William Shakespeare Quotes

There's no art To find the mind's construction in the face: He was a gentleman on whom I built An absolute trust.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Duncan, in Macbeth, act 1, sc. 4, l. 11-4. Deferring to the traitor Cawdor.
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Do I not bate? do I not dwindle? Why, my skin hangs about me like an old lady's loose gown; I am withered like an old apple-john.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Falstaff, in Henry IV, Part 1, act 3, sc. 3, l. 2-4. "Bate" means abate, grow thin; "apple-john" means kind of apple which was kept until the skin shrivelled.
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He that has and a little tiny wit— With heigh-ho, the wind and the rain— Must make content with his fortunes fit, Though the rain it raineth every day.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Fool, in King Lear, act 3, sc. 2, l. 74-7. "Wit" means brain or intelligence; a spin-off from a song sung by Feste in Twelfth Night.
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All torment, trouble, wonder, and amazement Inhabits here. Some heavenly power guide us Out of this fearful country!
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Gonzalo, in The Tempest, act 5, sc. 1, l. 104-6. Concerned at the distraction suffered by Alonso; the "country" is Prospero's island.
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In the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hamlet, in Hamlet, act 2, sc. 2, l. 269-70. Questioning Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, his old schoolfellows, as to why they have come to Denmark; "beaten way" means well-trodden track, i.e., be honest with me.
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There stands the castle, by yon tuft of trees.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Henry Percy, in Richard II, act 2, sc. 3, l. 53. The castle defended by Richard II.
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To suckle fools, and chronicle small beer.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Iago, in Othello, act 2, sc. 1, l. 163 (1623). Describing the role of "a deserving woman." Desdemona calls this a "most lame and impotent conclusion."
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Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honor, sudden, and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Jaques, in As You Like It, act 2, sc. 7, l. 149-53. The fourth of the "seven ages" (l. 143) of man; he has moustaches (any facial hair was a beard) like a leopard.
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Pluck down my officers, break my decrees, For now a time is come to mock at form.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Henry, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 4, sc. 5, l. 117-8. "Form" means ceremony or tradition.
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What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted? Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though locked up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Henry, in King Henry VI pt. 2, act 3, sc. 2, l. 232-5 (1600).
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