Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king’s

richard iii

Battle of Bosworth (in Blackpool Town Hall)

One year ago today and it was confirmed that bones discovered in a Leicester car park were those of Richard III.  Was he a monster, as portrayed by writers throughout history?  Or was he much maligned with a story shaped by the political convenience of the time?  Here’s a view with thanks to Shakespeare for borrowed quotations within the poem, some altered to fit the context.


No Chance to Live So Long

In this our winter of discontent
it’s been confirmed.
In battle slain, in death uncrowned
the king’s been found.
Beneath a Leicester car-park site
the scoliotic bones of crookback Dick
have come to light.

No horse, a kingdom lost and then a life.
A mutilated body,
pierced by spear, dagger, sword and knife,
un-kingly dragged from Bosworth field,
sealed un-coffined in a simple earthy grave,
in Greyfriars church he lay.
So wise, so young they say
do rarely live so long.

The Tudors took the chance to spin
and weave a tale that much maligned
that hunchback king.
They went to every length
to desecrate that tower of strength,
the last of House of York,
Richard, crookback Dick, the third.
They spread the word.
Two princes in the tower dead.
Off with his head!
His evil deeds,
the twists and turns that history believed.
How much is history really worth?
The world had grown so bad
that wrens made prey
where eagles dared not perch.

Conscience is a word that cowards use
devised at first to keep the strong in awe.
But history has a conscience too
and truth will out
the inconvenient truth that will reveal
that what we once believed
we can believe no more.
Richard the Third,
no longer much maligned,
will now be nobly re-interred,
consigned to lie within a holy place
fitting for a king to grace.
A king so wise, so young
who had no chance to live so long.

4th February 2013 – headlines from the BBC

Notes:  “Richard III dig: DNA confirms bones are king’s”.  A skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park has been confirmed as that of English king Richard III.  Experts from the University of Leicester said DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the monarch’s family.  Lead archaeologist Richard Buckley, from the University of Leicester, told a press conference to applause: “Beyond reasonable doubt it’s Richard.”  Richard, killed in battle in 1485, will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral.



London school bans ‘urban’ slang words

Slang (Def Leppard song)

Slang (Def Leppard song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English evolves, has evolved and will continue to evolve.  It’s only relatively recently for example that spelling was standardised.  Go back to Shakespeare’s time and there would not have been such strictures, and probably just as rich a vocabulary of urban slang of the time.  I suppose the debate is on the importance of tiered English, the richness of the formal, the roughness of the slang (or even vice-versa).


Basically yeah

“Basically, Smith major, don’t start a sentence with ‘basically’, yeah.
And, basically, (note it’s in the second position)
don’t end it with a preposition
and don’t end it with ‘yeah’, yeah.”

“So basically, yeah, it rules like this?”

“Smith major, stop taking the piss.
It ain’t cool in this school,
like cool’s not what rules.
Sup blud, do ye nay ken?
I’ll say it again.
Basically, yeah, it ain’t proper, like,
coz that ain’t wot we woz taught.
Down the hood you can talk
however you like
but here take a hike,
get on yer bike
coz it ain’t the sort of English we like.”

“Wotever.  Chill, man,
far out, cosmic, no need to get aggie.
I’m kerouacked and that’s a fact.
Basically, yeah, it’s all an act,
gotta get the lingo cracked.
I’ve dropped a clanger, yeah.
Wot a wanger, yeah,
but, like, with urban slang, I’m yer man.
Bare clear innit,
if you ain’t in it yer out,
yer not there
and, basically, that ain’t my shout, yeah.”


15th October 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  “London school bans ‘urban’ slang words.”  An academy school in south London has banned its students from using slang words and phrases like “bare”, “innit” and “we woz” in an attempt to improve standards of English and clamp down on the use of urban slang.  The school appears to have erected signs that list words which are now banned. They include ‘coz’, ‘aint’, ‘like’ and ‘extra’.  Students are now also barred from starting sentences with the word ‘Basically’ and ending them with ‘Yeah’.  The school’s decision has come under heated and offensive attacks from other users of the Twitter social media site with a user alleging that the Academy was a “white supremacist project with government funding and control of children”