William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''But why should honor outlive honesty?
    Let it all go.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Othello, in Othello, act 5, sc. 2, l. 245-6. Having lost his integrity ("honesty") he no longer sees a need to maintain his reputation (as a warrior).
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  • ''The poorest service is repaid with thanks.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Petruchio, in The Taming of the Shrew, act 4, sc. 3, l. 45. Demanding the Katherine thank him before she gets anything to eat.
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  • ''The quality of mercy is not strained.
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
    It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.
    'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
    The thronèd monarch better than his crown.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Portia, in The Merchant of Venice, act 4, sc. 1, l. 181-86 (1600). Portia, disguised as a man, argues that Shylock should show mercy to Antonio—though shortly afterwards she herself shows little mercy in her dealings with Shylock. (Strained here means "forced," "compelled.").
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  • ''A rotten carcass of a butt, not rigged,
    Nor tackle, sail, nor mast—the very rats
    Instinctively have quit it.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prospero, in The Tempest, act 1, sc. 2, l. 146-8. Describing to Miranda the miserable boat ("butt" means cask) in which they were exiled from his dukedom.
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  • ''True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings:
    Kings it makes gods, and meaner creatures kings.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Richmond, in Richard III, act 5, sc. 2, l. 23-4. Encouraging his supporters in their drive against Richard.
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  • ''She could not love me
    Were man as rare as phoenix.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Rosalind, in As You Like It, act 4, sc. 3, l. 16-7. Misrepresenting Phebe's letter protesting love; phoenix means a mythical bird, only one of which lived at a time.
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  • ''These clothes are good enough to drink in, and so be these boots too.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Sir Toby Belch, in Twelfth Night, act 1, sc. 3, l. 11-2.
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  • ''"A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
    And his love Thisbe, very tragical mirth"—
    Merry and tragical? Tedious and brief?
    That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Theseus, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 5, sc. 1, l. 56-9. The absurd title of the play put on by Bottom, Quince and their crew parodies the titles of some earlier Elizabethan plays.
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  • ''Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Troilus, in Troilus and Cressida, act. 3, sc. 2, l. 97. "Allow" = commend; he is asking Cressida to let experience show how faithful he will be.
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  • ''I'll read you matter deep and dangerous,
    As full of peril and adventurous spirit
    As to o'erwalk a current roaring loud
    On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Worcester, in Henry IV, Part 1, act 1, sc. 3, l. 190-3. Proposing rebellion against the king.
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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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