Quotations From WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


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  • Ere the bat hath flown
    His cloistered flight, ere to black Hecate's summons
    The shard-born beetle with his drowsy hums
    Hath rung night's yawning peal, there shall be done
    A deed of dreadful note.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 2, l. 40-4. Bats and dung-beetles ("shard-borne") were associated with darkness, and here with Hecate, goddess of witchcraft.

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  • One sorrow never comes but brings an heir
    That may succeed as his inheritor.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cleon, in Pericles, act 1, sc. 4, l. 63-4. Proverbial.

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  • So shall you hear
    Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
    Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
    Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
    And in this upshot, purposes mistook
    Fallen on th'inventors' heads.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Horatio, in Hamlet, act 5, sc. 2, l. 380-5. Summing up his version of the events.
  • I do not set my life at a pin's fee,
    And for my soul, what can it do to that,
    Being a thing immortal as itself?
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 4, l. 65-7. Determined to follow the ghost, not knowing whether it is a good or evil spirit; "fee" means worth.

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  • Where is the life that late I led?
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Petruchio, in The Taming of the Shrew, act 4, sc. 1, l. 140. The newly married Petruchio sings what seems to be the first line of a lost ballad.

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  • But yet the pity of it, Iago! O Iago, the pity of it, Iago!
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Othello, in Othello, act 4, sc. 1, l. 195-6. Loving Desdemona even as he plans to murder her.
  • This is not yet an Alexandrian feast.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Pompey, in Antony and Cleopatra, act 2, sc. 7, l. 96. A Roman feast, less of an orgy than one in Alexandria, Egypt.
  • If all the world could have seen 't, the woe had been universal.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. 3rd Gentleman, in The Winter's Tale, act 5, sc. 2, l. 91-2. On the reporting of the (supposed) death of Hermione.

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  • Is it not strange that sheep's guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Benedick, in Much Ado About Nothing, act 2, sc. 3.
  • My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirred,
    And I myself see not the bottom of it.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Achilles, in Troilus and Cressida, act 3, sc. 3, l. 308-9.
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