October 25, 2013

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers." October 25th: St. Crispin's Day


This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at October 25, 2013 10:10 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I can attest: there are still such men right now. I was fortunate to see it in Our Own Band of Brothers: 1/506 Infantry. A speech not delivered by a King, but a tough old NCO. The words were rougher and the speech was shorter, but the effect was the same. I know that right now. Right Now, a man is giving that speech to his soldiers on a freezing hilltop in Afghanistan with different words in a strange place with the same spirit and the same effect. America has kings, but they don't wear a crown; they wear bars and stripes, body armor and night vision goggles. Any American fighting tonight is brother to King Henry and his.

Posted by: Gray at October 25, 2013 11:15 PM

To Gray: Yes, indeed.
In my humble view the proliferation of Vietnam wanna-be heroes that sprung up after the war was over was testament to Shakespeare's phrase "Shall think themselves accursed they were not here".

Posted by: Lazarus Long at October 26, 2013 7:10 AM

And so say we all, Gray.

Posted by: vanderleun at October 26, 2013 8:21 AM

"... the proliferation of Vietnam wanna-be heroes that sprung up after the war was over was testament to Shakespeare's phrase "Shall think themselves accursed they were not here"".

...or maybe they feel the sting of the words of the trusting dead who were betrayed by a promise unkept by a people who swore to defend them:

"Just days before his execution at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodian statesman Sirak Mitak penned a final note to the U.S. ambassador refusing his offer of evacuation.

"I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty....You leave and my wish is that you and your country will find happiness under the sky.

"But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we all are born and must die one day. I have only committed this mistake in believing in you, the Americans."

~Sirak Mitak

Posted by: cond0011 at October 26, 2013 8:52 AM

And sadly, more Siraks have said this to us, since.

Posted by: Jewel at October 26, 2013 9:42 AM