William Shakespeare Quotes

The sleeping and the dead Are but as pictures; 'tis the eye of childhood That fears a painted devil.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Lady Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 2, l. 50-2. To Macbeth, who cannot face looking on the scene of the murder he has carried out.
'Tis all men's office to speak patience To those that wring under the load of sorrow, But no man's virtue nor sufficiency To be so moral when he shall endure The like himself.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Leonato, in Much Ado About Nothing, act 5, sc. 1, l. 27-31. Everyone has a duty ("office") to advise patience to those who writhe ("wring") in suffering, but no one who suffers has the ability to preach patience to himself.
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.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 5, sc. 5, l. 18-22 (1623). On hearing of the death of Lady Macbeth.
The best persuaded of himself, so crammed, as he thinks, with excellencies, that it is his grounds of faith that all that look on him love him.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Maria, in Twelfth Night, act 2, sc. 3, l. 150-2. On Malvolio; "The best persuaded of himself" means having the best opinion of himself.
O Lord, I could have stayed here all the night To hear good counsel. O, what learning is!
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Nurse, in Romeo and Juliet, act 3, sc. 3, l. 159-60. On hearing Friar Lawrence counselling Romeo, who has tried to kill himself.
It is the very error of the moon, She comes more near the earth than she was wont, And makes men mad.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Othello, in Othello, act 5, sc. 2, l. 109-11. The term "lunacy" is derived from "luna," Latin for moon, reflecting the popular belief expressed in these lines.
The year growing ancient, Not yet on summer's death, nor on the birth Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o'the season Are our carnations and streaked gillyvors.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Perdita, in The Winter's Tale, act 4, sc. 4, l. 79-82. "Gillyvors" are a kind of carnation or pink.
Since he hath got the jewel that I loved, And that which you did swear to keep for me, I will become as liberal as you, I'll not deny him anything I have, No, not my body nor my husband's bed.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Portia, in The Merchant of Venice, act 5, sc. 1, l. 224-8. Teasing Bassanio, who has given Portia's ring to the lawyer Balthasar, not knowing that Balthasar was Portia in disguise.
"Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire." Why, that's the lady, all the world desires her.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prince of Morocco, in The Merchant of Venice, act 2, sc. 7, l. 37-8. Reading the message on the golden casket.
Cannot a plain man live and think no harm, But that his simple truth must be abused With silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Richard, in Richard III, act 1, sc. 3, l. 51-3. Falsely protesting his honest simplicity; "Jacks" is a scornful term for people of lower rank or low breeding.