Good King Wenceslas

J M Neale

Translated into Latin by Timothy Adès

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
Gath’ring winter fuel
“Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know’st it, telling
If thou know’st 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
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear him thither.”
Page and 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 dinted
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.
Wenceslaë, quas nives
    prospicis, rex pie,
crusta plana stabiles
    Stephani in die!
lunae lux trans tenebras
    monstrat indigentem
per pruinas horridas
    ligna colligentem.
“Adsta, puer, propius,
    narrans forsan testis:
unde venit, quae domus,
    quis est hic agrestis?”
“Tria procul milia
    redit hinc sub montem,
silvae saepis incola
    Agnes iuxta fontem.”
“Fer mi carnem, vinum fer,
    pineis cum lignis:
hunc visemus, minister,
    dapibus benignis.”
rex et puer protinus
    una properatis,
duris in frigoribus
    raucae tempestatis.
“Princeps, nox fit caecior,
    aquilo bacchatur.
nescio quam languet cor:
    progredi non datur.”
“Vade passibus meis
    sanguine tepenti,
trucis expers hiemis,
    vi non algens venti.”
Calcat passus domini
    per nives ingressi:
caespites sunt calidi
    sancto pede pressi.
ergo, potens vel dives,
    credas et salveris!
benedicens pauperes
    tu benediceris.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

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