Day Ten: Grooving With a Bohemian King

Turns out good King Wenceslas was a pretty cool guy.  He was the King of Bohemia, which today is the Czech Republic.  Raised by his grandmother, a devout Christian, he became king after overthrowing his mother who was acting as regent for Wenceslas because he was underage.

Although he only served as king for five years, he became known for his acts of charity.  Unfortunately, Wenceslas was assassinated by his brother for control of the kingdom.  However, the legend remains that if the country is ever in grave danger, the statue of King Wenceslas in Wenceslas Square will come to life and lead a troop of knights in the country’s defense.

Good King Wenceslas

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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