Saturday, September 3, 2011

Introduction to the Readings - Pentecost 12 - 2011 September 4 - Justice and Mercy

Some may like to listen to these words when consider Justice and Mercy.
And this from a romantic comedy.

The scene is thus:

Shylock is seeking vengeance/justice at all cost. Portia argues before the court of Venice seeking mercy, but Shylock will not have it. He demands justice by the letter of the law. Portia turns the letter of the law against Shylock so that he seeks mercy.

PORTIA (Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare)

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 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 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. 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.

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