...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

November 10, 2004

Upon St. Crispin's Day

These days, my thoughts and prayers return often to our men in Fallujah. While the battle rages, i wanted to post a martial poem that might honor the brave marines and soldiers in combat as we speak. In that regard, i can think of no better poet than Shakespeare himself, and the most famous martial speech of all, from Henry V:

Henry V, Act IV, Scene III
(the English camp at Agincourt, before the battle, King Henry speaking)

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.

Thanks to Iraq veteran, Marine, and blog friend Eric for the text. Do check out his Open Source Shakespeare site, which is a pretty darned awesome reference tool for Bard lovers.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! Semper Fidelis!

More: Matt posts Lt. Gen. Jim Amos's birthday message to the 2nd MEF. Smash posts a 1776 recruiting ad for the Continental Marines. And Mike's USMC birthday tribute is full of cool links.

Posted by annika, Nov. 10, 2004 |
Rubric: Poetry


Neat, my birthday is the same as the Marine Corps. Hoorah! Nice poem, excellent theme. We'd all do well to say a prayer for the guys fighting in Fallujah today.

Posted by: Scof on Nov. 10, 2004


A happy 229th to my fellow Marines everywhere, especially those presently engaged in adding another name to the list. (What list? Derna, Chapultepec, First Manassas [yep -- I include it only because it's so little-known, not because it was a particularly successful episode for the Corps], Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Saipan, Okinawa, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh and Hue. That list.)

Semper Fidelis, Devil Dogs.

Posted by: Matt on Nov. 10, 2004

And "Goodnight, Chesty, wherever you are!"

Posted by: annika on Nov. 10, 2004

I'll take Shakespeare Day over Poetry Day any day!

Maybe I should start a Shakespeare Day, and let you keep Poetry Day...

Posted by: victor on Nov. 10, 2004

Hmmm, ja. Danske krigsdigtere står ikke ligefrem i kø ved en lejlighed som denne ... det skulle lige være kongesangen "Kong Christian"

Må Gud holde hånden over dem i Falluja.

Det er i øvrigt ret foruroligende som du ligner én af mine venner - som også hedder Annika :-)

Snakker/skriver du stadig dansk?

(The short version in english: Danish martial poets are in short supply. And Annika looks quite a lot like a friend of mine, Annika)

Vh / Regards Ole

Posted by: Ole on Nov. 10, 2004

I have the honor of celebrating this with my brother, my father, and countless other Marines present and past.

Thanks for the post, Annika.


Posted by: jcrue on Nov. 10, 2004

Though I am not martially inclined, it's a splendid section from a fine play. I remember having a raging debate my first year in grad school when Branagh's filmed version came out. We'd all seen it, and gotten choked up at the scene where he delivers this speech -- and yet, we felt manipulated by the swelling music. It almost seemed blasphemous to provide a score for Shakespeare -- it makes you wonder what's moving you.

Posted by: Hugo on Nov. 10, 2004

But such a wonderful movie anyway, Hugo.

Posted by: annika! on Nov. 10, 2004

Thanks for the link, Annie! If anyone has suggestions about the Shakespeare site, feel free to e-mail them to me.

Posted by: Eric Johnson on Nov. 10, 2004