Quotations From WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


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  • His tears run down his beard like winter's drops
    From eaves of reeds.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Ariel, in The Tempest, act 5, sc. 1, l. 16-7. Referring to old Gonzalo, whose tears show his pity for the madness afflicting Alonso.

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  • 'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
    Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream
    That can entame my spirits to your worship.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Rosalind, in As You Like It, act 3, sc. 5, l. 46-8. Rejecting Phebe's love; bugles were shiny black glass beads.

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  • You lack the season of all natures, sleep.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Lady Macbeth, in Macbeth, act 3, sc. 4, l. 140. "Season" may mean necessary period of rest, or the seasoning that preserves.

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  • Good fortune then!
    To make me blest or cursed'st among men.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Prince of Morocco, in The Merchant of Venice, act 2, sc. 1, l. 45-6. He means he will be blessed if he chooses the right casket and wins Portia.
  • Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs
    ...
    Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
    Under the canopies of costly state,
    And lulled with sound of sweetest melody?
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. King Henry, in Henry IV, Part 2, act 3, sc. 1, l. 9, 12-4. Sleep comes easier in a smoky hovel ("crib") than in a palace.

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  • Can this cockpit hold
    The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
    Within this wooden O the very casques
    That did affright the air at Agincourt?
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Chorus, in Henry V, prologue, l. 11-4. The "wooden O" refers to multi-sided theaters like the Globe, where Shakespeare's plays were staged; "casques" means helmets.
  • If we shall stand still
    In fear our motion will be mocked or carped at,
    We should take root here where we sit, or sit
    State-statues only.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Cardinal Wolsey, in Henry VIII, act 1, sc. 2, l. 85-8. On hearing of complaints made about his use of power; "motion" = proposals, actions.

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  • I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
    Commonly are, the want of which vain dew
    Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
    That honorable grief lodged here which burns
    Worse than tears drown.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Hermione, in The Winter's Tale, act 2, sc. 1, l. 108-12. On being accused of adultery and sent to prison.

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  • Merciful powers,
    Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature
    Gives way to in repose!
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Banquo, in Macbeth, act 2, sc. 1, l. 7-9. "Powers" may refer to the order of angels deputed to resist demons; the orders are listed in John Milton's Paradise Lost, V. 601, as "Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers."

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  • When Caesar says, "Do this," it is performed.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Antony, in Julius Caesar, act 1, sc. 2, l. 10. Responding to an order given by Caesar.
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