William SHAKESPEARE (1564– 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist.
SHAKESPEARE is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon."
SHAKESPEARE'S works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems.
SHAKESPEARE'S plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
50 years ago was when I first studied SHAKESPEARE in school and I can still remember the first six lines of :
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 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 sceptred 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.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.
The Merchant of Venice.
Act IV, Scene 1.
Mr. Linky can be found here.