English Geek Moment!
Okay… Just to show how utterly random and chaotic my “likes/dislikes” are, I thought I might use this post to investigate the mighty realm of literature. Sounds deep, right? Not as much as you might think. I have discovered two particular forms of fiction literature that I just can’t get enough of… Comics (think X-men) and Shakespeare. When you combine these two infatuations with my already intense reading of Theology and Mysticism, it makes for a rather intriguing combination. Imagine the two forms of writing that cannot be farther apart from one another, and those are the two I can’t get enough of.
Just to demonstrate Shakespeare’s brilliance, here is one of the silliloquy’s from my now favorite play, “Henry the Fifth”.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
To give a frame of referrence, this is the “pep-speech” given by King Henry to his seemingly rag-tag group of soldiers just rior to the battle of Agincourt. Apparently this monologue had its intended effect, because after the battle we are told that the French have lost more than 2,000 troops including 136 nobles of the kingdom, while the British lost a mere 23 men. This show is full of lines that are very stirring for the soul… for example, one of the liutenants is freaking out and telling the king how hopeless the approaching battle is because of the numbers of troops, and King Henry solemnly tells him, “Our fate is in God’s hands, not theirs.” Funny, you never really hear just how much Shakespeare really understood the religion of his nation… but he showed it off brilliantly in this particular play.
If anybody wants to see a heck of a film adaptation of this play, check out the one starring Kenneth Branagh. The acting is well done, the dialogue’s timing is perfect, and you get to see a VERY young Christian Bale in one of his first roles. (Note: also features amazing performances by Judi Dench and Ian Holm… absolutely worth seeing).