Posted by: jakinnan | December 11, 2012

The Feast of Crispian


One more of my all-time favorite films-Shakespeare’s Henry V. King Henry’s loving courage has captured the hearts of his people, and he has led them into battle against the enemy, just as our Captain has done. Late in the war, the mighty army has been reduced to a small band of warriors. Many are sick and many more are wounded. They come to the field of Agincourt, where they are met by the entire French army. They are outnumbered five to one; the French are rested and fresh, and they have a mounted cavalry. The English have none. Faced with such odds, the men are about to lose heart. But Henry calls them up into a Larger Story:

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 neighbors,
And say, “Tomorrow 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 their mouths as household words . . .
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 remembered.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. (Act IV, Scene III)

The English go on to win the battle-a true story (!) and one of many we need to keep at hand in our journey.

-John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance Workbook & Journal,  198-99

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