The Quality of Mercy
The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
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 heart of kings;
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.
The forward violet thus did I chide:
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that …
If not from my love's breath? The purple pride
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
Those lips that Love's own hand did make
Breathed forth the sound that said "I hate"
To me that languished for her sake.
Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
Some in their wealth, some in their bodies' force,
Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill,
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give.
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
Which but to-day by feeding is allayed,
O, never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from myself depart