|The First part of King Henry the Sixth|
| Henry VI, part 1
| Act 2, Scene 4
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Enter the Earls of SOMERSET, SUFFOLK, and WARWICK; RICHARD PLANTAGENET, VERNON, and another Lawyer
Great lords and gentlemen, what means this silence?SUFFOLK
Dare no man answer in a case of truth?
Within the Temple-hall we were too loud;PLANTAGENET
The garden here is more convenient.
Then say at once if I maintain'd the truth;SUFFOLK
Or else was wrangling Somerset in the error?
Faith, I have been a truant in the law,SOMERSET
And never yet could frame my will to it;
And therefore frame the law unto my will.
Judge you, my Lord of Warwick, then, between us.WARWICK
Between two hawks, which flies the higher pitch;PLANTAGENET
Between two dogs, which hath the deeper mouth;
Between two blades, which bears the better temper:
Between two horses, which doth bear him best;
Between two girls, which hath the merriest eye;
I have perhaps some shallow spirit of judgement;
But in these nice sharp quillets of the law,
Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw.
Tut, tut, here is a mannerly forbearance:SOMERSET
The truth appears so naked on my side
That any purblind eye may find it out.
And on my side it is so well apparell'd,PLANTAGENET
So clear, so shining and so evident
That it will glimmer through a blind man's eye.
Since you are tongue-tied and so loath to speak,SOMERSET
In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts:
Let him that is a true-born gentleman
And stands upon the honour of his birth,
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.
Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer,WARWICK
But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.
I love no colours, and without all colourSUFFOLK
Of base insinuating flattery
I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet.
I pluck this red rose with young SomersetVERNON
And say withal I think he held the right.
Stay, lords and gentlemen, and pluck no more,SOMERSET
Till you conclude that he upon whose side
The fewest roses are cropp'd from the tree
Shall yield the other in the right opinion.
Good Master Vernon, it is well objected:PLANTAGENET
If I have fewest, I subscribe in silence.
Then for the truth and plainness of the case.SOMERSET
I pluck this pale and maiden blossom here,
Giving my verdict on the white rose side.
Prick not your finger as you pluck it off,VERNON
Lest bleeding you do paint the white rose red
And fall on my side so, against your will.
If I my lord, for my opinion bleed,SOMERSET
Opinion shall be surgeon to my hurt
And keep me on the side where still I am.
Well, well, come on: who else?Lawyer
Unless my study and my books be false,PLANTAGENET
The argument you held was wrong in you:
To SOMERSETIn sign whereof I pluck a white rose too.
Now, Somerset, where is your argument?SOMERSET
Here in my scabbard, meditating thatPLANTAGENET
Shall dye your white rose in a bloody red.
Meantime your cheeks do counterfeit our roses;SOMERSET
For pale they look with fear, as witnessing
The truth on our side.
'Tis not for fear but anger that thy cheeks
Blush for pure shame to counterfeit our roses,
And yet thy tongue will not confess thy error.
Hath not thy rose a canker, Somerset?SOMERSET
Hath not thy rose a thorn, Plantagenet?PLANTAGENET
Ay, sharp and piercing, to maintain his truth;SOMERSET
Whiles thy consuming canker eats his falsehood.
Well, I'll find friends to wear my bleeding roses,PLANTAGENET
That shall maintain what I have said is true,
Where false Plantagenet dare not be seen.
Now, by this maiden blossom in my hand,SUFFOLK
I scorn thee and thy fashion, peevish boy.
Turn not thy scorns this way, Plantagenet.PLANTAGENET
Proud Pole, I will, and scorn both him and thee.SUFFOLK
I'll turn my part thereof into thy throat.SOMERSET
Away, away, good William de la Pole!WARWICK
We grace the yeoman by conversing with him.
Now, by God's will, thou wrong'st him, Somerset;PLANTAGENET
His grandfather was Lionel Duke of Clarence,
Third son to the third Edward King of England:
Spring crestless yeomen from so deep a root?
He bears him on the place's privilege,SOMERSET
Or durst not, for his craven heart, say thus.
By him that made me, I'll maintain my wordsPLANTAGENET
On any plot of ground in Christendom.
Was not thy father, Richard Earl of Cambridge,
For treason executed in our late king's days?
And, by his treason, stand'st not thou attainted,
Corrupted, and exempt from ancient gentry?
His trespass yet lives guilty in thy blood;
And, till thou be restored, thou art a yeoman.
My father was attached, not attainted,SOMERSET
Condemn'd to die for treason, but no traitor;
And that I'll prove on better men than Somerset,
Were growing time once ripen'd to my will.
For your partaker Pole and you yourself,
I'll note you in my book of memory,
To scourge you for this apprehension:
Look to it well and say you are well warn'd.
Ah, thou shalt find us ready for thee still;PLANTAGENET
And know us by these colours for thy foes,
For these my friends in spite of thee shall wear.
And, by my soul, this pale and angry rose,SUFFOLK
As cognizance of my blood-drinking hate,
Will I for ever and my faction wear,
Until it wither with me to my grave
Or flourish to the height of my degree.
Go forward and be choked with thy ambition!SOMERSET
And so farewell until I meet thee next.
Have with thee, Pole. Farewell, ambitious Richard.PLANTAGENET
How I am braved and must perforce endure it!WARWICK
This blot that they object against your housePLANTAGENET
Shall be wiped out in the next parliament
Call'd for the truce of Winchester and Gloucester;
And if thou be not then created York,
I will not live to be accounted Warwick.
Meantime, in signal of my love to thee,
Against proud Somerset and William Pole,
Will I upon thy party wear this rose:
And here I prophesy: this brawl to-day,
Grown to this faction in the Temple-garden,
Shall send between the red rose and the white
A thousand souls to death and deadly night.
Good Master Vernon, I am bound to you,VERNON
That you on my behalf would pluck a flower.
In your behalf still will I wear the same.Lawyer
And so will I.PLANTAGENET
Thanks, gentle sir.
Come, let us four to dinner: I dare say
This quarrel will drink blood another day.
| Henry VI, part 1
| Act 2, Scene 4
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