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PLAY: The Merchant of Venice
ACT/SCENE: 4.1
SPEAKER: Portia
CONTEXT:
PORTIA
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd 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 this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd 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 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.

DUTCH:
En aardsche macht zweemt meest naar die van God,
Wanneer genade ‘t recht doortrekt


MORE:
CITED IN US LAW:
United States v. Magalong, 2002 CCA LEXIS 141, (2002)
United States v. Brownd, 6 M.J. 338, 345 (1979)
De La Garza Perales v. Casillas, 903 F.2d 1043 (1990).
United States v. Healy, 26 M.J. 394, 395 (1988): “Shakespeare made this distinction when, in the “Merchant of Venice,” he wrote, “And earthly power doth then show likest God’s, When mercy seasons justice.” Act IV, Scene 1, line 184. See United States v. Lanford, supra at 378, 20 C.M.R. at 94. Both the Old and the New Testaments contain exhortations to be just and merciful; but, apparently there, too, these qualities are viewed as distinct. See, e.g., Micah 6:8; Matthew 23:23.”

Sway=Rule, dominion
Compleat:
Sway=Macht, gezach, heerschappy
Scepter=Een ryksstaf.
To bear sway or rule=Heerschen, regeeren, ‘t bewind hebben
To sway the scepter=Den Scepter zwaaijen.
To season a denial with kind words=Eene weigering met vriendelyke woorden temperen.

Topics: emotion and mood, misquoted

PLAY: The Merchant of Venice
ACT/SCENE: 4.1
SPEAKER: Portia
CONTEXT:
PORTIA
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd 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 this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd 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 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.

DUTCH:
Daarom,
Beroept ge u, jood, op ‘t recht, bedenk ook dit,
Dat, naar gerechtigheid, geen onzer ooit
Behouden wordt; wij bidden om genade;
En de eigen bede leert ons, zelf aan and’ren
Genade te oef’nen.

MORE:
CITED IN US LAW:
Monroe v. United Air Lines, Inc., Docket No. 79 C 360, 3 slip opinion (Ill., 1983)

The justice=the justness, merit (of your argument)
Needs (always used with must or will): indispensably, absolutely
Compleat:
Salvation=Zaligheid, behoudenis
It must needs be so=Het moet noodzaakelyk zo zyn
Do it no more than needs must=Doet het niet meer als volstrekt noodzaakelyk is.

Topics: emotion and mood, misquoted

PLAY: Titus Andronicus
ACT/SCENE: 5.2
SPEAKER: Titus Andronicus
CONTEXT:
TITUS ANDRONICUS
Look round about the wicked streets of Rome;
And when thou find’st a man that’s like thyself.
Good Murder, stab him; he’s a murderer.
Go thou with him; and when it is thy hap
To find another that is like to thee,
Good Rapine, stab him; he’s a ravisher.
Go thou with them; and in the emperor’s court
There is a queen, attended by a Moor;
Well mayst thou know her by thy own proportion,
for up and down she doth resemble thee:
I pray thee, do on them some violent death;
They have been violent to me and mine.
TAMORA
Well hast thou lessoned us; this shall we do.
But would it please thee, good Andronicus,
To send for Lucius, thy thrice-valiant son,
Who leads towards Rome a band of warlike Goths,
And bid him come and banquet at thy house;
When he is here, even at thy solemn feast,
I will bring in the empress and her sons,
The emperor himself and all thy foes;
And at thy mercy shalt they stoop and kneel,
And on them shalt thou ease thy angry heart.
What says Andronicus to this device?

DUTCH:
Zie dan in Homes booze straten rond,
En vindt ge een man daar, die op u gelijkt,
Doorsteek hem, lieve Moord; hij is een moord’naar.

MORE:
Hap=Chance
When it is thy hap=If by chance
Proportion=Shape, dimension
Lessoned=Taught
Device=Plan
Compleat:
Hap=Het luk, geval, toeval
Proportion=Evenredigheid, regelmaat
Device (cunning trick)=Een listige streek

Topics: offence, good and bad, mercy

PLAY: Coriolanus
ACT/SCENE: 3.1
SPEAKER: Sicinius
CONTEXT:
SICINIUS
He shall be thrown down the Tarpeian rock
With rigorous hands: he hath resisted law,
And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
Than the severity of the public power
Which he so sets at naught.
FIRST CITIZEN
He shall well know
The noble tribunes are the people’s mouths,
And we their hands.

DUTCH:
Hij heeft de wet getrotst;
Wat zou de wet dan meer getuig’nis eischen ?
Hem richte heel de strengheid van de macht,
Die hij zoo nietig acht.

MORE:
Cited in Shakespeare’s Legal Maxims (William Lowes Rushton)
Sets at=Values. Sets at naught=Considers worthless.
Tarpeian rock=In ancient Rome, murderers and traitors were thrown off this rock

Schmidt:
Scorn=To disdain, to refuse or lay aside with contempt
Severity=Strength

Compleat:
To scorn=Verachten, verfooijen

Topics: law/legal, justice, mercy

PLAY: King Lear
ACT/SCENE: 3.2
SPEAKER: King Lear
CONTEXT:
Caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practised on man’s life. Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinned against than sinning.

DUTCH:
Een man meer gezondigd tegen dan zondigend/
Ik ben een man tegen wie meer gezondigd is dan hij zelf gezondigd heeft

MORE:
Sometimes mistranslated, e.g. “tegen wie je meer gezondigd hebt dan je gezondigd hebt” or “Ik ben een man die meer heeft gezondigd dan de zondigen”
Seeming=Hypocrisy
Caitiff=Wretch
Continent=Container, cover.
Close pent-up guilts=Concealed crimes
Practised on=Plotted against
Rive=open up
Summoner=official who summoned offenders to appear before ecclesiastical courts
Compleat:
To rive asunder=Opscheuren, opsplyten, opbarsten
Summoner=Een gerechtsboode

Topics: mercy, offence, conspiracy, secrecy, blame

PLAY: All’s Well that Ends Well
ACT/SCENE: 5.3
SPEAKER: King
CONTEXT:
KING
We lost a jewel of her; and our esteem
Was made much poorer by it: but your son,
As mad in folly, lack’d the sense to know
Her estimation home.
COUNTESS
‘Tis past, my liege;
And I beseech your majesty to make it
Natural rebellion, done i’ the blaze of youth;
When oil and fire, too strong for reason’s force,
O’erbears it and burns on.
KING
My honour’d lady,
I have forgiven and forgotten all;
Though my revenges were high bent upon him,
And watch’d the time to shoot.

DUTCH:
Eed’le vrouw,
Vergeven heb ik alles en vergeten,
Hoe straf mijn toorn op hem gespannen waar’,
Den tijd voor ‘t schot bespiedend.

MORE:
Proverb: Forgive and forget
Bent=tension, straining (properly an expression of archery, but used tropically of mental dispositions)
Watch=To have in the eye, to observe closely for some purpose.
Compleat:
To be upon the watch=Op de wacht zyn
I have got the bent of his bow=Ik weet wel waar hy heen wil

Topics: mercy, revenge, proverbs and idioms, still in use

PLAY: Measure for Measure
ACT/SCENE: 5.1
SPEAKER: Angelo
CONTEXT:
O my dread lord,
I should be guiltier than my guiltiness,
To think I can be undiscernible,
When I perceive your grace, like power divine,
Hath look’d upon my passes. Then, good prince,
No longer session hold upon my shame,
But let my trial be mine own confession:
Immediate sentence then and sequent death
Is all the grace I beg.

DUTCH:
k Zou schuldiger nog worden dan ik ben,
Wanneer ik dacht mij schuil to kunnen houden

MORE:

Topics: law/legal, justice, conscience, mercy

PLAY: King Henry VI Part 1
ACT/SCENE: 1.4
SPEAKER: Lord Talbot
CONTEXT:
Yet livest thou, Salisbury?
Though thy speech doth fail,
One eye thou hast, to look to heaven for grace:
The sun with one eye vieweth all the world.
Heaven, be thou gracious to none alive,
If Salisbury wants mercy at thy hands!
Bear hence his body; I will help to bury it.
Sir Thomas Gargrave, hast thou any life?
Speak unto Talbot; nay, look up to him.
Salisbury, cheer thy spirit with this comfort;
Thou shalt not die whiles—
He beckons with his hand and smiles on me.
As who should say ‘When I am dead and gone,
Remember to avenge me on the French.’
Plantagenet, I will; and like thee, Nero,
Play on the lute, beholding the towns burn:
Wretched shall France be only in my name.

DUTCH:
Hij wenkt mij met de hand en lacht mij toe,
Alsof hij zeggen wilde: „Ben ik dood,
Herdenk dan mij te wreken op de Franschen !”
Plantagenet, ik wil ‘t; ik wil, als Nero,
De luit slaan bij ‘t zien branden van hun steden;
Mijn naam alleen maakt Frankrijk reeds ellendig.

MORE:
Wants=Lacks (mercy)
Whiles=Whilst, during the time that
Only in=At the very sound of

Compleat:
Between whiles (from time to time)=Van tyd tot tyd, by tusschenpoozing

Burgersdijk notes:
Plantagenet. Talbot noemt Salisbury met den familienaam van het koninklijk geslacht, omdat hij een afstammeling was van Koning Edward I11 en de schoone gravin van Salisbury.

Topics: proverbs and idioms, neglect, mercy

PLAY: King Henry IV Part 1
ACT/SCENE: 3.2
SPEAKER: Prince Hal
CONTEXT:
So please your Majesty, I would I could
Quit all offences with as clear excuse
As well as I am doubtless I can purge
Myself of many I am charged withal.
Yet such extenuation let me beg
As, in reproof of many tales devised,
Which oft the ear of greatness needs must hear,
By smiling pickthanks and base newsmongers,
I may for some things true, wherein my youth
Hath faulty wandered and irregular,
Find pardon on my true submission.

DUTCH:
Veroorloof, uwe hoogheid! ‘k Wenschte, dat ik
Van iedre smet mij zoo bevrijden kon,
Als ik mij buiten twijfel rein kan wasschen
Van meen’ge zonde, mij te last gelegd;

MORE:
I am doubtless=I doubt not
Quit=acquit, clear oneself
Purge=clear
Charged withal=Accused of now
Extenuation= Considerations, allowance
Devised= Invented, made up
Smiling pickthanks=Flatterers who think flattery will earn the King’s gratitude
True submission= Confession
Newsmongers=Gossips
Compleat:
Purge=Zuyveren, reynigen

Topics: nlame, innocence, reputation, mercy, judgment

PLAY: King Henry V
ACT/SCENE: 2.3
SPEAKER: King Henry
CONTEXT:
GREY
Sir, you show great mercy if you give him life
After the taste of much correction.
KING HENRY
Alas, your too much love and care of me
Are heavy orisons ‘gainst this poor wretch.
If little faults proceeding on distemper
Shall not be winked at, how shall we stretch our eye
When capital crimes, chewed, swallowed, and digested,
Appear before us? We’ll yet enlarge that man,
Though Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey, in their dear care
And tender preservation of our person,
Would have him punished. And now to our French causes.
Who are the late commissioners?

DUTCH:
Indien men ‘t oog hij dronkenschaps-vergrijpen
Niet sluiten mag, hoe moet men ‘t openspalken,
Zoo hoogverraad, gekauwd, geslikt, verteerd,
Zich voor ons opdoet.

MORE:

Proverb: To wink at small faults
Proverb: He that corrects not small faults cannot control great ones
Proverb: To look through one’s fingers

Correction=Punishment
Heavy orisons=Weighty pleas
Distemper=Illness, confusion (esp. drunkenness)
Stretch our eye=Open our eyes

Compleat:
Correction=Verbetering, tuchtiging, berisping
Orisons=Zekere geboden
Distemper: (disease)=Krankheid, ziekte, kwaal; (troubles of the state)=Wanorder in den Staat

Topics: proverbs and idioms, punishment, mercy, justice

PLAY: King Lear
ACT/SCENE: 3.6
SPEAKER: King Lear
CONTEXT:
Then let them anatomise Regan; see what breeds about her
heart. Is there any cause in nature that makes these hardhearts?
[To Edgar] You, sir, I entertain for one of my hundred,
only I do not like the fashion of your garments. You will say
they are Persian; but let them be changed.

DUTCH:
Is er een natuurlijke oorzaak die harten zo hard maakt?

MORE:
Schmidt:
Anatomize = dissect
Compleat:
Anatomize=Opsnyding, ontleeden

Topics: life, nature, mercy, appearance, fashion/trends

PLAY: Richard II
ACT/SCENE: 1.3
SPEAKER: King Richard II
CONTEXT:
THOMAS MOWBRAY
(…) Doubly portcullis’d with my teeth and lips;
And dull unfeeling barren ignorance
Is made my gaoler to attend on me.
I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,
Too far in years to be a pupil now:
What is thy sentence then but speechless death,
Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath?
KING RICHARD II
It boots thee not to be compassionate:
After our sentence plaining comes too late.

DUTCH:
Vergeefsch dat roerend jamm’ren; ‘t geeft geen baat;
Uw klacht is, nu ons vonnis viel, te laat.

MORE:

A semi-literal allusion to a proverb of the time, ‘Good that the teeth guard the tongue’ (1578) and the virtue of silence. Ben Jonson recommended a ‘wise tongue’ that should not be ‘licentious and wandering’. (See also the Lucio in Measure for Measure: “’tis a secret must be locked within the
teeth and the lips”.)

Cunning=Skilful
Sentence=Verdict (punning on language)
Breathing native breath=Speaking native English (and breathing English air)
No boot=No point, profit, advantage
Compassionate=Pitiful
Plaining=Making a formal complaint

Compleat:
Cunning=Behendig
No boot=Te vergeefs, vruchteloos

Topics: mercy, regret, pity, punishment

PLAY: Cymbeline
ACT/SCENE: 5.5
SPEAKER: Posthumus Leonatus
CONTEXT:
POSTHUMUS
Kneel not to me.
The power that I have on you is to spare you;
The malice towards you to forgive you. Live
And deal with others better.
CYMBELINE
Nobly doomed.
We’ll learn our freeness of a son-in-law:
Pardon’s the word to all.

DUTCH:
Kniel niet voor mij;
De macht, die ‘k op u heb, is u te sparen,
En heel mijn wrok, u te vergeven. Leef,
Behandel and’ren beter.


Proverb: To be able to harm and not to do it is noble
Doomed=Judged

Schmidt:
Malice=Malignity, disposition to injure others
Freeness=Generosity

Compleat:
Doom=Vonnis, oordeel, verwyzing
To doom=Veroordelen, verwyzen, doemen
Doomed=Veroordeeld, verweezen.

Topics: good and bad, offence, judgment, mercy, proverbs and idioms

PLAY: King Lear
ACT/SCENE: 2.4
SPEAKER: King Lear
CONTEXT:
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove.
Mend when thou canst. Be better at thy leisure.
I can be patient. I can stay with Regan,
I and my hundred knights.

DUTCH:
Herzie je als het kan en jou dat schikt.
Ik heb geduld.

MORE:
Schmidt:
Thunder-bearer=Jove, the god of sky and thunder
Compleat:
Jove, chief god of the heathens=Jovus of Jupiter
Cloud-compelling Jove=De Bliksemende Jupiter

Topics: mercy, patience, wellbeing

PLAY: Romeo and Juliet
ACT/SCENE: 3.1
SPEAKER: Prince
CONTEXT:
But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine
That you shall all repent the loss of mine.
I will be deaf to pleading and excuses.
Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses,
Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste,
Else, when he’s found, that hour is his last.
Bear hence this body and attend our will.
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.

DUTCH:
Genâ voor moord’naars is zoo goed als moord.

MORE:
Amerce = To punish, penalised
Purchase out=redeem
Abuses= offences, transgressions
But = only. Showing mercy (by pardoning murderers) will only lead to more killing.
Compleat:
Redeem=Verlossen, vrykoopen, lossen
Redeemed=Verlost, vrygekogt, gelost

Topics: mercy, pity, punishment

PLAY: Measure for Measure
ACT/SCENE: 2.1
SPEAKER: Escalus
CONTEXT:
JUSTICE
Lord Angelo is severe.
ESCALUS
It is but needful:
Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe:
But yet,—poor Claudio! There is no remedy.
Come, sir.

DUTCH:
Genade is, vaak betoond, niet meer genade;
Vergiff’nis wordt staag voedster van het kwade.

MORE:
Schmidt:
Needful=Requisite, indispensable, necessary
Nurse=Metaphorically, that which brings up, nourishes, or causes to grow
Woe=Extreme calamity and grief (second=secondary, follow-up)
Compleat:
Severe=streng, straf
A severe judge=Een gestreng Rechter

Topics: mercy, proverbs and idioms, remedy

PLAY: King Lear
ACT/SCENE: 4.7
SPEAKER: Cordelia
CONTEXT:
To stand against the deep dread-bolted thunder
In the most terrible and nimble stroke
Of quick cross lightning? To watch—poor perdu!—
With this thin helm? Mine enemy’s meanest dog,
Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
Against my fire.

DUTCH:
De wolfshond van mijn vijand,
al had hij mij gebeten, had die nacht
tegen mijn haard gestaan./
Had de hond van mijn vijand mij gebeten,
Ik had hem bij mijn vuur een plaats gegeven
Dien nacht.

MORE:
Perdu= (1) Lost soul; (2) Sentry in an advanced and dangerous position

Topics: mercy, pity

PLAY: Romeo and Juliet
ACT/SCENE: 3.3
SPEAKER: Friar Lawrence
CONTEXT:
O deadly sin! O rude unthankfulness!
Thy fault our law calls death, but the kind Prince,
Taking thy part, hath rushed aside the law,
And turned that black word “death” to “banishment.”
This is dear mercy, and thou seest it not.

DUTCH:
O zware zonde, o, zwarte ondankbaarheid!

MORE:
Schmidt:
To rush=vb. to move with suddenness and eager impetuosity
Metaphorically: “the prince hath –ed aside the law,”
Compleat:
To rush in=Invallen, instuiven, met een vaart inloopen, inrennen

Topics: ingratitude, law/legaloffence, mercy, punishment

PLAY: Titus Andronicus
ACT/SCENE: 1.1
SPEAKER: Tamora
CONTEXT:
TAMORA
Stay, Roman brethren! Gracious conqueror,
Victorious Titus, rue the tears I shed,
A mother’s tears in passion for her son:
And if thy sons were ever dear to thee,
O, think my son to be as dear to me!
Sufficeth not that we are brought to Rome,
To beautify thy triumphs and return,
Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke,
But must my sons be slaughtered in the streets,
For valiant doings in their country’s cause?
O, if to fight for king and commonweal
Were piety in thine, it is in these.
Andronicus, stain not thy tomb with blood:
Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful:
Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge:
Thrice noble Titus, spare my first-born son.
TITUS ANDRONICUS
Patient yourself, madam, and pardon me.
These are their brethren, whom you Goths beheld
Alive and dead, and for their brethren slain
Religiously they ask a sacrifice:
To this your son is marked, and die he must,
To appease their groaning shadows that are gone.

DUTCH:
Wilt gij in aard den goden nader komen,
Zoo kom hun nader in barmhartigheid;
Want deernis is des adels echtste merk;
Hoogeed’le Titus , spaar mijn eerstgeboor’ne!

MORE:
Rue=Pity
Passion=Grief
Sufficeth not=Is not enough
Commonweal=The common good (‘commonwealth’, community)
Patient yourself=Calm down
Brethren=Brothers
Religiously=Solemnly
Growning shadows that are gone=Ghosts of the dead
Compleat:
Passion=Lyding, hartstogt, drift, ingenomenheyd, zydigheyd, zucht
Suffice=Genoeg zyn
It suffices that it is so=’t Is genoeg dat het zo is
Commonwealth=Gemeenebest

Topics: grief, sorrow, mercy, revenge

PLAY: The Merchant of Venice
ACT/SCENE: 4.1
SPEAKER: Portia
CONTEXT:
PORTIA
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thron d 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 this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd 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 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.

DUTCH:
Genade wordt verleend, niet afgedwongen;
Zij drupt, als zachte regen, uit den hemel
Op de aarde neer, en dubblen zegen brengt ze,
Zij zegent hem, die geeft, en die ontvangt

MORE:
CITED IN US LAW – some examples:
People v. Willett, 44 Ill. App. 3d 545, 547 (1976). Decision of the reviewing court after an ‘unintelligible’ brief (‘When the defendant first appeared in Court, it was involuntarily, he being already in the custody of a fellow Shakespeare would probably have called old ‘Bottom’ the weaver, but who we all know as the Sheriff from down there at the County Slammer’): “We would be perfectly justified in striking defendant’s brief, but, as Shakespeare would probably have said, ‘The quality of mercy is not strain’d.’ The State’s motion is denied.”;
Clinton Mun. Separate Sch. Dist. v. Byrd, 477 So. 2d 237, 242 (Miss., 1985);
In re Freligh, 894 F.2d 881, 886 (1989);
Hector Costa Del Moral v. Servicios Legales De Puerto Rico, 63 F. Supp. 2d 165, 172-173 (1999);
Perales v. Casillas, 903 F.2d 1043, 1053 (5th Cir. 1990);
In the Matter of Grand Jury Proceedings Empaneled May 1988, 894 F.2d 881, 886 (7th Cir. 1990);
US v. France, 886 F.2d 22.3, 228 (9th Cir. 1989);
Johnson v. State, 501 So.2d 158, 159 (Fla. Ct. App. 1987);
In Re Green, 1988 III. LEXIS, at 142;
TKU-Queens Corp., Inc. v. Mabel Food Corp., 90 Misc.2d 48, 393 NYS.2d 272, 273 (NY Civ.Ct. 1977);
Miceli v. Parisi, 44 Misc.2d 712,714,255 NYS 2d 377, 379 (NY Sup. Ct. 1964)(Fitzpatrick, J.): “Were this court able to communicate with Shakespeare, it would be bound to inform him that while mercy cannot be strained in quality, it certainly can be strained in practice. The defendant again defaulted in obeying the directions of the court…”.

Topics: emotion and mood, misquoted

PLAY: The Tempest
ACT/SCENE: 5.1
SPEAKER: Prospero
CONTEXT:
And mine shall.
Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling
Of their afflictions, and shall not myself,
One of their kind, that relish all as sharply
Passion as they, be kindlier moved than thou art?
Though with their high wrongs I am struck to th’ quick,
Yet with my nobler reason ‘gainst my fury
Do I take part. The rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance. They being penitent,
The sole drift of my purpose doth extend
Not a frown further. Go release them, Ariel.
My charms I’ll break, their senses I’ll restore,
And they shall be themselves.

DUTCH:
Mijn rede is eed’ler dan mijn wrok, en neemt
Partij er tegen. Een verheev’ner doen
Is deugd dan wraak. Nu zij berouwvol zijn,
Ben ik aan ‘t doel en reikt mijn streven thans
Geen fronsblik verder. Ga, bevrijd hen, Ariel.
Ik breek mijn tooverboei, herstel hun geest;
Zij mogen weer zichzelf zijn.

MORE:
Proverb: To be able to do harm and not to do it is noble
Proverb: Touched to the quick
See also LLL:
“Of all that virtue love for virtue loved: Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill;”
High wrongs=Serious offences such as treason and attempted murder
Rarer=Unusual, exceptional
Virtue=Forgiveness, mercy
Compleat:
Rare (that happens but seldom)=Zeldzaam; (or scarce)=Schaars, raar; (excellent)=Uitmuntend
Virtue (an habit of the soul, whereby a man is inclined to do good and to shun evil)=Deugd

Topics: mercy, virtue, regret

PLAY: Measure for Measure
ACT/SCENE: 3.1
SPEAKER: Claudio
CONTEXT:
ISABELLA
Yes, brother, you may live:
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you’ll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you till death.
CLAUDIO
Perpetual durance?

DUTCH:
Ja, broeder, gij kunt leven; ja, er woont
Een duivelsch medelijden in den rechter;
Roept gij het in, dan redt u dit het leven,
Maar boeit u tot den dood .

MORE:
Schmidt:
Durance=Imprisonment
Compleat:
Durance=Duurzaamheid, gevangkenis
To be in durance=In hechtenisse zyn

Topics: punishment, judgment, law/legal, mercy

PLAY: Coriolanus
ACT/SCENE: 5.4
SPEAKER: Menenius
CONTEXT:
SICINIUS
Yes, mercy, if you report him truly.
MENENIUS
I paint him in the character. Mark what mercy his
mother shall bring from him: there is no more mercy
in him than there is milk in a male tiger; that
shall our poor city find: and all this is long of
you.
SICINIUS
The gods be good unto us!
MENENIUS
No, in such a case the gods will not be good unto
us. When we banished him, we respected not them;
and, he returning to break our necks, they respect not us.

DUTCH:
Ik schilder hem naar ‘t leven. Geef acht, welke goedertierenheid zijn moeder van hem thuis zal brengen; er is in hem niet meer goedertierenheid, dan melk in een mannetjestijger. Dit zal onze arme stad ondervinden en dit
alles komt door u.

MORE:
Schmidt:
Truly=Honestly, accurately
Paint=Describe, represent
Bring from=Elicit

Compleat:
Truly=Warlyk, degelyk, zo als het behoort

Topics: mercy, revenge, punishment

PLAY: King Henry IV Part 2
ACT/SCENE: 4.3
SPEAKER: Westmorland
CONTEXT:
Mowbray, the Bishop Scroop, Hastings, and all
Are brought to the correction of your law.
There is not now a rebel’s sword unsheathed
But peace puts forth her olive everywhere.
The manner how this action hath been borne
Here at more leisure may your Highness read
With every course in his particular.

DUTCH:
Niet één rebellenzwaard is meer ontbloot;
De vrede doet de’ olijf alom ontspruiten.

MORE:

Schmidt:
Correction=Chastisement
Peace puts forth her olive=The olive branch of peace is extended

Topics: mercy, justice, resolution

PLAY: King Lear
ACT/SCENE: 5.3
SPEAKER: Edmund
CONTEXT:
What you have charged me with, that have I done,
And more, much more; the time will bring it out.
‘Tis past, and so am I. But what art thou
That hast this fortune on me? If thou’rt noble,
I do forgive thee.
EDGAR
Let’s exchange charity.
I am no less in blood than thou art, Edmond.
If more, the more th’hast wronged me.
My name is Edgar, and thy father’s son.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes.

DUTCH:
Al wat gij mij verweet, ik heb ‘t gedaan,
En meer, veel meer; de tijd zal ‘t openbaren;
‘t Is al voorbij, ik ook. Maar wie zijt gij,
Die mij versloegt ? Zijt gij van adel, dan
Vergeef ik u.

MORE:
Schmidt;
Charity=That disposition of heart which inclines men to think favourably of their fellow-men, and to do them good.

Topics: blame, offence, mercy, civility, fate/destiny, status

PLAY: The Tempest
ACT/SCENE: 1.2
SPEAKER: Miranda
CONTEXT:
PROSPERO
‘Tis tIme
I should inform thee further. Lend thy hand
And pluck my magic garment from me. So,
Lie there my art. Wipe thou thine eyes, have comfort;
The direful spectacle of the wreck which touched
The very virtue of compassion in thee,
I have with such provision in mine art
So safely ordered, that there is no soul –
No, not so much perdition as an hair,
Betid to any creature in the vessel
Which thou heard’st cry, which thou sawst sink.
Sit down, For thou must now know further.
MIRANDA
You have often
Begun to tell me what I am; but stopp’d.
And left me to a bootless inquisition,
Concluding “Stay: not yet.”

DUTCH:
Vaak begont gij
Mij te vertellen, wie ik ben, doch telkens
Hieldt ge op, en al mijn vragen was vergeefsch;
Het eind was steeds: „Nog niet.”

MORE:
Provision=Prevision, foresight
Perdition=Loss
Bootless inquisition=Fruitless inquiry
Compleat:
Provision=Voorzorg
Perdition=Verderf, verlies, ondergang
Bootless=Te vergeefs, vruchteloos

Topics: sorrow, grief, mercy, discovery, truth

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