Archery historian Veronica-Mae Soar draws on her 40 year love affair with the English longbow – as an archer, and coach and currently Clerk to the Craft Guild of Traditional Bowyers & Fletchers – to bring us a modern tale of Agincourt, the echoes of which reverberate through the centuries. Veronica-Mae has composed this splendid poem specially for the occasion:
Wapley. 25th October 2015
Why stand these men beside this ancient tomb?
Their faces solemn and their heads bowed down,
While words from Shakespeare echo in the gloom.
By tomb caparisoned in cloth of red
In honour of Sir John, who served his king,
They stand in silent tribute to the dead.
At Wapley in old Glo’ster’s famous shire.
As we in solemn process gather here,
The bell tolls from St Peter’s ancient spire
People of every age and every sort
From every place, upon St Crispin’s day,
Are come to think and speak of Agincourt.
How on this day 600 years ago
Upon a foreign field, with beating hearts,
King Henry and his army met the foe.
The doughty archers let their arrows fly;
From sturdy bows of yew their shafts were sent
So thick, ‘tis said, they seemed to dark the sky
The royal banner waved above the fray,
In Codrington’s brave hands it fluttered forth;
And many a noble deed was done that day.
O may we not forget as years go by
Warwick and Bedford, Talbot and their kin
Fighting for Henry ‘neath a leaden sky
The choral voices rise to heav’n once more,
Our children hear this tale of yesteryear,
As we muse on the deeds at Azincourt
© Veronica-Mae Soar 2015