William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Quotations

  • ''Sharked up a list of lawless resolutes.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Horatio, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 1, l. 98. Speaking of young Fortinbras of Norway and his way of getting an army together; "sharked up" means collected up indiscriminately.
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  • ''O the gods!
    When shall we see again?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Imogen, in Cymbeline, act 1, sc. 1, l. 123-4. To Posthumus, her husband, as they are about to be parted; "see" means see one another, meet.
  • ''O serpent heart, hid with a flow'ring face!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet, act 3, sc. 2, l. 73. On learning that Romeo has killed Tybalt; varying the idea of the proverbial "snake in the grass."
  • ''A good leg will fall, a straight back will stoop, a black beard will turn white, a fair face will wither, a full eye will wax hollow, but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the moon—or rather the sun and not the moon, for it shines bright and never changes, but keeps his course truly.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Henry, in Henry V, act 5, sc. 2, l. 162-3. Henry is wooing Princess Katherine of France, who doesn't understand much English.
  • ''The worst is not
    So long as we can say, "This is the worst."''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. King Lear (IV, i). OHFP. The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
  • ''The chariest maid is prodigal enough
    If she unmask her beauty to the moon.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Laertes, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 3, l. 36-7. Warning Ophelia not to listen to Hamlet's protestations of love; "chariest" means most modest.
  • ''... we may leisurely
    Each one demand and answer to his part
    Performed in this wide gap of time since
    First we were dissevered.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Leontes, in The Winter's Tale, act 5, sc. 3, l. 152-5. Winding up the play; only the audience knows the whole story.
  • ''Had I but died an hour before this chance,
    I had lived a blessed time; for from this instant
    There's nothing serious in mortality.
    All is but toys; renown and grace is dead,
    The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
    Is left this vault to brag of.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 3, l. 91-6. "Chance" means mischance, meaning the killing of Duncan; life ("mortality") from henceforth is trivial ("toys"); the "vault" is the sky covering the earth.
  • ''The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Menenius, in Coriolanus, act 5, sc. 4.
  • ''We are at the stake
    And bayed about with many enemies;
    And some that smile have in their hearts, I fear,
    Millions of mischiefs.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Octavius, in Julius Caesar, act 4, sc. 1, l. 48-51. To Antony; the image is from bear-baiting; bears were tied to a stake and mastiffs are set on them.

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Sonnet LI

Thus can my love excuse the slow offence
Of my dull bearer when from thee I speed:
From where thou art why should I haste me thence?
Till I return, of posting is no need.
O, what excuse will my poor beast then find,
When swift extremity can seem but slow?
Then should I spur, though mounted on the wind;
In winged speed no motion shall I know:
Then can no horse with my desire keep pace;

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