Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Battle on St. Crispian’s Day
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
(See full text.)

  Westmoreland.—O that we now had here
(Enter KING HENRY)
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
  K. Henry.—What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland?—No, my fair cousin:        5
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;        10
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not, if men my garments wear:
Such outer things dwell not in my desires:
But, if it be a sin to covet honor,
I am the most offending soul alive.        15
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,        20
That he who 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.        25
This day is called—the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand on tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian:
He that shall live this day, and see old age,        30
Will yearly on the vigil feast his friends,
And say—To-morrow is Saint Crispian:
Then will he strip his sleeves, and show his scars,
And say, these wounds I had on Crispian’s day.
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,        35
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day: then shall our names,
Familiar in their mouths as household words,—
Harry the king, Bedford, and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloster,—        40
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 rememberèd:        45
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 abed,        50
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhood cheap, while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
 
 
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