Quotes by William Shakespeare

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Born ca. 1564 and died ca. 1616 during the Renaissance period (1450-1599). One of the greatest writers of all time, Shakespeare, the peerless poet of the Sonnets and the creator of such dramatic masterpieces as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and King Lear, is a playwright of paradigmatic originality. In his discussion of the Western literary canon, critic Harold Bloom declared: "Shakespeare and Dante are the center of the Canon because they excel all other Western writer in cognitive acuity, linguistic energy, and power of invention." However, one could go a step further and suggest that Shakespeare defines the Western canon because he transcends it. If Shakespeare, as Ben Jonson declared, "was not of an age, but for all time," the great dramatist, one could argue, spoke to the ultimate concerns of humankind, regardless of period or cultural tradition. more

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What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god -- the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; the thief doth fear each bush an officer.
In my stars I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
He is not great who is not greatly good.
I hate ingratitude more in a person; than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness, or, any taint of vice whose strong corruption inhabits our frail blood. [Twelfth Night]
A walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.
Friendship is constant in all other things, Save in the office and affairs of love.
The dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits.
I will praise any man that will praise me.
They say men are molded out of faults, and for the most, become much more the better; for being a little bad. [Measure For Measure]
Fashion wears out more clothes than the man.
Sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.
And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.
Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to heaven.
Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much; such men are dangerous. [Julius Caesar]
Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affection, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood.
Let never day nor night unhallowed pass, but still remember what the Lord hath done.
The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
Cry havoc! and let slip the dogs of war, that this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial.
For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the heart. Therefore, is winged cupid painted blind.
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale.
Give every man your ear, but few thy voice. Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. [Hamlet]
To say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days.
By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death will seize the doctor too.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste. Then can I drown an eye (unused to flow) For precious friends hid in death's dateless night, and weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe, and moan the expense of many a vanished sight. Then can I grieve at grievances foregone, and heavily from woe to woe tell over the sad account of fore-bemoaned moan, Which I new pay as if not paid before. But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, all losses are restored and sorrows end.
He is half of a blessed man. Left to be finished by such as she; and she a fair divided excellence, whose fullness of perfection lies in him.
Lord Bacon told Sir Edward Coke when he was boasting, The less you speak of your greatness, the more shall I think of it.
We wound our modesty and make foul the clearness of our deservings, when of ourselves we publish them.
Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?
The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted.
Nature must obey necessity. [Julius Caesar]
How poor are they that have not patience. What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
I am a kind of burr; I shall stick.
There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.
Get thee glass eyes, and like a scurvy politician, seem to see the things thou dost not.
A politician is one that would circumvent God.
In delay there lies no plenty, Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty. Youth's a stuff will not endure.
To be or not to be that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the stings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or take up arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing them, end them. [Hamlet]
Self-love, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.
Then is it sin to rush into the secret house of death. Ere death dare come to us?
Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade.
Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.
How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good dead in a naughty world.
He that loves to be flattered is worthy of the flatterer.
No sooner met but they looked; no sooner looked but they loved; no sooner loved but they sighed; no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage, which they will climb incontinent, or else be incontinent before marriage.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not expressed in fancy; rich not gaudy; for the apparel oft proclaims the man.
I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.
I can get no remedy against this consumption of the purse: borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the disease is incurable.
Men must endure, their going hence even as their coming hither. Ripeness is all.
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well. Treason has done his worst. Nor steel nor poison, malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing can touch him further.
Conceit in weakest bodies works the strongest.
Children wish fathers looked but with their eyes; fathers that children with their judgment looked; and either may be wrong.
Life every man holds dear; but the dear man holds honor far more precious dear than life.
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night.