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LAW
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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 ]

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part II
         (Butcher at IV, ii)

Between two hawks, which flies the higher pitch,
  Between two dogs, which hath the deeper mouth,
    Between two blades, which bears the better temper,
      Between two horses, which doth bear him best,
        Between two girls, which hath the merriest eye,
          I have perhaps some shallow spirit of judgment;
            But in these nice sharp quillets of the law,
              Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part I
         (Warwick at II, iv)

Faith, I have been a truant in the law
  And never yet could frame my will to it,
    And therefore frame the law unto my will.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part I
         (Suffolk at II, iv)

Then 'tis like the breath of an unfee'd lawyer--you gave me nothing for't.
      - William Shakespeare, King Lear
         (Fool at I, iv)

Therefore to's seemeth it a needful course,
  Before we enter his forbidden gates,
    To know his pleasure; and in that behalf;
      Bold of your worthiness, we single you
        As our best-moving fair solicitor.
      - William Shakespeare, Love's Labor's Lost
         (Princess of France at II, i)

We have strict statutes and most biting laws,
  The needful bits and curbs to headstrong jades,
    Which for this fourteen years we have let slip;
      Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
        That goes not out to prey.
      - William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
         (Vincentio, the Duke at I, iii)

We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
  Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
    And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
      Their perch and not their terror.
      - William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
         (Angelo at II, i)

Whoe'er he be that in this foul proceeding
  Hath thus beguiled your daughter of herself,
    And you of her, the bloody book of law
      You shall yourself read in the bitter letter
        After your own sense; yea, though our proper son
          Stood in your action.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Othello the Moor of Venice
         (Duke of Venice at I, iii)

When law can do no right,
  Let it be lawful that law bar no wrong.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life and Death of King John
         (Constance at III, i)

O my lord,
  Press not a falling man too far! 'Tis virtue
    His faults lie open to the laws; let them,
      Not you, correct him.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Eighth
         (Chamberlain at III, ii)

We are for law. He dies.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of Timon of Athens
         (First Senator at III, v)

To offend and judge are distinct offices,
  And of opposed natures.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice
         (Portia at II, ix)

In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
  But being seasoned with a gracious voice,
    Obscures the show of evil?
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice
         (Bassanio at III, ii)

It must not be. There is no power in Venice
  Can alter a decree established.
    'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
      And carry an error by the same example
        Will rush into the state. It cannot be.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice
         (Portia at III, ii)

Sir, I shall not be slack, in sign whereof,
  Please ye we may convive this afternoon
    And quaff carouses to our mistress's health,
      And do as adversaries do in law,
        Strive mightily but eat and drink as friends.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Taming of the Shrew
         (Tranio at I, ii)

I am a subject,
  And I challenge law. Attorneys are denied me,
    And therefore personally I lay my claim
      To my inheritance of free descent.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
         (Bolingbroke at II, iii)

Are you drawn forth among a world of men
  To slay the innocent? What is my offense?
    Where is the evidence that doth accuse me?
      What lawful quest have given their verdict up
        Unto the frowning judge? or who pronounced
          The bitter sentence of poor Clarence's death
            Before I be convict by course of law?
              To threaten me with death is most unlawful:
                I charge you, as you hope [to have redemption
                  By Christ's dear blood shed for our grievous sins,]
                    That you depart, and lay no hands on me.
                      The deed you undertake is damnable.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
         (Clarence at I, iv)

And they have been grand-jurymen since before Noah was a sailor.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
         (Toby at III, ii)

Still you keep o' th' windy side of the law.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Twelfth Night, or, What You Will
         (Fabian at III, iv)

Laws are generally found to be nets of such a texture. as the little creep through, the great break through, and the middle-sized entangled in.
      - William Shenstone, On Politics

Laws are not made like lime-twigs or nets, to catch everything that toucheth them; but rather like sea-marks, to guide from shipwreck the ignorant passenger.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)

When to raise the wind some lawyer tries,
  Mysterious skins of parchment meet our eyes;
    On speeds the smiling suit--
      . . . .
        Till stript--nonsuited--he is doomed to toss
          In legal shipwreck, and redeemless loss,
            Lucky, if like Ulysses, he can keep
              His head above the waters of the deep.
      - Horace Smith and James Smith,
        Rejected Addresses--Architectural Atoms,
        (translation by Dr. B.T.)

Laws are like spiders' webs which, if anything small falls into them they ensnare it, but large things break through and escape.
      - Solon

To make an empire durable, the magistrates must obey the laws and the people the magistrates.
      - Solon

Men keep their engagements when it is an advantage to both parties not to break them.
      - Solon, Answer to Anacharsis,
        in Plutarch's "Life of Solon"


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