William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''Thou wouldst be great;
    Art not without ambition, but without
    The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly
    That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false,
    And yet wouldst wrongly win.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Lady Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 5, l. 18-20. "Illness" means wickedness; describing the moral confusion in Macbeth as they think about murdering Duncan.
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  • ''I am a very foolish fond old man,
    Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less;
    And to deal plainly,
    I fear I am not in my perfect mind.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Lear, in King Lear, act 4, sc. 7, l. 59-62. "Fond" means silly, in my dotage.
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  • ''Still it cried, "Sleep no more!" to all the house:
    "Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor
    Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more!"''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 2, l. 38-40. Imagining he hears a voice; Macbeth by now is Thane (Lord) of Glamis and Cawdor.
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  • ''Maria. Not a word with him but a jest.
    Boyet. And every jest but a word.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Maria, and Boyet in Love's Labor's Lost, act 2, sc. 1, l. 216. Speaking of the witty Berowne.
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  • ''Even through the hollow eyes of death
    I spy life peering.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Northumberland, in Richard II, act 2, sc. 1, l. 270-1. Even as John of Gaunt dies, word comes that Henry Bolingbroke is ready to make war on Richard.
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  • ''It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul.
    Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars!
    It is the cause. Yet I'll not shed her blood,
    Nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow,
    And smooth as monumental alabaster.
    Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men.
    Put out the light, and then put out the light.
    If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
    I can again thy former light restore,
    Should I repent me; but once put out thy light,
    Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
    I know not where is that Promethean heat
    That can thy light relume. When I have pluck'd the rose,
    I cannot give it vital growth again,
    It needs must wither. I'll smell thee on the tree.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. Othello (V, ii). . . The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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  • ''When workmen strive to do better than well,
    They do confound their skill in covetousness.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Pembroke, in King John, act 4, sc. 2.
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  • ''One half of me is yours, the other half yours—
    Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
    And so all yours.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Portia, in The Merchant of Venice, act 3, sc. 2, l. 16-8. Confessing her love to Bassanio.
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  • ''I will not choose what many men desire,
    Because I will not jump with common spirits,
    And rank me with the barbarous multitudes.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prince of Arragon, in The Merchant of Venice, act 2, sc. 9, l. 31-3. "Jump" means agree, go along with.
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  • ''I have not that alacrity of spirit
    Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Richard, in Richard III, act 5, sc. 3, 73-4. A premonition of his defeat to come.
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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 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;