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EIGHTH YEAR

FIRST HALF

GEOFFREY CHAUCER

ENGLAND, 1340–1400

" The First Virtue"

The first virtue, sone, if thou wilt learn
Is to restraine and keepen well thy tongue.

Loke who that is most virtuous alway,
Prive and apart, and most intendeth ay
To do the gentil dedes that he can,
And take him for the gretest gentilman.

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EDMUND SPENSER

ENGLAND, 1552–1599

Ay me! how many perils doe enfold
The righteous man, to make him daily fall.

Who will not mercie unto others show,
How can he mercie ever hope to have ?

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I was promised on a time
To have reason for my rhyme;
From that time unto this season
I received nor rhyme nor reason.

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And more to lull him in his slumber soft,
A trickling stream from high rock tumbling down,
And ever drizzling rain upon the loft,
Mixed with a murmuring wind much like the sound
Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swoon.
No other noise, nor people's troublous cries
As still are wont t'annoy the walled town
Might there be heard; but careless Quiet lies,
Wrapt in eternal silence, far from enemies.

- From " THE HOUSE OF SLEEP” (“6 THE FAERY QUEEN").

SIR WALTER RALEIGH

ENGLAND, 1552–1618

Lines Written the Night before his Execution

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Even such is Time, that takes on trust

Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;

Who in the dark and silent grave.
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days.

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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

ENGLAND, 1564-1616

Polonius's Advice

There,

- my blessing with you! And these few precepts in thy memory

"THIS WAS THE NOBLEST ROMAN.”

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See thou character :- Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear't, that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,

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For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

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This was the Noblest Roman'
This was the noblest Roman of them all :
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of great Cæsar;
He, only, in a generous honest thought
Of common good to all, made one of them.

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His life was gentle; and the elements
So mix'd in him, that Nature might stand up,
And say to all the world, “This was a man!”

- From " Julius CÆSAR."

“ The Quality of Mercy

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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 thronèd monarch better than his crown;
His scepter 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 sceptered 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.

- From “ MERCHANT OF VENICE."

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Silvia

Who is Silvia ? what is she,

That all our swains commend her ?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;

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