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Shakespeare in the Morning

September 11, 2012

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 blessed;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre 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 sceptred sway,

It is enthroned in the heart of kings;

It is an attribute of 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.

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