William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''Give the devil his due.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Orleans, in Henry V, act 3, sc. 7, l. 116-7. Orleans and the Constable of France swap proverbs; even the Devil may deserve some credit.
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  • ''O world, world! thus is the poor agent despised. O traitors and bawds, how earnestly are you set a-work, and how ill requited! Why should our endeavour be so loved, and the performance so loathed?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Pandarus, in Troilus and Cressida (Quarto edition), act 5, sc. 10.
  • ''Brevity is the soul of wit.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Polonius, in Hamlet, act 2, sc. 2, l. 90. Reporting to Claudius and Gertrude, Polonius ironically is tediously long-winded himself; "wit" means wisdom.
  • ''One for superfluity, and another for use.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prince Hal, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 2, sc. 2, l. 17-8. Mockingly suggesting a spare clean shirt is superfluous, more than his friend Poins needs.
  • ''Quince. Marry, our play is "The most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe."
    Bottom. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Quince and Bottom, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 1, sc. 2, l. 11-14. Shakespeare was mocking a fashion for elaborate titles that confounded genres, such as the "Tragical Comedy of Apius and Virginia" (1575).
  • ''Rosalind. There's a girl goes before the priest, and
    certainly a woman's thought runs before her actions.
    Orlando. So do all thoughts, they are winged.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Rosalind and Orlando, in As You Like It, act 4, sc. 1, l. 139-42.
  • ''I am not bid for love, they flatter me.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Shylock, in The Merchant of Venice, act 2, sc. 5, l. 13. On being invited to eat supper with Christians.
  • ''Thy jealous fits
    Have scared thy husband from the use of wits.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. The Abbess, in The Comedy of Errors, act 5, sc. 1, l. 85-6. To Adriana, whose reproaches have supposedly driven her husband Antipholus mad.
  • ''I will be here again, even with a thought.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Titinius, in Julius Caesar, act 5, sc. 3, l. 19. Reporting to Cassius on the state of the battle.
  • ''This fellow is wise enough to play the fool,
    And to do that well craves a kind of wit.
    He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
    The quality of persons, and the time,
    Not, like the haggard, check at every feather
    That comes before his eye. This is a practice
    As full of labor as a wise man's art.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Viola, in Twelfth Night, act 3, sc. 1, l. 60-6. Recognizing that the Fool (Feste) may be wise; "quality" means rank or nature; a "haggard" was an untrained hawk.

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Best Poem of William Shakespeare

All The World's A Stage

All the world's 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 nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in ...

Read the full of All The World's A Stage

Sonnet Lxxvii

Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,
Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste;
The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will bear,
And of this book this learning mayst thou taste.
The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show
Of mouthed graves will give thee memory;
Thou by thy dial's shady stealth mayst know
Time's thievish progress to eternity.
Look, what thy memory can not contain

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