#ASonnetADay – 91. “Some glory in their birth, some in their skill…”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Poetry, Sonnet A Day. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you Fr. Z, this sonnet refreshingly returns to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

    Though, here at Chuck Norris Hall we also enjoy our crenellated battlements, chapel, huge glass windows to survey the realm, and a library filled floor to ceiling with books on falconry.

  2. From Henry V:
    ACT IV SCENE VII. The French camp, near Agincourt:
    Enter the Constable of France, the LORD RAMBURES, ORLEANS, DAUPHIN, with others
    Tut! I have the best armour of the world. Would it were day!
    You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due.
    It is the best horse of Europe.
    Will it never be morning?
    My lord of Orleans, and my lord high constable, you
    talk of horse and armour?
    You are as well provided of both as any prince in the world.
    What a long night is this! I will not change my
    horse with any that treads but on four pasterns.
    Ca, ha! he bounds from the earth, as if his
    entrails were hairs; le cheval volant, the Pegasus,
    chez les narines de feu! When I bestride him, I
    soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth
    sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his
    hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
    He’s of the colour of the nutmeg.
    And of the heat of the ginger. It is a beast for
    Perseus: he is pure air and fire; and the dull
    elements of earth and water never appear in him, but
    only in Patient stillness while his rider mounts
    him: he is indeed a horse; and all other jades you
    may call beasts.
    Indeed, my lord, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.
    It is the prince of palfreys; his neigh is like the
    bidding of a monarch and his countenance enforces homage.
    No more, cousin.
    Nay, the man hath no wit that cannot, from the
    rising of the lark to the lodging of the lamb, vary
    deserved praise on my palfrey: it is a theme as
    fluent as the sea: turn the sands into eloquent
    tongues, and my horse is argument for them all:
    ’tis a subject for a sovereign to reason on, and for
    a sovereign’s sovereign to ride on; and for the
    world, familiar to us and unknown to lay apart
    their particular functions and wonder at him. I
    once writ a sonnet in his praise and began thus:
    ‘Wonder of nature,’–
    I have heard a sonnet begin so to one’s mistress.

    Then did they imitate that which I composed to my
    courser, for my horse is my mistress.
    Your mistress bears well.
    Me well; which is the prescript praise and
    perfection of a good and particular mistress.
    Nay, for methought yesterday your mistress shrewdly
    shook your back.
    So perhaps did yours.
    Mine was not bridled.
    O then belike she was old and gentle; and you rode,
    like a kern of Ireland, your French hose off, and in
    your straight strossers.
    You have good judgment in horsemanship.
    Be warned by me, then: they that ride so and ride
    not warily, fall into foul bogs. I had rather have
    my horse to my mistress.
    I had as lief have my mistress a jade.
    I tell thee, constable, my mistress wears his own hair.
    I could make as true a boast as that, if I had a sow
    to my mistress.
    ‘Le chien est retourne a son propre vomissement, et
    la truie lavee au bourbier;’ thou makest use of any thing.
    Yet do I not use my horse for my mistress, or any
    such proverb so little kin to the purpose.
    My lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tent
    to-night, are those stars or suns upon it?
    Stars, my lord.
    Some of them will fall to-morrow, I hope.
    And yet my sky shall not want.
    That may be, for you bear a many superfluously, and
    ’twere more honour some were away.
    Even as your horse bears your praises; who would
    trot as well, were some of your brags dismounted.
    Would I were able to load him with his desert! Will
    it never be day? I will trot to-morrow a mile, and
    my way shall be paved with English faces.
    I will not say so, for fear I should be faced out of
    my way: but I would it were morning; for I would
    fain be about the ears of the English.
    Who will go to hazard with me for twenty prisoners?
    You must first go yourself to hazard, ere you have them.
    ‘Tis midnight; I’ll go arm myself.

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    CONSTABLE. Then shall we find to-morrow they have only stomachs
    to eat, and none to fight. Now is it time to arm. Come, shall we
    about it?

    ORLEANS. It is now two o’clock; but let me see- by ten
    We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.

    End Act III, Scene 7.

    Act IV Prologue


    Proud of their numbers and secure in soul,
    The confident and over-lusty French

    The poor condemned English,
    Like sacrifices, by their watchful fires
    Sit patiently and inly ruminate
    The morning’s danger; and their gesture sad
    Investing lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats
    Presenteth them unto the gazing moon
    So many horrid ghosts. O, now, who will behold
    The royal captain of this ruin’d band
    Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
    Let him cry ‘Praise and glory on his head!’
    For forth he goes and visits all his host;
    Bids them good morrow with a modest smile,
    And calls them brothers, friends, and countrymen.
    Upon his royal face there is no note
    How dread an army hath enrounded him.

  4. […]

    With cheerful semblance and sweet majesty;
    That every wretch, pining and pale before,
    Beholding him, plucks comfort from his looks:
    A largess universal like the sun
    His liberal eye doth give to every one,
    Thawing cold fear, that mean and gentle all,
    Behold, as may unworthiness define,
    A little touch of Harry in the night.


Comments are closed.