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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 cherubins :
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath : it is twice bless'd;
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 scepter'd 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.
Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul, producing holy witness,
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek ;
A goodly apple rotten at the heart;
0, what a goodly outside falsehood hath !
* A small Hat dish, used in the administration of the Eucharist.
I am that merry wanderer of the night,
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile,
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a silly foal:
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl,
In very likeness of a roasted crab;
And, when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the ale.
The wisest aunt, telling the saddest tale,
Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum, down topples she,
And tailor cries, and falls into a cough ;
And when the whole quire hold their hips, and loffe ;
And waxen in their mirth, and neeze, and swear ;
A merrier hour was never wasted there.
TRUE LOVE EVER CROSSED. For aught that ever I could read, Could ever hear by tale or history, The course of true love never did run smooth : But, either it was different in blood; Or else misgraffed in respect of years; Or else it stood upon the choice of friends : Or, if there were a sympathy in choice, War, death, or sickness did lay siege to it; Making it momentany* as a sound, Swift as a shadow, short as any dream ! Brief as the lightning in the colliedt night, That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth, And ere a man hath power to say, Behold! The jaws of darkness do devour it up : So quick bright things come to confusion.
When Phæbe doth behold
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass.
I swear to thee, by Cupid's strongest bow,
By his best arrow with the golden head;
By the simplicity of Venus' doves;
By that which knitteth souls, and prospers loves ;
And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage queen,
When the false Trojan under sail was seen ;
By all the vows that ever men have broke,
In number more than ever women spoke ;-
In that same place thou hast appointed me,
To-morrow truly will I meet with thee.
Thou remember'st Since once I sat upon a promontory, And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back, Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, That the rude sea grew civil at her song ; And certain stars shot madly from their spheres, To hear the sea-maid's music. That very time I saw (but thou could'st not), Flying between the cold moon and the earth, Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took At a fair vestal, throned by the west; And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow, As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts : But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watery moon ; And the imperial vot’ress passed on, In maiden meditation, fancy free.* Yet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell : It fell upon a little western flower, Before, milk-white; now purple with love's wound, And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
A FATHER'S AUTHORITY.
To you your father should be as a god;
One that composed your beauties; yea, and one
To whom you are but as a form in wax,
By him imprinted, and within his power
To leave the figure, or disfigure it.
* Exempt from love.
And that same dew, which sometime on the buds
Was wont to swell, like round and orient pearls,
Stood now within the pretty flow'ret's eyes,
Like tears, that did their own disgrace bewail.
A FAIRY BANK. I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows, Where ox-lips* and the nodding violet grows Quite over-canopied with lush † woodbine, With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine : There sleeps Titania, some time of the night, Lulld in these flowers with dances and delight.