William Shakespeare: King Henry VI, First Part

4. SCENE IV. London. The Temple-garden. (continued)

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 cropp'd 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,
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;

[To Somerset.]

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.

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.

Hath not thy rose a canker, Somerset?

Hath not thy rose a thorn, Plantagenet?

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