Henry V St. Crispin's Day Speech
Scene overview

The English armies are tired and ready to quit. Yet the French armies, who outnumber the English 5 to 1, are fresh and are ready for war.

King Henry had to inspire his Band of Brothers to enter the battle despite the overwhelming odds against them.

WESTMORELAND

Of fighting men they have full threescore thousand.

EXETER

There's five to one. Besides, they are all fresh.

SALISBURY

God's arm strike with us! ‘Tis fearful odds.

WESTMORELAND

O, that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work today.

KING HENRY

What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin.
If we are marked to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honor.
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 honor,
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 honor,
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 o’ tiptoe 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 neighbors,
And say ‘Tomorrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’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 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 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.

(Henry V, Act 4. Sc. 3)

We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers. ~Henry V

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