William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

William Shakespeare Quotes

  • ''Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown
    More than your enemies.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Rosalind, in As You Like It, act 1, sc. 2, l. 254-5. Orlando has defeated Charles the wrestler, and "overthrown" Rosalind, who has fallen in love with him.
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  • ''Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Here's the challenge, read it. I warrant there's vinegar and pepper in't.
    Fabian. Is't so saucy?''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Fabian, in Twelfth Night, act 3, sc. 4, l. 143-5. "Saucy" means both spicy and impertinent.
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  • ''Signor Antonio, many a time and oft
    In the Rialto you have rated me
    About my moneys and my usances.
    Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
    For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
    You call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog,
    And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
    And all for use of that which is mine own.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. The Merchant of Venice (I, iii). . . The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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  • ''The truest poetry is the most feigning.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Touchstone, in As You Like It, act 3, sc. 3, l. 19-20. Reviving an old argument that poets who "feign," or make fictions, are liars.
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  • ''What is your substance, whereof are you made,
    That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
    Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
    And you, but one, can every shadow lend.
    Describe Adonis, and the counterfiet
    Is poorly imitated after you;
    On Helen's cheek all art of beauty set,
    And you in Grecian tires are painted new;
    Speak of the spring and foison of the year,
    The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
    The other as your bounty doth appear;
    And you in every blessed shape we know.
    In all external grace you have some part,
    But you like none, none you, for constant heart.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. What is your substance, whereof are you made (l. 1-14). . . The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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  • ''If all the world could have seen 't, the woe had been universal.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. 3rd Gentleman, in The Winter's Tale, act 5, sc. 2, l. 91-2. On the reporting of the (supposed) death of Hermione.
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  • ''I thank my fortune for it,
    My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
    Nor to one place.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Antonio, in The Merchant of Venice, act 1, sc. 1, l. 41-3. He is glad that his merchandise is not exported in a single ship ("bottom").
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  • ''We see which way the stream of time doth run.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Archbishop of York, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 4, sc. 2, l. 70. Accepting what is inevitable.
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  • ''Great griefs, I see, medicine the less.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Belarius, in Cymbeline, act 4, sc. 2, l. 243. Alluding to the proverb, a greater sorrow (for the supposed death of Imogen) drives out a lesser one (for the death of Cloten).
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  • ''Brakenbury. What, so brief?
    2nd Murderer. 'Tis better, sir, than to be tedious.''
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Brakenbury and 2nd Murderer, in Richard III, act 1, sc. 4, l. 88-9. The murderer who has come for Clarence treats the Lieutenant of the Tower with scant respect.
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Best Poem of William Shakespeare

A Fairy Song

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.

Read the full of A Fairy Song

Sonnet Ci

O truant Muse, what shall be thy amends
For thy neglect of truth in beauty dyed?
Both truth and beauty on my love depends;
So dost thou too, and therein dignified.
Make answer, Muse: wilt thou not haply say
'Truth needs no colour, with his colour fix'd;
Beauty no pencil, beauty's truth to lay;
But best is best, if never intermix'd?'
Because he needs no praise, wilt thou be dumb?

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