The Girl Who Reversed Agincourt

Tuesday, October 25, AD 2016

 

Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.

Sir Winston Churchill

By the death of King Henry V in 1422 it seemed as if the English had succeeded in conquering France.  Then God chose otherwise.  Three years old at the time of Agincourt, by the time of the end of her short life on May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc had set in motion forces that would result in the utter defeat of the English.  She transformed a squalid dynastic squabble into a crusade for the French.  One of the examples of the direct intervention of God in human affairs, the brief history altering life of Saint Joan of Arc has attracted the admiration of the most unlikely of men, including the Protestant Sir Winston Churchill, and the agnostic Mark Twain who called his book on Joan of Arc the finest thing he ever wrote.  She was not canonized until 1920, but almost all of her contemporaries who met her had no doubt that she was a saint sent by God.  Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint.   Jean Tressard, the Treasurer of Henry VI, King of England, wrote the following soon after the execution of Joan:   ”We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation”.  With Saint Joan humanity came into contact with a messenger from God, and the result to her was as predictable as it was lamentable.  However, the outcome of her mission was exactly as she had predicted.  The weak Dauphin that she had crowned would reign as Charles VII and end the Hundred Years War in victory for France, something that none of his contemporaries thought remotely possible before Joan embarked on her mission.  With courage and faith she altered the course of the history of France and of all the world.

On January 26, 2011 Pope Benedict spoke of Saint Joan:

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5 Responses to The Girl Who Reversed Agincourt

  • Joan of Arc was, I think, like other great women of courage: Deborah in the Book of Judges, and Jahel (Haber’s wife) who hammered a tent peg through evil Sisera’s head as he lay sleeping, Esther who stood for her people before pagan King Ahasuerus, Judith who decapitated wicked Holofernes, and the Blessed Virgin Mary who stomps on the head of that vile serpent. When men lack testicular courage to do their God-given duty, the Lord raises up a woman who puts us all to shame for our cowardice and infidelity.

  • St Joan indeed reversed Agincourt.
    Andrew Lang, neither English nor French, but Scottish, describes the aftermath of her martyrdom:
    “It is said by some who were present, that even the English Cardinal, Beaufort, wept when he saw the Maid die: “crocodiles’ tears!” One of the secretaries of Henry VI. (who himself was only a little boy) said, “We are all lost. We have burned a Saint!”
    They were all lost. The curse of their cruelty did not depart from them. Driven by the French and Scots from province to province, and from town to town, the English returned home, tore and rent each other; murdering their princes and nobles on the scaffold, and slaying them as prisoners of war on the field; and stabbing and smothering them in chambers of the Tower; York and Lancaster devouring each other; the mad Henry VI. was driven from home to wander by the waves at St. Andrews, before he wandered back to England and the dagger stroke—these things were the reward the English won, after they had burned a Saint. They ate the bread and drank the cup of their own greed and cruelty all through the Wars of the Roses. They brought shame upon their name which Time can never wash away; they did the Devil’s work, and took the Devil’s wages. Soon Henry VIII was butchering his wives and burning Catholics and Protestants, now one, now the other, as the humour seized him.”

  • Back in the day I persuaded my primary school choir mistress to add this to our repertoire…

  • It is said that Joan of Arc’s guts and heart would not burn. After three tries, Joan’s intestines and heart were thrown into the Seine River. For twenty five years Joan’s mother fought to clear Joan’s name of being a witch. After twenty five years, Bishop Cauchon, on his death bed, confessed that he was jealous of Joan and her relationship with God.
    Saint Joan of Arc, lead us to freedom.

Agincourt the Battle

Tuesday, October 25, AD 2016

 

October 25, 1415 was an amazing day for the English.  The English longbow had long proved during the Hundred Years War to be a devastating weapon in the hands of skilled archers, but rarely had the English faced such long odds as they did at Agincourt.  Approximately 6,000 English, exhausted and worn from their march, faced approximately 30,000 French.  About five out of six of the English were archers with the remainder men-at-arms, knights and nobility.  The French had about 10,000 men-at-arms, knights and nobility, and 20,000 archers, crossbowmen and miscellaneous infantry.

 

The English established their battle line between the woods of Agincourt and Tramecourt, which offered excellent protection to both of their flanks.  The English archers made up the front line with stakes set in the ground before them to impale charging horses.  Archers were also placed in the woods to provide flanking fire against advancing French.  The men at arms and knights and nobility, were divided into three forces behind the archers.  They fought on foot.

The terrain between the woods that the French would have to cross in their attack of the English consisted of newly ploughed, and very muddy, fields.  Having walked through muddy fields on several occasions in rural Illinois, I can attest that simply getting from point A to point B in such terrain can be exhausting, let alone fighting at the end of the tramp through the morass.

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The Girl Who Reversed Agincourt

Sunday, October 25, AD 2015

 

Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.

Sir Winston Churchill

By the death of King Henry V in 1422 it seemed as if the English had succeeded in conquering France.  Then God chose otherwise.  Three years old at the time of Agincourt, by the time of the end of her short life on May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc had set in motion forces that would result in the utter defeat of the English.  She transformed a squalid dynastic squabble into a crusade for the French.  One of the examples of the direct intervention of God in human affairs, the brief history altering life of Saint Joan of Arc has attracted the admiration of the most unlikely of men, including the Protestant Sir Winston Churchill, and the agnostic Mark Twain who called his book on Joan of Arc the finest thing he ever wrote.  She was not canonized until 1920, but almost all of her contemporaries who met her had no doubt that she was a saint sent by God.  Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint.   Jean Tressard, the Treasurer of Henry VI, King of England, wrote the following soon after the execution of Joan:   ”We are all lost for it is a good and holy woman that has been burned. I believe her soul is in the hands of God, and I believe damned all who joined in her condemnation”.  With Saint Joan humanity came into contact with a messenger from God, and the result to her was as predictable as it was lamentable.  However, the outcome of her mission was exactly as she had predicted.  The weak Dauphin that she had crowned would reign as Charles VII and end the Hundred Years War in victory for France, something that none of his contemporaries thought remotely possible before Joan embarked on her mission.  With courage and faith she altered the course of the history of France and of all the world.

On January 26, 2011 Pope Benedict spoke of Saint Joan:

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20 Responses to The Girl Who Reversed Agincourt

  • “Some of the English who were present as she was burned at the stake cried out that they were all damned because she was a saint.”

    Andrew Lang, a Scotsman and therefore an impartial historian in the English and French quarrels, although he notes the rôle of the Scottish Free Companies, has a remarkable passage on this remark, which was made by one of Henry VI’s secretary: “They were all lost. The curse of their cruelty did not depart from them. Driven by the French and Scots from province to province, and from town to town, the English returned home, tore and rent each other; murdering their princes and nobles on the scaffold, and slaying them as prisoners of war on the field; and stabbing and smothering them in chambers of the Tower; York and Lancaster devouring each other; the mad Henry VI was driven from home to wander by the waves at St. Andrews, before he wandered back to England and the dagger stroke—these things were the reward the English won, after they had burned a Saint. They ate the bread and drank the cup of their own greed and cruelty all through the Wars of the Roses. They brought shame upon their name which Time can never wash away; they did the Devil’s work, and took the Devil’s wages. Soon Henry VIII was butchering his wives and burning Catholics and Protestants, now one, now the other, as the humour seized him.”

  • “and therefore an impartial historian in the English and French quarrels,”

    Thank you MPS! I needed a good laugh to start my day!

  • Ah! Dr Johnson thought otherwise. Contrasting the Scots and the Irish, he remarked, “The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by false representations of the merits of their countrymen. No Sir, the Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of each other.”

  • A true love of Jesus equates to a true love of neighbor. It can not be otherwise. Hero’s and Heroine’s are selfless and grounded in love that defys gravity. I love the Saints.
    Their conquests are inner first, than exterior thereafter. That too can not be otherwise.
    The beauty of life in God is that the soul becomes radiant and pure, how it was when it was created. The stories of the Saints teach us that regardless of our souls current condition, we too with patience, prayer and grace, can recognize the pristine condition of our own souls when they were formed, if only we conquer ourselves.
    Thank you Donald for sharing this great Saint with us, Joan.

  • I admit to knowing almost nothing of this war. At the time, Spain was still fighting the Moors, the Turks were attacking the Hapsburg Empire and the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth and Portugal was navigating the African West Coast.

  • Philip: “Their conquests are inner first, than exterior thereafter. That too can not be otherwise.
    The beauty of life in God is that the soul becomes radiant and pure, how it was when it was created. The stories of the Saints teach us that regardless of our souls current condition, we too with patience, prayer and grace, can recognize the pristine condition of our own souls when they were formed, if only we conquer ourselves.”
    Sovereignty over oneself is sovereign personhood, the pursuit of Happiness. St. Joan’s mission in life, her vocation, is her pursuit of Happiness, achieved is her destiny, of which no state may interfere. This post is remarkable. The comments are remarkable.

  • “No Sir, the Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of each other.”

    A fair amount of truth in that, as in this saying of Dr. Johnson:

    DR. JOHNSON: Sir, it is a very vile country.
    MR. S: Well, sir, God made it.
    DR. JOHNSON: Certainly he did, but we must remember that He made it for Scotchmen. Comparisons are odious, Mr. S, but God made Hell.
    Dr Samuel Johnson, A journey to the “Western Islands of Scotland, 1775

  • St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Joan of Arc: pray for us in our hour of need. My only fear is that it will get worse before it gets better.

  • “God made Hell.” God was forced to make hell. God, in respect to man’s free will, will not force any soul to heaven. Every soul is destined to heaven, but not every soul wills to go to heaven.

  • Mary De Voe.
    God is remarkable.
    A soul that finds Grace detestable on earth, will find Heaven detestable as well, hence Hell.
    In Hell the soul finds what it longs for on earth, namely; greed, hatred, malice, selfishness, pain, and darkness. These are comforts to a soul which has fought the truth during its lifetime on earth. This Hell is home for them.

    B.Franklin once penned a truth that was used at the end of a movie that I can’t presently name, however the quote went something like this; ” I firmly believe that the action’s of man in this life will determine his destination in the next.” God doesn’t send souls to hell. We make the choice. Grace helps us to understand love, (aka Jesus on the Cross.)
    With grace we cooperate in our souls mission from the very beginning… To Love as Christ loves.

  • Check out The Passion of Joan of Arc, which covers only her trial. It is a silent from 1928:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019254/

  • Not only Pope Benedict and Churchill: G. B. Shaw wrote the play, “St. Joan.”
    .
    Until recently Ireland was a Catholic nation. Scotland and Wales not so much.
    .
    Among the Irish, Scotch, and Welsh, the Irish stand alone as the subject people that made themselves a nation once again; and a republic. The others remain [fill-in your own insult]. .
    .
    I may be the only person that sees the irony wherein when for nearly 300 years they’ve fought and died for other countries, and yet it’s, “Scotland the Brave.” And, how can a subjugated province of England have a national anthem? I don’t much care for United Kingdom the Brave, either.
    .
    And, after Culloden, the English maltreated the Scotch so as to make post-Civil War Reconstruction look like a Sunday picnic.
    .
    If you’re not Irish, it’s okay to look down your nose at the Irish. No Irishman cares what a low-caste, English (Johnson) serf thinks.

  • Thank you for this inspirational post on a day when inspiration is dear.

  • A bit of trivia: the actress in your clip, Leelee Sobieski, is a descendant of someone else you’ve written about.

  • There is much to dislike about modern French culture that has largely turned away from the Church. However, I just can’t ever see France as lost because she has the best female saints. With such patronesses, how could God ever really turn away. Joan, Therese, Bernadette, Jeanne Jugan, are the few that come to mind.

  • Our Lady of LaSalette; “Rome will loose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.”
    To me, it seems that France was/is a particularly favored land by our Queen and Lady. To witness it’s decline in faith is telling of our time we live in. All the more to pray as never before.

  • Mrs Zummo wrote, “I just can’t ever see France as lost because she has the best female saints”
    I have always admired Frémiet’s statue of the Maid in the Place des Pyramides in Paris. It marks the spot where the maid was wounded, trying to storm the city wall.
    http://tinyurl.com/q6g7swm
    There are many such statues throughout France and ceremonies are held there on 8 May, which is both the Fête de la libération (a national holiday) and the anniversary of St Joan’s raising the siege of Orléans in 1429.

  • T Shaw wrote, “And, after Culloden, the English maltreated the Scotch so as to make post-Civil War Reconstruction look like a Sunday picnic.”
    The British government treated the Catholic clergy with unexampled savagery after the failure of the ’45.
    Of the priests who had accompanied the Prince, Rev Mr Colin Campbell of Morar was killed at Culloden, shot down in cold blood by Hessian mercenaries, whilst trying to rally the fugitives for one last charge. Rev Mr Allan MacDonald, rector of the illegal, but tolerated, seminary at Scalan, near Glenlivet was imprisoned for a year in a military garrison and then ordered to leave the country. Scalan itself was burned on the orders of the Duke of Cumberland, as a “nest of traitors.”
    Rev Mr Aeneas McGillis of Glengarry was put to the horn (outlawed) and fled the country.
    Of those who had stayed at home, but had “prayed for the Pretender,” Rev Mr Neil McFie of the Rough Bounds, Rev Mr Alexander Forrester of Uist and Rev Mr James Grant of Barra were bundled on board ship and deported to France, without the formality of a trial.
    Rev Mr William Harrison of the Rough Bounds was later captured carrying Jacobite dispatches and similarly deported.

    Bishop Hugh, the Vicar Apostolic had to rebuild the Church more or less from scratch. Himself the son of Alexander MacDonald of Morar and of Mary, daughter of Ranald MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart, he recruited his priests mostly among the Highland gentry; ordained “ad titulum patrimonii sui” and unpaid, they stayed with relatives, or with influential friends, and served their native place. Thus we have Alexander MacDonald of the Scotus family living in Knoydart; Austen MacDonald of Glenaladale in Moidart; Allan MacDonald of Morar living in the Morar area; James MacDonald, son of John MacDonald of Guidall in the Rough Bounds, and so on. Bishop Hugh was succeeded by his nephew, John MacDonald.

  • Today more than in the more or less recent past, we should also remember Saint Joan’s saying that “The men at arms will give battle, God will grant the victory”.

  • Alas, we know of no direct intervention of God to reverse Hastings.

Jane Austen on Henry V

Sunday, October 25, AD 2015

One Response to Jane Austen on Henry V

  • The Archbishop’s guess as to the meaning of the “terra vero salica” (in the MS published by Herold) or the “terra autem salica” (in the MS published by the Abbé Piuthou) is as good as any.

    No one really knows what it meant and “if it is to be guesswork, let us all guess for ourselves. To be guided by second-hand conjecture is pitiful,” as Henry Tilney observess in Northanger Abbey; a caution that deserves to be heeded by the whole tribe of textual critics, historians – and jurists.

3 Responses to So You Think You Know About the Hundred Years War?

  • 9/10, But question 2 is a poorly formulated matter of opinion. The French won by virtue of the fact that the Plantagenets failed to successfully wrest the throne of France from the house of Valois.

  • And even if you don’t buy that line of reasoning (e.g. the French people didn’t win), the Valois dynasty won, so “nobody won” can’t be right either.

    If I got that quiz back with a 9/10, in a real class I’d have lawyered the sh*t out of the problem with the way the question if formulated until the question got tossed out and it became a 9 point quiz.

    9/9

Agincourt Carol

Saturday, October 24, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  Agincourt Carol.  Tomorrow is the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt.  You can always tell what is important to the population of a pre-literate society such as England in the 15th century by their songs.  Henry V and his underdog victory against the French were immensely popular with the balladeers of the day and they were instrumental in keeping that victory as a valued part of English history as the years rolled by.

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One Response to Agincourt Carol

600 Years Since Agincourt

Monday, October 19, AD 2015

Riding a small, grey pony – a page leading a great war-horse behind him – he rode up and down the line in front of his troops. His eve-of-battle speech struck a familiar note – he “was come into France to recover his lawful inheritance and that he had good and just cause to claim it”. He warned the archers that the French had sworn to cut three fingers off the right hand of every English bowman captured. “Sirs and fellows,” he promised his army, “as I am true king and knight, for me this day shall never England ransom pay.” When he had finished they shouted back, “Sir, we pray God give you a good life and the victory over your enemies!”

Contemporary account by an anonymous chaplain of Henry V at the battle of Agincourt.

 

 

 

 

 

This Sunday, October 25, 2015, will be the six hundredth anniversary of Agincourt and we will give it a fitting remembrance here at The American Catholic.

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. 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 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.

 

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2 Responses to 600 Years Since Agincourt

  • A timely reminder of oppression, inheritance threatened by foreigners and courageous men of faith willing to fight for their birthright!

    Hummm. Sounds familiar?

    History is a teacher.

    Thank you TAC. You’ve opened a pathway that distraction temporarily blocked.
    Standing firm in the Faith and with Cardinal Burke, Fr. Libby and TLM, we are prepared for the confrontation. In the end, the Queen to conquer all heresies, Immaculata, will Triumph.
    Pray those rosaries every day. Wear your Scapula’s. The Victory is Christ’s.

  • Money quote:
    .
    “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.” Amen.

    .
    Patton reputedly said, “You men will not have to say,’Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.'”.
    .

598 Years Since Agincourt

Friday, October 25, AD 2013

We are in God’s hand, brother, not in theirs.

King Henry V

The anniversary of the long ago battle of Saint Crispin’s Day gives us yet another opportunity to recall the immortal “Band of Borthers Speech” that Shakespeare put into the mouth of Henry V, a speech that could put fight into a dog dead three days, or, mirabile dictu, even a live Congress Critter:

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here

    But one ten thousand of those men in England      

That do no work to-day!

  KING. 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.

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8 Responses to 598 Years Since Agincourt

  • Shows you can win most of the battles and still lose the war.

  • If Henry V John had not had such an untimely death, I wonder if he could have held everything together. Probably just as well for England that he did not have the opportunity. I can’t help but think that an Anglo-French kingdom would have ended up with England getting the short end of such a dual monarchy.

  • Could the English have ultimately won the Hundred Years War?

    France is a very large country to occupy and hold and it would have meant maintaining both the intrinsically unstable Burgundian alliance and the treaty made with James I of Scotland. Neither, I believe was very likely.

    The ultimate loss of the Hundred Years War ended in catastrophe for the English – and an English defeat was morally certain after the raising of the siege of Orléans on 8 May 1429, the Loire Campaign, the victory of Patay and the anointing of the Dauphin at Rheims with the oil of Clovis as Charles VII, roi très-chrétien in the summer of that year.

    Andrew Lang, Scottish and thus impartial, has described the aftermath: “They were all lost. The curse of their cruelty did not depart from them. Driven by the French and Scots from province to province, and from town to town, the English returned home, tore and rent each other; murdering their princes and nobles on the scaffold, and slaying them as prisoners of war on the field; and stabbing and smothering them in chambers of the Tower; York and Lancaster devouring each other; the mad Henry VI was driven from home to wander by the waves at St. Andrews, before he wandered back to England and the dagger stroke—these things were the reward the English won, after they had burned a Saint. They ate the bread and drank the cup of their own greed and cruelty all through the Wars of the Roses. They brought shame upon their name which Time can never wash away; they did the Devil’s work, and took the Devil’s wages. Soon Henry VIII was butchering his wives and burning Catholics and Protestants, now one, now the other, as the humour seized him.”

  • “Scottish and thus impartial”

    Considering the Olde Alliance between France and Scotland MPS, I assume that was typed with tongue planted very much in cheek.

  • Auld Alliance or no, after the Scots’ defeat at the Battle of the Herrings, Beaufort had secured a non-aggression pact with James I, with the help of some well-paid lobbyists among the nobles and, I am sorry to say, churchmen, at the Scottish court.

    The Scottish free companies fought on, of course. When the Dauphin refused to give the Maid money to pay them, after the raising of the siege of Orléans, it was one of their leaders, Sir Anthony Kennedy, who told her, with a guffaw, that they did no need paying to fight the English. I am sure Lang would have approved.

    Kennedy’s descendants are neighbours of mine in Ayrshire and still use the arms granted them by Charles VII.

    http://tinyurl.com/on6zqpa

    To persuade an old freebooter like Kennedy to do anything for nothing really was one of the Maid’s miracles.

  • King Henry’s speech is fit to commemorate for another October 25th military anniversary, namely that of the 1944 naval action off Samar (in the Phillipines), in which a small force of destroyers and destroyer escorts fended off an attack by Japanese battleships and heavy cruisers with such ferocity that the attacking force — believing they were being opposed by heavy units — withdrew without proceeding to their final objective, which was the invasion beachhead at Leyte. American losses were destroyers Johnston and Hoel, destroyer escort Samuel B. Roberts, and escort carrier Gambier Bay.

    (The entire incident is chronicled in Hornfischer’s _Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors_. A recent addition to the literature on this action is _For Crew and Country_, which focuses on the role of USS Samuel B. Roberts.)

  • The Hundred Years War established two things.

    1. It was against God’s will that the same man be both King of England and King of France.

    2. England had a right to occupy large parts of France – during World War II, not five hundred years before.

597 Years Since Agincourt

Thursday, October 25, AD 2012

We are in God’s hand, brother, not in theirs.

King Henry V

The anniversary of the long ago battle of Saint Crispin’s Day gives us yet another opportunity to recall the immortal “Band of Borthers Speech” that Shakespeare put into the mouth of Henry V, a speech that could put fight into a dog dead three days, or, mirabile dictu, even a live Congress Critter:

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here

    But one ten thousand of those men in England      

That do no work to-day!

  KING. 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 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 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 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.

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7 Responses to 597 Years Since Agincourt

  • St Crispin was the patron saint of souters or shoe-makers (from Latin suere = to sew) In Glasgow, up until the Reformation, he was the patron saint of the Incorporation of Cordiners (the Scots equivalent of English cordwainers), which included tanners (who had their own patron saint – St Bartholomew), curriers, barkers, as well as souters. The name derives from Cordoba, the source of the best Spanish shoe-leather.

    The Incorporation still survives and sends six member to the Trades House of Glasgow.

  • Great timing Donald.
    Thank you for the lift.
    In the very end the brotherhood of righteousness will unite in an endless Kingdom, a lasting city that St. Paul searched for within his being.
    Lord give us the grace to excell at servitude. To not count the cost nor attribute
    self worthiness to our works, remembering that your works are great.
    In twelve days the blizzard of ballots will fall from the sky to push back a defeated army.

  • I remember John Keegans’s, The Face of Battle, covering Agincourt.

    The English received Absolution and Holy Eucharist; and knelt down and took soil in their mouths in anticipation of burial, if memory serves.

    Then, the field flowed with blood, mostly French and etc. mercenaries.

    Courage and Christian humility ruled that day.

  • And far away, in a little village in Lorraine called Domrémy, Jeanne d’Arc was three years old…

  • Yes, it took God to save the French from the English.

  • Donald R McClarey

    After the raising the siege of Orléans, the Dauphin refused to keep paying the Scottish Free Companies. The Maid told them the bad news. Sir Hugh Kennedy turned to his fellow-commanders and demanded, “Since when did we need paying to fight the English?” Now that was a miracle, if you like.

    Sir Hugh never did get paid, but, after the Loire campaign and the coronation at Reims, Charles VII granted him an augmentation of his arms

    http://heraldry-online.org.uk/kennedy/kennedy-roland.jpg

    Several branches of the Kennedy family bear them to this day, including my neighbours, the Ferguson Kennedies of Bennane

  • “Since when did we need paying to fight the English?” Now that was a miracle, if you like. 🙂

Agincourt

Saturday, April 2, AD 2011

 

Something for the weekend.  Agincourt by the ever talented folks at History for Music Lovers, to the tune of As Tears Go By, by Marianne Faithful.

October 25, 1415 was an amazing day for the English.  The English longbow had long proved in the Hundred Years War to be a devastating weapon in the hands of skilled archers, but rarely had the English faced such long odds as they did at Agincourt.  Approximately 6,000 English, exhausted and worn from their march, faced approximately 30,000 French.  About five out of six of the English were archers with the remainder men-at-arms, knights and nobility.  The French had about 10,000 men-at-arms, knights and nobility, and 20,000 archers, crossbowmen and miscellaneous infantry.

The English established their battle line between the woods of Agincourt and Tramecourt, which offered excellent protection to both of their flanks.  The English archers made up the front line with stakes set in the ground before them to impale charging horses.  Archers were also placed in the woods to provide flanking fire against advancing French.  The men at arms and knights and nobility, were divided into three forces behind the archers.  They fought on foot.

The terrain between the woods that the French would have to cross in their attack of the English consisted of newly ploughed, and very muddy, fields.  Having walked through muddy fields on several occasions in rural Illinois, I can attest that simply getting from point A to point B in such terrain can be exhausting, let alone fighting at the end of the tramp through the morass.

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4 Responses to Agincourt

  • John Keegan’s book, The Face of Battle, has a fair (I assume it’s factual) depiction of the battle and the men.

    Another famous battle and example of Catholic courage is depicted in Ernle Bradford’s, The Knights of the Order, chapters 19 through 23. It tells the story of the famous siege of Malta. The siege was endured about 70 years after Comumbus’ discoveries and 23 years before the tragedy of the Invincible Armada in 1588.

  • Excellent post.

    I love the way the History teachers get the essence of major event in 3 minutes.

    Henry V was in a bind. He was being chased by a larger French army that move dfaster than his army and could defeat hin in open country. Almost by luck he stopped at Agincourt where the woods protected his flanks. He did not have food more than two days and would have to move into open ground in a losing race to Calias if the French did not attack him. All the French had to do was sit and wait. The reason Henry V moved forward was to provoke the French. Luckily patience is not a French virtue.

    Keegan’s face of Battle is an accurate and excellent description of the battle. This is a ground breaking book that looked at the ‘face of Battle” in a very clinical manner. Do not read on a full stomach.

    Bernards Cornwell’s novel <a href=http://www.amazon.com/Agincourt-Novel-Bernard-Cornwell/dp/0061578908/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301777975&sr=1-1-spell in additon to placing one in his view of the cultural milieu sets of the context of the campaign and battle in an entertaining style

  • Thank you Hank for first making me aware of History for Music Lovers. If the French had simply raided Henry’s army with small parties, and cut his force off from villages and towns where they could get resupplied, they would probably have bagged the entire English army with minimal French casualties. King Henry’s gambit at Agincourt to advance was a daring one, but it played upon the French dilemma of a large hit to the morale of their army if they seemed to be backing down from a much smaller English army. Morale in medieval battles was all important, as the troops were usually ill-trained except for the knights and men-at-arms, and once a force panicked, it was almost impossible for it to be reassembled before a battle was completely lost.

October 25, 1415

Monday, October 25, AD 2010

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
    But one ten thousand of those men in England
    That do no work to-day!
 
KING. 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.

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3 Responses to October 25, 1415