The song Good King Wenceslas is popular at Christmastime. However many people do not understand the song. The week before last, I explained who Wenceslas was. Last week I explained some of the more difficult words in the first-half of the song. This week I will finish the song.
What do the words mean? The first time a difficult or confusing word is used in the song I will explain it. Some words, that were explained last week, will not be explained again.
This line is a big problem. Saint Agnes lived from 1211 to 1282, long after Wenceslas. Although venerated (greatly honoured) for centuries, she only officially became a saint in 1989, long after the song was written. It is also confusing because she was a descendant of Saint Wenceslas in the song. She was also the sister of a different King Wenceslas I of Bohemia. Remember that Saint Wenceslas was only called a king after his death as an honour. The line refers to some impossible unexplained landmark that exists only in this song.
"Bring me flesh (meat), and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
Thou and I shall see him dine (eat),
when we bear (carry) them (the food and logs) thither (to that place).”
The poor man lives beside the forest. Why does he need to collect wood a league away from the forest? There were some strict medieval laws preventing people hunting or cutting wood in a forest.The forest was owned by the king or a noble. This practise was common, and hated, in Norman England.