He didn’t say he was a jelly doughnut, but President Obama wasn’t quite up to snuff during his visit to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night. First, there was the matter of his talking over “God Save the Queen” during his toast to Queen Elizabeth II, and then, as New York Post film critic Kyle Smith argued Wednesday on his own blog, a reference he made to England from Shakespeare’s “Richard II” as he raised his glass was not complimentary in the original text.
Or was it? Fans of iambic pentameter, click on the link below and decide for yourselves.
The famous quotation from “Richard II” — “this scepter’d isle, this blessed plot, this Earth, this realm, this England” — used to be used in an airline commercial. It was foolishly misused then as it was by Obama. ... The “Richard II” mistake is worse than these — because that John of Gaunt speech is a huge slam on England of the day. The whole point of the speech is that England’s glory days (as of the 14th century, when the play is set!) are long past and what’s left is a wasteland. Moreover, Gaunt says this at the end of the very same (long) sentence people are always quoting as a tribute to the magnificence of that “precious stone set in the silver sea.”