Scripture Verse

When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Luke 14:13–14


Words: John M. Neale (1818–1866). First pub­lished in Ca­rols for Christ­mas-Tide, 1853, by Neale & Tho­mas Hel­more. Neale may have writ­ten the hymn some time ear­li­er: he re­lat­ed the sto­ry on which it is based in Deeds of Faith (1849). The his­tor­ic­al Wen­ces­las was Duke of Bo­he­mia.

Music: Tem­pus Ad­est Flo­ri­dum 13th Cen­tu­ry spring ca­rol. First pub­lished in the Swed­ish Pi­ae Can­ti­on­es, 1582 (🔊 pdf nwc).

John M. Neale (1818–1866)


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 you know 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,
You and I will see him dine,
When we bear them thi­ther.

Page and mon­arch, forth they went,
Forth they went to­ge­ther,
Through the cold 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 now in them bold­ly,
You shall find the win­ter’s rage
Freeze your 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,
You who now will bless the poor
Shall your­selves find bless­ing.