Monday, September 7, 2020

Quote for the Day

On the eve of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, which fell on Saint Crispin's Day (October 25), Henry V addresses his troops, who are vastly outnumbered by the French:

Original text:

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 remembered.
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├Ęd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today 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 abed
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.

William Shakespeare
Henry V, Act IV Scene iii 18–67

Modern text:

Old men forget. But these men will remember
every detail of what they did today
long after they’ve forgotten everything else.
And as the wine flows, our names,
familiar as household words,
will be invoked again:
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester.
Good men will tell their sons this story
and the Feast of St. Crispin will never
go by, from this day to the end of time,
without our being remembered:
we few, we happy few, we band of brothers—
for whoever sheds his blood with me today shall be my brother.
However humble his birth, this day shall grant him nobility.
And men back in English now safe in their beds
will curse themselves for not having been here,
and think less of their own manhood
when they listen to the stories of those
who fought with us here on St. Crispin’s Day.

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