Good King Wenceslas looked out
Good King Wenceslas looked out. John Mason Neale* (1818-1866).
First printed in Neale’s Deeds of Faith (1849), a children’s book, and then in his Carols for Christmastide (1853). The words were written to fit the tune of the carol, ‘Tempus adest floridum’* (‘Spring has now unwrapped the flowers’) from Piae Cantiones (Greifswald, 1582). The cheerful verses retold a Bohemian legend, a simple story that was very appropriate for the Victorian era, of the need to be charitable to the poor. The verse has been unkindly described as ‘doggerel’, and OBC (1928) hoped that it would ‘gradually pass into disuse, and the tune be restored to spring-time’ (p. 271). It has continued to flourish, however,...
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