Henry V and Old Soldiers

You know the type; been there, done that, and very glad to tell you about it. Especially about what they did in the war.

I’ve always found that more unsolicited talk equals less real action because those who have really done it don’t like to brag. They have no need to.

I’m attempting to read the complete works of Shakespeare in lieu of walking the Kokoda Trail, and I came across this passage in Henry V, that describes perfectly the above:


Why, ’tis a gull, a fool, a rogue, that now and then goes to the wars, to grace himself at his return into London under the form of a soldier.

And such fellows are perfect in the great commanders’ names: and they will learn you by rote where services were done; at such and such a sconce, at such a breach, at such a convoy;

who came off bravely, who was shot, who disgraced, what terms the enemy stood on;

and this they con perfectly in the phrase of war, which they trick up with new-tuned oaths:

and what a beard of the general’s cut and a horrid suit of the camp will do among foaming bottles and ale-washed wits, is wonderful to be thought on.

But you must learn to know such slanders of the age, or else you may be marvellously mistook.

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