Becket

Insights I have gleaned from attempting to reread Becket in the original

In English, Henry is a tennis enthusiast, but en français, he plays (among other things) cricket:

Becket. ... My prince, when you play tennis, do you simply sit back and let things work out. Do you wait for the ball to hit your racket and say "It's bound to come this way eventually"?

King. Ah, now just a minute. You're talking about things that matter. A game of tennis is important, it amuses me.

Becket. And suppose I were to tell you that governing can be as amusing as a game of tennis? Are we going to let the others smash the ball into our court, my prince, or shall we try to score a point, both of us, like two good English sportsmen?

King. (Suddenly roused by his sporting instinct) The point, Begod, the point! You're right! On the court, I sweat and strain, I fall over my feet, I half kill myself, I'll cheat if need be, but I never give up the point!

Translated by Lucienne Hill


Becket. ... Mon prince, quant vous jouez à la paume ou à la crosse, laissez-vous les choses s'arranger? Attendez-vous la balle dans votre raquette en disant : « Elle finira bien par venir? »

Le roi. Je t'arrête. Il s'agit là de choses sérieuses. Une partie de paume c'est important, ça m'amuse.

Becket. Et si je vous apprenais que gouverner cela peut être aussi amusant qu'une partie de cricket? Allons-nous laisser la balle aux autres, mon prince, ou allons-nous tâcher de marquer le point tous les deux, comme deux bons joueurs anglais?

Le roi, réveillé soudain par l'intérêt sportif. Le point, pardieu, le point! Au mail, je me creve, je tombe, je me désosse, je triche au besoin, mais je n'abandonne jamais le point!

I find this unutterably adorable for some reason. Probably because I learned everything I know about cricket from P.G. Wodehouse, Dorothy Sayers, and Douglas Adams. If I could draw, I would spam you all with pictures of Henry and Thomas playing cricket.
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It is! It is very, very silly. Of course, this would suit Henry very well, as he is deeply frivolous being. :D