THEY that have power to hurt, and will do none,Of course there's a cold stream of irony that circulates through the lines of this poem: there's something a little inhuman about such an attitude toward self and others. Most of us will choose the company of a Falstaff, for all his narcissism and unreliability, over the frigid nobility and ruthlessness of a Prince Hal.
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow;
They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces,
And husband nature’s riches from expense;
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others, but stewards of their excellence.
The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself, it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester, smell far worse than weeds.
Can you tell we're in the middle of the Shakespeare section of the course I'm TAing? Well, re-reading is usually good reading.