Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gayle's Bard Blog--The Quality of Mercy

Don't miss Gayle's sublime post on the quality of mercy in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.  A magnificent meditation for all lawyers and those becoming lawyers.  This is Shakespeare's soliloquy on mercy in the mouth of the "lawyer" 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 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 hearts 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. 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

My lawyer friend Mark says there is a Russian proverb that translated means--we all claim to want justice but what we really want and what we really need is mercy.


  1. Thank you for your kind words, BL. I think your friend's proverb is so right. And I wonder if the essence of faith isn't, after all, just the ability to believe in something as crazy and counter-intuitive as divine mercy. Mercy unlocks the human heart, it seems to me. But it's still a mystery to most of us, me included.

  2. You are more than welcome, thank you for bringing class and grace to the blogosphere.