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« Relics | Main | Christmas Vigil »

October 25, 2008

St. Crispin's Day

St. Crispin's Day, in the eighth year of King Richard II 

Martyrdom_of_SS_Crispin_and_Crispinian (detail)[1] Today is the holy day of that most venerated of Crispins. Not me, of course. An ancient Crispin with his own toils and troubles. I was named for him. Perhaps it isn't the wisest course shackling a child with such a history. But I can little argue the point of it now.

I hoist a bowl of wine to him and to his brother Saint Crispinian. They were cobblers, plying their honest trade under the rule of the pagan Diocletian. Hard-working men whose faith destroyed them. Ah yes. A man can well be undone by his faith, whether that faith is in God or in others whom he trusts.

And yet, do I dare utter my own name in the company of martyrs? Jack would have a fit. No, I am no martyr. My trial was fair and forthright. My surviving it a mere happenstance of Fate. Or by the humor of the Almighty. Saint Crispin's faith was in God, a God he trusted to keep him from harm, if not in this life, then in the next. My faith was in the untrustworthy embrace of myself. I was so subdued by my own worthiness to decide the fate of not only myself but of England, that I soon found myself at the flogging block. And did I not deserve it? Very much unlike the Crispin of old whose faith was, no doubt, rewarded.

Strange that in my trials I did not call out to that holier Crispin when his more earthly descendant suffered as greatly. But I did not call out to him nor to God. I got what I deserved, as far as that goes. 

Yet now, when I rise each morning under a sun winking through a putrid cloud, I begin to wonder if I should not have begged their indulgence. Perhaps I would be dead now in an unmarked grave. Which fate is better? The one imagined or the one lived?   

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