Tune of the Day: Good King Wenceslas
This popular Christmas carol is about a king who goes out to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (December 26). During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by the heat miraculously emanating from the king's footprints in the snow. The legend is based on the life of the historical Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia.
The lyrics of the carol were written in 1853 by English hymn-writer John Mason Neale, but the tune is much older: it is that of “Tempus Adest Floridum” (Latin for “It is time for flowering”), a 13th-century spring carol, first published in the Swedish Piae Cantiones (“Pious Songs”) in 1582.