From Shakespeare by way of Dick Cavett
Would that it were.
For weeks the word “cause” has rolled around in my head, attached to an elusive quote. I found it. It’s from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” (as distinct, I suppose, from Paris Hilton’s “Henry V”) and it’s the part where the king, in disguise and unrecognized, sits at a fire listening to some of his men discuss the next day’s battle and what it means to be fighting in a good cause. One says, “But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all, ‘We died at such a place,’ … their wives left poor behind … their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle. … Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it.”