Saint Crispin’s Day Speech from Henry V
I’ve done some sunrise-time-calculating with this handy thing and some queue-scheduling and have timed this post very specifically: it coincides with the precise time (give or take a couple minutes, let’s allow for a margin of error) of the sunrise in the northern region of France on October 25, 1415. So as you read this, it’s 597 years ago exactly that the sun was rising over the fields of Agincourt.
This makes me think of a happy time some years ago.
Peter and I were guests at a little media con in the south of England. Another of the guests (among numerous others) was John Rhys-Davies. As often happens at conventions, the committee kindly took all us guestly types out for a lovely dinner at the end of the convention.
Somehow or other Shakespeare came up. Now, Peter’s degree in Eng.Lit. was angled more toward the Chaucerian end of things, but he did his share of Shakespeare while studying, and he and Rhys-Davies spent about half the dinner discussing the Bard.
I can’t now remember which of them started it, but I realized suddenly that the two of them were engaged in a tag-team recitation of the above speech. Now, Peter’s voice isn’t exactly soft or retiring when he gets going in this mode, but there is no competing with John Rhys-Davies when he gets his wheels under him. The restaurant went (unsurprisingly) quiet around us as the two of them headed for the finish line, both reciting in unison now, and finally hitting “Upon St. Crispin’s Day!” at the (joint) top of their lungs.
Our table and most of the rest of the restaurant exploded into applause. And one nice lady not far away, looking at Rhys-Davies for the first time and realizing only part of what had been going on, then said loudly enough for everyone to hear:
“Oh, isn’t that lovely? It’s Luciano Pavarotti!”
…Good times, good times. :)