List iconHenry VI, Part 1List icon

Henry VI, Part 1
Act 2, scene 4



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Entire Play

With an underage boy now king of England, Henry VI, Part 1, depicts the collapse of England’s role in France, as…

Act 1, scene 1

The funeral procession for Henry V is interrupted first by a quarrel between Gloucester and Winchester and then by messengers…

Act 1, scene 2

Charles the Dauphin, leader of the French, is defeated by a small English force that is besieging Orleance. He is…

Act 1, scene 3

Gloucester visits the Tower of London, only to be denied entry by Winchester. The servants of the two nobles skirmish…

Act 1, scene 4

The master gunner of Orleance shows his boy how to fire on the English when they come to spy. The…

Act 1, scene 5

Talbot attacks, fights Pucelle, fails to defeat her, and accuses her of witchcraft. The English, defeated, retreat.

Act 1, scene 6

The French celebrate Pucelle’s victory.

Act 2, scene 1

The English forces, led by Bedford, Burgundy, and Talbot, scale the walls of Orleance and drive out the French, who…

Act 2, scene 2

The English plan a grand tomb for the dead Salisbury, in part as a monument to their recent victory. Talbot…

Act 2, scene 3

The Countess plots to capture and kill the visiting Talbot.

Act 2, scene 4

Richard Plantagenet and Somerset, having quarreled over a case at law, withdraw into a garden, where the supporters of Plantagenet…

Act 2, scene 5

Edmund Mortimer, imprisoned by Henry IV because of his strong claim to the throne, and kept in prison by Henry…

Act 3, scene 1

Gloucester and Winchester quarrel openly in Henry VI’s royal court. Their supporters, forbidden to carry weapons, have been fighting in…

Act 3, scene 2

Pucelle and four soldiers, disguised as peasants, enter Roan. From a tower within the city, Pucelle signals to the French…

Act 3, scene 3

As Talbot and Burgundy march separately to Paris for the coronation of Henry VI, Pucelle entices Burgundy to join the…

Act 3, scene 4

In Paris, a grateful Henry VI creates Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury in recompense for his victories in France. Vernon, a…

Act 4, scene 1

Henry VI is crowned. Fastolf arrives with a letter from Burgundy and, because of his earlier cowardice in battle, is…

Act 4, scene 2

As Talbot draws up his troops before Bordeaux, he learns that he is surrounded by much greater French forces.

Act 4, scene 3

Sir William Lucy urges York to help Talbot, but York refuses to march until Somerset unites his cavalry with York’s…

Act 4, scene 4

Sir William Lucy chastises Somerset for not having helped Talbot, but Somerset blames York, who has apparently refused to communicate…

Act 4, scene 5

Talbot has been joined by his son John Talbot, whom he urges to flee certain death. John Talbot refuses to…

Act 4, scene 6

Talbot again urges his son to flee and is again rebuffed.

Act 4, scene 7

Talbot, holding his dead son, dies. Sir William Lucy comes to claim their bodies from the victorious French.

Act 5, scene 1

Henry follows Gloucester’s advice to make peace with France and to agree to marry the daughter of the earl of…

Act 5, scene 2

Charles is informed that the divided English army has united and is advancing toward him.

Act 5, scene 3

As the French face likely defeat, Pucelle conjures up devils, but they refuse to help, and she is captured by…

Act 5, scene 4

Pucelle, on her way to be executed by the English, is visited by her shepherd father, whom she scorns and…

Act 5, scene 5

Suffolk persuades Henry to marry Margaret over the objections of Gloucester. Suffolk plans to control Margaret and, through her, the…

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Scene 4
Enter Richard Plantagenet, Warwick, Somerset,
William de la Pole the Earl of Suffolk,
Vernon, a Lawyer, and Others.

 Great lords and gentlemen, what means this silence?
 Dare no man answer in a case of truth?

Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 2. SC. 4

 Within the Temple Hall we were too loud;
 The garden here is more convenient.
5 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.
10 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,
15 Between two girls, which hath the merriest eye,
 I have perhaps some shallow spirit of judgment;
 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!
20 The truth appears so naked on my side
 That 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.
25 Since you are tongue-tied and so loath to speak,
 In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts:
 Let him that is a trueborn gentleman
 And stands upon the honor of his birth,
 If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
30 From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.

Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 2. SC. 4

 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 colors; and, without all color
35 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
40 Till you conclude that he upon whose side
 The 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.
 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,
50 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.
SOMERSET 55Well, well, come on, who else?
 Unless my study and my books be false,

Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 2. SC. 4

 The argument you held was wrong in law,
 In sign whereof I pluck a white rose too.
 Now, Somerset, where is your argument?
60 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.
SOMERSET 65 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?
70 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,
75 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.
80 I’ll turn my part thereof into thy throat.

Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 2. SC. 4

 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,
85 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
90 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?
95 His 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,
100 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.
105 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,

Henry VI, Part 1
ACT 2. SC. 4

110 Will 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.He exits.
115 Have with thee, Pole.—Farewell, ambitious Richard.
He exits.
 How I am braved, and must perforce endure it!
 This blot that they object against your house
 Shall be whipped out in the next parliament,
 Called for the truce of Winchester and Gloucester;
120 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.
125 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,
130 That you on my behalf would pluck a flower.
 In your behalf still will I wear the same.
 And so will I.
PLANTAGENET  Thanks, gentle sir.
 Come, let us four to dinner. I dare say
135 This quarrel will drink blood another day.
They exit.