PREPARING FOR A WARGAME
( WITH THE HELP OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE )
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a wargamer
as modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
disguise fair nature with hard favour’d rage.
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect,
let it pry through the portage of the head
like a brass cannon; let the brow o’whelm it
as fearfully as does a galled rock.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
hold hard the breath, and bend up every spirit
to his full height. On, on, you noble wargamer
whose blood is that of fathers who wrote the rules !
Fathers who, like so many Alexanders,
have at these Conventions from morn ‘till even fought,
and pocketed their dice for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers, for did they not sit
whilst those whom you call fathers painted their armies ?
Feel superior to players with troops in other scales,
and teach them how to wargame. And you, good players,
whose hands were made for wargaming, show us here
the mettle of your army; let us swear
that they are worthy of your painting, which I doubt not;
For there are none of them so mean and base
that hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
straining upon the start. The game’s afoot !
Rattle your dice ! And upon the charge
cry ‘God for Scruby! Featherstone! and HG Wells!’