Thursday, December 7, 2006

the whispered words of catherine of france to henry v, king of england, upon the night of their wedding, 1420

"The Marriage of Henry V and Catherine of France", from Chroniques de France ou de Saint Denis (1487)

when i shed blood i am hidden away
private, meditating on the curse of eve.
i step out only when the blood is past
bathing myself on the rooftop
and i am clean.

you spill blood in public
sword in hand, cursing your enemies;
armies obey your command, and die at your command;
satisfied only when your arms are red to the pits for all to see.
in whose bath will you ever come clean?



Irving said...

Wow, what true words, and a good lesson for those that would be king, and in the choosing of a queen.

Lawrence of Arabia said...

among the famous lines from the courtship scene in shakespeare's henry v is "we are the makers of manners kate." to which i believe the appropriate response was, "but not of morals, harry".

tangent alert: the line that really cracks me up from that final scene is the exchange between henry and catherine....

h: do you think you could love me kate?

c: i don't know.

h: well do you think any of your friends might know, i will ask them