Il 25 ottobre del 1415 si svolse presso Agincourt la battaglia che vide scontrarsi le forze di Carlo VI re di Francia contro quelle di Enrico V re d'Inghilterra, la vittoria riportata dagli inglesi, in manifesta inferiorità numerica, è considerata uno dei momenti più luminosi della storia d'Inghilterra.
Il ricordo della battaglia di Agincourt vive tutt'oggi grazie al dramma storico Henry V scritto dal Bardo William Shakespeare tra il 1598 e il 1599 e in cui si narrano le gesta del giovane e coraggioso re che guidò le truppe inglesi sul campo di battaglia nel giorno di San Crispino, il 25 ottobre appunto.
Per celebrare la ricorrenza vi lascio le due eccelse interpretazioni del famoso St. Crispin's Day Speech: quella di Kenneth Branagh nell'omonimo film del 1989 e quella di Tom Hiddleston che ha interpretato l'Enrico V per la miniserie BBC The Hollow Crown.
O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
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.
Happy St. Crispin's Day!