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History of Henry VI, Part I

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Act II, Scene 4

London. The Temple-garden.


[Enter the Earls of SOMERSET, SUFFOLK, and WARWICK;] [p]RICHARD PLANTAGENET, VERNON, and another Lawyer]

  • Earl of Suffolk. Within the Temple-hall we were too loud;
    The garden here is more convenient.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Faith, I have been a truant in the law,
    And never yet could frame my will to it;
    And therefore frame the law unto my will.
  • Earl of Warwick. Between two hawks, which flies the higher pitch;
    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; 935
    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.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. And on my side it is so well apparell'd,
    So clear, so shining and so evident
    That it will glimmer through a blind man's eye. 945
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Since you are tongue-tied and so loath to speak,
    In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts:
    Let him that is a true-born gentleman
    And stands upon the honour of his birth, 950
    If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
    From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer,
    But dare maintain the party of the truth,
    Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me. 955
  • Earl of Warwick. I love no colours, and without all colour
    Of base insinuating flattery
    I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet.
  • Earl of Suffolk. I pluck this red rose with young Somerset
    And say withal I think he held the right. 960
  • Vernon. Stay, lords and gentlemen, and pluck no more,
    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.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Good Master Vernon, it is well objected: 965
    If I have fewest, I subscribe in silence.
  • Vernon. Then for the truth and plainness of the case.
    I pluck this pale and maiden blossom here, 970
    Giving my verdict on the white rose side.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Prick not your finger as you pluck it off,
    Lest bleeding you do paint the white rose red
    And fall on my side so, against your will.
  • Vernon. If I my lord, for my opinion bleed, 975
    Opinion shall be surgeon to my hurt
    And keep me on the side where still I am.
  • Lawyer. Unless my study and my books be false,
    The argument you held was wrong in you: 980
    In sign whereof I pluck a white rose too.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Here in my scabbard, meditating that 985
    Shall dye your white rose in a bloody red.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. No, Plantagenet,
    '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.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Well, I'll find friends to wear my bleeding roses,
    That shall maintain what I have said is true,
    Where false Plantagenet dare not be seen.
  • Earl of Warwick. Now, by God's will, thou wrong'st him, Somerset;
    His grandfather was Lionel Duke of Clarence,
    Third son to the third Edward King of England: 1015
    Spring crestless yeomen from so deep a root?
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. By him that made me, I'll maintain my words 1020
    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? 1025
    His trespass yet lives guilty in thy blood;
    And, till thou be restored, thou art a yeoman.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). My father was attached, not attainted,
    Condemn'd to die for treason, but no traitor; 1030
    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: 1035
    Look to it well and say you are well warn'd.
  • Duke/Earl of Somerset. Ah, thou shalt find us ready for thee still;
    And know us by these colours for thy foes,
    For these my friends in spite of thee shall wear.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). And, by my soul, this pale and angry rose,
    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. 1045
  • Earl of Suffolk. Go forward and be choked with thy ambition!
    And so farewell until I meet thee next.



  • Earl of Warwick. This blot that they object against your house
    Shall be wiped out in the next parliament
    Call'd for the truce of Winchester and Gloucester; 1055
    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: 1060
    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.
  • Vernon. In your behalf still will I wear the same.