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Shakespeare on the beach; Mr. Vice President, you're no Prince Hal.

Shakespeare on the Beach

Mr. Vice President, you're no Prince Hal.

[T]he vice president and his wife made a surprise visit to the Cineplex Odeon Outer Circle Sunday evening .... Dan Quayle and his wife Marilyn were coming to see "Henry V."

--The Washington Post "Personalities" column, January 9, 1990

[Act IV, Scene iii. The English camp at Agincourt.]

Enter Gloucester, Bedford, Exeter, Erpingham with

all his Host, Salisbury, and Westmoreland.

West. O that we now had here But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work today!

Enter the King.

K. Danf. Huh? Who said that? Let me say this along the lines of response to your--while it's true that with more people it's easier, less risk of, you might be slain in battle. And that would certainly be unfortunate. But I view the situation as much different. And let me explain what I mean by this.

If we are marked to pass on, well, that's it. It will happen, and that's unfortunate. Lookit, these things occur. I don't choose to dwell on that. I take a more forward-looking, uh, look at this situation. If you live, I view this as it's better if there are fewer. You live, more die, and I know that's unfortunate, but not for you. You're impacted with a greater share of honor than would otherwise be the case. So I would ask you to wish, prayerfully wish or pray or whatever your faith may be, that we have not one man more and let us stick to the numbers we've got now. They're good numbers, English numbers, English, English numbers.

Now, as you know, today is the Feast of Crispian. It's a day I like to spend with Marilyn and the kids, maybe in the morning out on the fairway, and I know some like to criticize that but this is how I relax, and I don't intend to apologize, be apologetic of that.

But as I was saying, we have to work on a holiday, and none of us prefers, we would rather another day, and we are here. But one thing about my generation, our generation, is looking to the future. We have a very strong orientation along the lines of thinking toward the future. And that is what this great country is all about.

So, as we look to the future, we see that some of us will be blessed to outlive this day and come safely home, as I came after--and I do not apologize and I served my country well in the National Guard. But that is past, and this is future. So in the future when this time of year rolls around again, as I am confident it will, those of us who are fortunate to survive today will stand and salute whenever they hear the name Crispian. Or some prefer Crispin, it amounts to the same thing because they were Roman brothers as I'm sure you know, God-fearing Christians and freedom fighters and entrepreneurs in the shoe industry, which was important to, important part of the manufacturing sector during that time, now past. And this is future.

And let me say this. You who are here today. I don't mean the ones who die, and of course we don't know which because that will play out. It has to play out. But if you live, many years from now, when you are a senior citizen, every year you will--your neighbors will come to your house and, you will say, "Tomorrow is Elaine Crispin." Elaine Crispian. That is, St. Crispian, or if you prefer, Crispian. Crispin. Then you take off your shirt and show off your scars. And that would I think be a very rewarding and patriotic experience.

You will get old--I don't mean the dead ones, but the others because they're the future which is what we are, where the concern is really what it's all about. So they will get on in years. And you, they, will become forgetful and perhaps an Alzheimer's situation will develop. But you'll still remember what you did today, because today is going to be very memorable. And famous, because when you're a war hero, that gets attention in the media. So you will get media attention. And every year on Saint--on this day, when we revisit it in future years, many or rather few of us will, some, all of us, we will think the same thought. And that thought is this.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. We band together as brothers, bandy brothers, happy brothers. Few brothers but happy brothers, happy band, happy bandy band. Happy is happy, band is band, few is few. In other words, few is better than happy.

And the others--not dead, but back home in England, back in bed, in England--they will feel accursed for not being here and, frankly, their manhood will be something they may want to wonder about. And I'm not going to make any further elaborations about that.

Once more onto the beach!

Timothy Noah is a contributing editor of The Washington Monthly. Research assistance was provided by William Shakespeare.
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Title Annotation:Dan Quayle
Author:Noah, Timothy
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Previous Article:Journalists, Inc.
Next Article:Flying the unfriendly skies, II.

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