Sunday, December 26, 2021

The story of King Wenceslas

And that Feast of Stephen we hear so much about.  Donald McClarey does the heavy lifting so we don't have to.  If I was only allowed to visit five websites, I would make sure The American Catholic was one of them. 

Not that he is writing full historical texts on the subject.  But compared to what passes as historical studies today, his posts about various historical figures and events is practically on the level of doctoral dissertations.  It reminds me of the history as it was commonly presented even when I was a young fellow.  

So enjoy the read and learn a little about someone who comes up in our yearly stock of Christmas carols, but who was so much more. 

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown 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 know 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 the 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.
Ark 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 step he trod,
Where the snow lay dented.
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

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