Oi, Froggies!

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 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 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 rememb’red.
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 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 accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

And Yah! Boo! Sucks! too.

31 thoughts on “Oi, Froggies!”

  1. With the current hysteria about toy guns and boys prevented from playing traditional war games (except in the unreality of videogames), will there be enough warriors to form a future band of brothers? Or rally for a future Charles Martell or Jan Sobieski?

  2. Charles and Jan were notorious Islamaphobes who committed hate crimes at Tours / Poitiers and Vienna, respectively, when they attacked innocent, peaceful Muslim picnickers (I think I’ve summarised Karen Armstrong’s revisionism correctly).

    In modern Europe they would be hounded by lefty activists wherever they went.

  3. Having just watched the excellent 3 part series on BBC4 about the Hundred Years War, one has to remember that we won that particular battle, but lost the war – the French subsequently drove Henry’s descendants out of France, the utter rout (a similar casualty ratio as at Agincourt but in favour of the French) at the Battle of Castillon ending the War and any claim to the French throne by the English Crown.

  4. Who invited Jim to the party? We won the rematch, Jim, after it was discovered the French fielded an ineligible player.

    By the time of the 600th anniversary of Castillon, I’ll be pushing up the daisies, but if not I promise to raise a glass of Veuve in honour of the frogs.

  5. @Jim
    Agincourt was a heroic victory because the English won despite being heavily outnumbered. At Castillon the French won a decisive victory but, as far as can be known, there was no great disparity in strength. So that wasn’t very exceptional.

  6. For me the point about Agincourt was not that an English army beat a French one (that’s nice but not special).
    The point to me is that an army composed mostly of peasants beat an army of aristocrats.
    The French took nearly 400 years to get the idea, and then they did it wrong.

  7. Jim,
    The claim to the French crown wasn’t disavowed until about 1801, and Queen Elizabeth II remains the Duke of Normandy, even if most of Normandy remains in French hands.

    The consequences of this annoy the Great Professor to this day.

  8. “The point to me is that an army composed mostly of peasants beat an army of aristocrats.”

    There is a lesson here for English Football teams (Union, League and Association).

  9. I once gave a rousing speech modelled on this (complete with arm waving) to wind up a group of Californian hackers who were late delivering a big software release to Apple.
    When I finished, they stood in silence.
    Then one raised a hand and said, “Jeremy, I have a concern’.

  10. I’m sitting here with the English dog*, at my side. Back when I lived in Northern France, we’d celebrate this day with a dog walk at Azincourt. Drink a pint of English beer & piss on the French lines of advance.

    *Now a french resident, bi-lingual & employed as a certified canine therapist by the french health service.

  11. “Elizabeth II remains the Duke of Normandy, even if most of Normandy remains in French hands.”

    We’ve reclaimed Aquitaine, though.

  12. “The point to me is that an army composed mostly of peasants beat an army of aristocrats.” It had been done before of course: Courtrai, Bannockburn, Morgarten, Sempach, and probably more I don’t know about. But I don’t suppose that the others had relied so heavily on Welsh archers.

  13. Harry had been told by his father on his deathbed to busy “giddy minds with foreign quarrels” and his major influence Falstaff had made a magnificent speech that there is no honour in fighting ,at Shrewsbury,( before he cleaned up by claiming to have killed Hotspur although he pretended to be dead during the encounter).After the big Harfleur speech, also full of sickening One Nation guff “Once more unto the breach dear friends etc,Harry’s real old friends Bardolph, Nym and Pistol decide the “knocks are too hot” up the breach and fall to yearning for a pint of ale and safety in a London alehouse.Only modern public schoolboys would fall for this propaganda: the contemporary Elizabethan audience would have seen through it .

  14. a lot of the English army (actually they were the Welsh archers) decided that they liked France better than home and stayed. This accounts for people in Charente with surnames like Thomas – pronounced Toma. Also, I am told that if the French caught any of the archers they used to cut their finger off – that finger with which they pulled their bow. Apparently if an archer was in a situation where he could be rude to the Franch he would “give them the finger” to rub in their defeat (and presumably to prove that they couldn’t catch him)

  15. My father was a colonial and he volunteered to serve in WW2, which he did with some distinction, because he – and all those who volunteered alongside him, many of whom were killed or had their lives torn apart by their service – knew that there was something important and unique in the British tradition that had to be defended.

    When I see turds like DBCR saying things like “sickening One Nation guff ”, I really wonder why he bothered. What is worse, I know that before the end of his life my father really wondered why he’d bothered too.

  16. “one has to remember that we won that particular battle, but lost the war” – yes, England lost the hundred years war, but somehow it doesn’t feel like it to either the English or the French. It was a hundred years of horror and terror on the French by the English, and ended with the French finally ridding themselves of English occupation.

  17. I can recommend Juliet Barker’s superb Agincourt for a detailed account of Henry V’s rise to power, the expedition to France, and the battle itself.

    The campaign itself was long lost by the time the army got to Agincourt: in fact, they were on their way home having invaded, trashed Honfleur, lost half the army to dysentery, leaving the reader to wonder what exactly they hoped to achieve. Regain the throne of France? Some hope.

    Also, the story of it being an army of peasants defeating an army of noblemen is stretching things a bit. The English army had plenty of noblemen, and the French army plenty of foot-sloggers. Only the French aristocrats pushed their way to the front because they all wanted to be in on the action of smashing the English, and this separation of the mounted men from their support crews contributed a lot to their defeat.

  18. @FT
    Shakespeare was not describing WW2 ,needless to say.He made it quite clear that Harry was following his father’s advice to quell civil unrest about his poor claim to govern by starting a foreign war, something then called Machiavellian , now called responsible foreign policy.

    You have picked on the wrong turd to vent your anger about the post-war treatment of the “colonials”.I was a youthful hanger-on to a highly disorganised gang of street protestors who ran round London during the last referendum calling for a Common Market based on the Commonwealth and a continuation of Imperial preference trade, which the Americans had made it a war aim to displace.The older protestors on our side could accurately be characterised as Jewish Communist Empire Loyalists.We were chased about by the originators of the European Vision in the UK: supporters of Oswald Mosley’s Union Movement i.e. former Blackshirts.
    I remain loyal to the lost vision of a Commonwealth Common Market based on preferential tariffs, common language and legal system: a true band of brothers not a cynical ploy to stay in power by Henry V who Shakespeare confronts with ordinary-guy Williams before the battle who tells him that the King is going to get thousands of these “brothers” killed while he, at the worst, will get ransomed.

  19. I remain loyal to the lost vision of a Commonwealth Common Market based on preferential tariffs, common language and legal system:

    Blimey DBC I knew you were a bit reactionary but I had no idea that you are actually an old fashioned imperialist, slightly updated and that Joe Chamberlain is your hero ? What possible economic advantage could Britain gain from such an arrangement now ?

    Now, about those Corn Laws….

  20. I wonder if we will get some suitably uplifting rhetoric on the anniversary of the Anschluss? I gather that Hitler made a rousing speech at the time.

  21. I appreciate that its all appallingly inappropriate now and there’s nothing can bring back a Commonwealth Free or Preferential Trade area. Joe Chamberlain was a bit racist while I subscribed to a totally democratic, decentralised Commonwealth but he did blow away the pipe dreams of World Free Trade and, earlier, laissez faire economics and their disastrous consequences for health in Birmingham.

    As a matter of fact, I am known on some blogs for protesting about the abolition of the Corn Laws which as Marx said was a ruse by industrialist Liberals to lower wages .(Wait a minute: I’ve said that very recently on this blog somewhere)

  22. while I subscribed to a totally democratic, decentralised Commonwealth

    From palm to pine eh ? Beachcomber didn’t model Great White Carstairs on you by any chance ?

  23. By your heroes you shall know them…especially if you read them and only understand 20% of them…that notorious Bank of England report which DBCR has not fully understood…and now the thoughts of Marx. To be fair, not many people would put Major Douglas in the same rank as Marx and the Bank of England. A victory for the terminally confused,

  24. DBCR: “the wrong turd”. It’s good, perhaps you should use it on your gravestone.

    The point about my father’s colonial-ness is that his (and his comrades’) defence of this country was wholly voluntary. He could have continued with his medical studies or gone to the beach or done whatever else he fancied.

    He chose to defend this country because its long tradition of valuing liberty – never perfect, often far from perfect, but always better than elsewhere – was and is worth defending.

    Of course you were right to support “No” in the EU Referendum, but (as usual) it was for the wrong reasons. You are not a friend of liberty, you are one of its enemies.

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