Literary Quotations
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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE QUOTES


Antony and Cleopatra (c. 1606)

There's beggary in the love that can be reckoned.

--Antony, Act I, scene i

Kingdoms are clay; our dungy earth alike
Feeds beast as man.

--Antony, Act I, scene i

I love long life better than figs.

--Charmian, Act I, scene ii

None but your sheets are privy to your wishes.

--Alexas, Act I, scene ii

If an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication, I cannot scratch mine ear.

--Charmian, Act I, scene ii

The nature of bad news infects the teller.

--Messenger, Act I, scene ii

In time we hate that which we often fear.

--Charmian, Act I, scene iii

Eternity was in our lips and eyes,
Bliss in our brows' bent; none our parts so poor
But was a race of heaven.

--Cleopatra, Act I, scene iii

Though age from folly could not give me freedom,
It does from childishness.

--Cleopatra, Act I, scene iii

O, my oblivion is a very Antony,
And I am all forgotten.

--Cleopatra, Act I, scene iii

Our separation so abides and flies
That thou, residing here, goes yet with me,
And I, hence fleeting, here remain with thee.
Away!

--Antony, Act I, scene iii

It hath been taught us from the primal state
That he which is was wished until he were,
And the ebbed man, ne'er loved till ne'er worth love,
Comes deared by being lacked. This common body,
Like to a vagabond flag upon the stream,
Goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide,
To rot itself with motion.

--Caesar, Act I, scene iv

My salad days,
When I was green in judgment.

--Cleopatra, Act I, scene iv

Every time serves for the matter that is then born in't.

--Enobarbus, Act II, scene ii

Small to greater matters must give way.

--Lepidus, Act II, scene ii

That which combined us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What's amiss,
May it be gently heard. When we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds. Then, noble partners,
The rather for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms,
Nor curstness grow to th'matter.

--Lepidus, Act II, scene ii

The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water; the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumed that
The winds were love-sick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggared all description.

--Enobarbus, Act II, scene ii

Music--moody food
Of us that trade in love.

--Cleopatra, Act II, scene v

I will praise any man that will praise me.

--Enobarbus, Act II, scene vi

Let not the piece of virtue which is set
Betwixt us, as the cement of our love
To keep it builded, be the ram to batter
The fortress of it. For better might we
Have loved without this mean, if on both parts
This not be cherished.

--Caesar, Act III, scene ii

Egypt, thou knew'st too well
My heart was to thy rudder tied by th' strings,
And thou shouldst tow me after.

--Antony, Act III, scene xi

Fall not a tear, I say; one of them rates
All that is won and lost. Give me a kiss.

--Antony, Act III, scene xi

Women are not
In their best fortunes strong, but want will perjure
the ne'er-touched vestal.

--Caesar, Act III, scene xii

He wears the rose
Of youth upon him.

--Antony, Act III, scene xiii

I see men’s judgments are
A parcel of their fortunes, and things outward
Do draw the inward quality after them,
To suffer all alike.

--Enobarbus, Act III, scene xiii

I and my sword will earn our chronicle.

--Antony, Act III, scene xiii

Let's have one other gaudy night: call to me
All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more;
Let's mock the midnight bell.

--Antony, Act III, scene xiii

I'll make death love me; for I will contend
Even with his pestilent scythe.

--Antony, Act III, scene xiii

To be furious,
Is to be frighted out of fear; and in that mood
The dove will peck the estridge.

--Enobarbus, Act III, scene xiii

When valour preys on reason,
It eats the sword it fights with.

--Enobarbus, Act III, scene xiii

To business that we love we rise betime,
And go to 't with delight.

--Antony, Act IV, scene iv

All strange and terrible events are welcome,
But comforts we despise.

--Cleopatra, Act IV, scene xiii

What's brave, what's noble,
Let's do it after the high Roman fashion,
And make death proud to take us.

--Cleopatra, Act IV, scene xiii

Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish;
A vapour sometime like a bear or lion,
A towered citadel, a pendent rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon 't, that nod unto the world
And mock our eyes with air.

--Antony, Act IV, scene xiv

That which is now a horse, even with a thought
The rack dislimns, and makes it indistinct,
As water is in water.

--Antony, Act IV, scene xiv

I will be
A bridegroom in my death, and run into 't
As to a lover's bed.

--Antony, Act IV, scene xiv

None but Antony
Should conquer Antony.

--Cleopatra, Act IV, scene xv

O, withered is the garland of the war,
The soldier's pole is fallen; young boys and girls
Are level now with men; the odds is gone,
And there is nothing left remarkable
Beneath the visiting moon.

--Cleopatra, Act IV, scene xv

'Tis paltry to be Caesar;
Not being Fortune, he's but Fortune's knave,
A minister of her will: and it is great
To do that thing that ends all other deeds;
Which shackles accidents and bolts up change;
Which sleeps, and never palates more the dug,
The beggar's nurse and Caesar's.

--Cleopatra, Act V, scene ii

What poor an instrument may do a noble deed!

--Cleopatra, Act V, scene ii

My resolution's placed, and I have nothing
Of woman in me: now from head to foot
I am marble-constant; now the fleeting moon
No planet is of mine.

--Cleopatra, Act V, scene ii

I know that a woman is a dish for the gods,
if the devil dress her not.

--Clown, Act V, scene ii

I wish you all joy of the worm.

--Clown, Act V, scene ii

I am fire and air; my other elements
I give to baser life.

--Cleopatra, Act V, scene ii

Hamlet (c. 1603)

O, That this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.

Hamlet, Act I, scene ii

Frailty, thy name is woman!

Hamlet, Act I, scene ii

Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral bak'd meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

Hamlet, Act I, scene ii

Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads.
And recks not his own rede.

Ophelia, Act I, scene iii

Neither a borrower nor a lender be:
For loan oft loses both itself and friend.

Polonius, Act I, scene iii

This above all — to thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Polonius, Act I, scene iii

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Marcellus, Act I, scene iv

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet, Act I, scene v

More matter with less art.

Gertrude, Act II, scene ii

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

Hamlet, Act II, scene ii

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Hamlet, Act II, scene ii

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.

Hamlet, Act II, scene ii

Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

Hamlet, Act II, scene ii

O! what a rogue and peasant slave am I!

Hamlet, Act II, scene ii

The play's the thing,
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

Hamlet, Act II, scene ii

We are oft to blame in this, —
'Tis too much prov'd, — that with devotion's visage,
And pious action, we do sugar o'er
The devil himself.

Polonius, Act III, scene i

To be, or not to be, — that is the question: —
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? — To die, to sleep, —
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, — 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; —
To sleep, perchance to dream: — ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death, —
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, — puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know naught of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

Hamlet, Act III, scene i

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

Ophelia, Act III, scene i

I say, we will have no more marriages: those that are married already, — all but one, — shall live; the rest shall keep as they are.

Hamlet, Act III, scene i

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Gertrude, Act III, scene ii

Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me. You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.

Hamlet, Act III, scene ii

Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business, as the day
Would quake to look on.

Hamlet, Act III, scene ii

Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
I will speak daggers to her, but use none.

Hamlet, Act III, scene ii

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

Claudius, Act III, scene iii

When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions.

Claudius, Act IV, scene v

Alas! poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now get yet to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.

Hamlet, Act V, scene i

Lay her i' the earth:
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring!

Laertes, Act V, scene i

There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.

Hamlet, Act V, scene ii

The rest is silence.

Hamlet, Act V, scene ii

Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Hamlet, Act V, scene ii

King Lear (c. 1605)

Nothing will come of nothing.

--King Lear, Act I, scene i

Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less.

--Cordelia, Act I, scene i

Come not between the dragon and his wrath.

--King Lear, Act I, scene i

Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides:
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.

--Cordelia, Act I, scene i

Love is not love
When it is mingled with regards that stand
Aloof from the entire point.

--France, Act I, scene i

She is herself a dowry.

--France, Act I, scene i

Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam's issue?

--Edmund, Act I, scene ii

This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on: an admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!

--Edmund, Act I, scene ii

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest;
Leave thy drink and thy whore,
And keep in-a-door,
And thou shall have more
Than two tens to a score.

--The Fool, Act I, scene iv

Ingratitude, thou marble-hearted fiend,
More hideous, when thou show'st thee in a child
Than the sea-monster!

--King Lear, Act I, scene iv

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!

--King Lear, Act I, scene iv

Striving to better, oft we mar what's well.

--Albany, Act I, scene iv

Fortune, good-night: smile once more; turn thy wheel!

--Kent, Act II, scene ii

That sir which serves and seeks for gain,
And follows but for form,
Will pack when it begins to rain,
And leave thee in the storm.

--The Fool, Act II, scene iv

Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life is cheap as beast's.

--King Lear, Act II, scene iv

Let not women's weapons, water-drops,
Stain my man's cheeks!

--King Lear, Act II, scene iv

I will do such things,--
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth.

--King Lear, Act II, scene iv

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world!
Crack nature's molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!

--King Lear, Act III, scene ii

The art of our necessities is strange,
And can make vile things precious.

--King Lear, Act III, scene ii

He that has and a little tiny wit,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
Though the rain it raineth every day.

--The Fool, Act III, scene ii

There was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass.

--The Fool, Act III, scene ii

The prince of darkness is a gentleman.

--Edgar, Act III, scene iv

He's mad, that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.

--The Fool, Act III, scene vi

When we our betters see baring our woes
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.

--Edgar, Act III, scene vii

The lowest and most dejected thing of fortune,
Stands still in esperance, lives not in fear:
The lamentable change is from the best;
The worst returns to laughter.

--Edgar, Act IV, scene i

And worse I may be yet: the worst is not,
So long as we can say, This is the worst.

--Edgar, Act IV, scene i

As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, —
They kill us for their sport.

--Gloucester, Act IV, scene i

You are not worth the dust which the rude wind
Blows in your face.

--Albany, Act IV, scene ii

She that herself will sliver and disbranch
From her material sap, perforce must wither
And come to deadly use.

--Albany, Act IV, scene ii

Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
Filths savour but themselves.

--Albany, Act IV, scene ii

It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions.

--Kent, Act IV, scene iii

A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond justice rails upon yon simple thief. Hark, in thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief?

--King Lear, Act IV, scene vi

Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.

--King Lear, Act IV, scene vi

When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools.

--King lear, Act IV, scene vi

There thou mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog's obeyed in office.

--King Lear, Act IV, scene vi

Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.

--King Lear, Act IV, scene vi

Reason in madness!

--Edgar, Act IV, scene vi

Men must endure
Their going hence, even as their coming hither:
Ripeness is all.

--Edgar, Act V, scene ii

The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.

--Edgar, Act V, scene iii

The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

--Edgar, Act V, scene iii

Macbeth (c. 1603)

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

--Witches, Act I, scene i

Fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling,
Showed like a rebel's whore.

--Captain, Act I, scene ii

If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow, and which will not,
Speak.

--Banquo, Act I, scene iii

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
In deepest consequence.

--Banquo, Act I, scene iii

If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me.

--Macbeth, Act I, scene iii

There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face.

--Duncan, Act I, scene iv

Nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it; he died
As one that had been studied in his death,
To throw away the dearest thing he ow'd,
As 'twere a careless trifle.

--Malcolm, Act I, scene iv

Stars, hide your fires!
Let not light see my black and deep desires.

--Macbeth, Act I, scene iv

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be
What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature;
It is too full o' the milk of human kindness
To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great;
Art not without ambition; but without
The illness should attend it.

--Lady Macbeth, Act I, scene v

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe, top-full
Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief!

--Lady Macbeth, Act I, scene v

Look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under it.

--Lady Macbeth, Act I, scene v

I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself
And falls on the other.

--Macbeth, Act I, scene vii

I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more, is none.

--Macbeth, Act I, scene vii

I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn
As you have done to this.

--Lady Macbeth, Act I, scene vii

Screw your courage to the sticking-place.

--Lady Macbeth, Act I, scene vii

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee;
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.

--Macbeth, Act II, scene i

The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.

--Macbeth, Act II, scene i

To show an unfelt sorrow is an office
Which the false man does easy.

--Malcolm, Act II, scene ii

Nought's had, all's spent
Where our desire is got without content.
'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than, by destruction, dwell in doubtful joy.

--Lady Macbeth, Act III, scene ii

There 's daggers in men's smiles.

--Donalbain, Act II, scene iii

What's done is done.

--Lady Macbeth, Act III, scene ii

I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

--Macbeth, Act III, scene iv

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

--Witches, Act IV, scene i

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

--Second Witch, Act IV, scene i

When our actions do not,
Our fears do make us traitors.

--Lady Macduff, Act IV, scene ii

Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
Yet grace must still look so.

--Malcolm, Act IV, scene iii

Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.

--Malcolm, Act IV, scene iii

Out, damned spot! out, I say!

--Lady Macbeth, Act V, scene i

Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love: now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

--Angus, Act V, scene ii

I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in't: I have supp'd full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.

--Macbeth, Act V, scene v

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

--Macbeth, Act V, scene v

Measure for Measure (c. 1603)

Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight
For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mocked than feared; so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.

--Duke, Act I, scene iii

Our doubts are traitors
And makes us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt.

--Lucio, Act I, scene iv

When maidens sue,
Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe them.

--Lucio, Act I, scene iv

We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch and not their terror.

--Angelo, Act II, scene i

The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try.

--Angelo, Act II, scene i

The jewel that we find, we stoop and take 't
Because we see it; but what we do not see
We tread upon and never think of it.

--Angelo, Act II, scene i

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.

--Escalus, Act II, scene i

Mercy is not itself that oft looks so;
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe.

--Escalus, Act II, scene i

No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does.

--Isabella, Act II, scene ii

The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept.

--Angelo, Act II, scene ii

O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

--Isabella, Act II, scene ii

Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer
Would use his heaven for thunder,
Nothing but thunder!--Merciful Heaven,
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Than the soft myrtle; but man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep, who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.

--Isabella, Act II, scene ii

Great men may jest with saints; 't is wit in them,
But in the less foul profanation.

--Isabella, Act II, scene ii

That in the captain's but a choleric word
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

--Isabella, Act II, scene ii

Authority, though it err like others,
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself
That skins the vice o' the top.

--Isabella, Act II, scene ii

Is this her fault or mine?
The tempter or the tempted, who sins most? Ha!
Not she; nor doth she tempt; but it is I
That, lying by the violet in the sun,
Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,
Corrupt with virtuous season.

--Angelo, Act II, scene ii

Thieves for their robbery have authority
When judges steal themselves.

--Angelo, Act II, scene ii

O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint,
With saints dost bait thy hook!

--Angelo, Act II, scene ii

Most dangerous
Is that temptation that doth goad us on
To sin in loving nature.

--Angelo, Act II, scene ii

O perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof;
Bidding the law make court'sy to their will,
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
To follow as it draws!

--Isabella, Act II, scene iv

The miserable have no other medicine,
But only hope.

--Claudio, Act III, scene i

Be absolute for death; either death or life
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art,
Servile to all the skyey influences,
That dost this habitation where thou keep'st
Hourly afflict. Merely, thou art death's fool;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet runn'st toward him still.

--Duke, Act III, scene i

If thou art rich, thou 'rt poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee.

--Duke, Act III, scene i

The sense of death is most in apprehension,
And the poor beetle that we tread upon
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.

--Isabella, Act III, scene i

If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.

--Claudio, Act III, scene i

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprisoned in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling!--'t is too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.

--Claudio, Act III, scene i

Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.

--Duke, Act III, scene i

No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure scape; back-wounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?

--Duke, Act III, scene ii

He who the sword of heaven will bear
Should be as holy as severe,
Pattern in himself to know
Grace to stand, and virtue go;
More nor less to others paying
Than by self-offenses weighing.

--Duke, Act III, scene ii

Shame to him whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!

--Duke, Act III, scene ii

O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side!

--Duke, Act III, scene ii

There is scarce truth enough alive to make societies secure, but security enough to make fellowship accurst.

--Duke, Act III, scene ii

Music oft hath such a charm
To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.

--Duke, Act IV, scene i

Truth is truth
To the end of reckoning.

--Isabella, Act V, scene i

Harp not on that, nor do not banish reason
For inequality; but let your reason serve
To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
And hide the false seems true.

--Isabella, Act V, scene i

They say, best men are moulded out of faults,
And, for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad.

--Mariana, Act V, scene i

Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like, and measure still for measure.

--Duke, Act V, scene i

A Midsummer Night's Dream (c. 1596)

Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.

--Lysander, Act I, scene i

Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste.

--Helena, Act I, scene i

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind.

--Helena, Act I, scene i

And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.

--Helena Act I, scene i

But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.

--Theseus, Act I, scene i

O hell! to choose love with another's eye.

--Hermia, Act I, scene i

Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming.

--Flute, Act I, scene ii

A lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing.

--Bottom, Act III, scene i

We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart;
Two of the first, like coats in heraldry,
Due but to one and crowned with one crest,
And will you rent our ancient love asunder,
To join with men in scorning your poor friend?
It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly:
Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,
Though I alone do feel the injury.

--Helena, Act III, scene ii

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

--Puck, Act III, scene ii

Night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,
Troop home to churchyards.

--Puck, Act III, scene ii

My Oberon! what visions have I seen!
Methought I was enamoured of an ass.

--Titania, Act IV, scene i

The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was.

--Bottom, Act IV, scene i

Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

--Theseus, Act V, scene i

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.

--Theseus, Act V, scene i

As imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

--Theseus, Act V, scene i

A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
Which is as 'brief' as I have known a play,
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
Which makes it 'tedious'. For in all the play
There is not one word apt, one player fitted.
And 'tragical', my noble lord, it is,
For Pyramus therein doth kill himself,
Which when I saw rehearsed, I must confess,
Made mine eyes water; but more 'merry' tears
The passion of loud laughter never shed.

--Philostrate, Act V, scene i

For never anything can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.

--Theseus, Act V, scene i

I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharged,
And duty in his service perishing.

--Hippolyta, Act V, scene i

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve;
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.

--Theseus, Act V, scene i

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding, but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend;
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck
If we have unearnéd luck,
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long:
Else the Puck a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

--Puck, Act V, scene ii

Othello (c. 1603)

For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

--Iago, Act I, scene i

Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is tupping your white ewe.

--Iago, Act I, scene i

Your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

--Iago, Act I, scene i

Though in the trade of war I have slain men,
Yet do I hold it very stuff o' the conscience
To do no contrived murder: I lack iniquity
Sometimes to do me service.

--Iago, Act I, scene ii

Thus do I ever make my fool my purse.

--Iago, Act I, scene iii

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.

--Duke, Act I, scene iii

But words are words; I never yet did hear
That the bruised heart was pierced through the ear.

--Brabantio, Act I, scene iii

Knavery's plain face is never seen till us'd.

--Iago, Act II, scene i

O! I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.

--Cassio, Act II, scene ii

O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!

--Cassio, Act II, scene ii

Come, come, good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used; exclaim no more against it.

--Iago, Act II, scene ii

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving.

--Iago, Act II, scene iii

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

--Iago, Act III, scene iii

O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.

--Iago, Act III, scene iii

Think'st thou I'd make a life of jealousy,
To follow still the changes of the moon
With fresh suspicions? No; to be once in doubt,
Is once to be resolved.

--Othello, Act III, scene iii

If she be false, O! then heaven mocks itself.

--Othello, Act III, scene iii

O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,
Than keep a corner in the thing I love
For others' uses.

--Othello, Act III, scene iii

Villain, be sure thou prove my love a whore,
Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof;
Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul,
Thou hadst been better have been born a dog
Than answer my wak'd wrath.

--Othello, Act III, scene iii

Who would not make her husband a cuckold, to make him a monarch?

--Emilia, Act IV, scene iii

Heaven me such uses send,
Not to pick bad from bad, but by bad mend.

--Desdemona, Act IV, scene iii

O balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword. One more, one more!
Be thus when thou art dead, and I will kill thee,
And love thee after. One more, and that's the last!
So sweet was ne'er so fatal. I must weep,
But they are cruel tears. This sorrow's heavenly;
It strikes where it doth love. She wakes.

--Othello, Act V, scene ii

I pray you, in your letters,
When you shall these unlucky deeds relate,
Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate,
Nor set down aught in malice: then, must you speak
Of one that lov'd not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but, being wrought,
Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe; of one whose subdu'd eyes
Albeit unused to the melting mood,
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their med'cinable gum. Set you down this;
And say besides, that in Aleppo once,
Where a malignant and a turban'd Turk
Beat a Venetian and traduc'd the state,
I took by the throat the circumcised dog,
And smote him thus.

--Othello, Act V, scene ii

I kissed thee ere I killed thee, no way but this,
Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.

--Othello, Act V, scene ii

Romeo and Juliet (c. 1595)

Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,
Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.

Romeo, Act I, scene iv

If love be rough with you, be rough with love;
Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.

Mercutio, Act I, scene iv

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!

Romeo, Act II, scene ii

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Juliet, Act II, scene ii

What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other word would smell as sweet.

Juliet, Act II, scene ii

Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books,
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.

Romeo, Act II, scene ii

Good-night, good-night! Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good-night till it be morrow.

Juliet, Act II, scene ii

For naught so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give;
Nor aught so good but, strain'd from that fair use,
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on the abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.

Friar Lawrence, Act II, scene iii

Come, gentle night, — come, loving black brow'd night,
Give me my Romeo; and when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of Heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

Juliet, Act III, scene ii

Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!
See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love!
And I, for winking at your discords too,
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd.

Prince, Act III, scene iii

For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Prince, Act V, scene iii

The Tempest (c. 1611)

Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.

--Miranda, Act I, scene ii

There's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple:
If the ill spirit have so fair a house,
Good things will strive to dwell with 't.

--Miranda, Act I, scene ii

You taught me language; and my profit on't
Is, I know how to curse.

--Caliban, Act I, scene ii

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.

--Ariel, Act I, scene ii

What's past is prologue.

--Antonio, Act II, scene i

I' the commonwealth I would by contraries
Execute all things; for no kind of traffic
Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
And use of service, none; contract, succession,
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
No use or metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
No occupation; all men idle, all;
And women too, but innocent and pure.

--Gonzalo, Act II, scene i

Ebbing men, indeed,
Most often do so near the bottom run
By their own fear or sloth.

--Antonio, Act II, scene i

All the infections that the sun sucks up
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him
By inch-mail a disease! his spirits hear me,
And yet I needs must curse. But they'll nor pinch,
Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i' the mire,
Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark
Out of my way, unless he bid 'em: but
For every trifle are they set upon me;
Sometimes like apes, that mow and chatter at me,
And after bite me; then like hedgehogs, which
Lie tumbling in my barefoot way, and mount
Their pricks at my footfall; sometime am I
All wound with adders, who with cloven tongues
Do hiss me into madness.

--Caliban, Act II, scene ii

When they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian.

--Trinculo, Act II, scene ii

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.

--Trinculo, Act II, scene ii

Full many a lady
I have eyed with best regard, and many a time
The harmony of their tongue hath into bondage
Brought my too diligent ear: for several virtues
Have I liked several women; never any
With so full soul, but some defect in her
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed,
And put it to the foil.

--Ferdinand, Act III, scene i

Some kinds of baseness are nobly undergone.

--Ferdinand, Act III, scene i

Most poor matters point to rich ends.

--Ferdinand, Act III, scene i

Thought is free.

--Stephano, Act III, scene ii

He that dies pays all debts.

--Stephano, Act III, scene ii

Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.

--Caliban, Act III, scene ii

I'll be sworn 'tis true: travellers ne'er did lie,
Though fools at home condemn 'em.

--Antonio, Act III, scene iii

The rarer action is
In virtue than in vengeance.

--Prospero, Act V, scene i

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

--Prospero, Act IV, scene i

I have been in such a pickle, since I saw you last, that, I fear me, will never out of my bones: I shall not fear fly-blowing.

--Trinculo, Act V, scene i

Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I cough where owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly
After summer merrily:
Merrily, merrily shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

--Ariel, Act V, scene i

Twelfth Night (c. 1601)

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die. —
That strain again! It had a dying fall:
O, it came oer my ear, like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour. Enough! No more.
'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

--Orsino, Act I, scene i

Methinks sometimes I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has: but I am a great eater of beef and I believe that does harm to my wit.

--Sir Andrew, Act I, scene iii

Is it a world to hide virtues in?

--Sir Toby Belch, Act I, scene iii

Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.

--Feste, Act I, scene v

Oh Time, thou must untangle this, not I;
It is too hard a knot for me to untie.

--Viola, Act II, scene ii

Youth's a stuff will not endure.

--Clown, Act II, scene iii

She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pin'd in thought,
And, with a green and yellow melancholy,
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.

--Viola, Act II, scene iv

Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent;
For women are as roses, whose fair flower
Being once display'd, doth fall that very hour.

--Duke Orsino, Act II, scene iv

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.

--Malvolio, Act II, scene v

Now is the woodcock near the gin.

--Fabian, Act II, scene v

This fellow is wise enough to play the fool;
And to do that well craves a kind of wit:
He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
The quality of persons, and the time,
And, like the haggard, cheque at every feather
That comes before his eye. This is a practise
As full of labour as a wise man's art
For folly that he wisely shows is fit;
But wise men, folly-fall'n, quite taint their wit.

--Viola, Act III, scene i

O, world, how apt the poor are to be proud!

--Olivia, Act III, scene i

If one should be a prey, how much the better
To fall before the lion than the wolf!

--Olivia, Act III, scene i

Love's night is noon.

--Olivia, Act III, scene i

Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.

--Olivia, Act III, scene i

I hate ingratitude more in a man
Than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness,
Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption
Inhabits our frail blood.

--Viola, Act III, scene iv

Out of the jaws of death.

--Antonio, Act III, scene iv

In nature there's no blemish but the mind;
None can be called deformed but the unkind.

--Antonio, Act III, scene iv

Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous evil
Are empty trunks o'erflourish'd by the devil.

--Antonio, Act III, scene iv

That, that is, is.

--Feste, Act IV, scene ii

Thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.

--Clown, Act V, scene i

More William Shakespeare Quotes