Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Game's Afoot

There are lots of places from which inspiration can be drawn. Battle cries are heard in all sorts of ways. Here's a soliloquy from one of William Shakespeare's plays, "Henry V," Act 3 Scene 1, that I find particularly inspiring when living feels more like a battle than a life. Clearly, Henry was talking about an actual battle with swords and spears and whatnot, but one cannot read about "summoning up the blood," without feeling an urge to do the same.

   Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; 
     Or close the wall up with our English dead.
     In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
     As modest stillness and humility:
     But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
     Then imitate the action of the tiger;
     Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
     Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
     Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
     Let pry through the portage of the head
     Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
     As fearfully as doth a galled rock
     O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
     Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
     Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
     Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
     To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
     Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
     Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
     Have in these parts from morn till even fought
     And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
     Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
     That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
     Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
     And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
     Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
     The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
     That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
     For there is none of you so mean and base,
     That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
     I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
     Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
     Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
     Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Courage has nothing to do with not feeling scared, and strength has nothing to do with not feeling weak: it's standing firm anyway. So today, imitate the action of a tiger. Refuse to let the enemy leave you cowering in a corner, no matter how badly it hurts, bend up your spirit to its full height and FIGHT.

Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is from Ephesians 6:14
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"Stand therefore, -------> 5 count inhale
having fastened the belt of Truth." -------> 5 count exhale

Here's Kenneth Brannagh in Henry V -- The Breach

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