William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interrèd with their bones—
    So let it be with Caesar.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Antony, in Julius Caesar, act 3, sc. 2, l. 73-7.
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  • ''Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
    To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
    Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
    The seeming truth which cunning times put on
    To entrap the wisest.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Bassanio, in The Merchant of Venice, act 3, sc. 2, l. 97-101. Rejecting the silver and gold caskets; "guiled" means treacherous.
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  • ''O, if you raise this house against this house
    It will the woefullest division prove
    That ever fell upon this cursed earth.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Bishop of Carlisle, in Richard II, act 4, sc. 1, l. 145-7. Prophesying civil war in England.
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  • ''What watchful cares do interpose themselves
    Betwixt your eyes and night?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Brutus, in Julius Caesar, act 2, sc. 1, l. 98-9. "Watchful cares" means anxieties preventing sleep.
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  • ''Those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but for mine own part, it was Greek to me.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Casca, in Julius Caesar, act 1, sc. 2, l. 282-4. Reporting Caesar's speech to the people.
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  • ''The two hours' traffic of our stage.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Chorus, in Romeo and Juliet, prologue, l. 12. Suggesting how swift the action of a play was on Shakespeare's stage.
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  • ''He's speaking now,
    Or murmuring, "Where's my serpent of old Nile?"
    (For so he calls me).''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cleopatra, in Antony and Cleopatra, act 1, sc. 5, l. 24-6. Antony's affectionate phrase also suggests evil (Satan as serpent), and the "worm" that gives Cleopatra her death-wound.
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  • ''O most lame and impotent conclusion!''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Desdemona, in Othello, act 2, sc. 1, l. 161. On Iago's anticlimactic winding-up of his praise of women.
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  • ''I never knew so young a body with so old a head.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Duke of The Merchant of Venice, act 4, sc. 1, l. 163-4. Citing the letter commending the legal ability of the disguised Portia.
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  • ''Beware instinct—the lion will not touch the true prince.
    Instinct is a great matter.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Falstaff, in Henry IV, Part 1, act 2, sc. 4, l. 271-2. Justifying as instinct his failure to fight the disguised Hal; "the lion will not touch the true prince" is an ancient belief.
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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 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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