William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''I am sure 'tis safer to
    Avoid what's grown than question how 'tis born.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Camillo, in The Winter's Tale, act 1, sc. 2, l. 432-3. To Polixenes, who cannot conceive how his old friend Leontes should wish to murder him.
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  • ''O for a muse of fire, that would ascend
    The brightest heaven of invention.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Chorus, in Henry V, prologue, l. 1-2 (1600).
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  • ''O, withered is the garland of the war,
    The soldier's pole is fallen!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cleopatra, in Antony and Cleopatra, act 4, sc. 15, l. 64-5. "Garland" suggests the wreath of victory, and "pole" the standard-bearer, and also a phallus, reminding us of the dead Antony's sexuality.
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  • ''You are wise,
    Or else you love not, for to be wise and love
    Exceeds man's might.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cressida, in Troilus and Cressida, act 3, sc. 2, l. 155-7. Speaking to Troilus.
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  • ''Pleads he in earnest? Look upon his face.
    His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest.
    His words come from his mouth; ours from our breast.
    He prays but faintly, and would be denied;
    We pray with heart and soul, and all beside.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Duchess of York, in Richard II, act 5, sc. 3, l. 100-4. Pleading against her husband with Henry IV to save her traitorous son, Aumerle.
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  • '''Tis no sinister nor awkward claim
    Picked from the wormholes of long-vanished days,
    Nor from the dust of old oblivion raked.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Exeter, in Henry V, act 2, sc. 4, l. 87. On Henry's claim to France; "sinister" means erroneous or underhanded.
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  • ''Feste. Beshrew me, the knight's in admirable fooling.
    Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Ay, he does well enough if he be disposed, and so do I, too. He does it with a better grace, but I do it more natural.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Feste and Sir Andrew Aguecheek, in Twelfth Night, act 2, sc. 3, l. 80-3. The "knight" is the witty Sir Toby Belch; Sir Andrew does it more naturally because he is a "natural," a born fool.
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  • ''But that I am forbid
    To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
    I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
    Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Ghost, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 5, l. 15-6. Effectively suggesting the horrors of purgatory to Hamlet; "harrow up" means lacerate.
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  • ''Haste me to know it, that I with wings as swift
    As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
    May sweep to my revenge.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 5, l. 29-31. Impulsively eager to rush to the revenge his father's ghost has demanded; "swift as thought" is proverbial.
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  • ''Oh! it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow, tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 2. Directing the player how to perform the speech he has written.
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Best Poem of William Shakespeare

O Mistress Mine, Where Are You Roaming? (Twelfth Night, Act Ii, Scene Iii)

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear! your true-love's coming
That can sing both high and low;
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journey's end in lovers' meeting-
Every wise man's son doth know.

What is love? 'tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies no plenty,-
Then come kiss me, Sweet and twenty,
Youth's a stuff will not endure.

Read the full of O Mistress Mine, Where Are You Roaming? (Twelfth Night, Act Ii, Scene Iii)

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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