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Better Angels

The only mention in any of Shakespeare's plays of the “better angel” is in Othello (5.2.235), when Gratiano, speaking over Desdemona's body, speaks of her father:

Did he live now,
This sight would make him do a desperate turn,
Yea, curse his better angel from his side,

Shakespeare makes another mention of the “better angel” in Sonnet 144, where he writes:

“The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colored ill.”

The reference became much more famous when Abraham Lincoln invoked it with the closing of his first inaugural address:

“Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

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O, O, O!

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Two loves I have, of comfort and despair

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