William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''He that trusts to you,
    Where he should find you lions, finds you hares;
    Where foxes, geese.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Caius Marcius, later Coriolanus, in Coriolanus, act 1, sc. 1, l. 170-2. A patrician view of the people of Rome.
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  • ''The dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet, dramatist. Celia, in As You Like It, act 1, sc. 2, l. 52-3 (1623). Shakespeare was possibly making a punning reference to The Whetstone of Witte—a famous treatise on algebra by Robert Recorde published in 1557. The book's title was a literal translation of Cos Ingenii (cos being the Latin for "whetstone," while Coss or the Cossic Art was also the old name for algebra).
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  • ''Youth no less becomes
    The light and careless livery that it wears
    Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
    Importing health and graveness.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Claudius, in Hamlet, act 4, sc. 7, l. 78-81. "Sables" means dark robes trimmed with sable fur; "weeds" means appropriate clothes.
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  • ''For the mutable, rank-scented meiny, let them
    Regard me as I do not flatter, and
    Therein behold themselves.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Coriolanus, in Coriolanus, act 3, sc. 1, l. 66. A patrician claims to be telling the truth about the people, but shows his scorn for them at the same time; "meiny" means multitude.
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  • ''He is composed and framed of treachery,
    And fled he is upon this villainy.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Don Pedro, in Much Ado About Nothing, act 5, sc. 1, l. 249-50. On Don John, who set up the plot to ruin the marriage of Claudio and Hero.
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  • '''Tis not a year or two shows us a man:
    They are all but stomachs, and we all but food;
    They eat us hungerly, and when they are full
    They belch us.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Emilia, in Othello, act 3, sc. 4, l. 103-6. "All but" means nothing but; "hungerly" means hungrily.
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  • ''A good wit will make use of anything. I will turn diseases
    to commodity.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Falstaff, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 1, sc. 2, l. 247-8. Planning to claim he has been lamed in battle, not by gout brought on by drinking; "commodity" means profit.
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  • ''You have seen
    Sunshine and rain at once; her smiles and tears
    Were like a better way: those happy smilets
    That played on her ripe lip seemed not to know
    What guests were in her eyes, which parted thence
    As pearls from diamonds dropped.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Gentleman, in King Lear, act 4, sc. 3, l. 17-22. Cordelia here becomes an emblem of pity; "like" means alike.
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  • ''O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven;
    It hath the primal eldest curse upon 't,
    A brother's murder. Pray can I not,
    Though inclination be as sharp as will;
    My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
    And like a man to double business bound
    I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
    And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
    Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
    Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
    To wash it white as snow?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. Hamlet (III, iii). NAWM-1. The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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  • ''Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
    And enterprises of great pith and moment
    With this regard their currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of action.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 1, l. 85-90 (1604). Part of Hamlet's meditative soliloquy on the question of "To be, or not to be." William Hazlitt echoed these words in Characteristics (1823) no. 228, "Reflection makes men cowards."
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Best Poem of William Shakespeare

Fear No More

Fear no more the heat o' the sun;
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers come to dust.

Fear no more the frown of the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dread thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy ...

Read the full of Fear No More

Sonnet Lxvi

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And guilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,

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