William Shakespeare Quotes

You are a thousand times a properer man Than she a woman. 'Tis such fools as you That makes the world full of ill-favored children.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Rosalind, in As You Like It, act 3, sc. 5, l. 51-3. Disguised as a man, she advises Silvius, who loves Phebe, who is in love with Rosalind; "properer" means more handsome.
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This was a way to thrive, and he was blest; And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Shylock, in The Merchant of Venice, act 1, sc. 3, l. 89-90. Defending usury by reference to Jacob's skill in increasing his flocks of sheep and goats (Genesis 30: 32-43).
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Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, Live registered upon our brazen tombs, And then grace us in the disgrace of death; When spite of cormorant devouring Time, Th' endeavor of this present breath may buy That honor which shall bate his scythe's keen edge, And make us heirs of all eternity.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. The King, in Love's Labor's Lost, act 1, sc. 1, l. 1-7. The King of Navarre's lofty idea of gaining eternal fame through the "breath" or breathing-space of three years of hermit- like study.
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Dost thou not perceive That Rome is but a wilderness of tigers?
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Titus, in Titus Andronicus, act 3, sc. 1, l. 53-4. Speaking to his son Lucius, who has just been banished from Rome.
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I have perhaps some shallow spirit of judgment, But in these nice sharp quillets of the law, Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Warwick, in Henry VI, Part 1, act 2, sc. 4, l. 17-8. "Sharp quillets" means nice distinctions; a daw is a jackdaw, proverbial for foolishness.
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Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. 2nd Witch, in Macbeth, act 4, sc. 1, l. 14-9. The parts of creatures include the forked tongue of the poisonous adder, and the "sting" of the blind-worm, a lizard that is in fact harmless.
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When the sun shines, let foolish gnats make sport, But creep in crannies, when he hides his beams.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Antipholus of Syracuse, in The Comedy of Errors, act 2, sc. 2, l. 30-1.
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The commonwealth of Athens is become a forest of beasts.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Apemantus, in Timon of Athens, act 4, sc. 3, l. 347-8. His cynical view of the state of Athens.
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Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sunburnt; I may sit in a corner and cry "Heigh-ho for a husband!"
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Beatrice, in Much Ado About Nothing, act 2, sc. 1, l. 318-20. To Claudio, who claims the privilege through marriage of "alliance" in calling Beatrice cousin; she feels left out, or "sunburnt" means dry and withered.
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For Nym, he hath heard that men of few words are the best men, and therefore he scorns to say his prayers, lest 'a should be thought a coward.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Boy, in Henry V, act 3, sc. 2, l. 36-8.
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