Thursday, April 5, 2007

Honour Satisfied ?

Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men, We always are ready,
Steady, boys, steady, We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again!
. . .
We'll still make 'em run, and we'll still make 'em sweat, In spite of the Devil and
Brussels Gazette, Then cheer up my lads, with one heart let us sing, Our Soldiers, our Sailors, our Statesmen, and King.

“Heart of Oak” (march of the Royal Navy of Great Britain)
The lyrics were written by David Garrick, an actor (1716-1779) in 1759, the melody by Dr. William Boyce (1711-1779). There are many versions of the lyrics, the text quoted above
appears to date from the Napoleonic period.

Adrian Hamilton, writing in The Independent says correctly, than Iran has won this little hostage crisis it stirred up with the British on points. Less credibly, he says that "honour has been satisfied, or, at least, dishonour avoided."

(As an aside, I do like the British spelling of "honour" and often use it, preferring it to that Yankee Noah Webster's version with the dropped letter "u." But that's another story).
Returning to Mr. Hamilton, I fail to see how he finds "honour satisfied" with the illegally detained captives thanking the Iranians, and telling them that "[y]our people have been really kind to us" and that "[w]e are grateful for your forgiveness." I could have somewhat accepted statements extracted under duress -- followed by rapid repudiation of said statments once out of Iranian control, but I find the lack of official outrage astounding.
Nelson, Howe, Cochrane and Churchill's ghosts are rolling in their graves or having apolexy someplace. This is not the spirit for which the Royal Navy of old was known. What has happened to the British ?
ADDENDUM (7 April). Marina Hyde's discussion of this matter in the Guardian online is worth reading.

1 comment:

louielouie said...

i liked they way the brits pronounce "schedule", or at least i did. i'm tending to prefer the aussie dialect of late.

EJM I stated:
but I find the lack of official outrage astounding.

excellency, i believe the word you are looking for is "dhimmitude".