The song uses images from Wenceslas biography about snow scenes. Wenceslas is known for his sainthood, not for his king reign. So why call him King? This is the clue that we're not talking about him. We're talking about a King. Actually, the song is not about Wenceslas.
The song begins by referring to St Stephen's day, or boxing the Christmas gifts day. This introduces the subject, a "gift" . We'll see what "gift" the King gives to the "poor man".
And the writer throws in the word lament in the middle of the snow scene.
The song is a parody about a dispute between King Henry IV and Pope Gregory. Pope Gregory excommunicated Henry IV. And Henry IV said, "Oh, you can't do that to me!" "You're going to have to come and apologize to me".
And the history says that Pope Gregory visited King Henry asking for an audience to apologize, and the King let him wait (camp) outside for four days and four nights.
The song refers to the Pope in riddles (calls him a poor man) who lives a league away. League is a maritime measurement. He lives by the sea. And lives behind the mountain. This refers to the Alps. and the Forest. This refers to the Black Forest.
And the song cinches the identification of the Pope by associating him with St. Agnes.
The Revenge Gift
And The song goes on to tell that the King was enjoying a feast indoors while the "poor man" was suffering outside.
The melody in this song is brilliant, and this song has remained well known for centuries.
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