October 24, 2021

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24 October
Vigil of the Feast of Ss. Crispin and Crispinian

Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Crispin and Crispinian fled persecution for their faith, ending up at Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls while making shoes by night. They earned enough by their trade to support themselves and also to aid the poor. The governor of Belgic Gaul had them tortured and thrown into the river with millstones around their necks. They survived but were beheaded by the Emperor c. 286.

The Battle of Agincourt was fought on Saint Crispin's feastday. Shakespeare's “St. Crispin's Day Speech” from his play Henry V has immortalized it.

If we are mark'd to die, we are enough / 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, Westmorland, 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 rememberèd— / We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; / For he today 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.

Saints Crispin and Crispinian, pray for us!

Rev. Christopher J. Pollard