ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Who says Rose should be ashamed?

Rose_2d For generations, law students have been taught about the "shame" of Rose 2d, the most famous cow in contracts history.

But what, asks Diane Holmes-Curtice, who as a law student rebelled against authority and demanded to know what Rose had to be ashamed about?  The whole contretemps was not exactly her fault, was it?   Herewith, her answer poem defending the great heifer's honor . . . .


by Diane Holmes-Curtice

Murphy, Spiedel, & Ayres,*
Why is it you claim
that we students atone
for sweet Aberlone's shame?
As though it were hers
at all? Or, hers alone?
Murphy, Spiedel, & Ayres,
her portion of shame
is far overblown.
But, in truth, was her fame--
not from barren-shame formed--
but from a foolish, farmer's
impatient greed born?
Born from the faithless
Greenfield who could not see
the truth of Aberlone's abundancy . . . .
From fickle Greenfield,
who seeking a quick take,
for a pittance, too quickly
put her life at steak [sic]
but just as swiftly
changed his point of view,
(when Sweet Aberlone,
by noble labor,
proved her bloodline true).
How swiftly he breached and cried
"Mistake" hoping to devise
a rescission--an escape--
from his foolish enterprise.
In your poetic history,
why is it less than clear that he
broke faith instead of she?
Had not the court's decision
far more to do
with Greenfield's misreading
of her value?
Nowhere did the court
lay the shame at her hoof.
But instead, held in truth,
that "she [was] a breeding cow,
and a valuable one"--
So, Murphy, Spiedel, & Ayres,
drop the issue, let it be done.
* * *
While we students may whine and moan,
and disclaim the need to learn of Aberlone,
and gripe over exams and each professor's conceit . . .
our skill and our knowledge will be no more complete
for your attribution of guilt and shame
to Rose the Second of Aberlone's noble name.

* It should be obvious which casebook the author was exposed to.

Copyright Diane Holmes-Curtice

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