Henry IV and Henry V, for Fathers’ Day

Julian and Jamie Glover Henry IVKing Henry IV lamented the waywardness of his son. Prince Hal did not frequent the royal court. He did not participate in the king’s council. He had achieved no military glory.

Instead, he fraternized with heavy drinkers and pickpockets. He spent his nights in taverns. He soaked his liver in liquor with the notorious Sir John Falstaff.

In other words, the heir of Henry Bolingbroke thoroughly besmirched the honor of the title, ‘Prince of Wales.’

Meanwhile, another young Henry, Harry Hotspur, had accomplished all that Prince Hal had not. Advantageously married, valiant and victorious in many battles, righteous and ambitious (if occasionally a bit hotheaded and willful).

Early in Henry IV, Part One, by Williams Shakespeare, King Henry expresses the wish that Harry Hotspur were his son, instead of his own Prince Hal.

But then: Hotspur rises in rebellion. The turning point in the prince’s life arrives. We know that Hal has long planned to renounce his wayward life, that he has undertaken his inexplicable guttersniping for a reason, namely so that he could emerge all the brighter when the moment ripened. His father now faced a genuinely threatening rebellion. The moment had come.

If you seek an inspiring Fathers’ Day exchange, Act III, Scene 2, of Henry IV, Part One, has it. The king thoroughly indicts his son for his scandalous way of life, emphasizing especially how Hal had made himself common and familiar with everyone—except his own father…

For thou has lost thy princely privilege
With vile participation: not an eye
But is a-weary of thy common sight,
Save mine, which hath desired to see thee more;
Which now doth that I would not have it do,
Make blind itself with foolish tenderness.

Hal protests that he has not actually committed all the outrages that have been reported to the king. (We know, in fact, that, though Hal had gladly gotten drunk and laughed uproariously with roadside thieves, he himself would not steal.)

The king laments the dire political and military situation he faces with the northern rebellion. He justifiably accuses the dissolute Hal of conspiring along with Hotspur to dislodge him from the throne.

Thou that art like enough, through vassal fear,
Base inclination and the start of spleen
To fight against me under Percy’s pay,
To dog his heels and curtsy at his frowns,
To show how much thou art degenerate.

Hal responds with the best Fathers’-Day card ever:

…God forgive them that so much have sway’d
Your majesty’s good thoughts away from me!
I will redeem all this on Percy’s head
And in the closing of some glorious day
Be bold to tell you that I am your son;
When I will wear a garment all of blood
And stain my favours in a bloody mask,
Which, wash’d away, shall scour my shame with it:
And that shall be the day, whene’er it lights,
That this same child of honour and renown,
This gallant Hotspur, this all-praised knight,
And your unthought-of Harry chance to meet.
For every honour sitting on his helm,
Would they were multitudes, and on my head
My shames redoubled! for the time will come,
That I shall make this northern youth exchange
His glorious deeds for my indignities.
Percy is but my factor, good my lord,
To engross up glorious deeds on my behalf;
And I will call him to so strict account,
That he shall render every glory up,
Yea, even the slightest worship of his time,
Or I will tear the reckoning from his heart.
This, in the name of God, I promise here:
The which if He be pleased I shall perform,
I do beseech your majesty may salve
The long-grown wounds of my intemperance:
If not, the end of life cancels all bands;
And I will die a hundred thousand deaths
Ere break the smallest parcel of this vow.

Hal makes good on his word. Turns out the prince has known pretty well how to train himself as a warrior. In battle, the much-mocked Prince of Wales successfully rescues his father from certain death. Then he meets Harry Hotspur. And leaves his corpse on the field.

In the Arkangel Shakespeare recording of this play, a real father and son play King Henry and Prince Hal. Julian and Jamie Glover make Act III, Scene 2 sparkle with affection.

May all children make their fathers proud, like Prince Hal does, in the end. And may all fathers love their children with the tenderness that the stoic Henry Bollingbroke reveals in Act III, Scene 2, of Henry IV, Part One.

Sunday Updates

the_holy_trinityCarleton Bryant quote of the week:

President Obama recently named a “pay czar” and a “Great Lakes czar,” and he thought about naming a “car czar.”

And he already had a drug czar, a border czar, a health reform czar, an info-tech czar and a regulatory czar, among others.

That’s a lot of czars. It looks like the Obama administration is the path to czardom. I just hope that if they ever need a “bacon czar,” they’ll keep me in mind. Because I know bacon.

Fathers’ Day Scripture Ephesians 3:14-15:

I kneel before the Father, from Whom every fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its name.

…We have nothing against gorillas. But baptizing effigies of them is a sacrilege:

This objectionable travesty reminds me…

1)…of my favorite thing that Bl. Columba Marmion, O.S.B. ever wrote:

(I cannot lay my hands on my collected works of Marmion at this moment, so I will paraphrase.)

…[So-and-so] asked me what I thought of the “historical-critical” method of Scriptural interpretation. He maintained that, although it is flawed, it could be ‘baptized.’

You cannot baptize an ape.

2) It also reminds me of the most chilling atmospheric literary device of P.D. James’ novel, Children of Men.

P. D. James
P. D. James
(They made this novel into a terrible movie which bears practically no resemblance to the book.)

Here is the spectacle:

No children have been born for almost twenty years. Society is fraying at the edges. A man stumbles into a country church. A small ceremony is underway. The curate is baptizing a doll.

Turns out the priest does it regularly. It appeases the women who are desperate for the semblances of motherhood. Creepy.

…Speaking of England, Raffy has withdrawn from Wimbledon due to knee problems. There will be no epic re-match in the final…

Laying on of Hands

laying on hands

Aaron shall bring forward the live goat. Laying both hands on its head…he shall then have it led into the desert by an attendant. (Leviticus 16:20-21)

…Also, allow me to point out that “One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” (Hamlet, Act I, scene 5).

no happy faceWhen it comes to fathers, I will take stern over smiley anytime.

Any fathers who would like to spend their day scowling have my full support–especially if the children deserve to be scowled at.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Tough love is true love.