William Shakespeare Quotes
May these William Shakespeare quotes on many subjects inspire you to never give up and keep working towards your goals. Who knows—success could be just around the corner.
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William Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest writer and poet ever known in the English language who authored world’s greatest poems, drama and sonnets. The bard, who remains an icon in the literary world, wrote over 38 plays, 154 sonnets and several poems and most of his works are still performed all over the world.
O! I am Fortune’s fool. – William Shakespeare
You take my life when you take the means whereby I live. – William Shakespeare
The course of true love never did run smooth. – William Shakespeare
Cowards die many times before their deaths
The valiant never taste of death but once. – William Shakespeare
There is no evil angel but Love. – William Shakespeare
The native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. – William Shakespeare
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. – William Shakespeare
Action is eloquence. – William Shakespeare
Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing? – William Shakespeare
Come, civil night,
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black. – William Shakespeare
Now it is the time of night
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite
In the church-way paths to glide. – William Shakespeare
Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell. – William Shakespeare
O God! that one might read the book of fate. – William Shakespeare
What is the city but the people? – William Shakespeare
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience. – William Shakespeare
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. – William Shakespeare
Oftentimes excusing of a fault Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse. – William Shakespeare
‘Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers. – William Shakespeare
Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee! – William Shakespeare
This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeits of our own behaviour) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars: as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treacherous 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 whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star! – William Shakespeare
Look, he’s winding up the watch of his wit; by and by it will strike. – William Shakespeare
One may smile, and smile, and be a villain!
Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill. – William Shakespeare
Murder’s out of tune,
And sweet revenge grows harsh. – William Shakespeare
- War is no strife
- To the dark house and the detested wife. – William Shakespeare
Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. – William Shakespeare
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving. – William Shakespeare
Nought’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desire is got without content. – William Shakespeare
Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend. – William Shakespeare
They do not love that do not show their love. – William Shakespeare
My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain. – William Shakespeare
Loss of virginity is rational increase; and there was never virgin got, till virginity was first lost. – William Shakespeare
Time … thou ceaseless lackey to eternity. – William Shakespeare
Conscience doth make cowards of us all. – William Shakespeare
- Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold?…
- This yellow slave
- Will knit and break religions, bless th’ accursed,
- Make the hoar leprosy adored, place thieves,
- And give them title, knee and approbation
- With senators on the bench. – William Shakespeare
For men have marble, women waxen, minds,
And therefore are they form’d as marble will;
The weak oppress’d, the impression of strange kinds
Is form’d in them by force, by fraud, or skill:
Then call them not the authors of their ill,
No more than wax shall be accounted evil
Wherein is stamp’d the semblance of a devil. – William Shakespeare
Make the doors upon a woman’s wit and it will out at the casement; shut that and ’twill out at the key-hole; stop that, ’twill fly with the smoke out at the chimney. – William Shakespeare
There she shook
The holy water from her heavenly eyes,
And clamour moisten’d. – William Shakespeare
The tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow. – William Shakespeare
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. – William Shakespeare
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. – William Shakespeare
For 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. – William Shakespeare
That’s a valiant flea that dares eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion. – William Shakespeare
How every fool can play upon a word! I think the best grace of wit will shortly turn into silence; and discourse grow commendable in none only but parrots. – William Shakespeare
Let every man be master of his time. – William Shakespeare
We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. – William Shakespeare
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
While night’s black agents to their preys do rouse. – William Shakespeare
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. – William Shakespeare
Call it not love, for Love to heaven is fled,
Since sweating Lust on earth usurp’d his name. – William Shakespeare
Pure lips, sweet seals in my soft lips imprinted,
What bargains may I make still to be sealing? – William Shakespeare
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth;
And ere a man can say–Behold!
The jaws of darkness devour it up. – William Shakespeare
And though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold. – William Shakespeare
The loyalty, well held to fools, does make
Our faith mere folly. – William Shakespeare
For my part, if a lie may do thee grace,
I’ll gild it with the happiest terms I have. – William Shakespeare
O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow. – William Shakespeare
To speak on the part of virginity, is to accuse your mothers; which is most infallible disobedience. – William Shakespeare
My soul is in the sky. – William Shakespeare
I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please. – William Shakespeare
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. – William Shakespeare
How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world. – William Shakespeare
Thou wear a lion’s hide! Doff it for shame,
And hang a calfskin on those recreant limbs.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
As to thy friends; for when did friendship take
A breed of barren metal of his friend?
But lend it rather to thine enemy;
Who, if he break, thou mayest with better face
Exact the penalty. – William Shakespeare
Your old virginity is like one of our French withered pears: it looks ill, it eats drily. – William Shakespeare
Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage. – William Shakespeare
Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens to the which our wills are gardeners. – William Shakespeare
What we have we prize not to the worth
Whilse we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us
Whiles it was ours. – William Shakespeare
Do but see his vice;‘
Tis to his virtues a just equinox,
The one as long as the other. – William Shakespeare
Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light. – William Shakespeare
Silence is the perfectest herald of joy:
I were but little happy, if I could say how much. – William Shakespeare
Brevity is the soul of wit. – William Shakespeare
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us. – William Shakespeare
Violent delights have violent ends,
And in their triumph die; like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume. – William Shakespeare
Upon my tongues continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports. – William Shakespeare
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. – William Shakespeare
There was speech in their dumbness, language in their very gesture. – William Shakespeare
My thoughts are whirled like a potter’s wheel. – William Shakespeare
Farewell, Monsieur Traveller: look you lisp and wear strange suits, disable all the benefits of your own country. – William Shakespeare
‘Tis time to fear, when tyrants seem to kiss. – William Shakespeare
Truth makes all things plain. – William Shakespeare
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 doth pierce it. – William Shakespeare
Men should be what they seem;
Or those that be not, would they might seem none! – William Shakespeare
‘Tis slander,Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
Rides on the posting winds and doth belie
All corners of the world; kings, queens and states,
Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
This viperous slander enters. – William Shakespeare
I ‘gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone. – William Shakespeare
A little snow, tumbled about, anon becomes a mountain.
Society is no comfort
To one not sociable. – William Shakespeare
When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions. – William Shakespeare
To weep with them that weep doth ease some deal;
But sorrow flouted at is double death. – William Shakespeare
Wherever sorrow is, relief would be:
If you do sorrow at my grief in love,
By giving love, your sorrow and my grief were both extermin’d.
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place. – William Shakespeare
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. – William Shakespeare
That orbed continent the fire
That severs day from night. – William Shakespeare
O shame! Where is thy blush?
I’ll speak to thee in silence. – William Shakespeare
The robb’d that smiles, steals something from the thief;
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief. – William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate. – William Shakespeare
He hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller parts. – William Shakespeare
What then? what rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one cannot repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that struggling to be free
Art more engag’d! – William Shakespeare
I have offended reputation,
A most unnoble swerving. – William Shakespeare
These blessed candles of the night. – William Shakespeare
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o’er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off. – William Shakespeare
I see my reputation is at stake:
My fame is shewdly gor’d. – William Shakespeare
What art thou, thou idol ceremony?
What kind of god art thou, that suffer’st more
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers? – William Shakespeare
Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it. – William Shakespeare
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow, a face without a heart? – William Shakespeare
Give me that man
That is not passion’s slave. – William Shakespeare
Many strokes, though with a little axe,
Hew down and fell the hardest-timber’d oak. – William Shakespeare
He that is proud eats up himself: pride is his own glass, his own trumpet, his own chronicle; and whatever praises itself but in the deed, devours the deed in the praise. – William Shakespeare
How goes it now, sir? This news which is called true is so like an old tale, that the verity of it is in strong suspicion. – William Shakespeare
My pride fell with my fortunes. – William Shakespeare
Though this be madness, yet there is a method in’t. – William Shakespeare
Let them obey that know not how to rule. – William Shakespeare
Art thou base, common and popular? – William Shakespeare
I am not mad; I would to heaven I were!
For then, ’tis like I should forget myself. – William Shakespeare
His nature is too noble for the world:
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for’s power to thunder. – William Shakespeare
Here comes Monsieur le Beau
With his mouth full of news,
Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young.
Then shall we be news-crammed. – William Shakespeare
No, madam, ’tis not so well that I am poor, though many of the rich are damned. – William Shakespeare
Yea, from the table of my memory
I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records. – William Shakespeare
Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water. – William Shakespeare
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
We have seen better days. – William Shakespeare
Though I perchance am vicious in my guess,
As, I confess, it is my nature’s plague
To spy into abuses, and oft my jealousy
Shapes faults that are not. – William Shakespeare
There’s such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would. – William Shakespeare
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. – William Shakespeare
Great floods have flown
From simple sources, and great seas have dried
When miracles have by the greatest been denied. – William Shakespeare
And 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. – William Shakespeare
Let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been depos’d, some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos’d,
Some poison’d by their wives, some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d. – William Shakespeare
But jealous souls will not be answer’d so;
They are not ever jealous for the cause,
But jealous for they are jealous. – William Shakespeare
Ingratitude is monstrous; and for the multitude to be ingrateful, were to make a monster of the multitude. – William Shakespeare
Who can say more than this rich praise, that you alone are you. – William Shakespeare
Dispute not with her: she is lunatic. – William Shakespeare
Wisely, and slow; they stumble that run fast. – William Shakespeare
Nay, but make haste; the better foot before. – William Shakespeare
In time we hate that which we often fear. – William Shakespeare
See that you come
Not to woo honour, but to wed it. – William Shakespeare
There is a history in all men’s lives. – William Shakespeare
Take note, take note, O world,
To be direct and honest is not safe. – William Shakespeare
Double double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble. – William Shakespeare
Mine honor is my life, both grow in one. Take honor from me, and my life is done. Then, dear my liege, mine honor let me try; In that I live, and for that I will die. – William Shakespeare
Away, and mock the time with fairest show;False face must hide what the false heart doth know. – William Shakespeare
Jesters do often prove prophets. – William Shakespeare
Will make what’s homely savoury. – William Shakespeare
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
My more-having would be as a sauce
To make me hunger more. – William Shakespeare
‘Tis too much proved–that with devotion’s visage
And pious action we do sugar o’er
The devil himself. – William Shakespeare
This is the fairy-land; O spite of spites!
We talk with goblins, owls and sprites. – William Shakespeare
Let none presume
To wear an undeserv’d dignity.
O, that estates, degrees and offices
Were not deriv’d corruptly, and that clear honour
Were purchas’d by the merit of the wearer! – William Shakespeare
What are these,
So wither’d, and so wild in their attire;
That look not like the inhabitants o’ th’ earth,
And yet are on ‘t?– William Shakespeare
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud: For grief is proud, and makes his owner stoop. – William Shakespeare
Glory is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself
Till, by broad spreading it disperse to nought. – William Shakespeare
Patch grief with proverbs; make misfortune drunk
With candle-wafters; bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience. – William Shakespeare
O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the forefinger of an alderman. – William Shakespeare
The art of our necessities is strange,
That can make vile things precious. – William Shakespeare
My library was dukedom large enough. – William Shakespeare
Quotes from Wikiquote
Please note: these quotes are from Shakespeare’s works, not his actual words.
- Beauty itself doth of itself persuade
The eyes of men without an orator.
- The Rape of Lucrece (1594).
- Time’s glory is to calm contending kings,
To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light.
- The Rape of Lucrece.
- That deep torture may be called a hell,
When more is felt than one hath power to tell.
- The Rape of Lucrece.
- On a day — alack the day! —
Love, whose month is ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair
Playing in the wanton air
- Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, II. Not to be confused with The Sonnets; this poem is not a sonnet
- Crabbed age and youth cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasure, age is full of care
- The Passionate Pilgrim: A Madrigal; there is some doubt about the authorship of this.
- I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture
- Shakespeare’s will
- Good frend for Jesus sake forbeare
To digg the dust encloased heare
Blese be the man that spares these stones
And curst be he that moves my bones
- Shakespeare’s epitaph
- Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York.
- Richard, Act I, scene i.
- Off with his head!
- Richard, Act III, scene iv.
- A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
- Richard, Act V, scene iv.
- What light through yonder window breaks?
- Romeo, Act II, scene ii.
- What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.
- Juliet, Act II, scene ii.
- O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
- Juliet, Act II, scene ii.
- The course of true love never did run smooth.
- Lysander, Act I, scene i.
- Lord, what fools these mortals be!
- Puck, Act III, scene ii.
- Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind.
- Helena, Act I, scene i.
- If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces.
- Portia, Act I, scene ii.
- All that glisters is not gold.
- Prince of Morocco, reading Portia’s note, Act II, scene vii; this is the source of the popular paraphrase “All that glitters is not gold.”
- I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
- Shylock, Act III, scene i.
- The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.
- Falstaff, Act V, scene iv.
- A man can die but once.
- Feeble, Act III, scene ii.
- Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
- King Henry, Act III, scene i.
- As merry as the day is long.
- Beatrice, Act II, scene i.
- Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.
- Balthazar, Act II, scene iii.
- Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
- Hero, Act III, scene i.
- Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
- Cassius, Act I, scene ii.
- Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
- Caesar, Act II, scene ii.
- Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones.
- Antony, Act III, scene ii.
- All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.
- Jaques, Act II, scene vii.
- ‘The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.’
- Touchstone, Act V, scene i
- Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
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.
- Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
- Polonius, Act I, scene iii.
- The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
- Hamlet, Act I, scene v.
- 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 and moving how express and admirable!
In action how like an angel,
in apprehension how like a god!
- Hamlet, Act II, scene ii.
- To be or not to be, that is the question.
- Hamlet, Act III, scene i.
- If music be the food of love, play on.
- Orsino, Act I, scene i.
- Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.
- Malvolio, Act II, scene v.
- Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving.
- Iago, Act II, scene iii.
- Of one that lov’d not wisely but too well.
- Othello, Act V, scene ii.
- We have seen better days.
- Flavius, Act IV, scene ii.
- Nothing can come of nothing.
- Lear, Act I, scene i.
- How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
To have a thankless child!
- Lear, Act I, scene iv.
- I am a man,
More sinn’d against than sinning.
- Lear, Act III, scene ii.
- The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne,
Burnt on the water.
- Enobarbus, Act II, scene ii.
- Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.
- Macbeth, Act I, scene iii.
- Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?
- Macbeth, Act II, scene i.
- Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
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,
- Macbeth, Act V, scene v.
- 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
- So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
- Let me not to the marriage of true minds
- Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
- Guiderius, Act IV, 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.
- Ariel, Act I, scene ii.
- Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.
- Trinculo, Act II, scene ii.
- We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
- Prospero, Act IV, scene i.