Enter Richard Plantagenet, Warwick, Somerset,
Suffolk, Vernon, a Lawyer, and other gentlemen
Great lords and gentlemen, what means this silence?
Dare 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;
pitch (n.) 1
height [to which a bird of prey soars before swooping]
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,
quibble, equivocation, hair-splitting distinction
Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw.
daw (n.) 1
jackdaw [as noted for its stupidity]; dolt, fool
Tut, tut, here is a mannerly forbearance.
The truth appears so naked on my side
That any purblind eye may find it out.
And on my side it is so well apparelled,
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,
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 briar pluck a white rose with me.
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.
I love no colours; and, without all colour
Of base insinuating flattery,
I 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
The fewest roses are cropped from the tree
Shall yield the other in the right opinion.
Good Master Vernon, it is well objected;
[legal sense] urged as an objection, brought forward in argument
If I have fewest, I subscribe in silence.
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,
And 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
Shall 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.
'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?
Ay, 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 wrongest him, Somerset;
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,
Or durst not for his craven heart say thus.
By Him that made me, I'll maintain my words
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 standest 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,
Condemned to die for treason, but no traitor;
And that I'll prove on better men than Somerset,
Were 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 colours 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,
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!
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
Shall 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,
Against proud Somerset and William Pole,
Will I upon thy party wear this rose:
And here I prophesy; this brawl today,
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
That you on my behalf would pluck a flower.
In your behalf still will I wear the same.
And so will I.
Thanks, gentle sir.
Come, let us four to dinner. I dare say
This quarrel will drink blood another day.