25 Oct – “This day is called the Feast of Crispian…”

Today is the Feast of Crispin and Crispinian.

The 3rd c. martyrs Crispin and Crispinian were killed in Soissons.  They converted people as they plied their trade as cobblers and they were generous to the poor.  Eventually they were persecuted by the local governor and eventually beheaded around on 25 Oct 286 in the time of the Emperor Diocletian.  A different version has them in England, in Faversham, which is surely the version Shakespeare worked with.   St. Eligius made a reliquary for the head of Crispinian.

How could we go without some samples of the great speech?

Henry V (1944) directed by and starring Lawrence Olivier

Henry V (1989) directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh

Richard Burton’s version:

Tom Hiddleston from the Hollow Crown series. US HERE UK HERE


Renaissance Man with Lillo Brancato, Jr.

Here is another, from the well-reviewed Globe production.

Happy Feast of Sts. Crispin and Crispinian.

And let the revival of our liturgical worship continue.

The numbers of Holy Masses in the Extraordinary Form are growing, though but slowly.    Also, I fear that the number of bishops, priests and laity who accept what the Church teaches about marriage is shrinking.

For now content us saying “the fewer men, the greater share of honour”.

And remember… Latin is tooooo haaaaard for children.

They can’t possibly be expected to put on different clothing and recite something lofty from memory.

And then there is the blind 6 year old, but… for some reason my eye got all watery and I couldn’t see the keyboard any more.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Anneliese says:

    Because I could not pass the opportunity to show this clip. It’s also the only western to have (some) dialogue in Latin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErwPcH-kiRY

  2. albinus1 says:

    The president’s speech before the final attack on the aliens in Independence Day is basically a riff on the Crispin’s Day speech.

  3. Mariana2 says:

    Thanks, Father!

  4. Johann says:

    Saints Crispin and Crispinian, pray for us.

  5. JonPatrick says:

    I wonder – do kids still read Shakespeare in high school, or is it now considered “too haaaard” (and also too White European)? We had to read several plays even – horror of horrors – having to MEMORIZE passages! How backward we were! I can still recite the “tomorrow and tomorrow” monologue from Macbeth (yet I can’t remember my phone number or what I had for lunch yesterday :) )

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    These are all excellent. We need to all save and protect volumes of Shakespeare and introduce it to the young as best we can. The destroyers of civilization are envious they could never in a 1000 years think of it. They are envious, so it must go. The middle schools in America read vulgar and dystopian contemporary “novels” and call it literature. The high schools read more dystopia and frank pornography. They are busy eliminating Shakespeare and the culture that produced such inspiring beauty.
    The children, the children are wonderful, as all children are.

  7. Andreas says:

    As demonstrated here, the music of Shakespearian English found in the host of plays, varia and his wonderful collection of sonnets (many thanks again, Father Z!), can stir even the most unaroused intellect and is truly balsam for the soul.

  8. Not says:

    When My Son attended college he started a Fraternity. It has a moral code and is dedicated to charitable works. They all watched the series Band of Brothers. The speech of St. Crispin’s Day at the end of the movie has kept the founding members close for all these years.

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Belated thanks!

    I’ve only watched the children so far – and followed up on 6-year-old Jonah – all delightful, and the Jonah’s World channel has an Agincourt II and a Sonnet 23 as well (which I have not tried, yet…). How impressive they all are, too!

    Anneliese referring to dialogue in Latin got me wondering about the Latin plays written for schools in the Renaissance – and what a lot there seems to have been written about them! – including this introductory chapter of a collection of essays, edited by Jan Bloemendal and Howard B. Norland, which I hope to read, soon, and choose some authors and titles to try searching for on YouTube (or elsewhere?):


  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Not: Great comment.

    Shakespeare’s St. Crispin Day Speech also inspired Col. Tim Collins of The Irish Regiment in Kuwait in March 2003 before the “March Up” to Baghdad and the liberation of Muslims, Christians and others from the tyranny of the Saddam Hussein Ba’athist regime. Two months ago a group of 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, met in Irbil to issue a statement in support of federal constitutional government and normalization of relations with Israel. Mumtaaz. Salaam alaikum.

    Kenneth Branagh later reenacted Col. Collins’ pre-battle exhortation.

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Venerator Sti Lot: Several acquaintances pass on their thanks to you, they are interested in Latin plays (or at least scenes) for homeschooling.

    Andreas: “the music of Shakespearian English…can stir even the most unaroused intellect and is truly balsam for the soul.”

    Good point. Perhaps Shakespeare would have alleviated much of the Sturm und Drang of the “National Conservative” conference earlier this week (this was the second, the first was in 2019, and in fairness, I’m told there were more than a few thoughtful speakers). Here are quotes from the National Conservative social media account itself on the “music” of several speakers:

    Josh Hammer: “What is left of the cold-war era fusionist conservatism is effete, limp, and unmasculine.”

    Behold fellow citizens, the Dawn of the NatCon Man!

    Patrick Deneen: “We are told that America is the land of individual liberty. But economic libertarianism has brought us dependency on foreigners.”

    Sure, trade negotiations are, or should be, continuous and the effects scrutinized. But in 2021 Deneen should familiarize himself with the full spectrum of U.S. imports and exports- and strawmen and non sequiturs.

    Yoram Hazony: “Turns out these great NatCon mugs say “Made in China” on the bottom. Some day soon American companies will be ashamed to sell this kind of merchandise [or else?]. These mugs will be a collector’s item.”

    There’s confidence and having a little fun, then there’s the brashness of a new political movement.

    Chris deMuth: “NatCons are conservatives who have been mugged by reality.”

    The New Kids on the Block are not setting themselves up for political success by needlessly insulting conservatives and future allies.

    JD Vance: “The professors are the enemy.”

    Some are, some aren’t. It’s important to make distinctions when identifying enemies.

    Yoram Hazony: “Conservatives don’t only believe in limiting government. They believe in limiting anything that gets so powerful that it starts harming the public.”

    It’s unclear if Hazony decided to speak for all conservatives or only NatCon conservatives. Regardless, NatCons tend to be isolationist and unfamiliar with some national security threats and military operations, so that statement has implications and unintended consequences for a budding NatCon foreign and defense policy.

    Mary Eberstadt: “Don’t reach for the Xanax when you hear the word “Nationalism” – there are only two other options: internationalism and anti-nationalism.”

    Reach for a thesaurus, though. There is pugnacious nationalism, healthy nationalism, etc. Make distinctions.

    Michael Knowles: “…I don’t feel the obligation to protect a Nazi or a Communist…We must have limits, laws, standards. There is a difference between bad and good. There can be no neutral society.”

    And that is why, because of “feels,” the Constitution has the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

    Michael Knowles: “What we do not have is the courage to say NO. No to liberty without limits, standards and values.”

    The problem with politics begins with us. Many, perhaps most, NatCons are motivated by state power and “limits” more than by rights, responsibilities and virtues.

    Yoram Hazony: “Intelligent people can come to all sorts of terrible things – and the thing that prevents us from coming to all sorts of terrible things, is a common sense which is part of our traditional inheritance.”

    Well, that’s what they all say at first. NatCons often present themselves as The New Exception. Yet the “traditional inheritance” they claim for themselves they often undermine- subtly or not so subtly.

    Again, at that conference this week there were thoughtful speakers and clear-eyed commentary on current events, but the new “National Conservatism” movement also has a distinct element of the same old pugnacious revolutionary socialism.

    In “Othello” Shakespeare said something about hubris, so did Proverbs 16:18.

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