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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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.
To suckle fools, and chronicle small beer.
Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.
A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.
Do you set down your name in the scroll of youth, that are written down old with all the characters of age?
The first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers.
So farewell to the little good you bear me. Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!This is the state of man: to-day he puts forthThe tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surelyHis greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,And then he falls, as I do. I have venturd,Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,This many summers in a sea of glory,But far beyond my depth. My high-blown prideAt length broke under me, and now has left me,Weary and old with service, to the mercyOf a rude stream that must for ever hide me. Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye!I feel my heart new opend. O, how wretchedIs that poor man that hangs on princes favours!There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,More pangs and fears than wars or women have;And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,Never to hope again.
I am in bloodSteppd in so far that, should I wade no more,Returning were as tedious as go oer.
All the worlds a stage,And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances,And one man in his time plays many parts,His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,Mewling and puking in the nurses arms. Then the whining school-boy, with his satchelAnd shining morning face, creeping like snailUnwillingly to school. And then the lover,Sighing like furnace, with a woeful balladMade to his mistress eyebrow. Then a soldier,Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,Seeking the bubble reputationEven in the cannons mouth. And then the justice,In fair round belly with good capon lind,With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,Full of wise saws and modern instances;And so he plays his part. The sixth age shiftsInto the lean and slipperd pantaloon [dotard],With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,His youthful hose, well savd, a world too wideFor his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,Turning again toward childish treble, pipesAnd whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,That ends this strange eventful history,Is second childishness and mere oblivion,Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.
This was the noblest Roman of them all. All the conspirators, save only he,Did that they did in envy of Caesar;He only, in a general honest thoughtAnd common good to all, made one of them. His life was gentle, and the elementsSo mixd in him that Nature might stand upAnd say to all the world, This was a man!
Things won are done, joys soul lies in the doing.
Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come, In yours and my discharge.
Glendower:I can call spirits from the vasty deep. Hotspur:Why, so can I, or so can any man;But will they come when you do call for them?
Had I but servd my God with half the zealI servd my king, He would not in mine ageHave left me naked to mine enemies.
I have drunk, and seen the spider
Saint Valentine is past; Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?
Good morrow! 'tis Saint Valentine's Day All in the morning betime. And I a maid at your window To be your Valentine.
Why, 'tis a happy thing To be the father unto many sons.
Fathers that wear rags Do make their children blind, But fathers that bear bags Shall see their children kind.
Now it is the time of night That the graves, all gaping wide, Every one lets forth his sprite, In the church-way paths to glide.
Did Cicero say anything? // Ay, he spoke Greek. // To what effect? // Nay … those that understood him smiled at one another, and shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me.
Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs.
Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince; / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
He wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the next block.
I have liv'd long enough. My way of life Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf, And that which should accompany old age, As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have.
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow, And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field, Thy youth's proud livery, so gazed on now, Will be a tattered weed, of small worth held.
It is not politic in the commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity. Loss of virginity is rational increase, and there was never virgin got till virginity was first lost. That you were made of is metal to make virgins. Virginity by being once lost may be ten times found; by being ever kept, it is ever lost. 'Tis too cold a companion; away with 't!
Remember March, the ides of March, remember.
O, how this spring of love resembleth The uncertain glory of an April day, Which now shows all the beauty of the sun, And by and by a cloud takes all away.
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time, When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding. Sweet lovers love the spring.
. . . winter tames man, woman, and beast.. . .
Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind As man's ingratitude.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school.
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.
One half of me is yours, the other half yours--Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours, And so all yours.
It is to be all made of fantasy, All made of passion, and all made of wishes, All adoration, duty, and observance, All humbleness, all patience and impatience, All purity, all trial, all observance.
I am giddy; expectation whirls me round. Th' imaginary relish is so sweet That it enchants my sense. What will it be, When that the wat'ry palates taste indeed Love's thrice repured nectar? Death, I fear me, Swooning destruction, or some joy too fine, Too subtle, potent, tun'd too sharp in sweetness For the capacity of my ruder powers I fear it much; and I do fear besides That I shall lose distinction in my joys, As doth a battle when they charge on heaps The enemy flying.
She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd, And I lov'd her that she did pity them.
We will have rings and things, and fine array; And kiss me, Kate, we will be married a' Sunday.
Don Pedro: Will you have me, lady? Beatrice : No, my lord, unless I might have another for working days. Your grace is too costly to wear every day.
Dear Isabel, I have a motion much imports your good, Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline, What's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.
One turf shall serve as pillow for us both; One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth.
When I was about thy years, Hal, I was not an eagle's talent in the waist; I could have crept into any alderman's thumb-ring. A plague of sighing and grief! It blows a man up like a bladder.
Do I not bate? Do I not dwindle? Why, my skin hangs about me like an old lady's loose gown; I am wither'd like an old apple-john.
Wooing, wedding, and repenting is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinquepace. The first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly- modest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes Repentance and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinquepace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Wedding is great Juno's crown, O blessed bond of board and bed! 'Tis Hymen peoples every town; High wedlock then be honored. Honor, high honor, and renown, To Hymen, god of every town!
Honor, riches, marriage-blessing Long continuance, and increasing, Hourly joys be still upon you!