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, ... more

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Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.

Company, villainous company, hath been the spoil of me.
And I did laugh sans intermission an hour by his dial. O noble fool, a worthy fool -- motley's the only wear.
Though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve.
The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, and act and speak as if cheerfulness wee already there. To feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all our will to that end, and courage will very likely replace fear. If we act as if from some better feeling, the bad feeling soon folds its tent like an Arab and silently steals away
For nothing can seem foul to those that win.
Your old virginity is like one of our French withered pears: it looks ill, it eats dryly.
I am bewitched with the rogue's company. If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged.
Ceremony was but devised at first to set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes, recanting goodness, sorry ere 'Tis shown; but where there is true friendship, there needs none.
Art made tongue-tied by authority.
To fear the worst oft cures the worse.
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder, and that craves wary walking.
To business that we love we rise betime, and go to't with delight.
. . . since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief.
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, action nor utterance, nor the power of speech, to stir men's blood. I only speak right on. I tell you that which you yourselves do know.
O, let my books be then the eloquence and dumb presages of my speaking breast.
I did send to you for certain sums of gold, which you denied me.
What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
Beauty is but a vain and doubtful good; a shining gloss that fadeth suddenly; a flower that dies when it begins to bud; a doubtful good, a gloss, a glass, a flower, lost, faded, broken, dead within an hour. -
The teeming Autumn big with rich increase, bearing the wanton burden of the prime like widowed wombs after their lords decease.
I will name you the degrees. The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct.
Thou art all ice. Thy kindness freezes.
Some men there are love not a gaping pig, some that are mad if they behold a cat, and others when the bagpipe sings I the nose cannot contain their urine.
Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance. Therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him and it mars him; it sets him on and it takes him off. it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him.
O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause transform ourselves into beasts!
Macduff: What three things does drink especially provoke? Porter: Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine.
I told you, sir, they were red-hot with drinking; so full of valor that they smote the air, for breathing in their faces, beat the ground for kissing of their feet.
O world, world! thus is the poor agent despised. O traitors and bawds, how earnestly are you set a-work, and how ill requited! Why should our endeavor be so loved, and the performance so loathed?
O curse of marriage that we can call these delicate creatures ours and not their appetites!
I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the anciently, stealing, fighting.
Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing.
Suit the action to the world, the world to the action, with this special observance, that you overstep not the modesty of nature.
If it were done when 'tis done, then t'were well. It were done quickly.
Be great in act, as you have been in thought.
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you -- tripping on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as Leif the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
Oh! it offends me to the soul to hear a robust periwig-pated fellow, tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings.
Men's evil manners live in brass, their virtues we write in water.
Assume a virtue if you have it not.
Nothing can seem foul to those who win.
Men's vows are women's traitors!
Tis not the many oaths that make the truth; But the plain single vow, that is vow'd true.
The will is deaf and hears no heedful friends.
Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support him after.
We go to gain a little patch of ground that hath in it no profit but the name.
I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction. (III.i.49�61) The Merchant of Venice
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug, For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Double, double toil and trouble; / Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be: / For loan oft loses both itself and friend.
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is / To have a thankless child!
. . . they say the tongues of dying men Enforce attention like deep harmony. Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain, For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.
I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less; And, to deal plainly, I fear I am not in my perfect mind.
. . . when thou are old and rich, Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty, To make thy riches pleasant.
If to be old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that I know is damn'd.
. . . 'tis our fast intent To shake all cares and business from our age, Conferring them on younger strengths, while we Unburden'd crawl toward death.
My wife, my wife! What wife? I have no wife. O insupportable! O heavy hour! Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse Of sun and moon, and that th' affrighted globe Should yawn at alteration.
Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.
Those that do teach young babes Do it with gentle means and easy tasks.
To be wise and love exceeds man's might.