Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the Feast of Stephen

 The Feast of Stephen is the second day of Christmastide and a lot of the holiday bustle is behind you. You are free to relax and enjoy!

Specifically you are free to relax and enjoy "Good King Wenceslas."

I like the Irish Rovers' version up above. I also like the song. As we continue to poke and probe into the history of famous Christmas carols, "Good King Wenceslas" was written by  British clergyman John Mason Neale.

There is this one Christmas carol site I will not link to because it describes "Good King Wenceslas" as "a delightful melody with horrible lyrics." What exactly is wrong with these lyrics? I was just wandering the house late last night turning out lights and unplugging the tree and stuff and singing this song to myself and thinking how good it was. I know bad writing. Heck, I have written bad writing. This song's lyrics are fine. Otherwise we would not be singing it, you know?

Well, as someone said the other day, the Internet is full of misinformation. Just on these Christmas carol sites, you read the craziest things.

Here are a few things that have emerged more or less with clarity:

Good King Wenceslas is Vaclav I, the Duke of Bohemia.

John Mason Neale also wrote the English words to "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." He did not write the melody! Some people are claiming he wrote the melody. The melody goes way back.

St. Stephen was the first martyr. He was stoned outside Jerusalem and died praying for his executioners. We celebrate him today, on the second day of Christmas.

As the snow in Buffalo lies 'round about.

Deep and crisp and even!

No comments:

Post a Comment