Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Saint Stephen's Day

In honor of the feast of St. Stephen today, I post the lyrics of the carol, Good King Wenceslaus. Hat tip to Recta Ratio for the idea!

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


Carmel said...

Happy St.Stephen day to you too!

Patrice said...

Well, here's another one from my memory of a Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem album from the 60s.

In Ireland on St. Stephen's Day the lads would go from house to house to ask for money to bury the wren. Here is what I remember of "The Wren Song."

"The wren, the wren
The king of all birds
St. Stephen's Day was caught in a firze
Although he was little, his honor was great
So up me boys and give us a treat."

There's more, but my memory does not recall it--except that the lads asked for "a penny to bury the wren."

Anonymous said...

The Irish seem to keep St. Stephen's Day better than any of us, even naming St. Stephen's Green in Dublin.
This is one of my favorite Christmas carols, I just bought a book with illustrations to the lyrics for my girls for Christmas, to teach it to them. Doing this, taught me about the life of the good King.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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