Richard II's last speech in Act V muses on lack of contentment in the
The former king, in philosophical mood, says that believing people,
whom he calls "the better sort" are also denied inner peace by apparently
contradictory Bible texts which "set the word itself against the word".
Then Richard quotes Christ's invitation for all to come to him and sets it
against against this versified New Testament text:
"It is as hard to come as for a camel,
To thread the postern of a small needle's eye'.
Richard considers the waste of ambition which plots "unlikely
wonders", vain things beyond our powers and abilities. He sees
that "vain weak nails" cannot tear a passage through "the flinty ribs of
this hard world". Because they fail, these over ambitious dreamers
"die in their own pride".
How true it is that this fallen world is "flinty" and that
the ambitious and foolish dream vain dreams, not taking into account
the intractable nature of life. Shakespeare's implication is that their
dreams come to nothing, partly because of their own blind vanity.
Shakespeare knows that that only Love (loyal eros or agape)
which comes from God and not "vain nails", can tear down the
hard prison walls of life.
We experienced such a moment, coming out of prayers, last night
at Sevenoaks Church, which seemed to break through the "flint" of life:
The American "Moody Bible Institute Choir", comprising 50 future
US church musicians singing a capella, held hands, but not in a
sentimental way, while standing in a circle around the congregation
and sang (to them) John Rutter's "The Lord Bless you and keep you".
Church people from Kent, who also know only too well the "flint" of life,
stood and wept.