We Few, We Happy Few

In time for tomorrow’s ceremony Matt Imrie has given the St Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V an incredible CKG spin!

Matt Imrie is the librarian at Farringtons School, Chislehurst and the YLG London judge.

Matt Imrie

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those librarians in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin, Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to judge, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer readers, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one judge more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth read 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 judge from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one reader more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That they which hath no stomach to this judging,
Let them depart; their passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into their purse;
We would not read in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to read with us.
This day is call’d the day of Carnegie and Kate Greenaway
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 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Carnegie and Kate Greenaway’s.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Carnegie and Kate Greenaway’s day.”
Old readers forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What books he read that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
East Midlands, Eastern and London, North Eastern and North Western, Northern Ireland and Scotland, South Western, Wales, West Midlands, Yorkshire & Humberside

Be in their flowing
cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Carnegie and Kate Greenaway day shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of booklovers;
For they to-day that reads their books with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle their 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 read with us upon Carnegie and Kate Greenaway’s day.


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