Saturday, 6 August 2011

Once more unto the Shakespeare

I have been watching Henry V. It is one I have seen before and it is good. This time I noticed more things about it that show that Shakespeare was writing for cats as well as mannys.

"But there's a saying very old and true,
'If that you will France win,
Then with Scotland first begin.'
For once the eagle England being in prey,
To her unguarded nest the weasel Scot
Comes sneaking and so sucks her princely eggs,
Playing the mouse in absence of the cat,
To tear and havoc more than she can eat."

This is a bit confusing - I am a Scottish cat, so does that make me a weasel, a mouse, or am I still a cat?

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean."

That's more like it! I am a tiger: rar!

"A terrible aspect" - now where have I heard that before?

Anyway, later on King Harry says this:

"Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There's not a piece of feather in our host--
Good argument, I hope, we will not fly--
And time hath worn us into slovenry:
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim;
And my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night
They'll be in fresher robes, or they will pluck
The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads
And turn them out of service."

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