William Shakespeare Quotes

'Tis the curse of service, Preferment goes by letter and affection, And not by old gradation, where each second Stood heir to th' first.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. Othello (I, i). . . The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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Pale primroses, That die unmarried ere they can behold Bright Phoebus in his strength.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Perdita, in The Winter's Tale, act 4, sc. 4, l. 122-4. Spring flowers that do not live to see the sun ("Phoebus") at full strength in the summer.
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Mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's When mercy seasons justice.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Portia, in The Merchant of Venice, act 4, sc. 1, l. 193-7. Offering Shylock the chance to show mercy; "sceptred sway" means earthly rule; "attribute to means characteristic of.
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Cold indeed, and labor lost: Then farewell heat, and welcome frost!
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prince of Morocco, in The Merchant of Venice, act 2, sc. 7, l. 74-5. Before choosing the wrong casket, he had sworn never to marry.
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I took him for the plainest harmless creature That breathed upon the earth a Christian; Made him my book, wherein my soul recorded The history of all her secret thoughts.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Richard, in Richard III, act 3, sc. 5, l. 25-8. Protesting his love for Hastings, whose execution he has just plotted.
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Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Rosalind, in As You Like It, act 3, sc. 2, l. 308-9. Time passes at different speeds according to the person.
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Sir Andrew Aguecheek. I know, to be up late is to be up late. Sir Toby Belch. A false conclusion. I hate it as an unfilled can. To be up after midnight and to go to bed then, is early; so that to go to bed after midnight is to go to bed betimes.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Sir Toby Belch, in Twelfth Night, act 2, sc. 3, l. 4-9. Sir Toby's excuse for staying up drinking.
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Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now; Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross, Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow, And do not drop in for an after-loss: Ah! do not, when my heart hath 'scaped this sorrow, Come in the rearward of a conquered woe; Give not a windy night a rainy morrow, To linger out a purposed overthrow. If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last, When other petty griefs have done their spite, But in the onset come; so shall I taste At first the very worst of fortune's might.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. Then hate me when thou wilt, if ever thou (l. 1-12). . . The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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Honesty coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Touchstone, in As You Like It, act 3, sc. 3, l. 30-1. Trying to persuade her not to be virtuous ("honest").
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When forty winters shall besiege thy brow And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field, Thy youth's proud livery, so gaz'd on now, Will be a tatter'd weed of small worth held. Then being ask'd where all thy beauty lies, Where all the treasure of thy lusty days, To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise. How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use If thou couldst answer, \'This fair child of mine Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,' Proving his beauty by succession thine! This were to be new made when thou art old And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British poet. When forty winters shall beseige thy brow (l. 1-14). . . The Unabridged William Shakespeare, William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, eds. (1989) Running Press.
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