Vaclav the Good

Perhaps you know him by the German name “Wenceslas”? He reigned as monarch in Bohemia from 922-929 and was so known for his benevolent nature that he became the patron saint of the Czech people.

Mr. J.M. Neale (1818-1866) wrote a song that purports to recount one of Vaclav’s many acts of kindness. The song has long inspired me as to the beauty of those given power being influenced by the love of God. They set a wonderful example for the rest of us.

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 thou knowest 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 St. Agnes’ fountain.

Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine longs hither,

Thou & I will see him dine, when we bear them thither,

Page & 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 dented,

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.

As in the song, there is no better path to follow, than the one made clear by the steps of the Lord Jesus Christ. We follow where our king leads, doing good for all in our path.