This is about the discovery of the body of Richard III.
Excerpts from with Japanese translation.



Richard III

Richard Plantagenet, England’s most controversial king, was officially rediscovered on February 4th




Feb 9th 2013 |From the print edition

NO VIPER, toad or hedgehog; no unformed bear-whelp, or lump of foul deformity. Instead, the man dug up from the car park of Leicester Social Services in September had, for the most part, an ordinary shape. His height was a little above average for the time when he had lived. His limbs were regular and delicate—almost feminine, the scientists said. Pace Shakespeare, there was no withered arm. There was, however, a severely sideways-twisted spine, the result of scoliosis that had probably emerged in adolescence. It would have put one shoulder higher than the other, making him stand shorter than he was. He might have needed extra cushions in his chairs, and extra tugs when putting on those robes of green velvet and crimson cloth of gold so lovingly detailed in his orders to the Wardrobe. But then a king would get that sort of help anyway.


Image: Wikipedia
The earliest surviving portrait of Richard (c. 1520, after a lost original), formerly belonging to the Paston family
(Society of Antiquaries, London)

The body now identified as Richard (give or take the last layers of DNA testing) was found beneath the choir of the vanished Grey Friars, the Franciscan priory in Leicester. An honourable place, but hardly good enough for a king, and the work was done hastily: the grave dug too short for the body and the body itself crammed in without shroud or coffin, with its hands bound in front of its privates. The skull, when found, was open-mouthed, as if it still yelled “Treason! Treason!” When you lose a battle, as he had just lost Bosworth, on August 22nd 1485, to Henry Tudor, that is how you end. The body was battered. The face, however, was kept intact, to show the people he was dead. It has now been reconstructed: younger-looking than its 32 years, smooth with fresh paint and plastic and, in an odd way, innocent.


His supporters hope this new Richard can come to replace the old. Time to focus on the loyal brother, the brave soldier, the highly competent administrator of the north of England, the pounder of the Scots; time to remember the man who brought in special courts to hear the complaints of the poor, who abolished “benevolences” (taxes, unvoted by Parliament, disguised as gifts to the king) and who banned any curbs on the new art of printing. And time to bury deep the accused murderer of Henry VI, Henry’s son Edward, George Duke of Clarence, Lord Hastings and his own two pathetic nephews, the princes in the Tower: the crook-backed, leering, strawberry-fancying villain of Polydore Vergil, Thomas More, Shakespeare and Laurence Olivier, dragging his spider-body round and round the stage of history.


To a large degree, though, the man who was Richard III has already been uncovered. He has been found in his books, most of them second-hand and well-thumbed: “The Guidance of Princes”, Wycliffe’s New Testament, “The Art of War”, stock romances. In these he wrote his name and, sometimes, the motto tant le desiree, “I’ve wanted it so much”. (The crown, perhaps?) On the calendar page of his book of hours he carefully wrote in his name, birthplace and birth-year against October 2nd, his birthday. This was a man who spent the Christmas of 1484 over-partying, and who liked to appear in a sea of silk banners of his own device, the white boar; but who also had a particular devotion to St Anthony the Hermit, patron of those who struggled against the sins of the flesh. Compared with his hedonistic, amorous brother, Edward IV, there was a moral strictness, almost prudishness, about Richard, much emphasised by him when in 1483 he made his risky lunge for the throne.

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Image: Wikipedia
“Loyalty binds me”
Motto of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester

だが、リチャード三世という男は、すでにかなり明らかにされてきており、リチャードの本に見ることができる。そのほとんどが古本や手垢がついているが。「The Guidance of Princes」、ウィクリフの新約聖書、「The Art of War」、平凡な恋愛ものなどだ。これらの本に、自分の名前や、時には、モットーであるtant le desiree「それがとても欲しかった」(王冠、かな?)と走り書きしている。時祷書の暦のページには、名前、出生地、10月2日の誕生日ではなく誕生年を注意深く書いている。1484年のクリスマスをばか騒ぎして過ごし、自身で考案した白イノシシのシルクのバナーで登場することを好み、しかし、また、不貞の罪に苦しむ者の守護聖人、隠者聖アントニウスに特に傾倒してもいた。快楽主義の好色な兄エドワード四世に比べ、リチャードには道徳的な厳格性、ほとんど過度に控え目なところがあり、1483年に王権を奪う時に、リチャード自身がそれを強調した。




Act 1, Scene 1, London, A street


I grant ye.


Dost grant me, hedgehog? then, God grant me too
Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!
O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous!


The fitter for the King of heaven, that hath him.

[This is exactly what Richard, Duke of Gloucester/King Richard III accomplishes in Richard III.  In Richard’s life he does not only move from deformed “hedgehog” to husband, but from “beast” to King. ]  [Richard’s first conquest by seduction was Lady Anne.  In the passage where Anne accused Gloucter of being the cause of her husband’s death (I.ii.120-21), Gloucter replies not denying that he was the agent that caused the death.]   Excerpts from Free Richard III Essays

According to the Ribner-Kittredge edition of Shakespeare’s works “In medieval iconography strawberries were conventional symbols of treachery, since they were usually depicted hiding an adder.”

George Lyman Kittredge/Irving Ribner版「The complete works of Shakespeare シェークスピア全集」によると、『中世図像学では、イチゴは伝統的に背信の象徴だった。それは、イチゴは大抵ヘビを隠すように描かれていたからだ。』

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