National Geographic : 1964 May
the Temple Garden in London and choose the symbols that were to name the conflict for the crown: York. Let him that is a trueborn gentleman, And stands upon the honor of his birth, If he suppose that I have pleaded truth, From off this brier pluck a white rose with me. 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. H ere the street is narrow. The throng... Will crowd a feeble man almost to death JULIUS CAESAR (ACT II, SCENE 4) No throng such as the one that followed Caesar crowds the Shambles in York, but many a visitor strolls the street to sample its medieval flavor. In the past, the word "shambles" meant a place where animals were slaughtered. Butchers still work here, as the man with a carcass evidences. Shake speare uses the word in Othello. When Des demona asks the Moor, "I hope my noble lord esteems me honest," he answers: "Oh, ay! as summer flies are in the shambles..." Shakespeare's interpretation of the wars was orthodoxly Tudor, which required histo rians of the day to blacken the Yorkist King Richard III. Yet Englishmen and Americans for centuries have been learning their Wars of the Roses from Shakespeare, and it is ob viously better to have a poet for one's histo rian than a scholar. At one performance of Richard III, I heard a theatergoer remark, "Bloody fellows, weren't they? Talk about television violence teaching juvenile delinquency! Shakespeare gave 'em enough violence to make everybody in his age delinquent!" But Shakespeare's vi olence was for a moral purpose-to show the horror of rebellion and internecine war. At the end of Richard III, the victorious Henry Tudor epitomizes the Tudor point of view as he invokes heaven to crown his suc cess with lasting peace: England hath long been mad and scarred herself; The brother blindly shed the brother's blood; The father rashly slaughtered his own son; The son, compelled, been butcher to the sire: All this divided York and Lancaster, Divided in their dire division, O now let Richmond and Elizabeth, The true succeeders of each royal house, By God's fair ordinance conjoin together!... Abate the edge of traitors,gracious Lord, That would reduce these bloody days again And make poor England weep in streams of blood!