2016: an invigorating walk up and around Cumnor Hill ( Oxfordshire) was so energising that when I got back I poured myself a glass of champagne, added some orange juice and sat down at my newly decluttered desk to watch again Tom Hiddleston play Henry V (Harry) in the BBC’s marvellous Hollow Crown series. Meanwhile,in Dublin, the first shots in the 1916 Easter Rising are being remembered on Irish television. Within a few days, the ring leaders would be shot and their coffinless bodies buried in lime.
Would that Harry had been on the rebels’ side in 1916: they might then not have been executed with such haste: “Use them with mercy” Henry V instructed his soldiers of the citizens of Harfleur after he had taken the port by force. Though that compassion may have been Shakespeare’s and not that of the real Henry V.