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The All Time Best Pre-Game Warm-up Speech

Saint Crispin's Day, or the Feast of Saint Crispin, falls on 25 October and is the feast day of the Christian saints Crispin and Crispinian, twins who were martyred c. 286. 

It is a day most famous for the battles that occurred on it, most notably the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Because of the St. Crispin’s Day speech in Shakespeare’s play Henry V, calling the soldiers who would fight on the day a "band of brothers", other battles fought on Crispin's day have been associated with Shakespeare's words.

The St Crispin's Day speech is part of play Henry V, Act IV, Scene iii(3) 18–67. On the eve of the battle which fell on the feast day, Henry V urges his men, who were vastly outnumbered by the French, to recall how the English had previously inflicted great defeats upon the French.

The speech has been famously portrayed by Laurence Olivier to raise British spirits during WW II, and by Kenneth Branagh in the 1989 film Henry V.

Other notable battles include the fall of Lisbon in 1147, the Battle of Balaclava (Charge of the Light Brigade) during the Crimean War in 1854 and the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Pacific Theater in 1944.



King Henry V: What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!

Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That 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 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.
 
From Henry V, Act IV, Scene III

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