Advent Calendar Day 7: Good King Wenceslas

A Victorian carol inspired by the noble legends that grew up around Saint Wenceslaus of Bohemia, we have here a parable on generosity directed squarely at the rich.  While its brief inclusion in A Muppet Christmas Carol is therefore thematically very appropriate, it’s also a bit anachronistic, as the carol was written a decade after Dickens’ tale.

The music, as is so often the case, is much older.  Indeed, it’s a spring carol dating from about the 13th century.

For those of us not so well versed in our latin:

Spring has now unwrapped the flowers, day is fast reviving,
Life in all her growing powers towards the light is striving:
Gone the iron touch of cold, winter time and frost time,
Seedlings, working through the mould, now make up for lost time.

Herb and plant that, winter long, slumbered at their leisure,
Now bestirring, green and strong, find in growth their pleasure;
All the world with beauty fills, gold the green enhancing,
Flowers make glee among the hills, set the meadows dancing.

Through each wonder of fair days God Himself expresses;
Beauty follows all His ways, as the world He blesses:
So, as He renews the earth, Artist without rival,
In His grace of glad new birth we must seek revival.

Earth puts on her dress of glee; flowers and grasses hide her;
We go forth in charity—brothers all beside her;
For, as man this glory sees in th’awakening season,
Reason learns the heart’s decrees, hearts are led by reason.

That’ll preach.

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