Oh Hal, always a chancer, always masked
In youthful wildness, elder kingship’s state
Who found him challenges that lay unasked
And conquered all the world as his estate.
At thirty-six he took the English throne
At forty-five they crowned him King of France
By sixty, Emperor of all lands known
He’d swept all Europe up into his chance.
He never loved his father or his sons.
He managed men, he managed lands and wars
With swords and longbows, later ships and guns
With laughing common touch that built his cause.
And always tricks, to win, to fight, to play,
Wipe out his foes, and send his friends away.
5th May 2010
(I wrote this after watching the 1960 Shakespeare Age of Kings too many times. It could be worse, I could easily have written an entire novel. And here’s my review of the play…)