Poems concerning the Battle of Agincourt 1415
Ballad of Agincourt*
By Michael Drayton, 1563-1631
'To the Cambro-Britons, and their harp'
The Agincout Carol**
15th century published in Percy's
Reliqes of Ancient English Poetry
Fair stood the wind for France,
When we our sails advance,
Nor now to prove our chance,
Longer will tarry;
But putting to the main,
At Caux, the mouth of Seine,
With all his martial train,
Landed King Harry.
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And taking many a fort,
Furnished in warlike sort,
Marcheth towards Agincourt,
In happy hour;
Skirmishing day by day,
With those that stopped his way,
Where the French General lay,
With all his power.
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
Owre Kynge went forth to Normandy,
With grace and myzt of chivalry;
The God for hym wrourt marvelously,
Wherefore Englonde may calle, and cry
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
Which in his height of pride,
King Henry to deride,
His ransom to provide
To the King sending.
Which he neglects the while,
As from a nation vile,
Yet with an angry smile,
Their fall portending.
He sette a sege, the sothe for to say,
To Harflue toune with ryal aray;
That toune he wan, and made a fray,
That Fraunce shall rywe tyl domes day.
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
And turning to his men,
Quoth our brave Henry then,
Though they to one be ten,
Be not amazed.
Yet have we well begun,
Battles so bravely won,
Have ever to the sun,
By fame been raised.
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And for my self (quoth he,)
This my full rest shall be,
England ne'er mourn for me,
Nor more esteem me.
Victor I will remain,
Or on this earth lie slain,
Never shall she sustain,
Loss to redeem me.
Then went owre kynge, with alle his oste,
Thorowe Fraunce for all the Frenshe boste;
He spared 'for' for drede of leste, ne most,
Tyl he come to Agincourt coste.
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
Poitiers and Cressy tell,
When most their pride did swell,
Under our swords they fell,
No less our skill is,
Than when our grandsire great,
Claiming the regal seat,
By many a warlike feat,
Lopped the French lilies.
Than for sothe that knyzt comely
In Agincourt feld he fauzt manly,
Thorow grace of God most myzty
He had bothe the felde, and the victory:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
The Duke of York so dread,
The eager vaward led;
With the main, Henry sped,
Amongst his henchmen.
Exeter had the rear,
A braver man not there,
O Lord, how hot they were,
On the false Frenchmen!
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They now to fight are gone,
Armour on armour shone,
Drum now to drum did groan,
To hear, was wonder;
That with cries they make,
The very earth did shake,
Trumpet to trumpet spake,
Thunder to thunder
Ther dukys, and erlys, lorde and barone,
Were take, and slayne, and that wel sone,
And some were ledde in to Lundone
With joye, and merthe, and grete renone.
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
Well it thine age became,
O noble Erpingham,
Which didst the signal aim,
To our hid forces;
When from a meadow by,
Like a storm suddenly,
The English archery
Struck the French horses,
Now gracious God he save owre Kynge,
His peple, and all his wel wyllynge,
Gef him gode lyfe, and gode endynge,
That we with merth mowe savely synge
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!
With Spanish yew so strong,
Arrows a cloth-yard long,
That like to serpents stung,
Piercing the weather;
None from his fellow starts,
But playing manly parts,
And like true English hearts,
Stuck close together.
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When down their bows they threw,
And forth their bilboes drew,
And on the French they flew,
Not one was tardy;
Arms were from shoulders sent,
Scalps to the teeth were rent,
Down the French peasants went,
Our men were hardv.
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This while our noble King,
His broad sword brandishing,
Down the French host did ding,
As to o'erwhelm it;
And many a deep wound lent,
His arms with blood besprent,
And many a cruel dent
Bruised his helmet.
Gloucester, that Duke so good,
Next of the royal blood,
For famous England stood,
With his brave brother;
Clarence, in steel so bright,
Though but a maiden knight,
Yet in that furious fight,
Scarce such another.
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Warwick in blood did wade,
Oxford the foe invade,
And cruel slaughter made,
Still as they ran up;
Suffolk his axe did ply,
Beaumont and Willoughby
Bare them right doughtily,
Ferrers and Fanhope.
** That our plain and martial ancestors
could wield their swords much better
than their pens, will appear from the
following homely Rhymes which were
drawn up by some poet laureate of
those days to celebrate the immortal
victory gained at Agincourt, Oct.25, 1415.
This song or hymn is given merely
as a curiosity, and is printed from a
manuscript copy in the Pepys Collection,
vol. i. folio. It is there accompanied
with the musical notes.
Upon Saint Crispin's day
Fought was this noble fray,
Which fame did not delay,
To England to carry;
0, when shall English men
With such acts fill a pen,
Or England breed again,
Such a King Harry?
* In 1415, Henry V renewed the
Hundred Years War with France, laying
successful siege to Harfleur.
On 25 October 1415, with an army of
only 14,000 men, he defeated a French
force numbering 50,000 in a famous
battle at Agincourt.
The Top 3 illustrations are of Front Rank figures, other photos are from Wargames Illustrated no.141

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