On October 25, 1415, King Henry V lead his vastly outnumbered English forces into battle against the French on a field near Agincourt.
The English won.
Nearly 200 years later, William Shakespeare told the story of the king’s campaign in his play “Henry V.” When he got to the part about the battle of Agincourt, he wrote an amazing speech for King Henry to rally his troops. You’ve likely heard bits of it before. It’s used during football season a lot, and “Band of Brothers” was the title of a popular book and TV miniseries about World War II. Here’s Kenneth Branagh’s take on it:
Here’s the text I’ll be using in my version:
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 friends,
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.
Here’s the project, which I’m working on for First City Shakespeare in Pensacola: I want to make a video of this speech, with the lines read by different people, preferably military veterans and service members. I want to shoot the clips at some of the military monuments and sites that we have in this area. And I want to have it ready to post to the internet by October 25.
If you are a veteran or active duty service member and would like to take part, please contact me by email no later than September 15 using the form below or you can message me on Twitter.
I work full-time during the week, so we’ll most likely be shooting on weekends. I’d love to have people in uniform, but I don’t know what the military’s rules are; dress as you feel is appropriate for a military-themed video.
This is not a paid project; it’s strictly volunteer as a way to raise awareness of First City Shakespeare, to salute some of our veterans, and to remember those English warriors who accomplished a great military victory 600 years ago.