Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings
Good King Wenceslas
Performed by Greg Barlow on banjo and voice
Words: John Mason Neale, 1853.
Music: TEMPUS ADEST FLORIDUM, 13th Century spring carol, first published in the Swedish Piae Cantiones, 1582.
We're in the last week of Hark! The Herald Banjo Rings in 2011, and I hope everyone has enjoyed the music this year. For today, I've recorded Good King Wenceslas. The last time I recorded this for Hark! was in 2008, when it was posted on St. Stephen's Day.
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 them thither."
Page and monarch, forth they went,
Forth they went together;
Though 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 now how;
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, good my 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.
Sources and more information
- Oxford Book of Carols, 1964.
- Hymns and Carols of Christmas