October 26, 2015

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;" St. Crispin's Day #600

It is essential to preserve not only history, but the myths of history as well: Agincourt600 – Commemorating 600 years since the Battle of Agincourt

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING HENRY. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin, Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
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 rememb’red.
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 remembered-
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 accurs’d 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 26, 2015 11:19 AM
Bookmark and Share



"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.

Wow, the big 600 was yesterday.

Posted by: cond0011 at October 26, 2015 4:24 PM

War is so yesterday. We are more enlightened now. All we need do now is wish it away, and you see? No more war. Obama himself has given us this gift. sarc. off.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at October 26, 2015 6:10 PM

Definitely worth watching the Brannagh version, its wonderful and he does an amazing job, particularly with this speech.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at October 26, 2015 7:35 PM

Magnificent! Wil and Branagh combine their art and talents superbly here. But look through the lens of history:

The relentless cycle of Empire. Growth, apex, decline, nadir. The Brits were "it." Sun never set on 'em. India, Africa, Middle East. Boer war, WWI, WWII, Korea. Even as late as the 1950s A.D. Manly. Brave. Principled. Honor and duty bound.

Now--thousands of their children repeatedly raped and sodomized with zero consequences. Soldiers butchered in public. Porous borders. Huge enclaves of residents proclaiming hatred for their host country.


Learn it. Learn how to AVOID it. DO IT.


History and the laws of Nature are cruel teachers.

Posted by: Centurion_Cornelius at October 26, 2015 11:58 PM

Try this one from when the Empire was close to its peak, 425 years or so after Harry at Agincourt:

Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.
--Gen. Charles James Napier

Can you imagine a Brit general or politician saying this now? And if he dared to say it, being able to back it up, the way Napier could (and did)? Nadir, indeed.

Posted by: waltj at October 27, 2015 11:58 AM