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[ Also see Alms Charity Clemency Compassion Cruelty Forbearance Forgiveness Gentleness Grace Judges Judgment Justice Kindness Law Lenity Love Magnanimity Pardon Philanthropy Pity Punishment ]

Mercy turns her back to the unmerciful.
      - Francis Quarles

'Tis vain to flee; till gentle Mercy show
  Her better eye, the farther off we go,
    The swing of Justice deals the mightier blow.
      - Francis Quarles, Emblems
         (bk. III, emblem XVI)

God's mercy is a holy mercy, which knows how to pardon sin, not to protect it; it is a sanctuary for the penitent, not for the presumptuous.
      - Edward Reynolds

'Tis mercy! mercy!
  The mark of heav'n impress'd on human kind,
    Mercy, that glads the world, deals joy around;
      Mercy that smooths the dreadful brow of power,
        And makes dominion light; mercy that saves,
          Binds up the broken heart, and heals despair.
      - Nicholas Rowe

Think not the good,
  The gentle deeds of mercy thou hast done,
    Shall die forgotten all; the poor, the prisoner,
      The fatherless, the friendless, and the widow,
        Who daily owe the bounty of thy hand,
          Shall cry to Heaven, and pull a blessing on thee.
      - Nicholas Rowe, Jane Shore
         (act I, sc. 2, l. 173)

As freely as the firmament embraces the world, so mercy must encircle friend and foe. The sun poursforth impartially his beams through all the regions of infinity; heaven bestows the dew equally on every thirsty plant. Whatever is good and comes from on high is universal and without reserve: but in the heart's recesses darkness dwells.
      - Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

Mercy often inflicts death.
  [Lat., Mortem misericors saepe pro vita dabit.]
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca), Troades

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.
      - William Shakespeare

It is enthroned in the heart of kings,
  It is an attribute to God himself;
    And earthly power doth then show likest God's
      When mercy seasons justice.
      - William Shakespeare

No ceremony that to great ones belongs,--not the king's crown nor the deputed sword, the marshal's truncheon nor the judge's robe, become them with one half so good a grace as mercy does.
      - William Shakespeare

Whereto serves mercy
  But to confront the visage of offense?
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark
         (Claudius, King of Denmark at III, iii)

Open thy gate of mercy, gracious God,
  My soul flies through these wounds to seek out thee.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Sixth, Part III
         (Plantagenet, Duke of York at I, iv)

Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;
  Pardon is still the nurse of second woe.
      - William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
         (Escalus at II, i)

Merciful heaven,
  Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
    Splits the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
      Than the soft myrtle; but man, proud man,
        Dressed in a little brief authority,
          Most ignorant of what he's most assured
            His glassy essence--like an angry ape
              Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
                As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
                  would all themselves laugh mortal.
      - William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
         (Isabella at II, ii)

Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.
      - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
         (Escalus, Prince of Verona at III, i)

The mercy that was quick in us but late,
  By your own counsel is suppressed and killed.
    You must not dare for shame to talk of mercy;
      For your own reasons turn into your bosoms
        As dogs upon their masters, worrying you.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Fifth
         (King Henry at II, ii)

The quality of mercy is not strained;
  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 scept'red 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.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice (Portia at IV, i)

We do pray for mercy,
  And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
    The deeds of mercy.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice (Portia at IV, i)

O mercy, heav'ly born! Sweet attribute.
  Thou great, thou best prerogative of power!
    Justice may guard the throne, but join'd with thee,
      On rocks of adamant, it stands secure,
        And braves the storm beneath.
      - William C. Somerville

Who will not mercie unto others show,
  How can he mercie ever hope to have?
      - Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
         (bk. VI, canto I, st. 42)

It is noble to grant life to the vanquished.
  [Lat., Pulchrum est vitam donare minori.]
      - Statius (Publius Papanius Statius),
        Thebais (VI, 816)

We may imitate the Deity in all His attributes; but mercy is the only one in which we can pretend to equal Him. We cannot, indeed, give like God; but surely we may forgive like Him.
      - Laurence Sterne

Underneath the wings of the seraphim are stretched the arms of the divine mercy, ever ready to receive sinners.
      - The Talmud

The sun is the eye of the world; and he is indifferent to the negro or the cold Russian; to them that dwell under the line; and them that stand near the tropics,--the scalded Indian, or the poor boy that shakes at the foot of the Riphean hills; so is the mercy of God.
      - Jeremy Taylor

Lenity will operate with greater force, in some instances, than rigor. It is therefore my first wish to have my whole conduct distinguished by it.
      - George Washington

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