St George’s Day, and the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death

I note that today is St George’s Day (the Patron Saint of England) and also the 400th anniversary of the death of arguably the most significant writer in the English language, William Shakespeare. It was the great bard who penned the famous cry to this saint in the Battle of Agincourt speech in his play Henry V:  “Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'”

St. George was a Roman soldier who was killed for not recanting his Christian faith. Somewhere along this line a myth grew up around him that he killed a dragon and this is how we generally know him in the UK, and how he is almost exclusively portrayed.

Now, fast forward to 2016 and where many jingoistic groups have relatively recently sprung up in the UK, to support those smouldering hate-filled organizations  who have been around since the early 20th century, and all of whom hide behind a falsehood of National Pride. These groups often associate themselves with the St. George Cross and use terms such as Keep Britain British and other meaningless rhetoric.

How ironic that a Christian Roman soldier, with no known association to England should be used to support the vitriolic hate speech and scare mongering that has been spread throughout the nation regarding immigration and has, to a large extent, driven the country to consider leaving the European Union based on such rhetoric rather than simple facts.

I wonder what the bard would have made of this?

160423_StGeorgesDay
St. George by Raphael

~Richard

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