I have burst into tears, more than once, when Bruce sings "Together, Wendy we can live with the sadness/I love you with all the madness in my soul." Never once has one of Shakespeare's sonnets moved me to tears. The first time I read TS Eliot's "The Hollow Men," I got shivers from my scalp to my toes. But "Tiny Dancer" stops me dead in my tracks every time I hear it and I have to stop and listen, though I've heard it at least a thousand or two times in my life. And while it's true that I read East of Eden at least once a year, I could listen to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" every day for the rest of my life and it would still quicken my pulse every time.
Interesting, that. Then again, when I feel the surging swell in my chest that I get every time I hear the Saint Crispin's monologue from Henry V, I know that I am feeling the same swell that groundlings, kings, actors, and English majors have been feeling for four hundred years.
Photo courtesy of the great Andrew Tobias Line.
And maybe one of the best examples of writing in the English language.
And Crispin Crispian 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 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 accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.