William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''You, mistress,
    That have the office opposite to Saint Peter,
    And keeps the gate of hell!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Othello, in Othello, act 4, sc. 2, l. 90-2. To Emilia, Desdemona's attendant, treating her as a bawd; the "harlot's house is the way to hell" in Proverbs 7:27.
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  • ''I see that Time's the king of men;
    He's both their parent, and he is their grave,
    And gives them what he will, not what they crave.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Pericles, in Pericles, act 2, sc. 3, l. 45-7.
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  • ''I fear you speak upon the rack,
    Where men enforced do speak anything.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Portia, in The Merchant of Venice, act 3, sc. 2, l. 32-3. She fears Bassanio may not be honest in his protestations of love.
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  • ''I'll break my staff,
    Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
    And deeper than did ever plummet sound
    I'll drown my book.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prospero, in The Tempest, act 5, sc. 1, l. 54-7. Abandoning his magic powers by discarding his staff and book; "plummet" means plumbline, a line weighted with lead to measure depth.
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  • ''Thus I clothe my naked villainy
    With odd old ends stolen forth of holy writ,
    And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Richard, in Richard III, act 1, sc. 3, l. 335-7. Taking the audience into his confidence.
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  • ''Can one desire too much of a good thing?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Rosalind, in As You Like It, act 4, sc. 1, l. 123-4. An ambiguous question; proverbially "The more common a good thing is the better," and also "Too much of one thing is good for nothing."
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  • ''Sir Toby Belch. Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?
    Feste. Yes, by Saint Anne, and ginger shall be hot i'the mouth, too.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Sir Toby Belch and Feste, in Twelfth Night, act 2, sc. 3, l. 114-8. Referring to Malvolio's puritanical streak; cakes and ale were associated with church feasts, the ale often spiced with ginger.
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  • ''Joy, gentle friends, joy and fresh days of love
    Accompany your hearts!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Theseus, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 5, sc. 1, l. 29-30. Addressing the reconciled lovers.
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  • ''Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Trinculo, in The Tempest, act 2, sc. 2, l. 39 (1623).
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  • ''My endeavors
    Have ever come too short of my desires.
    Yet filed with my abilities.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Wolsey, in Henry VIII, act 3, sc. 2, l. 169-71. "Filed" = kept pace with; he claims he has done the best he could.
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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;