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[ Also see Anarchy Authority Civil Disobedience Constitution Contracts Courts Crime Equality Equity Evidence Government Guilt Injustice Judges Judgment Juries Justice Lawyers Legal Maxims Legislation Mercy Murder Necessity Obedience Occupations Order Pardon Patents Police Politics Power Precedent Precepts Principles Prison Proof Punishment Rules Statesmanship Thieving ]

Curse on all laws but those which love has made.
      - Alexander Pope, Eloisa to Abelard (l. 74)

All, look up with reverential awe,
  At crimes that 'scape, or triumph o'er the law.
      - Alexander Pope, Epilogue to Satire
         (dialogue I, l. 167)

Mark what unvary'd laws preserve each state,
  Laws wise as Nature, and as fixed as Fate.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
         (ep. III, l. 189)

Piecemeal they win this acre first then, that,
  Glean on, and gather up the whole estate.
      - Alexander Pope, Satires of Dr. Donne
         (satire II, l. 91)

Once (says an Author; where, I need not say)
  Two Trav'lers found an Oyster in their way;
    Both fierce, both hungry; the dispute grew strong,
      While Scale in hand Dame Justice pass'd along.
        Before her each with clamour pleads the Laws.
          Explain'd the matter, and would win the cause,
            Dame Justice weighing long the doubtful Right,
              Takes, open, swallows it, before their sight.
                The cause of strife remov'd so rarely well,
                  "There take" (says Justice), "take ye each a shell.
                    We thrive at Westminster on Fools like you:
                      'Twas a fat oyster--live in peace--Adieu."
      - Alexander Pope, Verbatim from Boileau

Let us consider the reasons of the case. For nothing is law that is not reason.
      - Sir John Powell, Coggs vs. Bernard,
        2 Lord Raymond's Reports 911

A country is considered the more civilized the more wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful.
      - Levi Levi Primo

Use law and physic only for necessity; they that use them otherwise abuse themselves into weak bodies, and light purses; they are good remedies, bad businesses, and worse recreations.
      - Francis Quarles

The purpose of the law is not to prevent a future offense, but to punish the one actually committed.
      - Ayn Rand

That very law which moulds a tear,
  And bids it trickle from its source,
    That law preserves the earth a sphere,
      And guides the planets in their course.
      - Samuel Rogers, On a Tear (st. 6)

No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it.
      - Theodore Roosevelt

If there be any one principle more widely than another confessed by every utterance, or more sternly than another imprinted on every atom of the visible creation, that principle is not liberty, but law.
      - John Ruskin

The law often allows what honor forbids.
  [Fr., La loi permet souvent ce que defend l'honneur.]
      - Bernard Joseph Saurin, Spartacus (III, 3)

Equity judgeth with lenity, laws with extremity. In all moral cases, the reason of the law is the law.
      - Sir Walter Scott

Ignorance of the law excuses no man; not that all men know the law, but because it is an excuse every man will plead, and no man can tell how to confute him.
      - John Selden

If you judge, investigate; if you reign, command.
  [Lat., Si judicas, cognosce; si regnas, jube.]
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca), Medea
         (CXCIV)

He who decides a case without hearing the other side, though he decide justly, cannot be considered just.
  [Lat., Qui statuit aliquid, parte inaudita altera,
    Aequum licet statuerit, haud aequus fuerit.]
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca), Medea
         (CXCIX)

It is the act of the indolent not to know what he may lawfully do. It is praiseworthy to do what is becoming, and not merely what is lawful.
  [Lat., Inertis est nescire, quid liceat sibi.
    Id facere, laus est, quod decet; non, quod licet.]
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca), Octavia
         (CCCCLIII)

There is a higher law than the Constitution.
      - William Henry Seward, in a speech

Old father antic the law.
      - William Shakespeare

You wear out a good wholesome forenoon in hearing a cause between an orange-wife and a forset-seller, and then rejourn the controversy of threepence to a second day of audience.
      - William Shakespeare, Coriolanus
         (Menenius at II, i)

He hath resisted law;
  And therefore law shall scorn him further trial
    Than the severity of the public power,
      Which he so sets at nought.
      - William Shakespeare, Coriolanus
         (Sicinius at III, i)

In the corrupted currents of this world
  Offense's gilded hand may shove by justice,
    And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
      Buys out the law. But 'tis not so above.
        There is no shuffling; there the action lies
          In his true nature, and we ourselves compelled,
            Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
              To give in evidence.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Claudius, King of Denmark at III, iii)

(Other Clown:) But is this law?
  (Clown:) Ay marry, is't--crowner's quest law.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Other Clown & Clown at V, i)

Yea, and so used it that, were it not here apparent that thou art heir apparent--But I prithee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art King? and of resolution thus fubbed as it is with the rusty curb of old father antic the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hand a thief.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part I
         (Falstaff at I, ii)


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