God and We the People

The New Oxonian

At the end of the film Henry V, a single tenor voice intones, Non nobis, non nobis, Domine…

He is joined by a few others, until in the end a whole chorus (with orchestra) crescendos to complete the verse: Sed nomini tuo da gloriam. The passage is from Psalm 115,  the bit of the Roman Easter liturgy where the priests, hearing the lines,  would kneel in abasement: “Not to us, not to us, O Lord, but to your name give glory.”

The verse became a familiar song of the Knights Templar during the Crusades, but its most famous use was in 1415 when the English, against  heavy odds and a superior army, defeated the French at Agincourt.

It was easy to see the battle in biblical terms–and the English never tired of attributing their unlikely victory to divine intervention. Except, of course: Henry V of England and Charles VI of France were…

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