Yello80s Advent countdown: Day 15: Good King Wenceslas

English: King Wenceslas of Bohemia and Poland ...
English: King Wenceslas of Bohemia and Poland (fragment), Toruń Old Town Hall Polski: Król Wacław Czeski (fragment), Ratusz Staromiejski w Toruniu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The story of King Wenceslas is an old one and an allegory of the LORD G-d’s humbling Himself to come to humankind disguised as an infant (different denominations believe variations on the deity / human duality but I’m going to use the term disguised here). He was an actual 10th century Bohemian duke who was sainted and considered a martyr. He was given the title as king after death by Roman Emperor Otto I and people of the Middle Ages would have understood this to be a title of ‘righteous kingship.’ There was an actual King Wenceslas in the royal sense several centuries after the one mentioned in the carol.  My favourite bit is the very end of the last verse: Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,  Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.  I actually favour the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version but stumbled across Judy Collins’ recording last year and wanted to include that here.  BTW, the feast of St. Stephen is on December 26, also celebrated as Boxing Day. 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 him 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 Courtesy Cleopatra Records

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