Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Quality of Mercy

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 throned 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 enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then show like God's
When mercy seasons justice.

---William Shakespeare; 1600
(Portia’s speech in Act IV, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice)

2 comments:

Rose said...

As a former English teacher, naturally I love Shakespeare. These lines illustrate the beauty of his language and the timelessness of his themes. We would all do well to show a little mercy. Thanks for sharing this! And thank you for dropping by to visit my blog recently.

C. Marie Byars said...

Thanks, Rose. And thanks for visiting here, also! Glad to know an English teacher. I did my theology master's thesis on the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins.