Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Battle of Agincourt, Shakespeare and Missouri’s Clone-to-Kill Amendment 2

If you haven’t yet heard, Amendment 2 was approved by Missourians. As of this writing, the Secretary of State has listed the results of 3672 of Missouri’s 3734 precincts. The amendment received 1,059,202 yes votes (51.1%) and 1,013,850 no votes (48.9%).

So unless those remaining 62 precincts are extremely lopsided, we lost.

Nearly 200 years after the famous Battle of Agincourt, where King Henry V battled the French near the port city of Calais, William Shakespeare in 1599 put poetic eloquence into the mouth of King Henry in a rousing speech that has become known in drama circles as St. Crispen’s Day Speech.

King Harry had recaptured several cities in Northwestern France that once had been in English possession. His military campaign weakened his troop strength because of the distance from England and disease. The English were blocked from escape by overwhelming French numbers near the field of Agincourt. Their prospects bleak and morale low, here is the speech Shakespeare put into the lips of King Henry V:

St. Crispen's Day Speech
William Shakespeare, 1599

[Enter the King]

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.

We have now a band of brothers--pastors and laypeople who have “spilled their blood” in a noble battle. It didn’t work out for us quite like it did for the English on St. Crispen’s day. But we fought valiantly. Already, political scientists across Missouri are scratching their heads, wondering how this election came so close considering the vast sums of money Mr. Stowers poured into the campaign. Statistically, we should have been trounced. We weren’t. We were motivated only by truth and love for our fellow man. There were no promises of profits awaiting us, only ridicule that we would be so cold-hearted as to oppose cures for suffering and sick people.

I am happy and proud to have fought this battle alongside of such wonderful, precious, courageous and stalwart people.

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