William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''Men must endure
    Their going hence even as their coming hither.
    Ripeness is all.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Edgar, in King Lear, act 5, sc. 2, l. 9 (1623). Addressed to his father Gloucester, who wishes only for death.
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  • ''Let men say we be men of good government, being governed, as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Falstaff, in Henry IV, Part 1, act 1, sc. 2, l. 28-9. Wittily claiming to be well-behaved ("of good government"), under Diana, goddess of chastity and the moon, while planning a robbery by night.
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  • ''For he was likely, had he been put on,
    To have proved most royally.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Fortinbras, in Hamlet, act 5, sc. 2. Fortinbras's closing speech, on the death of Hamlet.
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  • ''I can go no further, sir.
    My old bones aches.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Gonzalo, in The Tempest, act 3, sc. 3, l. 1-2. The third person plural ending in "s," as in "aches," was very common in Shakespeare's day. Gonzalo has been helping to search the island for Ferdinand.
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  • ''My fate cries out,
    And makes each petty artery in this body
    As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 1, sc. 4, l. 81-3. Desperately trying, against his companions' persuasion, to follow his father's ghost; "Nemean lion"Mslain by Hercules as one of his twelve labors; "nerve" means sinew.
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  • ''I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow,
    By his best arrow with the golden head,
    By the simplicity of Venus' doves,
    By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,
    ...
    By all the vows that ever men have broke
    (In number more than ever women spoke).''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hermia, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act 1, sc. 1, l. 169-72, 175-6. Cupid used arrows of gold to cause love, and lead to repel it; doves were sacred to Venus, as symbolizing fidelity and freedom from deceit ("simplicity").
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  • ''O gentle lady, do not put me to't,
    For I am nothing if not critical.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Iago, in Othello, act 2, sc. 1, l. 118-9. Desdemona has invited him to praise her.
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  • ''Glory is like a circle in the water,
    Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
    Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Joan la Pucelle (Joan of Arc), in Henry VI, Part 1, act 1, sc. 2, l. 133-5. The glory is that brought to England by Henry V, now dead.
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  • ''The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
    What perils past, what crosses to ensue,
    Would shut the book, and sit him down and die.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Henry, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 3, sc. 1, l. 54-6. Uf the happiest youth could foresee his life's passage "progress through"), and what afflictions ("crosses") he would have to face, he might be content to die rather than live.
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  • ''You have many enemies, that know not
    Why they are so, but, like to village curs,
    Bark when their fellows do.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Henry to Cardinal Wolsey, in King Henry VIII, act 2, sc. 4. The play (first known as All is True) is thought to have been co-written with poet and playwright John Fletcher (1579-1625).
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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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