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BigPapiDoesItAgain
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Member since Nov 2009
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The Quality of Mercy from "The Merchant of Venice"
Was this the pinnacle of English Literature written some 520 plus years ago? For my money there is little much better ever written in the English language than this monologue spoken as Shakespeare's Portia:


The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God Himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which, if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
—?Portia, in William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1.


HailHailtoMichigan!
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re: The Quality of Mercy from "The Merchant of Venice"
Shakespeare will never be topped as the English language GOAT

I don't really have the patience anymore to go through and read all his plays again, but I do now and then read his sonnets. Every one is majestic and sublime.

Sonnet 94 is especially moving.

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow,
They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces
And husband nature’s riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.


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