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What is there to say? I'm not very interesting. I'm not a good writer. I don't even dress well. If you insist on knowing something about me just wander through the archives. It's all there.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

On stray words

Did you ever wake up in the morning with a phrase stuck in your head? I woke up yesterday and all day long I was bothered by the phrase, “the quality of mercy”. It kept tugging on the sleeve of my thought process at random moments throughtout the day. I couldn’t remember the rest of the quote for the life of me or where I knew it from or even, why I happened to know it. Like a mischievous little neuron that had broken away from its brain parents, it just wandered aimlessly up and down the aisles of my internal Wal-Mart.

Finally, in the evening, I sat down and looked it up. It was Shakespeare. It was from the Merchant of Venice, a play that I had to read in college. From Act IV, Scene 1 from Portia to Shylock: it reads in part.

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.

(Long anticipatory pause) This knowledge caused no epiphany. No burning bushes. No brilliant insight. No bolts from the blue. No enlightenment. No spiritual homecoming. No prophetic visions. Absolutely nothing. I don’t even like this play.

The wayward child was simply reunited with his anxious family.

3 Comments:

Blogger Dem Soldier said...

I do sometimes, but I don't remember it after few seconds.....Weird ahhhhhh.

30/10/05 12:38 PM  
Blogger Glory said...

I'm sure you must be familiar with Ambrose Bierce and his "Devil's Dictionary." He defines "mercy" as "an attitude beloved of detected offenders." I like that.

31/10/05 8:07 AM  
Blogger HCaldwell said...

Yes, I have well-worn copy on my bookshelf. My favorite is:
"Non-Combatant,n: a dead Quaker"

31/10/05 8:17 AM  

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