Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Historia resarta

That business about Alfred set me to thinking. There are so many events in history that have been misrepresented. Time, methought, to set the record straight.
It is simply not true, for example, that the Duke of Marlborough came home from the War of the Spanish Succession, grabbed the Duchess by the cheeks of her arse, slid her on like an old sea boot and charvered her on the spot. Apparently he was still in a state of deep melancholy and far too preocuupied trying to work out the grammaticality of "Malbrouk s'en va t'en guerre" to think of ducal nooky.
Nor is it the case, god wot, that King John lost his luggage in the Wash. Recent research revealed that it is still in lost luggage at Luton Airport, along with the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail and bits of Lord Lucan. I mean, if you can't be BOTHERED to claim what is rightfully yours....
"Nemo me impune lacessit"? Nah. King James I of England may have said that. but, coming, as he did from Scotland, where he was already five Jameses ahead of the game as James VI, what he actually meant was "Nobody serves me shit like this and gets away with it", referring of course to his first lunch of Toad in the Hole and Spotted Dick So unlike the Neeps and Tatties and RolyPoly Pudding of his childhood.
Come on, guys, do you really believe that Lord Nelson, already lacking an arm and an eye and other bits discreetly unrecorded, actually looked up as he lay dying and said to his first officer: "Kiss me, Hardy"? No, what he actually said, desperately, was: "It IS me, Hardy!" referring to his concern that, with so many bits missing, nobody would recognise him.
Now, about Robin Hood, I don't want to shatter the illusion of generations of schoolboys who have grown up idealistically on tales of swinging acrobatically through the Greenwood, robbing the rich to give to the poor, and getting a just reward of a tavern feast in the evening, followed by a night of legover bliss with Maid Marian (the last a bit abstract anyway until your voice breaks). So, I will only say that wearing crutch-hugging green tights and wearing your hair in long ringlets was as dodgy then as it is now, unless you happen to live in Brighton. If you get my drift.
No, when you have been to Oxford College and passed all your degrees as I have, you develop an unshakeable respect for the truth.

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