Trumpspeare

Monday, April 24, AD 2017

 

I can’t believe that I forgot that April 23 was Talk like Shakespeare Day.  Fortunately, Father Z did not:

 

Today, I suddenly realized, is…

TALK LIKE SHAKESPEARE DAY!

shakespeareYes, it is the birthday of the Bard.

In the past I have encouraged you to talk like Shakespeare.

To help you, I have offered videos and some suggestive words.  I hope you remember them.

I also, to enkindle in you a true zeal for this moment – which can spill over into tomorrow because, hey, why not? – I even posted a scene from a little known play called…

A Most Tragikal Hystory of Obama I

I found another little known piece (I dashed off) which might bring you to beg the Muse for … the… thing muses give.

The Trumping of the Shrew

Dramatis personae:
Chorus
Lord Trump: President of these USA
Lord Sean: Baron of Spicer – Secretary of Press
Lord Bannon: Earl of Breitbart – Counselor
CNN
New York Times
Lord Sessions – Attorney General
Hillary Clinton
MSNBC
Crowd – Outside

CHORUS:
O for a network pundit that would salve
the anxious outcome of elections tense,
a stage for wonk debates, senators to prate,
and congressmen to guide th’ electorate.
So has the ruddy Donald, hair swept up,
defied th’ establishment and, in his wake,
has claimants one by one discomfited,
brought down in vanquishment and loss.
But pardon, sponsors all, for we halt now
your pandering for sales with this stock gang
of mainsteam media elites, who press
in conference for POTUS now to hear.
List! List! O list if ever you
did county love and office high respect.
For Donald, hair in place, has enteréd
a statement now to make, with many quips
to batter newsies where they stand or sit,
because their daily coverage is for….

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One Response to Insults Courtesy of the Bard

  • Here is the tragedy. The supply of Shakespearean insults is woefully inadequate in comparison to the huge numbers of the insult-worthy.

Henry V, Shakespeare and Just War

Sunday, October 25, AD 2015

Five hundred years ago Henry V and his army won an amazing victory over a French army that heavily outnumbered his.  Shakespeare in deathless language has ensured that this victory will be indeed remembered until the ending of the world.  It was a brilliant victory, but was it won in a just cause?

 

In answering the question we must first examine how the formulation of the Just War doctrine has changed from the time of Henry V to our time.

Over the centuries the precise content of the just war doctrine has varied.  The classic definition of it by Saint Thomas Aquinas is set forth in Part II, Question 40 of his Summa Theologica:

“I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Ps. 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”

Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [*The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine’s works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.”

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5 Responses to Henry V, Shakespeare and Just War

  • I’ve also wondered how dynastic wars measured up under the just war theory, especially given the tangled skeins of royal family trees.

    I suspect that simple power politics often entered in. If Henry (or any king) had a possible claim that he failed to pursue he might be seen as weak and perhaps subject to future aggression. Whether that possible future evil makes a present was just — ???

  • Excellent series of posts. Thank you.

  • Donald,

    Since you don’t have a general comments section, I thought I would bring this newish blog to your attention. Seems good so far – http://reformclub.blogspot.com/2015/10/st-thomas-more-as-conservative-reformer.html

    –Jonathan

  • An interesting blog Jonathan. I will keep an eye on it!

    “He was no radical; rather he sought to retain essential truths of the faith while working to correct abuses in the Church’s way of life. Unlike his opponents, he was not a doctrinal innovator; he sought reform for the Church instead of its replacement. Once this is understood, More’s actions during the early Reformation can be understood to be a continuation of his efforts to improve the Church prior to the Reformation. As such, More’s basic approach to the question of reform stands well within the conservative approach to societal change set out by later authors such as Edmund Burke (himself a practicing Anglican who was married to a Catholic & sympathetic to Catholic freedom in England & Ireland). Far from being a reactionary, a fundamentalist or any kind of religious fanatic (as he has been portrayed recently by the historical fiction Wolf Hall), More stands as a conservative voice for both reform of and fidelity to the Catholic Church, of necessary change within the constraints of substantive continuity.”

    I have often noted similarities between the thought of More and Burke.

  • Very good article, but I disagree on some points: I would point out that on the “serious prospects of success” issue the English themselves have doubts and are faced with troops outnumbering them. Hard for me to make this argument when history shows the English won — but that was not known in advance! Many reasons to think they would NOT be successful — how sure do you have to be? Miracle upsets can always occur — is that a basis to go to war?

    Also when discussing the summary execution of prisoners by the English, mention is made of behavior by the French — this is a non-sequitor, as moral behavior in war is a duty to humanity at large, and is in no way contingent upon behavior by the other side — in fact it is presumed that the cause of going to war in the first place is to address evil behavior by the other side and to restore a peaceful and moral climate.

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.'”.
    .

Ides of March: The Noblest Roman of Them All

Saturday, March 15, AD 2014

This was the noblest Roman of them all:
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He, only in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.

Mark Antony on Brutus

Julius Caesar, Act 5, Scene 5

I think it would have amused the Romans of Caesar’s generation if they could have learned that the assassination of Julius Caesar would eventually receive immortality through a play written more than 16 centuries after the event by a barbarian playwright in the Tin Islands that Caesar had briefly invaded.  It would have tickled their well developed concept of the ludicrous, judging from Roman comedy.

The Roman Republic had been visibly dying for generations before Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger was born into this vale of tears in 85 BC, amidst one of the Roman Civil wars that were becoming the new norm, with the Republic awaiting with trepidation the eventual return of Sulla from Greece after he defeated Mithridates, and the slaughters that he would doubtless inflict on his enemies.  This was the world Brutus was born into:  a world in which he was taught the glories of the Republic as a boy, but as he grew into manhood he could see old Roman morality being forgotten, a growth of decadence fueled by ever more wealth from foreign conquests, endless amounts of slaves flooding into Italy from the same foreign conquests, factions in the Senate engaging in what amounted to a cold civil war between bouts of hot civil war, the Roman Republican government teetering on the brink of permanent military dictatorship.

Ironically the man who would establish the permanent military dictatorship, Julius Caesar, was ever his friend and mentor, Caesar being the long time lover of his mother Servilia.  Nevertheless, from his first entry into the Senate, Brutus aligned with the Optimates ” the best”, against the Populares, “the people” .  The names are really beside the point between these two factions.  By the late Republic, political and military power had become one and the same, and pretty wrappers of claims to loyalty to the Republic or to the People usually were merely masks to hide naked ambition.  However, that was not the case with Brutus, who, like his uncle Cato the Younger, was a true idealist who wished to preserve the Republic.

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17 Responses to Ides of March: The Noblest Roman of Them All

  • How much, one wonders, was Brutus influenced by the story of his famous ancestor, L Junius Brutus, who had played a leading rôle in the expulsion of the kings and the founding of the republic and whose bronze statue on the Capitol he must have seen so often.
    Did the words of Brutus’s famous oath echo in his ears: never to suffer any man to rule over Rome?

  • History was quite the vogue in the time of Brutus, and I would be surprised if were not frequently being remind of his ancestor, the founder of the Republic.

  • If Brutus was willing to kill his friend and mentor to preserve his Republic, then what should you and I be willing to do to preserve ours? I do not want to kill.

  • from his first entry into the Senate, Brutus aligned with the Optimates ” the best”, against the Populares, “the people” . The names are really beside the point between these two factions. By the late Republic, political and military power had become one and the same, and pretty wrappers of claims to loyalty to the Republic or to the People usually were merely masks to hide naked ambition.

    Why does that sound familiar?

    The life of Brutus might be regarded as one long act of futility, his devotion to a Republic manifestly in its death throes doing nothing to stop the inevitable death of the Republic. However, his example would inspire men and women across the centuries who lived under despotisms, and whenever liberty arose again, the name of Brutus was usually on the lips of those who contended for it.

    That might be the final irony of his life, given that the liberty Brutus and the other conspirators sought to preserve was the freedom of the oligarchs to continue to vie with one another for mastery over all that wealth flowing from the spoils of conquest.

  • Ernst Schreiber wrote, “[T]he liberty Brutus and the other conspirators sought to preserve was the freedom of the oligarchs to continue to vie with one another for mastery over all that wealth flowing from the spoils of conquest.”

    The Romans were a people who hated work, despised commerce and lived by plundering and enslaving their neighbours. To be successful at this (and they were very successful) it was necessary to cultivate certain very real virtues: courage, perseverance, self-control, prudence, discipline, constancy in misfortune, devotion to the community. Patriotism meant hatred of foreigners – indeed, the very word “foreigner” (peregrinus) is a late one, in Latin, as Cato observes; before the end of the Second Punic War (218 – 201 BCE), they simply made do with hostis or servus – enemy or slave.

    Liberty meant sharing in the government, that is overseeing the sharing of the spoils and the most honourable as well as the most lucrative professions were those of the soldier, the politician and the jurist.

    As Lord Acton says, “The Roman republic laboured to crush the subjugated nations into a homogeneous and obedient mass; but the increase which the proconsular authority obtained in the process subverted the republican government, and the reaction of the provinces against Rome assisted in establishing the empire. The Cæsarean system gave an unprecedented freedom to the dependencies, and raised them to a civil equality which put an end to the dominion of race over race and of class over class. The [Augustan] monarchy was hailed as a refuge from the pride and cupidity of the Roman people and the love of equality, the hatred of nobility, and the tolerance of despotism implanted by Rome became, at least in Gaul, the chief feature of the national character.”

  • “That might be the final irony of his life, given that the liberty Brutus and the other conspirators sought to preserve was the freedom of the oligarchs to continue to vie with one another for mastery over all that wealth flowing from the spoils of conquest.”

    To many Romans the Republic meant much more than that and Brutus was among their number. To Brutus it meant liberty:

    “After reflecting on this, Cassius made Brutus his first visit since the quarrel above mentioned,13 and when they were again on a friendly footing, asked him whether he had made up his mind to attend the meeting of the senate on the Calends of March; for it had come to his ears, he said, that Caesar’s friends would then move to have him made king. 4 When Brutus answered that he should not attend, “What, then,” said Cassius, “if we should be summoned?” “It would at once be my duty,” said Brutus, “not to hold my peace, but to defend my country and die in behalf of liberty.””

    That is from Plutarch’s life of Brutus written about a century and a half after Brutus died and long after the establishment of the Empire. Many of the Optimates were mere self seekers, but not Brutus nor his uncle Cato. They fought for liberty under the Republic and the mos maiorum, the ways of their ancestors.

  • Donald M McClarey wrote, “Many of the Optimates were mere self seekers, but not Brutus nor his uncle Cato.”

    I would add Cicero, who deserves to be remembered above all for his 14 Philippicae, delivered between September 44 and April 43. He must have known they could well cost him his life as, in fact, they did. Mark Anthony, one recalls insisted that the hands that wrote the Philippicae should be nailed, along with Cicero’s head, to the rostrum in the Forum.

  • Brutus committed suicide rather than working to restore the Republic that he loved. Quitter.

  • The Romans were a people who hated work, despised commerce and lived by plundering and enslaving their neighbors [at which they were very successful].

    In my humble opinion, and with great respect, I believe you have cause and effect backwards. Because of the existence of slavery, the Roman oligarchs hated work and despised commerce. The guy to read is Aldo Schiavone, The End of the Past: Ancient Rome and the Modern West. Sorry I can’t provide a link right now –computer’s acting up.

  • “Brutus committed suicide rather than working to restore the Republic that he loved. Quitter.”

    No Mary he understood that with the Senate armies defeated the wheel of history had turned and the Republic was one with Nineveh and Tyre.

  • “No Mary he understood that with the Senate armies defeated the wheel of history had turned and the Republic was one with Nineveh and Tyre.”
    .
    And Socrates became an accomplice to his own death by imbibing the hemlock with his own hand. Jesus did nothing to cause or bring about his death. Christ was as innocent as a lamb.

  • The following words are from what seems to be a tangentially contemporary Brutus. This is copy/pasted from a piece in a comment found on Zero Hedge today which title concerned Turkish news from its Brutus.

    “President Museveni of Uganda 24 February 2014-

    It seems the topic of homosexuals was provoked by the arrogant and careless Western groups that are fond of coming into our schools and recruiting young children into homosexuality and lesbianism, just as they carelessly handle other issues concerning Africa.

    Initially, I did not pay much attention to it because I was busy with the immediate issues of defense, security, electricity, the roads, the railways, factories, modernization of agriculture, etc.

    When, eventually, I concentrated my mind on it, I distilled three problems:

    1. those who were promoting homo-sexuality and recruiting normal people into it;

    2. as a consequence of No. 1 above, many of those recruited were doing so for mercenary reasons – to get money – in effect homosexual prostitutes; these mercenary homosexual prostitutes had to be punished;

    3. Homosexuals exhibiting themselves; Africans are flabbergasted by exhibitionism of sexual acts – whether heterosexual or otherwise and for good reason. Why do you exhibit your sexual conduct? Are you short of opportunity for privacy – where you can kiss, fondle (kukirigiita, kwagaaga) etc.?

    Are we interested in seeing your sexual acts – we the Public? I am not able to understand the logic of the Western Culture. However, we Africans always keep our opinions to ourselves and never seek to impose our point of view on the others. If only they could let us alone.

    It was my view that the above three should be punished harshly in order to defend our society from disorientation. Therefore, on these three I was in total accord with the MPs and other Ugandans. I had, however, a problem with Category 4 or what I thought was category 4 – those “born” homosexual.

    I thought there were such people – those who are either genetic or congenital homosexuals. The reason I thought so was because I could not understand why a man could fail to be attracted to the beauties of a woman and, instead, be attracted to a fellow man. It meant, according to me, that there was something wrong with that man – he was born a homosexual – abnormal.

    I, therefore, thought that it would be wrong to punish somebody because of how he was created, disgusting though it may be to us. That is why I refused to sign the Bill. In order to get to the truth, we involved Uganda Scientists as well as consulting Scientists from outside Uganda.

    My question to them was: “Are there people that are homosexual right from birth?”. After exhaustive studies, it has been found that homosexuality is in two categories: there are those who engage in homosexuality for mercenary reasons on account of the under – developed sectors of our economy that cause people to remain in poverty, the great opportunities that abound not withstanding; and then there are those that become homosexual by both nature (genetic) and nurture (up-bringing).

    The studies that were done on identical twins in Sweden showed that 34% – 39% were homosexual on account of nature and 66% were homosexual on account of nurture.

    Therefore, even in those studies, nurture was more significant than nature. Can somebody be homosexual purely by nature without nurture? The answer is: “No”. No study has shown that. Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something about it to discourage the trends. That is why I have agreed to sign the Bill.

    Since Western societies do not appreciate politeness, let me take this opportunity to warn our people publicly about the wrong practices indulged in and promoted by some of the outsiders.

    One of them is “oral sex”. Our youth should reject this because God designed the human being most appropriately for pleasurable, sustainable and healthy sex. Some of the traditional styles are very pleasurable and healthy. The mouth is not engineered for that purpose except kissing. Besides, it is very unhealthy. People can even contract gonorrhea of the mouth and throat on account of so-called “oral sex”, not to mention worms, hepatitis E, etc.

    The Ministry of Gender and Youth should de-campaign this buyayism imported from outside and sensitize the youth about the healthy life style that is abundant in our cultures.

    We reject the notion that somebody can be homosexual by choice; that a man can choose to love a fellow man; that sexual orientation is a matter of choice. Since my original thesis that there may be people who are born homosexual has been disproved by science, then the homosexuals have lost the argument in Uganda.

    They should rehabilitate themselves and society should assist them to do so.”

  • “And Socrates became an accomplice to his own death by imbibing the hemlock with his own hand.”

    To carry out the sentence of death imposed by the government of Athens. He was urged not to do this by many of his students and to attempt to escape from jail. He refused to do so because he believed that when one is a citizen of a polity one must obey the laws of the polity. I disagree with Socrates on this point, but that was his reason for drinking the hemlock.

  • Perhaps Socrates didn’t mean it at all.

  • “he (Socrates) believed that when one is a citizen of a polity one must obey the laws of the polity. I disagree with Socrates on this point, but that was his reason for drinking the hemlock.”
    .
    So, Socrates believed that it was honorable to commit suicide to uphold the laws of Athens because of his citizenship, and Socrates committed suicide to prove it. Suicide being an intrinsic evil, a greater evil than any polity

The Original Klingon

Sunday, November 3, AD 2013

Well we haven’t had a Star Trek post in a while and my Chief Geek credentials for the blog need refreshing.  The idea of the Klingons being Shakespeare fans never struck me as far fetched.  The Bard after all has his admirers in all cultures here on Earth and the Germans often refer to him as unser (our) Shakespeare.  Granted that even Shakespeare has his moments of tedium but for those reared on the form of endless torture known as Klingon opera, that would be of no moment.

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3 Responses to The Original Klingon

A Solid Hollow Crown

Friday, October 4, AD 2013

 My crown is called content:  A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.

Words put into the mouth of King Henry VI by Shakespeare in Henry VI, Part 3

I have been greatly enjoying The Hollow Crown BBC presentation of the history plays of Shakespeare.  Henry IV Part Two is on tonight on Great Performances on PBS at 8:00 PM CST and this series concludes with Henry V next week:

Directed by Rupert Goold (Richard II), Richard Eyre (Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2) and Thea Sharrock (Henry V), The Hollow Crown features some of the most pre-eminent Shakespearean actors of our time. The Kings are played by Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston respectively, supported by a phenomenal cast including Rory Kinnear, Patrick Stewart, David Suchet, David Morrissey in Richard II, Simon Russell Beale, Michelle Dockery, Julie Walters and Maxine Peake in Henry IV and John Hurt, Anton Lesser and Paterson Joseph in Henry V. The plays were filmed on location in England between Summer 2011 and Spring 2012 and are all set in their authentic medieval period. The series premiered to rapturous reviews in the U.K., and was honored with BAFTA Television Awards for Whishaw (Leading Actor) and Simon Russell Beale (Supporting Actor), BAFTA Craft Awards for Original Television Music (Stephen Warbeck) and Sound (Fiction) (Richard II), and an RTS Programme Award for Single Drama (Richard II).

Pippa Harris, who serves as Executive Producer with Co-executive Producer Sam Mendes at Neal Street Productions (makers of Call the Midwife), explains, “The Hollow Crown shows the trials and tribulations and the murderous backdrop behind our own history. Whilst these four plays collectively say so much about Britain, the global appeal of Shakespeare is never-ending. Our phenomenal cast and crew have brought a vivid and inspirational edge to Shakespeare for a worldwide audience.”

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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. 🙂

Ides of March: Brutus

Thursday, March 15, AD 2012

This was the noblest Roman of them all:

All the conspirators, save only he,

 Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;

He, only in a general honest thought

And common good to all, made one of them.

Mark Antony referring to Brutus in Julius Caesar

I think it would have amused the Romans of Caesar’s generation if they could have learned that the assassination of Julius Caesar would eventually receive immortality through a play written more than 16 centuries after the event by a barbarian playwright in the Tin Islands that Caesar had briefly invaded.  It would have tickled their well developed concept of the ludicrous, judging from Roman comedy.

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Henry V, Shakespeare and Just War

Friday, March 18, AD 2011

In the comments to  my post last week, Henry V Times Four, which may be viewed here, and which had four versions of the immortal “band of brothers” speech, commenter Centinel posed a very interesting question to me:

Mr. McClarey,

I’ve come to respect your knowledge of history and your insights. I just wanted to get your honest opinion on oneissue. As I understand it, Catholic doctrine would say that wars of aggression are not justified (most of the time). Though I enjoy Shakespeare’s plays, it bothers me that Henry V was fighting a war of aggression – hence, an unjust war.

From Henry V’s point of view, the war was about his (legitimate?) claim to the French throne. But from the point of view of the French peasantry, whichever dynasty sat on the French thronedid not really make any difference in their lives. They were merely caught in the middle; the longer the war lasted, the greater the collateral damage to French civilians. Besides, Henry V already had the Kingdom of England. Hence, it was just pure greed driving Henry V to claim the French throne.

I would appreciate your opinion on this.

My response:

Centinel thank you for very kind words and for inspiring a forthcoming post! The more I thought about your question the more complicated my answer became and only a post length reply, which I will attempt to do in the next week, will do it justice. The short answer is that Henry V, by the just war analysis of his day, had a defensible claim to be fighting a just war, while under the just war analysis of our day his war would be unjust. However, there is much more to say than that, and I will attempt to do this intriguing question justice in my forthcoming post.

In answering the question we must first examine how the formulation of the Just War doctrine has changed from the time of Henry V to our time.

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10 Responses to Henry V, Shakespeare and Just War

  • Very convincing. I have no doubt that Henry V sincerely believed in the justness of his cause. But I cannot help feel that God was on the French side all along. It was never God’s will that the English conquer the French. St. Joan of Arc received visions from St. Michael and other saints commanding her to raise an army, lift the seige of Orleans and see the Dauphin crowned at Reims.

    That God would use a lowly maiden to defeat the English, shows which side He favored.

  • Interesting, although I don’t think Shakespeare was a Just War philosopher, and as a historical source you must take him with a grain of salt!

    But I think you should also discuss the conditions of war at the time. European wars (as opposed to wars in Europe against barbarian invaders, who in some cases slaughtered and enslaved everyone they encountered) were fought be very few people, relatively speaking, all of whom had some kind of societally recognized obligation to fight when their lords told them to. Some were professional soldiers, others were men who had an obligation to military service a certain number of weeks or months every year. They did not have large paid armies, and they did not have army bases. They brought their food with them and/or lived off the land. As a consequence, they could be quite brutal to the people whose land they were on, but didn’t have much of an impact on other people unless they were besieging a town or city. The large number of civilian casualties and destruction of civilian property we expect in a modern war were unknown. Deaths in war were brutal, but then so were many deaths outside of war, and more soldiers died of disease than died of wounds.

    My point is that not just philosophical considerations for a just war are different now than they were then — but that war itself was also different in many crucial respects than it is now.

  • “That God would use a lowly maiden to defeat the English, shows which side He favored.”

    I agree Centinel. It also shows the inscrutability of God. Why He decided that Charles the Well Served, not a very inspiring monarch, should have received divine aid in driving the English from France, while many ultimately defeated worthy causes have not, is a mystery to me, but that is why He is God and I am not! 🙂

  • “but that war itself was also different in many crucial respects than it is now.”

    True Gail, although as wars of the Middle Ages went, the Hundred Years War, albeit an inaccurate title, got pretty bad. A good history of the wars is in the process of being written by a British barrister\historian Jonathan Sumption. In three first rate volumes he has gotten up to 1393. I hope he lives long enough to complete the series.

    http://www.amazon.com/Hundred-Years-War-Divided-Houses/dp/0812242238/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_c

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  • Writing from England and as an English Literature graduate, I must congratulate this website on the very thorough and fair analysis of HENRY V. American readers might not quite grasp that when William the Conqueror ( of Normandy) defeated the Saxons in 1066 and became King of England, he had many French claims. For about three hundred years, the official language of England was French. The French in 1944 were very glad to see the English ( and Scots and other British, and Americans, and Canadians, and Poles and the others).

    As for Joan of Arc, well, she was not canonised until 1920 – no “Santo subito” there. A good English joke is: “When and where did the English Catholic bishops last help someone to become a saint?” Answer, “1431 in Rouen.”

    Keep up your good work. God bless.

  • Thank you Eric. Yep, after the Conqueror, with the approval of the Pope I would note, took over England, England and France were intertwined for centuries. The Hundred Years War can be looked at as the ending of a very long process begun at Hastings.

    As for Saint Joan, many English in France, and those French who supported the English, at the time viewed her as a Saint, and thought her execution was an incredible sin. The words of Jean Tressard, secretary of King Henry VI reflected this sentiment: “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.”

  • The Church recognizes Joan as a saint, so her visions about St. Michael and others pushing her to battle must be considered as true. She was handpicked by God for a mission – like David confronting Goliath.

    As a tangent, the Pope also authorized Henry II of England to conquer Ireland. Of course, the Pope did not foresee the long history of English oppression in Ireland, but that’s another story.

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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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