Christmas in Legend and Story by  Elva S. Smith

Good King Wenceslas

John Mason Neale

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;

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, good my page;

Tread thou in them boldly:

Thou shalt find the winter 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.

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