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  • Title: Henry VI, Part 1 (Modern)
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    Author: William Shakespeare
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    Henry VI, Part 1 (Modern)

    [One or morebriars bearing white and red roses.] Enter Richard Plantagenet, [the Earl of] Warwick, [the Duke of] Somerset, [William de la] Pole [the Earl of Suffolk], and others [Vernon, and a Lawyer].
    Great lords and gentlemen, what means this silence?
    930Dare no man answer in a case of truth?
    Within the Temple hall we were too loud.
    The garden here is more convenient.
    Then say at once if I maintained the truth;
    Or else was wrangling Somerset in th'error?
    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.
    Judge you, my lord of Warwick, then between us.
    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,
    945I 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.
    The truth appears so naked on my side
    950That any purblind eye may find it out.
    And on my side it is so well appareled,
    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,
    955In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts.
    Let him that is a true-born gentleman
    And stands upon the honor of his birth,
    If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
    From off this briar pluck a white rose with me.
    [He plucks a white rose.]
    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.
    [He plucks a red rose.]
    I love no colors, and without all color
    Of base insinuating flattery
    965I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet.
    I pluck this red rose with young Somerset,
    And say withal I think he held the right.
    Stay lords and gentlemen, and pluck no more
    Till you conclude that he upon whose side
    970The fewest roses are croppèd from the tree
    Shall yield the other in the right opinion.
    Good Master Vernon, it is well objected.
    If I have fewest, I subscribe in silence.
    And I.
    Then for the truth and plainness of the case
    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,
    Lest, bleeding, you do paint the white rose red,
    980And fall on my side so against your will.
    If I, my lord, for my opinion bleed,
    Opinion shall be surgeon to my hurt
    And keep me on the side where still I am.
    Well, well, come on. Who else?
    Unless my study and my books be false,
    The argument you held was wrong in you;
    In sign whereof, I pluck a white rose too.
    Now Somerset, where is your argument?
    Here in my scabbard, meditating that
    990Shall dye your white rose in a bloody red.
    Meantime your cheeks do counterfeit our roses,
    For pale they look with fear, as witnessing
    The truth on our side.
    No, Plantagenet,
    995'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?
    Hath not thy rose a thorn, Plantagenet?
    Aye, sharp and piercing to maintain his truth,
    Whiles thy consuming canker eats his falsehood.
    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.
    Now, by this maiden blossom in my hand,
    I scorn thee and thy fashion, peevish boy.
    Turn not thy scorns this way, Plantagenet.
    Proud Pole, I will, and scorn both him and thee.
    I'll turn my part thereof into thy throat.
    Away, away, good William de la Pole.
    We grace the yeoman by conversing with him.
    Now by God's will thou wrong'st him, Somerset.
    His grandfather was Lionel, Duke of Clarence,
    1015Third son to the third Edward, King of England.
    Spring crestless yeomen from so deep a root?
    He bears him on the place's privilege,
    Or durst not for his craven heart say thus.
    By him that made me, I'll maintain my words
    1020On 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?
    1025His trespass yet lives guilty in thy blood,
    And till thou be restored thou art a yeoman.
    My father was attachèd, not attainted,
    Condemned to die for treason, but no traitor;
    And that I'll prove on better men than Somerset,
    1030Were growing time once ripened 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 warned.
    Ah, thou shalt find us ready for thee still:
    And know us by these colors for thy foes,
    For these my friends, in spite of thee, shall wear.
    And, by my soul, this pale and angry rose,
    As cognizance of my blood-drinking hate,
    1040Will I forever, 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.
    And so farewell until I meet thee next.
    Have with thee Pole. Farewell ambitious Richard.
    How I am braved, and must perforce endure it.
    This blot that they object against your house
    1050Shall be wiped out in the next parliament,
    Called 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,
    1055Against proud Somerset and William Pole,
    Will I upon thy party wear this rose.
    And here I prophecy: this brawl today,
    Grown to this faction in the Temple garden,
    Shall send, between the red rose and the white,
    1060A thousand souls to death and deadly night.
    Good Master Vernon, I am bound to you,
    That you on my behalf would pluck a flower.
    In your behalf still will I wear the same.
    And so will I.
    Thanks, gentle.
    Come, let us four to Dinner. I dare say
    This quarrel will drink blood another day.
    Exeunt. [The one or morebriars are removed.]