“now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds”- Seems so apposite to describe the currently benighted state to which we have been brought.
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!
I’ve found John of Gaunt’s famous speech from Shakespeare’s Richard II in my mind quite frequently of late; I enjoyed teaching the play to sixth-formers a number of times. When I looked it up, I found that rather too much of it was a paean to royalty, kings, nobility, conquest and colonialism and other such…
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