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Who now is Sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right : farthest from him is best,
Whom reason hath equal'd, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell happy Fields
Where Joy for ever dwells : Hail horrors, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor ; One who brings
A mind not to be changed by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
What matter where, if I be still the

same,
And what I should be, all but less than He
Whom Thunder hath made greater ? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence :
Here we may reign secure,

and in

my

choice
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell :
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th' associates and co-partners of our loss,
Lie thus astonish'd on th' oblivious Pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy Mansion, or once more
With rallied Arms to try what may be yet
Regain'd in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell ?

Milton.

196
The expense of Spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust; all but less] expression confusing 'only less than' and 'all but equal to.' oblivious] causing oblivion.

P

Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait
On

purpose laid to make the taker mad :
Mad in pursuit, and in possession so ;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme ;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe ;
Before, a joy proposed ; behind, a dream.

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Shakespeare.

197

Mercy
From the Trial Scene in The Merchant of Venice.

PORTIA. Which is the merchant here, and which the

Jew ? Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth. Portia. Is your name Shylock ? SHYLOCK.

Shylock is my name. Portia. Of a strange nature is the suit you

follow; Yet in such rule that the Venetian law Cannot impugn you as you do proceed. You stand within his danger, do you not ? ANTONIO. Ay, so he says. Portia.

confess the bond ? ANTONIO. I do. PORTIA.

Then must the Jew be merciful. SHYLOCK. On what compulsion must I ? tell me that.

PORTIA. 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 :

Do you

but]than.

'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
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.

SHYLOCK. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law, The penalty and forfeit of my bond. ...

Shakespeare.

us

198

For Mercy, Courage, Kindness, Mirth,
There is no measure upon

earth.
Nay, they wither, root and stem,
If an end be set to them.

your own heart

Overbrim and overflow,
If

you

would know ;
For the spirit, born to bless,
Lives but in its own excess.

Laurence Binyon.

199 Ministering Angels
And is there care in heaven ? And is there love
In heavenly spirits to these creatures base,
That may compassion of their evils move ?
There is :-else much more wretched were the case
Of men than beasts. But O! th' exceeding grace
Of Highest God that loves his creatures so,
And all his works with mercy doth embrace,

That blessed Angels he sends to and fro
To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked foe!

How oft do they their silver bowers leave,
To come to succour us that succour want !
How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
The flitting skies like flying pursuivant,
Against foul fiends to aid us militant !
They for us fight; they watch and duly ward,
And their bright squadrons round about us plant ;

And all for love, and nothing for reward :
O! why should heavenly God to man have such regard ?

Spenser. *

200 Prologue of the Attendant

Spirit in Comus' BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's Court My mansion is, where those immortal shapes Of bright aëreal Spirits live insphered In Regions mild of calm and serene air, Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot, Which men call Earth, and, with low-thoughted care Confined and pester'd in this pin-fold here,

insphered] *.

Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives
After this mortal change to her true Servants,
Amongst the enthron'd gods on sainted seats.
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that Golden Key
That opes the Palace of Eternity :
To such my errand is, and but for such
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould. ...

Milton.

201

Satan's First Meeting with

Death

Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, That dar’st, though grim and terrible, advance Thy miscreated Front athwart my way To yonder Gates ? through them I mean to pass That be assured, without leave ask'd of thee : Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heav'n.

To whom the Goblin full of wrath reply'd, Art thou that Traitor Angel, art thou he, Who first broke peace in Heav'n and Faith, till then Unbroken, and in proud rebellious Arms Drew after him the third part of Heav'n's Sons, Conjured against the highest, for which both Thou And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd To waste Eternal days in woe and pain ? And reckonest thou thyself with Spirits of Heav'n, Hell-doom'd, and breath'st defiance here and scorn, Where I reign King, and to enrage

thee

more, Thy King and Lord ? Back to thy punishment, False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings,

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