There can be no more dignity than this: knowing that you must die, and dying nonetheless.
He lacked that courage, my oathkeeping husband. He dared great deeds and terrible, dared a decade of travail and an ocean of war, but lacked the pure courage to sit in a bath and reckon the debt he had pending. Clever, we are all clever, and brave, brave to face a litany of ships, an anatomy of war; eyes pendulous on piercing spears, skin dragged raw and gone in a circuit of a foreign city. Brave that way, to trust the gods, to dare them, to throw himself again and again against the stones of an alien shore. That scant share of belly he had, that scant portion they had in common. But to sit patient against the uncertain judgement of an ecclesiastic court? No.
King’s son, when would he have learned that particular daring? Bred to prick the heaving sides of chargers, born to lash impatient the brazen rise of chariots, who would have grafted that virtue into his blood? No.
Unknowing, but heavy with blood, with kin’s blood, cauled with guilt, he needed no courage. Naked as he was born, wrapped in swaddling nets, he spread his heart for me, and I entered in.
He lacked courage to face his fit judgement. I do not. Let men and gods judge; that is no less than we, all of us, poor clay, deserve.