William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''But soft, behold! lo where it comes again!
    I'll cross it though it blast me. Stay, illusion!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Horatio, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 1, l. 126-7. Seeing the ghost of Hamlet's father again; "cross" means confront, and perhaps make the sign of the cross; "blast" means wither or destroy.
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  • ''Dangerous conceits are in their natures poisons,
    Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
    But with a little act upon the blood
    Burn like the mines of sulphur.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Iago, in Othello, act 3, sc. 3, l. 326-9. "Conceits" means fancies; mines of sulphur were associated with the area around Sicily and the ever-burning volcano, Mount Etna.
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  • ''What's in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet, act 2, sc. 2, l. 43-4. On loving Romeo, a Montague, and an enemy.
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  • ''More will I do,
    Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
    Since that my penitence comes after all,
    Imploring pardon.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Henry, in Henry V, act 4, sc. 1, l. 302-5. Nothing he can do in penitence for his past sins is any use, because ("since that") he still has to seek pardon.
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  • ''O you mighty gods!
    This world I do renounce, and in your sights
    Shake patiently my great affliction off.
    If I could bear it longer, and not fall
    To quarrel with your great opposeless wills,
    My snuff and loathed part of nature should
    Burn itself out.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. King Lear (IV, vi). OHFP. The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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  • ''He was indeed the glass
    Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Lady Percy, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 2, sc. 3, l. 21-2. Glass means mirror; everyone imitated the fashion of Hotspur.
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  • ''Tenderly apply to her
    Some remedies for life.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Leontes, in The Winter's Tale, act 3, sc. 2, l. 152-3. Anxious as Hermione passes out; "for life" means to restore her to life.
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  • ''This even-handed justice
    Commends th'ingredience of our poisoned chalice
    To our own lips.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 7, l. 10-12 (1623). Part of Macbeth's soliloquy on his forthcoming murder of Duncan and its consequences.
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  • ''He who the sword of heaven will bear
    Should be as holy as severe;
    Pattern in himself to know,
    Grace to stand, and virtue go;
    More nor less to others paying
    Than by self-offenses weighing.
    Shame to him whose cruel striking
    Kills for faults of his own liking!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. Measure for Measure (III, ii). . . The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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  • ''I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
    Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
    Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
    With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
    There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
    Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Oberon, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 2, sc. 1, l. 249-54. Describing the nighttime bower of the Queen of the Fairies; the flowers include scented wild roses and sweet briar (eglantine), and all grow wild in the English countryside.
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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 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;