Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Dreams of Kings

The dreams of kings are not the dreams of other men. They are susceptible to visions, in which the figures of their ancestors come to speak to them of war, vengeance, law, and power. Dead kings visit them: they say, 'Do you know us, Henry? We know you.' There are places in the realm where battles have been fought, places where, the wind in a certain direction, the moon waning, the night obscure, you can hear the thunder of hooves and the creak of harness and the screams of the slain; and if you creep close–if you were thin air, suppose you were spirit who could slide between blades of grass– then you would hear the aspirations of the dying, you would hear them cry to God for mercy. And all these, the souls of England, cry to me, the king tells him, to me and every king; each king carries the crimes of other kings, and the need for restitution rolls forward down the years.

–Hilary Mantel, The Mirror & the Light

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