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The meaning and origin of the expression: The quality of mercy is not strained

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The quality of mercy is not strained

What's the origin of the phrase 'The quality of mercy is not strained'?

Portrait of William ShakespeareFrom Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, 1596.

PORTIA:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
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;

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.

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