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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: April ::
Re: Henry
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0758  Tuesday, 27 April 1999.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 26 Apr 1999 11:10:01 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0747 Re: Henry

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Monday, 26 Apr 1999 15:49:41 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0747 Re: Henry


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 26 Apr 1999 11:10:01 +0000
Subject: 10.0747 Re: Henry
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0747 Re: Henry

Peter Hadorn writes:

>Regarding Sean Lawrence's point: "Recognizing oneself to have been
>blessed, on the other hand, would be a humbling experience."  I honestly
>don't know whether or not Henry believes himself to be blessed.  The
>trouble I have stems from the fact that every time Henry talks about
>anything, he says that God "goes before"  (see 1.2.222, 1.2.262,
>1.2.289, 1.2.307, 2.2.189-90, 3.1.34, 3.6.169, 4.3.133, 4.7.87, &
>5.Cho.19-22.).  To me, this is too intentional.

Yes, but on the other hand, in his prayer in 4.1, he claims that

                       I Richard's body have interred anew;
                       And on it have bestow'd more contrite tears
                       Than from it issued forced drops of blood:
                       Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
                       Who twice a-day their wither'd hands hold up
                       Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have
built
                       Two chantries, where the sad and solemn
priests
                       Sing still for Richard's soul. More will I
do;
                       Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
                       Since that my penitence comes after all,
                       Imploring pardon.

The last lines, I think, cancel out the earlier ones.  No amount of
penitence can summon Grace; Henry's prayer before battle is pure
imploring, without any sense of merit.  The victory when it comes, then,
is unearned.  There's a world of difference between the humility with
which one received an unearned gift, and the self-righteousness by which
one claims Divine sanction, though, I admit, they can often look
similar.

Dana Wilson writes:

>Peter wrote:
>>Only God can provide grace, and grace is by
>>definition unearned.  For
>>characters to try earning it by good works, sacred
>>crusades or in
>>Henry's case, building chapels, is hopeless.

Actually, I wrote these words.

>My dear Peter, I could swear these words are the Manichean heresy.
>Perhaps, I should direct you to Lear's lament "Would that I had given
>more care to physic!".

Actually, no, the Manichean heresy was very much concerned with what one
did, what one ate, etc.  Hence Augustine's description of them as
"sensualists."  There might be a heresy in my claims, but if so, it
would be much closer to solifidianism.  And I just don't understand your
reference to Lear's lament.

>I suppose that in H5, Harry reminded the common ranks of his great good
>works, to reforce the assertion from Act I, sc i, "never have my nobles
>been richer".

No, I think this is purely a logistical calculation; besides which
Westmoreland says this, not Henry.

>Of strategy and stratagem, perhaps Harry wished his troops to believe
>that he left great wealth behind the lines with his "trunk" to draw the
>French cavalry off the field; whereas Harry assured Bates the French
>carried their wealth on their backs, or fleet coursers.

I can't find a single occurrence of the word "courser" or "back"
anywhere in 4.3. I did find "they bear them on their shoulders", a pun
on French crowns.  Besides which, Henry elsewhere intimates that he
doesn't have much treasure that, in fact, his whole army is ragged.

Cheers,
Se

 

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