Roland is dead, Cuchulain's crest is low,
The battered war-rear wastes and turns to rust,
And Helen's eyes and Iseult's lips are dust
And dust the shoulders and the breasts of snow.

The faerie people from our woods are gone,
No Dryads have I found in all our trees,
No Triton blows his horn about our seas
And Arthur sleeps far hence in Avalon.

The ancient songs they wither as the grass
And waste as doth a garment waxen old,
All poets have been fools who thought to mould
A monument more durable than brass.

For these decay: but not for that decays
The yearning, high, rebellious spirit of man
That never rested yet since life began
From striving with red Nature and her ways.

Now in the filth of war, the baresark shout
Of battle, it is vexed. And yet so oft
Out of the deeps, of old, it rose aloft
That they who watch the ages may not doubt.

Though often bruised, oft broken by the rod,
Yet, like the phoenix, from each fiery bed
Higher the stricken spirit lifts its head
And higher-till the beast become a god.

by C.S. Lewis (1919)

This work is in the public domain under US law.

A classic 1981 film starring Sylvester Stallone. Stallone is Hatch, an American P.O.W. in a German internment camp. Captain Colby's (Michael Caine) scrub soccer team is noticed by a Major Von Steiner (Max Von Sydow), a former footballer himself, who recognizes Colby, and suggests his inmates play the German squad in a friendly. When the Nazi propaganda machine gets wind of this inmate squad, they stage a grand spectacle: the German national team will play the inmates before a huge crowd in Paris to display the superiority of the Aryan race (much like Hitler's attempt to do the same during the 1936 Olympics, which was foiled by Jesse Owens).

Caine starts recruiting players from the current inmates, while others begin arriving from other P.O.W. camps. Pelé is added to the squad after displaying his juggling skills. A diving header gets Mike Summerbee on the team. Meanwhile, Stallone fumbles about like an idiot, gets yelled at for his 'American' style of play (which involves hitting people and then taking the ball away), and storms off angrily. Stallone grumbles and mutters about hating soccer, but after learning that the inmates plan to escape, he begs Colby to reconsider him for the team, and is made trainer.

It is around this time that he accidentally discovers that he can keep goal rather well. Everyone fires shots at him, and he's saving them left and right. Pelé dribbles around him and easily scores, but gives him words of encouragement. Stallone grumbles and mutters about hating soccer.

Then he escapes! While Pelé plays his harmonica, Stallone escapes through the shower and ends up in Paris with "The Resistance". They arrange for the team to escape during halftime of the game. Stallone grumbles and mutters about hating soccer, but in the end agrees. He gets captured again and is brought back to the camp, this time to be held in solitary confinement. He sends Colby a coded message about the escape, so Colby breaks the current goalkeeper's arm and gets Hatch to replace him. Hatch responds to being named the starting keeper by asking where he's supposed to stand on a corner kick.

The first half of the game is an exercise in futility. The inmates are beaten (literally!) at every point in the game. Pelé gets gang tackled, Stallone kicked in the head. The corrupt referees will not stop the rough play, either because they don't want to or for fear of retribution from the Führer. The indomitable Germans take a 4-0 lead, with the only ray of hope coming as Bobby Moore scores for the inmates at the first half whistle to make the score 4-1.

The inmates, led by Hatch, prepare to escape, but suddenly have a change of heart. Despite the fact that Pelé can hardly walk, they all think they can win. If Hatch goes, they have to go, so they plead with him, and eventually, they go back on the field for the second half. Stallone meanwhile grumbles and mutters about hating soccer.

The second half is a whole new ballgame! The inmates are quicker to every ball, crisper with every pass, and more powerful with every shot! They pull to within one goal, and in fact score the tying goal, but it's disallowed by the corrupt German ref! Von Steiner is disgusted at this blatant desecration of the game he loves! Then, with four minutes left, Pelé, left for dead on the bench (oh, did I mention that the inmates played a man down for almost the entire second half), returns to the game! Broken ribs and all, he delivers a tremendous bicycle kick to tie the game at 4-4!

Surely that's it. These inmates, bruised and battered and totally outmatched, have managed a tie against the great German machine. Certainly that's to be the end. But no! Just before the final whistle blows, the inmates are called for a penalty inside the box! Penalty kick! Stallone has already been burned once on a penalty kick, and now he must save this final shot to preserve the tie...

Here comes the kick...
Stallone dives...

The French people burst onto the field, singing Les Marseillais. They throw disguises over the inmates to hide them, and scurry out of the stadium. Stallone is free! Caine is free! Pelé is free! Everyone is free! It may have been a tie, but they've achieved the ultimate... Victory!

Victory : The winged Roman goddess of victory, adopted from the similar Greek deity, Nike, served as a model for the winged angel of Christian art.

Victory symbolizes invincibility. In mythology she is the daughter of Pallas and Styx. The Romans used her as a symbol of the invincibility of their own empire, and she became the protector of the Roman city and state. But as emperors and others converted to Christianity, Victory kept her place alongside Christian imagery, such as angels. Like angels, Victory acted as a messenger of the gods, especially bestowing news of victory in battle.

In art, Victory is shown as an obviously female figure, with prominent breasts. Usually, one breast is exposed from the flowing tunic; sometimes she is portrayed naked with a mantle. She is crowned with laurel. She holds medallions and palm branches, which Christian artists borrowed for their angels. Her image appears in funerary art, ceremonial and triumphal art, statuary, and on coins.

While Victory joined winged angels in art of the Roman Empire beginning in the fourth century, she never became confused with angels, nor became an angel. She was always distinguished from them by her female form. It was not until the Renaissance that Christian artists began to portray angels as females.

Vic"to*ry (?), n.; pl. Victories (#). [OE. victorie, OF. victorie, victoire, F. victoire, L. victoria. See Victor.]

The defeat of an enemy in battle, or of an antagonist in any contest; a gaining of the superiority in any struggle or competition; conquest; triumph; -- the opposite of defeat.

Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Cor. xv. 54.

God on our side, doubt not of victory. Shak.

Victory may be honorable to the arms, but shameful to the counsels, of a nation. Bolingbroke.


© Webster 1913.

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