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The quality of mercy is not strained

Language: English

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:
‘T is 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 enthronèd 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:]1 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.]1


Translation(s): FRE FRE

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1 omitted by Hoiby.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):


Text added to the website: 2015-02-14.
Last modified: 2015-04-12 21:57:43
Line count: 22
Word count: 173

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La clémence ne se commande pas

Language: French (Français) after the English

La clémence ne se commande pas.
Elle tombe du ciel, comme une pluie douce,
sur le lieu qu’elle domine ; double bienfaisance,
elle fait du bien à celui qui donne et à celui qui reçoit.
Elle est la puissance des puissances. Elle sied
aux monarques sur leur trône mieux que leur couronne.
Leur sceptre représente la force du pouvoir temporel ;
il est l’attribut d’épouvante et de majesté
dont émanent le respect et la terreur des rois.
Mais la clémence est au-dessus de l’autorité du sceptre.
Elle trône dans le cœur des rois.
elle est l’attribut de Dieu même ;
et le pouvoir terrestre qui ressemble le plus à Dieu est
celui qui tempère la justice par la clémence. Ainsi, juif,
bien que la justice soit ton argument, considère ceci :
qu’avec la stricte justice, nul de nous
ne verrait le salut. C’est la clémence qu’invoque la prière,
et c’est la prière même qui nous enseigne à tous à faire
acte de clémence. Tout ce que je viens de dire est
pour mitiger la justice de ta cause ;
si tu persistes, le strict tribunal de Venise
n’a plus qu’à prononcer sa sentence contre ce marchand.


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Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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Text added to the website: 2015-02-19.
Last modified: 2015-02-19 22:22:35
Line count: 22
Word count: 196