William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''If she be false, O then heaven mocks itself!
    I'll not believe't.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Othello, in Othello, act 3, sc. 3, l. 278-9. On seeing Desdemona approaching him.
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  • ''A terrible childbed hast thou had, my dear;
    No light, no fire: th' unfriendly elements
    Forgot thee utterly.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Pericles, in Pericles, act 3, sc. 1, l. 56-8. He supposes Thaisa is dead, after giving birth to his daughter in a storm at sea.
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  • ''In companions
    That do converse and waste the time together,
    Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love,
    There must be needs a like proportion
    Of lineaments, of manners, and of spirit.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Portia, in The Merchant of Venice, act 3, sc. 4, l. 11-5. Arguing that Bassanio and his friend Antonio, who spend ("waste") so much time together, must be alike.
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  • ''Now I want
    Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
    And my ending is despair,
    Unless I be relieved by prayer,
    Which pierces so that it assaults
    Mercy itself, and frees all faults.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prospero, in The Tempest, epilogue, l. 13-8. Addressing the audience, having abandoned his role as magician.
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  • ''Murder her brothers and then marry her—
    Uncertain way of gain, but I am in
    So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Richard, in Richard III, act 4, sc. 2, l. 62-4.
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  • ''We'll have a swashing and a martial outside,
    As many other mannish cowards have
    That do outface it with their semblances.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Rosalind, in As You Like It, act 1, sc. 3, l. 118-22. Proposing a swashbuckling disguise as a fighting man.
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  • ''Holofernes. He is too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd as it were, too peregrinate as I may call it.
    Sir Nathaniel. A most singular and choice epithet.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Sir Nathaniel and Holofernes, in Love's Labor's Lost, act 5, sc. 1, l. 12-15. Speaking of Armado; "picked" = fastidious; "peregrinate" = outlandish.
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  • ''Theseus. The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them.
    Hippolyta. It must be your imagination then, and not theirs.
    Theseus. If we imagine no worse of them than they of themselves, they may pass for excellent men.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Theseus and Hippolyta, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 5, sc. 1, l. 211-6. Watching "Pyramus and Thisbe" as staged by Bottom, Quince, and their crew.
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  • ''No profit grows where is no pleasure ta'en.
    In brief, sir, study what you most affect.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Tranio, in The Taming of the Shrew, act 1, sc. 1, l. 39-40. Advising his master Lucentio; "affect" = find pleasing.
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  • ''When icicles hang by the wall,
    And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
    And Tom bears logs into the hall,
    And milk comes frozen home in pail;
    When blood is nipped, and ways be foul,
    Then nightly sings the staring owl:
    Tu-whit, tu-whoo!—
    A merry note,
    While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Winter, in Love's Labor's Lost, act 5, sc. 2, l. 912-20. The first stanza of the song of Winter at the end of the play; the refrain ends in merriment in spite of winter.
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Best Poem of William Shakespeare

A Fairy Song

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.

Read the full of A Fairy Song

Sonnet Ci

O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends
For thy neglect of truth in beauty dyed?
Both truth and beauty on my love depends;
So dost thou too, and therein dignified.
Make answer, Muse: wilt thou not haply say
'Truth needs no colour, with his colour fix'd;
Beauty no pencil, beauty's truth to lay;
But best is best, if never intermix'd?'
Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?

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