Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Just one more Millais - Shakespeare's women - The Quality of Mercy

John Everett Millais (English painter, 1829-1896) Portia

Perhaps it is not a crown or power that makes a leader...

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.

Shakespeare's Portia, The Merchant of Venice IV i 179