William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''The man that hath no music in himself,
    Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
    The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
    And his affections dark as Erebus.
    Let no such man be trusted.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Lorenzo, in The Merchant of Venice, act 5, sc. 1. Responding to Jessica's remark, "I am never merry when I hear sweet music". "Spoils" means acts of plunder; Erebus was a place of darkness linked with Hades in classical mythology.
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  • ''If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
    It were done quickly. If th' assassination
    Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
    With his surcease success—that but this blow
    Might be the be-all and the end-all!—here,
    But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
    We'd jump the life to come.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 7, l. 1-2. "If it were done when 'tis done" means if the deed were at an end, completely finished, at the moment it is done; Macbeth thinks that if he could avoid ("trammel up" means catch in a net) the consequences of murder with the death ("surcease") of Duncan, he would take a chance on the life to come (on earth, and in heaven or hell).
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  • ''I love a ballad in print alife, for then we are sure they are true.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Mopsa, in The Winter's Tale, act 4, sc. 4, l. 260-1. "Alife" means on my life, dearly; the peasant girl thinks anything in print must be true.
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  • ''I cannot choose but weep to think they would lay him i'th'
    cold ground.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Ophelia, in Hamlet, act 4, sc. 5, l. 69-70. Mad and grieving after her father's death.
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  • ''O, the world hath not a sweeter creature! She might lie by an emperor's side and command him tasks.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Othello, in Othello, act 4, sc. 1, l. 183-5. Praising Desdemona.
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  • ''Base is the slave that pays.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Pistol, in Henry V, act 2, sc. 1, l. 96. Refusing to pay a gaming debt.
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  • ''Ill-weaved ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
    When that this body did contain a spirit,
    A kingdom for it was too small a bound,
    But now two paces of the vilest earth
    Is room enough.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prince Hal, in Henry IV, Part 1, act 5, sc. 4, l. 88-92. On the death of Hotspur.
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  • ''That bottled spider, that foul bunch-backed toad.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Queen, Elizabeth in Richard III, act 4, sc. 4, l. 81. Referring to Richard; spiders and toads were thought to be venomous.
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  • ''Eyes, look your last.
    Arms, take your last embrace, and lips, O you
    The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
    A dateless bargain to engrossing death.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Romeo, in Romeo and Juliet, act 5, sc. 3, l. 112-5. Kissing Juliet before drinking the apothecary's poison; "engrossing" means either taking all or preparing the contract or "bargain."
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  • ''He's winding up the watch of his wit. By and by it will strike.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Sebastian, in The Tempest, act 2, sc. 1, l. 13-4 (1623). Referring to Gonzalo's attempts to cheer up Alonso.
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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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