previous carols:


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