Shakespeare, Saturn in Sagittarius

Shakespeare, Saturn in Sagittarius

    “I’m a — insert sign here — what does Saturn in Sagittarius mean to me?”

Time for some Shakespeare!

One of the earlier plays, possibly a collaboration with other dramatists, with the plays now officially part of the recognized canon, Henry 6, pt. 1 is about English Royals bickering, and failing to support the military at war in France.

Shakespeare, Saturn in Sagittarius

I was listening to an audio version, and the English hero, Talbot, has this exchange with his son, pieces of Act IV.

Listening to it over, I realized that there were elements of nobility and chivalry as the son begs to trade places with the father. Surrounded and outnumbered, the father tells the son to flee, and the son replies:

Then let me stay, and, father, do you fly.
Your loss is great, so your regard should be;
My worth unknown, no loss is known in me.
Upon my death the French can little boast;
In yours they will, in you all hopes are lost.
Flight cannot stain the honor you have won,
But mine it will, that no exploit have done.
You fled for vantage, every one will swear;
But if I bow, they’ll say it was for fear.
There is no hope that ever I will stay,
If the first hour I shrink and run away.
Here on my knee I beg mortality,
Rather than life preserv’d with infamy.

    John Talbot in Shakespeare’s Henry 6 pt. 1 4.5.22-

Spoiler alert: they all wind up dead, side by side.

Shakespeare, Saturn in Sagittarius

In the last couple of years, I have a standing invitation from Austin’s own Nature’s Treasures to do readings, as an on-site “practitioner,” as it were.

In prior years, I used the train to get back and forth, but that’s hugely incovenient as it runs once a day, and Nature’s Treausures isn’t walking distance from the train station like the old trailer park. Faced with a commute that lasts between 45 minutes and 3 hours, depending on traffic, I set a goal of listening to all of the plays, all the way through, because, well, how else would I ever get around to listening, readings or even studying plays like those early Henry 6 “historical” bits?

In that audio version, the elder, Lord Talbot, is clearly read by an older man’s voice, and the sadness of possibly losing a son in battle comes through. Then, too, the voice for the son is young, almost child-like. Might’ve been read by a female, I’m not sure.

The words rang true, clear, evocative, and this isn’t the first time I’ve listened to the play. There’s magic and myth in the story, and then the great Lord Talbot, eventually, he’s surrounded by the French, an earlier ally turns on him, and that’s the end of the great general. Son, too.

It’s a play not often performed, nor, for that matter, are there many recorded performances, not easy to find on video, in any format. The text is uneven. Not long ago, I listend to Marlowe’s Henry II, then Shakespeare’s apocryphal Henry III, and then started on that Henry 6, pt. 1.

    Shakespeare’s early (and apocryphal) Henry III bears strong lyrical resemblances to his later work on Henry V.

There was a very Saturn moment as the father/son interchange came through the earbuds. The sheer eloquence and force of the words, pretty language, noble sentiments, and yet, faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, as the French forces suddenly outnumber the plucky Brits?

The father, trying to save his son, while his son, with true nobility, refusing to run away to save himself. Sacrifice. Saturn usually gets a personal sacrifice like that.

Not long ago, I used the opening passage from that play to introduce the horoscopes, that shows how the play builds on Henry V, not the Henry V of the movies, but the historical one.

In Act 5?

“I trust the ghost of Talbot is not there.
Now he is gone, my lord, you need not fear.”

    Duke of Burgundy in Shakespeare’s Henry 6 pt. 1 (V.ii.16-7)

Shakespeare, Saturn in Sagittarius

Like Talbot’s ghost? Saturn? It’s possible to find temporary relief, but there’s that haunting image of Saturn, rings and all, in the background. Ask the Duke of Burgundy, later in the series.

Chart Sep 17 2015

Chart Sep 17 2015

Saturn in Sagittarius, previously mentioned.
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