We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
What's the meaning of the phrase 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'?
'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers' is one of the well-known lines from the rousing St. Crispin's Day Speech given by the king in Shakespeare's Henry V.
Henry was exhorting his men to greater valour and toward a famous victory against the French at the Battle of Agincourt. The fact that they were outnumbered by the French should not concern them and would only serve to strengten their brotherhood and reputation in the future.
What's the origin of the phrase 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers'?
From Shakespeare's Henry V, 1598:
KING HENRY V:
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 remember'd;
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 accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
See also: Once more unto the breach dear friends
See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.