William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''If then true lovers have ever been crossed
    It stands as an edict in destiny.
    Then let us teach our trial patience,
    Because it is a customary cross,
    As due to love and thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
    Wishes, and tears—poor fancy's followers.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hermia, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 1, sc. 1, l. 150-5. "Crossed" means thwarted; "fancy" suggests both love and the capricious workings of the imagination.
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  • ''O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
    It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
    The meat it feeds on.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Iago, in Othello, act 3, sc. 3, l. 165-7. Iago here plants the idea of jealousy in Othello; "mocks the meat it feeds on" means torments the victim who suffers jealousy.
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  • ''A virgin from her tender infancy,
    Chaste and immaculate in very thought.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Joan, in Henry VI, Part 1, act 5, sc. 4, l. 51. Joan of Arc defending herself.
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  • ''O sleep, O gentle sleep,
    Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
    That thou no more wilt weigh my eye-lids down
    And steep my senses in forgetfulness?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Henry, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 3, sc. 1.
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  • ''O sleep, O gentle sleep,
    Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
    That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down
    And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
    Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
    Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
    And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
    Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
    Under the canopies of costly state,
    And lulled with sound of sweetest melody?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. King Henry IV, Pt. II (III, i). NAEL-1. The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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  • ''It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman,
    Which gives the stern'st good night.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Lady Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 2, l. 3-4. A duty of the "bellman" or town means crier was to announce deaths, and the owl was thought a bird of ill omen.
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  • ''Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou ow'st the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume. Here's three on's are sophisticated. Thou art the thing itself; unaccommodated man is no more than such a poor, bare, forked animal as thou art.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 3, sc. 4, l. 102-8. On meeting Edgar disguised as a mad beggar; Lear and his companions are clothed; Poor Tom (Edgar) is almost naked ("unaccommodated").
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  • ''Macbeth.If we should fail?
    Lady Macbeth. We fail?
    But screw your courage to the sticking place,
    And we'll not fail.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 7, l. 59-61. The image may relate to screwing the pegs of a musical instrument to the point where the strings are taut.
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  • ''Black brows they say
    Become some women best, so that there be not
    Too much hair there, but in a semicircle,
    Or a half-moon made with a pen.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Mamillius, in The Winter's Tale, act 2, sc. 1, l. 8-11. A precocious boy talking to the ladies who attend his mother, Hermione.
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  • ''Yea, this man's brow, like to a title-leaf,
    Foretells the nature of a tragic volume.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Northumberland, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 1, sc. 1, l. 60-1. The messenger's face, like a title page, spells out bad news.
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Best Poem of William Shakespeare

Fear No More

Fear no more the heat o' the sun;
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers come to dust.

Fear no more the frown of the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dread thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy ...

Read the full of Fear No More

Sonnet Lxvi

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And guilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,

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