From the November/December, 2009 issue of Touchstone

Looking for Wenceslaus by Michael Baum

Looking for Wenceslaus

Michael H. Baum on the Real Men Behind the Christmas Carol

"Good King Wenceslas" is one of those traditional Christmas carols that are so familiar they're virtually unknown. If, amid the musical cacophony that marks the modern Yule season, we ever hear the words at all, we seldom get further than the good king looking out on the feast of Stephen, and even that line has been the subject of popular parody. Over the years, some critics have subjected the lyrics to rather severe slurs, such as "doggerel," "bathos," and "on the horrible side."

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