William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''Though it be honest, it is never good
    To bring bad news.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cleopatra, in Antony and Cleopatra, act 2, sc. 5, l. 85-6.
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  • ''Men so noble,
    However faulty, yet should find respect
    For what they have been. 'Tis a cruelty
    To load a falling man.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cromwell, in Henry VIII, act 5, sc. 2, l. 111-12. Speaking on behalf of Archbishop Cranmer.
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  • ''Duke (in disguise). I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the Duke?
    Escalus. One that, above all other strifes, contended especially to know himself.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Duke and Escalus, in Measure for Measure, act 3, sc. 2, l. 230-3. To know oneself was to know how to balance understanding against the will and the senses; "strifes" means efforts, endeavors.
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  • ''What, shall we curse the planets of mishap
    That plotted thus our glory's overthrow?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Exeter, in Henry VI, Part 1, act 1, sc. 1, l. 23-4. Attributing the early death of Henry V to the influence of the planets.
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  • ''Come away, come away, death,
    And in sad cypress let me be laid.
    Fly away, fly away, breath,
    I am slain by a fair cruel maid.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Feste, in Twelfth Night, act 2, sc. 4, l. 51-4. A song for Orsino; a reminder of mortality, as cypress was an emblem of mourning; the image is of the lover slain by the power of a maid's beauty, suggesting also Cupid's arrow.
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  • ''Duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
    That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
    Wouldst thou not stir in this.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Ghost, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 5, l. 32-4. Urging Hamlet to revenge his murder; "Lethe" means the underworld river of forgetfulness.
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  • ''Had I but time—as this fell sergeant, Death,
    Is strict in his arrest—O, I could tell you—
    But let it be.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 5, sc. 2, l. 336-7. As he lies dying, to Horatio; "fell" means fierce; "sergeant" means officer of the law-courts.
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  • ''Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you—trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet speaking to the players, in Hamlet, act 3, sc. 2.
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  • ''Were it good
    To set the exact wealth of all our states
    All at one cast? to set so rich a main
    On the nice hazard of one doubtful hour?
    It were not good.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hotspur, in Henry IV, Part 1, act 4, sc. 1, l. 45-9. Convincing himself it is as well to keep the forces of his father, who pleads sickness, in reserve; "exact wealth of all our states" means whole of our resources; "main" means stake; "nice hazard" means tricky gamble.
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  • ''No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
    Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
    The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
    Become them with one half so good a grace
    As mercy does.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Isabella, in Measure for Measure, act 2, sc. 2, l. 59-63. Arguing for mercy to her condemned brother; "'longs" means belongs; "deputed sword" means the sword of justice entrusted to the ruler or judge as a mark of office; "truncheon" means baton or staff.
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Best Poem of William Shakespeare

Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day? (Sonnet 18)

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.
So long as men can breathe, or ...

Read the full of Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day? (Sonnet 18)

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;

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