QUADRIVIUM

Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Anniversaries—they only come in fives and tens

with 2 comments

I think I might surprise my wife and take her to Europe on our ninth anniversary just to shake things up, you know?

The snow has settled. Thankfully the roads are just wet, though that’ll change come nightfall. As I sit here in the office, killing time and enjoying the day off, I’ve discovered that quite a bit happened this week in history.

I’ve already written about the blizzard of 1997, but I neglected to mention the iPod, which turns five years old this week. And I still do not own one. Call it my own act of non conformity—I even quit wearing my Discman in high school. When I used to go out running (something I intend to start again once the sciatic quits hurting) I actually enjoyed the quiet solitude, so I just never saw the need.

But another, probably more significant anniversary fell yesterday, and I forgot to mention that too. On October 25, 1415, Henry V, King of England, led his outnumbered knights against the French in the Battle of Agincourt. King Henry somehow rallied his troops to an unprecedented victory, an act immortalized by the words of Shakespeare nearly 200 years later. The Saint Crispen’s Day speech stirs something deep in the hearts of those who read it. It’s one of my favorites, and I wanted to leave you all with it today.

KING: 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 Crispian’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.

–William Shakespeare, Henry V

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Written by taj

October 26, 2006 at 2:28 pm

Posted in For to Be a Geek

2 Responses

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  1. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;”

    One of my favorite literary quotes ever.

    Julie S

    November 2, 2006 at 12:17 pm

  2. My dear husband surprised me with dinner (including a babysitter – important ’cause we have 5 kids) and a play (not a movie – a Play!) on our 12 1/2 year anniversary (halfway to 25). Wow! I’m still smiling about it and that was 2 years ago. BTW – congrats on the baby! They are way more fun and way more entertaining than you could ever imagine.

    Rebecca

    January 12, 2007 at 11:57 pm


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