Yes this is my 100th post since I started The Shakespeare Blog just over six months ago. It’s a good time to reassess the site, and over the past week I’ve been planning a few changes which will go live in the next few days. I hope you’ll enjoy them: as well as the blog there will a new front page where you’ll find links to new pages and easier ways of locating past blogs.
If you’re already a regular visitor I’d like to thank you for your loyalty and I hope you’ll continue to find the posts interesting. The latest one will still pop into your inbox if you’re a subscriber, and don’t forget that if you click through to the actual site you can comment on the posts: I always enjoy hearing what people think. If you’re a first-time reader, it’s really easy to subscribe, so please join in and mention the blog to your friends .
I can’t write a post without including a bit of Shakespeare, and because it’s Remembrance Weekend, this is Talbot’s dying speech, from one of his early plays, Henry VI Part 1. Talbot is a great military hero who goes into battle alongside his young son John against the French. John is killed and his father mortally wounded. Much later in his career Shakespeare wrote another scene in which a father dies grieving over the body of his dead child. I’m referring of course to the final scene of King Lear. The scene in Lear is a far more accomplished piece of writing, but this speech, especially the last four lines, is moving too.
Thou antic Death, which laugh’st us here to scorn,
Anon, from thy insulting tyranny,
Coupled in bonds of perpetuity,
Two Talbots winged through the lither sky,
In thy despite shall scape mortality….
Poor boy! He smiles, methinks, as who should say,
Had Death been French, then Death had died to-day.
Come, come, and lay him in his father’s arms:
My spirit can no longer bear these harms.
Soldiers, adieu! I have what I would have,
Now my old arms are young John Talbot’s grave.
Although scenes of war and battle occur frequently in Shakespeare, he never takes the theme lightly and beneath the apparent bluster and warmongering, often I feel wrongly interpreted on stage as indicating an enjoyment of war, there is a profound sense of pity at the waste of life. For me, this is nowhere better expressed than in the scene in ‘Henry VI part 3’ involving a father who has killed his son, and a son who has killed his father
PS: Congratulations on your century! I’ve read every one and found them informative, insightful and thought provoking. Keep up the good work.
Congratulations on you century, Sylvia, and all the best for the next 100!
Agree with Andrew and Mairi. :). Well done, Sylvia. 🙂 Looking forward to many more. 🙂
Thanks for the kind comments!
Congratulations. Look forward to more in the future
Well done! congratulations! Kisses from Italy 🙂
Yes, Mairi, Lucy and Andrew have said it all, congratulations I’m looking froward to lots more.
Congratulations – and many thanks – for the first century!
It is interesting to note how relevant Shakespeare is to modern political life – any connections with the Euro crisis?