The Heavens themselves, the planets, and this centreObserve degree, priority, and place,Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,Office, and custom, in all line of order.And therefore is the glorious planet SolIn noble eminence enthroned and spheredAmidst the other, whose medicinable eyeCorrects the ill aspects of planets evil,And posts like the commandment of a king,Sans check, to good and bad. But when the planetsIn evil mixture to disorder wander,What plagues, and what portents, what mutiny,What raging of the sea, shaking of the earth,Commotion in the winds, frights, changes, horrorsDivert and crack, rend and deracinateThe unity and married calm of statesQuite from their fixture. O, when degree is shaked,Which is the ladder to all high designs,The enterprise is sick. How could communities,Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,The primogenitive and due of birth,Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,But by degree stand in authentic place?Take but degree away, untune that string,And hark what discord follows: each thing meetsIn mere oppugnancy. The bounded watersShould lift their bosoms higher than the shoresAnd make a sop of all this solid globe.Strength should be lord of imbecility,And the rude son should strike the father dead.Force should be right, or rather, right and wrong,Should lose their names, and so should justice, too.Then everything includes itself in power,Power into will, will into appetite,And appetite, an universal wolf,So doubly seconded with will and power,Must make perforce an universal prey,And, last, eat up himself.
Troilus and Cressida (excerpts): The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centrewritten by
© William Shakespeare