A Monarch’s Responsibilities

History is a vast and incomprehensible mystery to me in many ways. We have facts about things that have happened in the past – we have dates, records of events, paintings reproducing the faces involved in those events, poems and diaries devoted to giving opinions and preserving what happened in a biased manner. We have all these things. Mystery, to some people, seems like a wide-open book, its contents there for us to look through, sift for what interests us, and indulge ourselves in knowledge of old.

I don’t feel this way. In my opinion, history is full of so much that we don’t know and so much that I wish I could know. True, we know when Martin Luther began to speak and write about his emotions about being a monk and part of the Catholic Church. In his instance, we can find quite a lot of emotional and sentimental writings from his own pen, or maybe quill, and we can see into his mind, as far as he lets us.

But what about others? What about the farmers and the spinners and the dye-makers that England had in such profusion in the sixteenth century? What were the children running barefoot through the streets of London, so much smaller than it is today, thinking? What games were they playing? What was the man smuggling illegal documents from Europe into the English Empire thinking as he worked? Was he scared for his life or merely waiting to get paid so he could go home to his wife and child? What were the nuns, sequestered in their cloisters, talking about? How did they speak to their young students, and how did they infuse them with a love and a belief for the divine? Through fear? Through love? Through simply offering worship as a fact of life?

And if these so-called simple people’s lives aren’t interesting enough for historians to dwell on – well then, what about the monarchs? How could Henry VIII hold such power in his hands and play with it so lightly at times? What did Katherine of Aragon feel as she was condemned? We can guess, surely, but how can we know? What of Elizabeth? How did she feel when she was sought after for marriage through the years? Did she decide on her own to remain a single ruler in order to maintain a stable throne? Did she, perhaps, not find men pleasing in the manner she would have been expected to? Had she fallen in love with someone who never returned her love or never could?

It’s bad enough, thinking of the power that politicians and governments hold today. At least it’s distributed power, and is more or less given by the people. But monarchs… They were born. Some of them believed they were chosen by divinity to be kings or queens. They held so much power in their cupped hands, that they’d let some of it run through their fingers to those sitting at their feet, just waiting for a pearl or jewel to drop from those mighty hands. I can’t imagine how such responsibility could be held without driving the holder mad with indecision, worry, guilt. Such are the things that the annals of history can’t reveal to us. Thoughts, emotions, private sighs of elation or grief.

From My Notebook

The title of this post could alternately be “What I Do At Work.” Meaning, I often do a lot more than answer calls and explain the inner-workings of credit limits during the hours sitting at a computer with a headset murdering my ear. I have a notebook, currently a sweet red one, that I keep with me at all times in my backpack. This notebook is a constant companion as I sit and work, and whenever I can, I scribble in it. Oftentimes, I’m just rambling about nonsense. At other times, I’m actually trying to write something of substance – a well phrased thought or a story, say. Today was one of those times when I was struck with a concept, and I started writing it. However, unlike other times, I ran out of what to do with it very quickly. I’d still like to put it down here, if only for future reference; in case I happen to think of how to continue it one day. And so, I present the following, copied from my very own hand-writing:

Corinne was dreaming again. She often dreamt, but normally didn’t remember her dreams. This was different, though.

She dreamt she was dressed in an elegant and very sheer white cloth. It was fastened over one shoulder with a golden clasp, leaving her other shoulder bare. On her head rested a crown, a delicate one, almost a tiara really, that was also made of gold. Corinne dreamt she was in a large and airy white building. There weren’t any walls, only many columns holding the roof up.

As she dreamt, she knew without a doubt that she was in a temple, and knew with even more certainty that she was a goddess. Which temple, which goddess – these were mysteries that didn’t seem to matter at that moment.

In her dream-world, she looked about her, trying to find either peers or subjects, but the temple was utterly empty. She was standing on a dais at one end of it, and had a good view of the whole space, so she had no doubt that she really was alone. With the same strange knowledge that told her she was a goddess, she knew also that she wouldn’t remain alone, nor the temple remain empty, for much longer.

She was right, and very soon, the temple filled.

This is as far as I’d gotten before my inspiration ran dry. I hate when that happens, but perhaps one day I’ll figure out if this leads to anything, and, if so, what it leads to. This is one of the things I’m learning as I go along – I discard many of my ideas, but I may come back to them, so I’m better safe than sorry by writing down the silliest of them even if it leads to naught.