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The idylls of the king


It is fascinating, how they found the bones of England's King Richard III. The story is a history fan's dream.

It will be interesting to see if this discovery leads to other discoveries. Was Richard the villain portrayed in Shakespeare's "Richard III"? Or was he framed for the murder of the princes in the tower?

Whatever your opinion you may glory in the sheer beauty of the writing of G.K. Chesterton, describing this mysterious monarch. If you do not have time to read the entire passage, find a break in your day to savor the ending:

...Whatever else may have been bad or good about Richard of Gloucester, there was a touch about him which makes him truly the last of the mediaeval kings. It is expressed in the one word which he cried aloud as he struck down foe after foe in the last charge at Bosworth—treason. For him, as for the first Norman kings, treason was the same as treachery; and in this case at least it was the same as treachery. When his nobles deserted him before the battle, he did not regard it as a new political combination, but as the sin of false friends and faithless servants. Using his own voice like the trumpet of a herald, he challenged his rival to a fight as personal as that of two paladins of Charlemagne. His rival did not reply, and was not likely to reply. The modern world had begun. The call echoed unanswered down the ages; for since that day no English king has fought after that fashion. Having slain many, he was himself slain and his diminished force destroyed. So ended the war of the usurpers; and the last and most doubtful of all the usurpers, a wanderer from the Welsh marches, a knight from nowhere, found the crown of England under a bush of thorn.

Isn't that beautiful? A Buffalo priest, Father John Mack, posted a link to this passage on Facebook this morning. That last sentence, the rising and falling of the words, gives me chills. It is true: after the battle, Richard's crown was found under a thorn bush.

It is a gift to be able to put history in perspective so gracefully that it is a joy to read.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman


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