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It is enthroned 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.
Merchant of Venice. Act iv., Sc. i.
OTHELLO'S APOLOGY FOR HIS MARRIAGE.
Most potent, grave, and reverend signiors,
My very noble and approved good masters,
That I have ta’en away this old man's daughter,
It is most true; true, I have married her :
The very head and front of my offending.
Hath this extent, no more.
Rude am I in speech,
And little blessed with the set phrase of peace;
For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field,
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broils and battle,
And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself
. Yet, by your patience, I will a round unvarnished tale deliver Of my whole course of love ; what drugs, what charms, What conjuration, and what mighty magic (For such proceeding I am charged withal), I won his daughter with.
Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still questioned me the story of my life
From year to year ; the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have passed.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days
To the very moment that he bade me tell it.
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances ;
Of moving accidents, by flood and field;
Of hair-breadth escapes in the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery ; of my redemption thence,
These things to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline;
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence;
Which ever as she could with haste despatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse. Which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate;
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,
But not intentively. I did consent;
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffered.-My story being done,
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs.
She swore,-in faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing
strange; 'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful ; She wished she had not heard it; yet she wished That heaven had made her such a man. She thanked
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. On this hint I spake.
She loved me for the dangers I had passed;
And I loved her that she did pity them.
Othello. Act i., Sc. 3
POLONIUS'S ADVICE TO HIS SON.
My blessing with you ! And these few precepts in thy memory See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware Of entrance to a quarrel : but, being in, Bear it that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice : Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy: For the apparel oft proclaims the man; And they in France of the best rank and station Are most select and generous, chief in that. Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend; And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all,—To thine ownself be true; And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Hamlet. Act i., Sc. 3.
FALLEN GREATNESS. CROMWELL, I did not think to shed a tear miseries ;
but thou hast forced me Out of thy honest truth to play the woman. Let's dry our eyes : and thus far hear me, Cromwell ; And,—when I am forgotten, as I shall be ; And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention Of me more must be heard of,—say, I taught thee;
Say, Wolsey,—that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,-
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in ;
A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition ;
By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?
Love thyself last : cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not :
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall’st, O Crom-
Thou fall’st a blessèd martyr. Serve the king :
And,- Pr'ythee, lead me in:
There, take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny ; 'tis the king's : my robe,
And my integrity to heaven, is all
I dare now call my own. O Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
Henry VIII. Act ii., Sc. 2.
THE FUTURE GREATNESS OF THE PRIN
CESS ELIZABETH AS PREDICTED BY CRANMER.
LET me speak, sir, For heaven now bids me, and the words I utter Let none think flattery, for they'll find them truth : This royal infant, (heaven still move about her!) Though in her cradle, yet now promises Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings, Which time shall bring to ripeness : she shall be (But few now living can behold that goodness)
A pattern to all princes living with her,
And all that shall succeed : Sheba was never
More covetous of wisdom, and fair virtue,
Than this pure soul shall be : all princely graces,
That mould up such a mighty piece as this is,
With all the virtues that attend the good,
Shall still be doubled on her : truth shall nurse her,
Holy and heavenly thoughts shall counsel her:
She shall be loved, and feared : her own shall bless her:
Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,
And hang their heads with sorrow; good grows with
In her days, every man shall eat in safety,
Under his own vine, what he plants ; and sing
The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours :
God shall be truly known; and those about her
From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,
And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.
Nor shall this peace sleep with her : but as when
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
Her ashes new-create another heir,
As great in admiration as herself;
So shall she leave her blessedness to one
(When heaven shall call her from this cloud of dark-
ness), Who, from the sacred ashes of her honour, Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was, And so stand fixed : peace, plenty, love, truth, terror, That were the servants to this chosen infant, Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him ; Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine, His honour and the greatness of his name Shall be and make new nations : he shall flourish, And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches To all the plains about him :-Qur children's children Shall see this, and bless heaven.
Ibid. Act. v., Sc. 4.