William Shakespeare – Quotes

  1. ‘Tis best to weigh the enemy more mighty than he seems.

  2. ‘Tis better to bear the ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.

  3. ‘Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.

  4. ‘Tis one thing to be tempted, another thing to fall.

  5. A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.

  6. A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.

  7. A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser.

  8. Alas, I am a woman friendless, hopeless!

  9. All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

  10. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

  11. An overflow of good converts to bad.

  12. And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.

  13. And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

  14. And why not death rather than living torment? To die is to be banish’d from myself; And Silvia is myself: banish’d from her Is self from self: a deadly banishment!

  15. As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.

  16. As he was valiant, I honour him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him.

  17. As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words.

  18. Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

  19. Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.

  20. Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.

  21. Boldness be my friend.

  22. Brevity is the soul of wit.

  23. But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes.

  24. But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.

  25. But men are men; the best sometimes forget.

  26. By that sin fell the angels.

  27. Children wish fathers looked but with their eyes; fathers that children with their judgment looked; and either may be wrong.

  28. Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.

  29. Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.

  30. Death is a fearful thing.

  31. Desire of having is the sin of covetousness.

  32. Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.

  33. Exceeds man’s might: that dwells with the gods above.

  34. Faith, there hath been many great men that have flattered the people who ne’er loved them.

  35. False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

  36. Farewell, fair cruelty.

  37. Fishes live in the sea, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.

  38. For I can raise no money by vile means.

  39. For my part, it was Greek to me.

  40. Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered.

  41. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.

  42. Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me.

  43. Give thy thoughts no tongue.

  44. Go to you bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.

  45. God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.

  46. God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.

  47. Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.

  48. Having nothing, nothing can he lose.

  49. He does it with better grace, but I do it more natural.

  50. He is winding the watch of his wit; by and by it will strike.

  51. He that is giddy thinks the world turns round.

  52. He that loves to be flattered is worthy o’ the flatterer.

  53. Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.

  54. Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

  55. How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

  56. How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds makes ill deeds done!

  57. How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?

  58. How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!

  59. How well he’s read, to reason against reading!

  60. I am not bound to please thee with my answer.

  61. I bear a charmed life.

  62. I dote on his very absence.

  63. I give unto my wife my second best bed with the furniture.

  64. I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad and to travel for it too!

  65. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; A stage where every man must play a part, And mine is a sad one.

  66. I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.

  67. I may neither choose who I would, nor refuse who I dislike; so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father.

  68. I must be cruel, only to be kind.

  69. I never see thy face but I think upon hell-fire.

  70. I say there is no darkness but ignorance.

  71. I see that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man.

  72. I shall the effect of this good lesson keeps as watchman to my heart.

  73. I was adored once too.

  74. I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.

  75. I were better to be eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.

  76. I will praise any man that will praise me.

  77. If it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul.

  78. If music be the food of love, play on.

  79. If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottage princes’ palaces.

  80. If we are marked to die, we are enough to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honor.

  81. If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me.

  82. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.

  83. If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?

  84. Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.

  85. In a false quarrel there is no true valor.

  86. In time we hate that which we often fear.

  87. Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?

  88. It is a wise father that knows his own child.

  89. It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

  90. It is the stars, The stars above us, govern our conditions.

  91. It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood.

  92. Lawless are they that make their wills their law.

  93. Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent.

  94. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.

  95. Let no such man be trusted.

  96. Life … is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

  97. Life every man holds dear; but the dear man holds honor far more precious dear than life.

  98. Life is as tedious as twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.

  99. Like as the waves make towards the pebbl’d shore, so do our minutes, hasten to their end.

  100. Listen to many, speak to a few.

  101. Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to this vice of lying!

  102. Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

  103. Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.

  104. Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds.

  105. Love is too young to know what conscience is.

  106. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

  107. Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.

  108. Maids want nothing but husbands, and when they have them, they want everything.

  109. Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.

  110. Men are April when they woo, December when they wed. Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.

  111. Men shut their doors against a setting sun.

  112. Men’s vows are women’s traitors!

  113. Mind your speech a little lest you should mar your fortunes.

  114. Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.

  115. Most dangerous is that temptation that doth goad us on to sin in loving virtue.

  116. My crown is called content, a crown that seldom kings enjoy.

  117. My pride fell with my fortunes.

  118. Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time.

  119. Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

  120. No legacy is so rich as honesty.

  121. No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.

  122. Nothing can come of nothing.

  123. Now is the winter of our discontent.

  124. Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.

  125. O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!

  126. O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

  127. O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.

  128. O! Let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven; keep me in temper; I would not be mad!

  129. O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.

  130. O’ What may man within him hide, though angel on the outward side!

  131. O, had I but followed the arts!

  132. O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

  133. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

  134. Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

  135. Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains.

  136. Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.

  137. Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.

  138. Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove.

  139. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.

  140. So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

  141. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

  142. Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.

  143. Speak low, if you speak love.

  144. Such as we are made of, such we be.

  145. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.

  146. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.

  147. Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

  148. Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.

  149. Talking isn’t doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.

  150. Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.

  151. The attempt and not the deed confounds us.

  152. The course of true love never did run smooth.

  153. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

  154. The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.

  155. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

  156. The fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

  157. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  158. The love of heaven makes one heavenly.

  159. The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.

  160. The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.

  161. The most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is and steal out of your company.

  162. The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.

  163. The stroke of death is as a lover’s pinch, which hurts and is desired.

  164. The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.

  165. The valiant never taste of death but once.

  166. The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

  167. The wheel is come full circle.

  168. There are many events in the womb of time, which will be delivered.

  169. There have been many great men that have flattered the people who ne’er loved them.

  170. There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.

  171. There is no darkness but ignorance.

  172. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

  173. There was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass.

  174. There’s many a man has more hair than wit.

  175. There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.

  176. There’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting.

  177. There’s place and means for every man alive.

  178. They do not love that do not show their love.

  179. They say miracles are past.

  180. Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.

  181. Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.

  182. This above all; to thine own self be true.

  183. This life, which had been the tomb of his virtue and of his honour, is but a walking shadow; a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  184. Thou know’st the first time that we smell the air we wawl and cry. When we are born we cry, that we are come to this great state of fools.

  185. Time and the hour run through the roughest day.

  186. To be, or not to be, that is the question.

  187. To do a great right do a little wrong.

  188. To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

  189. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a man who hath any honesty in him.

  190. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

  191. Use every man after his desert, and who should scape whipping?

  192. Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.

  193. Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes.

  194. We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

  195. We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.

  196. We cannot conceive of matter being formed of nothing, since things require a seed to start from… Therefore there is not anything which returns to nothing, but all things return dissolved into their elements.

  197. We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

  198. Well, if Fortune be a woman, she’s a good wench for this gear.

  199. What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god.

  200. What is past is prologue.

  201. What’s done can’t be undone.

  202. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

  203. What, man, defy the devil. Consider, he’s an enemy to mankind.

  204. When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.

  205. When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.

  206. When we are born we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.

  207. When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.

  208. Where every something, being blent together turns to a wild of nothing.

  209. Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to make love known?

  210. Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.

  211. With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

  212. Women may fall when there’s no strength in men.

  213. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

  214. Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.