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The Character of Brutus.
This was the noblest Roman of them all :
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy
great He, only, in a general honest thought, And common good to all, made one of them. His life was gentle; and the elements So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up, And say to all the world, This was a man!
The Quality of Mercy. The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath : it is twice blessed; Is blesseth him that gives, and him that takes : 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest ; it becomes The thronèd 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
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
Lorenzo and JessicA.
Lor. The moon shines bright:-In such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
And they did make no noise; in such a night,
Troilus, methinks, mounted the Trojan walls,
And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents
Where Cressid lay that night.
Jes. In such a night,
Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew,
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself,
And ran dismayed away.
Lor. In such a night,
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea-banks, and waved her love
To come again to Carthage.
Fes. In such a night,
Medea gathered the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Æson.
Lor. In such a night,
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew,
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice,
As far as Belmont.
Jes. And in such a night,
Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well;
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith,
And ne'er a true one.
Lor. And in such a night,
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank !
Here will we sit, and let the unds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night,
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica : Look, how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims :
Such harmony is in immortal souls ;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.
Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet music.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive :
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of music: Therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods ;
Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature :
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus :
Let no such man be trusted.
CLEOPATRA's Passage down the Cydnus.
ENOBARBUS, AGRIPPA. Eno. When she first met Mark Antony, she pursed up his heart, upon the river of Cydnus.
Agr. There she appeared indeed; or my reporter devised well for her.
Eno. I will tell you :
The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water : the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that
The winds were love-sick with them : the oars were silver;
Which to the tune of Autes kept stroke, and made
The water, which they beat, to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes.
For her own person,
It beggared all description : she did lie
In her pavilion (cloth of gold, of tissue),
O'er-picturing that Venus, where we see
The fancy out-work Nature: on each side her,
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-coloured fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid, did.
Agr. O, rare for Antony !
Eno. Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i' the eyes,
And made their bends adornings: at the helm
A seeming mermaid steers; the silken tackle
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands,
That yarely frame the office. From the barge
A strange invisible perfume hits the sense
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast
Her people out upon her; and Antony,
Enthroned in the market-place, did sit alone,
Whistling to the air ; which, but for vacancy,
Had gone to gaze on Cleopatra too,
And made a gap in Nature.
I not deny, The jury, passing on the prisoner's life, May, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or iwo Guiltier than him they try: What's open made to justice, That justice seizes. What know the laws, That thieves do pass on thieves ? 'Tis very pregnant, The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it, Because we see it; but what we do not see, We tread upon, and never think of it. ...