Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Historical, literary and musical tidbits
Today is St. Crispin's day, on which the Battle of Agincourt was fought in 1415, the small English army roundly defeating the much larger French one.

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Shakespeare's Henry V contains this wonderful speech by the king before going into battle.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a-tiptoe when this day is nam'd.
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day, and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors
And say Tomorrow is Saint Crispian.
Then he will 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 hell 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 remembered
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 gentleman in England now abed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin day.


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For the Victory at Agincourt

Owre kynge went forth to Normandy,
With grace and myyt of chivalry;
The God for hym wrouyt marvelously,
Wherefore Englonde may calle, and cry
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

He sette a sege, the sothe for to say,
To Harflue toune with ryal aray;
That toune he wan, and made a fray,
That Fraunce shall rywe tyl domes day.
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

Then went owre kynge, with alle his oste,
Thorowe Fraunce for all the Frenshe boste;
He spared 'for' drede of leste, ne most,
Tyl he come to Agincourt coste.
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

Than for sothe that knyyt comely
In Agincourt feld he fauyt manly
Thorow grace of God most myyty
He had bothe the felde, and the victory
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

Ther dukys, and erlys, lorde and barone,
Were take, and slayne, and that wel sone,
And some were ledde in to Lundone
With joye, and merthe, and grete renone
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.

Noe gratious God he save owre kynge,
His peple, and all his wel wyllynge,
Gef him gode lyfe, and gode endynge,
That we with merth mowe savely syng
Deo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria.


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Cyber Hymnal has a hymn called O Love, How Deep that is set to a tune called "Deo Gra­ci­as," The Agincourt Song, 1415. I would assume the above song to be the original words to that melody, but if it is the melody has been changed a bit to make it fit the hymn. I'd love to know whether my speculation is true, and be able to listen to the original melody, if it's different than what Cyber Hymnal has.

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Update

Cindy (Dominion Family) posted a link to Kenneth Branagh's rendition of the St. Crispin's day speech. More info at George Grant's blog.

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