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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Good King Wenceslaus

The 26th of December is "Boxing Day" in many English Speaking nations, like our neighbors to the North, Canada. That said, if, in some areas, the 26th falls on the weekend, the day may be shifted to Monday.

The 26th is also feast day of Saint Stephen, the first Christian Martyr. (In the Eastern Church, the date is the 27th of December.)

What sticks in my mind is that this is the day when Good King Wenceslaus looked out and saw a poor man gathering winter fuel. The story was put to music. This is a very nice rendition, although some of the pictures look more Dutch than Czech.

I found the lyrics here, and copied them below:

Good King Wenceslaus

Good King Wenceslaus 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, gathering winter fuel.

Hither page and stand by me if thou knowst 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 pinelogs 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 winds 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.

Regards   --   Cliff

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