Good King Wenceslas
[unknown] Lyrics

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 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 now 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.

@seasonal @carol @Xmas
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Contributed by Julian S. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Comments from YouTube:

Callum Wynne

I looked it up and according to history Wenceslas did exist he was the duke of Bohemia and went round giving the poor, orphaned widowed and imprisoned gifts at evening.

Gary Rodd

I find this Christmas carol to be of special meaning to me...Growing up in poverty, we did not have the luxury of material gifts, but we shared the Holiday spirit by sharing the spirit of family and food we normally could not afford.. such as cranberry/orange relish, turkey & stuffing & home made apple jack made by my father...Christmas was more about the meal we created than giving gifts..


The words were by an English guy.
The music's Scandanavian.
Wenceslas was five foot six.
He kept his face unshaven.
Though just a Duke throughout his life,
he always ruled so justly.
His kingly title was conferred
upon him posthumously.

ToddSF 94109

The "Feast of Stephen", for those who might not know, is St. Stephen's Day, December 26, one of the "Twelve Days of Christmas". This carol is associated with December 26, since "Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen". It's not a Christmas carol, but associated with the Christmas season nonetheless. One strange thing is the tune, which is taken from a Latin spring carol "Tempus adest floridem" which is all about springtime being the time when flowers bloom again. I've known "Good King Wenceslas" (who was actually a Duke during his lifetime) in this carol for so long, I can't think of the tune as a springtime song. I note that after his assassination at age 27 by his younger brother, Wenceslas the Duke was posthumously declare a King by the Pope as well as a saint, and the Duchy of Bohemia became the Kingdom of Bohemia, with Kings in charge ever after. Today, of course, most of Bohemia lies within the borders of the Czech Republic, also called Czechia, and St. Wenceslas is the patron saint of the Czechs. I wouldn't call this carol a hymn because it is never sung in church and, instead, it's a narrative that tells a story about a miracle associated with an act of charity, ending with a moral that instructs Christians to be charitable, because in giving to those in need, the giver will find a blessing.


This is a beautiful version. Makes me proud of my Czech heritage.

Judi Harbin

Surely, this is our God; we trusted in Him and  He saved us.  (Isaiah 25:9)

Megan Elizabeth

the thing is, I'm not necessarily religious but that doesn't matter because this song whether for religious purposes or not is. really. good


Hello. I thought it might mean a lot to you to know that this song doesn't just get to humans' hearts. It always calms my Beagle mix down, and he has a ton of anxiety, so I play it or sing it for him frequently. This one seems to be his favorite version, too. Thank you very much for saving me from endless barking lol and thank you for helping him feel better.

Jo Sparkes

So poignant and beautiful, I love this carol, its so full of what Man is capable of if he is without selfishness and has compassion.

František Buchta

I am from the Czech Republic and I think it is amazing how our history has penetrated even to England. We have really interesting history.
But I have some remarks:
1. St. Wenceslas (Václav I.) was a duke not a king, we had some kings, but they were kings until their death, so on succesion title was lost. That changed in year 1212 with document known as "Golden Bull of Sicily" (Zlatá bula Sicilská) which granted title of king even to descendants.
2. He is very controversial character of our history. Despite he was declared as saint, because he was very good Christian, some people and historians says that he didnt care about destiny of Bohemia in case of East Francia´s pressure on borders. But who knows, it is over thousand years ago, but legend about St. Wenceslas is immortal!

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