William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''O these encounterers, so glib of tongue,
    That give a coasting welcome ere it comes,
    And wide unclasp the tables of their thoughts
    To every ticklish reader! Set them down
    For sluttish spoils of opportunity
    And daughters of the game.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Ulysses, in Troilus and Cressida, act 4, sc. 5, l. 58-63. His scornful assessment of Cressida, as she arrives in the Grecian camp; "ticklish" = lustful.
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  • ''Thy blood and virtue
    Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness
    Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a few,
    Do wrong to none. Be able for thine enemy
    Rather in power than use, and keep thy friend
    Under thy own life's key. Be checked for silence
    But never taxed for speech.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. All's Well That Ends Well (I, i). . . The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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  • ''When Caesar says, "Do this," it is performed.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Antony, in Julius Caesar, act 1, sc. 2, l. 10. Responding to an order given by Caesar.
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  • ''Merciful powers,
    Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
    Gives way to in repose!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Banquo, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 1, l. 7-9. "Powers" may refer to the order of angels deputed to resist demons; the orders are listed in John Milton's Paradise Lost, V. 601, as "Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers."
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  • ''Never durst poet touch a pen to write
    Until his ink were tempered with love's sighs.
    O then his lines would ravish savage ears,
    And plant in tyrants mild humility.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Berowne, in Love's Labor's Lost, act 4, sc. 3, l. 343-6. Berowne's extravagant idea of the power of love poetry.
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  • ''Thou art a fellow of a good respect;
    Thy life hath had some smatch of honor in it.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Brutus, in Julius Caesar, act 5, sc. 5, l. 45-6. Asking Strato to kill him; "respect" means reputation; "smatch" means touch, smack.
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  • ''Such comfort as do lusty young men feel
    When well-apparelled April on the heel
    Of limping winter treads.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Capulet, in Romeo and Juliet, act 1, sc. 2, l. 26-8. Referring to the feast and dance Capulet is planning.
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  • ''Sit and see,
    Minding true things by what their mockeries be.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Chorus, in Henry V, act 4, prologue, l. 52-3. Asking the audience to imagine the battle of Agincourt as it really happened.
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  • ''There is nothing left remarkable
    Beneath the visiting moon.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cleopatra, in Antony and Cleopatra, act 4, sc. 15, l. 67-8. Her view of a world without Antony.
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  • ''I will not change my horse with any that treads but on four
    pasterns.... When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk; he
    trots the air.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Dauphin, in Henry V, act 3, sc. 7, l. 11-12, 15-16. "Pasterns" means hooves.
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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 Lxxvii

Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear,
Thy dial how thy precious minutes waste;
The vacant leaves thy mind's imprint will bear,
And of this book this learning mayst thou taste.
The wrinkles which thy glass will truly show
Of mouthed graves will give thee memory;
Thou by thy dial's shady stealth mayst know
Time's thievish progress to eternity.
Look, what thy memory can not contain

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