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September 22, 2023

Once More Unto the Breach

Children’s book of ‘Henry V’ inspires

Walking around H’burg, specifically Veterans Memorial Beach Park, I happened to notice a little book on a picnic table.

It’s not every day that one sees a book on Henry V left behind. Especially a children’s book describing a king from William Shakespeare’s 1599 play. 

The beach and the park were relatively uncrowded. I counted six people mid-morning. The river is not dammed-up because the Russian River’s flow is too light to support a freshwater swimming pond. 

Consequently, the sandy beach that is annually bulldozed into place remains a steep downhill to the river’s edge. 

Nonetheless, beach and park are heavily used on weekends with family gatherings, picnics, barbecues, and apparently summer reading. Nice to know that one young person’s summer reading includes classical history.

Fun facts: Henry V was born in 1386, lived 36 years and reigned nine; England became a great power, laying siege to Paris, ending the 100 Year War; at the Battle of Agincourt, Henry’s forces

were outnumbered 3:1; heavily armored French calvary (tanks of the day) bogged down in wet

fields and fell to Henry’s long-bow archers (a new technology equipping 80% of the

English army).

Henry is immortalized by Shakespeare speaking solemn words of encouragement: “we few, we happy, we band of brothers.” Shakespeare coined words and phrases like a mint. 

Credited with over 1,700 new words, here are some by Shakespeare: aerial, amazement, apostrophe, assassination, auspicious, bandit, bloody, bump, clangor, compromise, courtship,

critic, dawn, dexterously, dishearten, dislocate, dwindle, eventful, exposure, eyeball, fitful,

flawed, gloomy, hurry, impartial, lackluster, laughable, lonely, majestic, monumental,

multitudinous, obscene, perusal, pious, premeditated, radiance, road, sanctimonious, seamy,


Shakespearean phrases you might recognize: Knock, knock, who’s there; heart of

gold; full circle; not slept a wink; come what may; laughing stock; green-eyed monster; fight fire

with fire; bated breath; good riddance; the game is up; faint hearted; vanish into thin air; the

world is my oyster; in a pickle; a sorry sight; a piece of work; break the ice.

“We few, we happy, we band of brothers…”


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