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Plantagenets and others

Watched an interesting documentary on Richard II last night. Apart from choosing an emblem which I love - the white stag - he doesn't interest me that much, he would have made a better art gallery owner than a king. Fate's a merciless thing. Such a terrible joke, that the man who considered himself so very special, the chosen of God above all others, should die of starvation...of course no-one is sure that's what happened, he just disappears, his death mentioned in passing. Who would starve a king to death? Possibly someone afraid of the letter of God's law rather the spirit of it, the fear of being damned for active regicide rather than just ignoring the problem till it faded to skin and bone. It has been said that Henry IV became somewhat paranoid and grim, but then he was a usurper and never secure in his throne. Perhaps he saw conspiracies everywhere because they were actually there.

It's all a far cry from my favourite Plantagenet, Richard III. I dreamed a strange kind of waking dream last night, disturbed no doubt by the documentary. In my dream, I walked through a strange land. There was a kind of brown long grass that tufted all about me, and pools and trenches of water though the land itself was dry where they were not. This water was very still, and in it were strange tangled strands of vegetation, somewhere between bobbled seaweed and strings of toadspawn. When I lifted the strands out, they were like long strings of little heads, or white brown bobbles shaped like the faces of all the men who had died there and in all the land's battles, strands upon strands of them in this dull water. I heard someone say, 'They are preparing a man for burial over there,' and I saw a picture, Mantegna's weird foreshortening thing.

Then there stood Richard III in the tall grass waiting for me. I knew it could not be him, because he looked too like the new representation they have of his face, very white. But we walked for a while together and he thanked me for my poem. I must have said something about his bravery in his last fight being lauded down through the centuries, and saw him for a moment, fighting fiercely in the marsh, determined to die a king. How unlike the beauteous delusional with whom he shared a name! I asked him about whether it was worth all that pain and risk for kingship and he seemed to say something like 'Of course. Kingship is perfect freedom.' I am not quite sure of that. Many's the king who thought his crown meant he could do anything he wanted, but that freedom's probably not perfect.

Tonight is May Eve, and we are celebrating it by going to see Age of Ultron. I don't really resonate with the whole Green man/Moon goddess getting it on around now, but as an old fairy time, I still enjoy Beltane.



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