Gateway to the Classics: Poems Every Child Should Know by Mary E. Burt
Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt


"Mercy," an excerpt from "The Merchant of Venice," "Polonius' Advice," from "Hamlet," and "Antony's Speech," from "Julius Csar" (all fragments from Shakespeare, 1564-1616), find a place in this book because a well-known New York teacher—one who is unremitting in his efforts to raise the good taste and character of his pupils—says: "A book of poetry could not be complete without these extracts."

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 scepter 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 his sceptered 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 ("Merchant of Venice").

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