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