#51: Good King Wenceslas

WenceslasThe Wenceslas of the song “Good King Wenceslas” wasn’t a king, but actually the Duke of Bohemia who lived in the 10th century. He was reputable as a good, kind, honest, and morally upright man. The carol is about Wenceslas and his page going out giving alms to a poor peasant in bitter cold weather on the Feast of Stephen, the second day of Christmas (December 26). Wenceslas was perhaps too good, because he was betrayed and murdered by his envious younger brother in 935. He immediately achieved sainthood status, and within a few decades, four biographies of him were in circulation.

The song is based on a 13th century springtime carol sung in Latin, “Tempus adest floridum,” or “It is time for flowering.” In 1853, John Mason Neale selected Wenceslas as the subject for a children’s song to illustrate Christian generosity.

Recorded live @ McKay-Dee Hospital Lobby, December 22, 2013
Equipment used: Blue Snowball Mic


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.

#50: When Christmas Comes to Town

The 2004 film The Polar Express is based on the 1985 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. It is a story of a young boy who no longer believes in Christmas. A train going to the North Pole appears outside his house, and he boards it at the request of the conductor. He experiences an adventure with other children, and ultimately meets Santa Claus and becomes a true believer. The song “When Christmas Comes to Town” is sung by a boy and a girl on the Polar Express. The boy is disheartened because he hasn’t experienced Christmas, while the girl reassures him with depictions of the joyous parts of the holiday. The song for The Polar Express soundtrack was sung by Matthew Hall and Meagan Moore.

Recorded live @ McKay-Dee Hospital Lobby, December 22, 2013
Equipment used: Blue Snowball Mic


I’m wishing on a star
And trying to believe,
That even though it’s far
He’ll find me Christmas Eve.

I guess that Santa’s busy
‘Cause he’s never come around.
I think of him
When Christmas comes to town.

The best time of the year,
When everyone comes home.
With all this Christmas cheer
It’s hard to be alone.

Putting up the Christmas tree
With friends who come around.
It’s so much fun
When Christmas comes to town.

Presents for the children
Wrapped in red and green.
All the things I’ve heard about
But never really seen.
No one will be sleeping on
The night of Christmas Eve,
Hoping Santa’s on his way.

When Santa’s sleigh bells ring,
I listen all around.
The herald angels sing,
I never hear a sound.

When all the dreams of children
Once lost will all be found,
That’s all I want
When Christmas comes to town.
That’s all I want
When Christmas comes to town.