April 23rd is St. George’s Day, a day to celebrate the patron saint of England. St. George is best known for his slaying of the dragon on a Berkshire hilltop, and it is said the grass never grows where the dragon’s blood flowed.
St. George became the Patron Saint of England when King Edward III formed the Order of the Garter in St. George’s name in 1350, and Shakespeare later immortalized him in his play, Henry V, with the title character’s pre-battle speech including the infamous line, “Cry God for Harry, England and St. George!”
Even though I now live in the US, I am proud to be English, and proud to recognize St. George’s cross, especially today. As an author, I also love the many masterful words written over the centuries recognizing St. George, and England. From Shakespeare, who shares both his date of birth and date of death with St. George’s Day, to William Blake’s Jerusalem, England’s unofficial anthem, to Wordsworth’s Daffodils. The list of literary genius is endless, but I’m finishing with these words of Brian Patten’s True Dragon.
Let’s celebrate St George’s Day,
The dragon in repose,
The brilliant lark ascending,
The yew, the oak, the rose.