William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''On the Alps
    It is reported thou didst eat strange flesh,
    Which some did die to look on.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Caesar, in Antony and Cleopatra, act 1, sc. 4, l. 66-8. Hardships endured by Antony as a soldier.
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  • ''I had as lief not be as live to be
    In awe of such a thing as I myself.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cassius, in Julius Caesar, act 1, sc. 2, l. 95-6. "As lief not be" means as soon not exist; he is thinking of Caesar.
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  • ''She knows the heat of a luxurious bed.
    Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Claudio, in Much Ado About Nothing, act 4, sc. 1, l. 41-2. Accusing Hero of being unchaste; "luxurious" could mean lecherous.
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  • ''A very little little let us do
    And all is done.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Constable, in Henry V, act 4, sc. 2, l. 33-4. Convinced the French will have an easy victory.
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  • ''Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a man who hath any honesty in him.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Dogberry, in Much Ado About Nothing, act 3, sc. 3, l. 63-4.
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  • ''Bear free and patient thoughts.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Edgar, in King Lear, act 4, sc. 6, l. 80. Advising his father; "free" means free from guilt or anxiety.
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  • ''There's no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Falstaff, in Henry IV, Part 1, act 3, sc. 3, l. 12-3. Insulting the Hostess, who denies he has been robbed in her tavern; stewed prunes were associated with brothels, where regular food could not be served.
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  • ''Let four captains
    Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,
    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, l. 395-8. Hamlet receives a soldier's funeral.
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  • ''Poor Desdemona! I am glad thy father's dead.
    Thy match was mortal to him, and pure grief
    Shore his old thread in twain.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Gratiano, in Othello, act 5, sc. 2, l. 205-6. Cutting the thread of life alludes to the Fates who in ancient mythology spun the thread (Clotho) and cut it at death (Atropos); the phrase became proverbial; "shore" means sheared.
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  • ''Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.... Where be your jibes now, your gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 5, sc. 1. The grave-digger has turned up the skull of Yorick, the king's jester; on stage Hamlet usually holds the skull while he says this; "fancy" means imagination.
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Best Poem of William Shakespeare

A Lover's Complaint

FROM off a hill whose concave womb reworded
A plaintful story from a sistering vale,
My spirits to attend this double voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale;
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.

Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcass of beauty spent and done:
Time had not scythed all ...

Read the full of A Lover's Complaint

Sonnet Cviii

What's in the brain that ink may character
Which hath not figured to thee my true spirit?
What's new to speak, what new to register,
That may express my love or thy dear merit?
Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers divine,
I must, each day say o'er the very same,
Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,
Even as when first I hallow'd thy fair name.
So that eternal love in love's fresh case

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