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POEMS CHURCHILL LOVED

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 15


“St. Crispin’s Day”

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 today 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.
William Shakespeare, Henry V

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