By the hairy balls of Jesus!

Watching the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall last night, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed the book and one line in particular prompted a big smile of recognition. For all the novel’s historical insight and deftly woven plot lines, it was the Duke of Norfolk’s frustrated ejaculation that stayed with me:

“Oh, by the thrice-beshitten shroud of Lazarus!”

Was there ever written such a perfectly worded oath?

Elsewhere in the novel, I seem to recall someone else exclaiming:

“By the hairy balls of Jesus”

Is it sad that these are the lines that I remember best, and not those spoken at the important moments in history that the book covers?

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