Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Stuff of Courage

In honor of St. Crispian's feast day, Laura Ingraham played wonderful audio from Kenneth Branagh's movie Henry V this morning, reminding us of the principled and dedicated fighters that are needed in any century.

I think the rousing St. Crispin's speech applies to many facets of our world today: the war on Islamic fascism most certainly, but also the struggle to keep the upcoming mid-term election focused on our strength and security, and even the demoralizing plight of the Detroit Tigers in their difficult stand against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The classic and famous St. Crispian's Day speech, meant to inspire and encourage the English soldiers before the Battle of Agincourt, appears below. You don't have to be a Shakespeare fan to respond to it, and you may be surprised at a phrase or two you'll recognize within it:

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 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.