Good King Winceslaus

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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
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 pine logs hither
Thou and I shall 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, good my page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shall find the winters rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.
 
In his masters step 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.

St. Wenceslaus, also known by Vaclav, was born near Prague, and was the son of Duke Wratislaw. He was taught Christianity by his grandmother, St. Ludmila. The Magyars, along with Drahomira, an anti-Christian faction murdered the Duke and St. Lumila, and took over the government. Wenceslaus was declared the new ruler after a coup in 922. He encouraged Christianity. Boleslaus, his brother, no longer successor to the throne, after Wenceslaus’ son was born, joined a group of noble Czech dissenters. They invited Wenceslaus to a religious festival, trapped and killed him on the way to Mass. He is the patron saint of Bohemia and his feast day is Sept. 28.