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O Christmas Tree
John Mason Neale


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 knowst 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 shall see him dine
When we bear them thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went
Forth they went together
Through the rude winds 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, good my page
Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shall find the winters rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his masters step 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.

This poem is in the public domain.


John Mason Neale (1818 - 1866) was an English priest, songwriter, and translator. Born in London to a clergyman and his wife, he was well-educated and served for a time as a chaplain at Cambridge University. Ultimately, he founded several different religious organizations and either wrote or translated some of our most beloved Christmas carols, including "O come, O come, Emmanuel," "Good Christian Men, Rejoice," and the one above.


Post New Comment:
This filled my heart with music ~ the music of glad Christmas memories... Thank you ~ Judy
Posted 12/08/2012 11:28 AM
Wonderful poem/song that underscores the ancient relationship between song lyrics and poems. It's hard to know where one starts and the other ends, which is literally wonderful thing.
Posted 12/08/2012 09:06 AM

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