poet William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

#2 on top 500 poets

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

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 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?