The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is 
that he really is very good, 
in spite of all the people who say he is very good. 
                              - Robert Graves 


But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, 
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill. 

A little more than kin, and less than kind. 

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, 
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! 
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd 
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! 
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable 
Seem to me all the uses of this world! 

Frailty, thy name is woman! 

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. 
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, 
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel. 

Beware of entrance to a quarrel; but being in, 
Bear 't that the opposed may beware of thee. 
Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice; 
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. 
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, 
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; 
For the apparel oft proclaims the man. 

Neither a borrower nor a lender be; 
For loan oft loses both itself and friend, 
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. 
This above all: to thine own self be true, 
And it must follow, as the night the day, 
Thou canst not then be false to any man. 

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. 

I am thy father's spirit, 
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night, 
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires, 
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature 
Are burnt and purg'd away. 

Leave her to heaven 

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. 

Brevity is the soul of wit. 

Find out the cause of this effect, 
Or rather say, the cause of this defect, 
For this effect defective comes by cause. 

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

Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't. 

The devil hath power 
To assume a pleasing shape. 

The play 's the thing 
Wherein I 'll catch the conscience of the king. 

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; 

Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt
not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go.

'T is now the very witching time of night, 
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out 
Contagion to this world. 

So full of artless jealousy is guilt, 
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt. 
We know what we are, but know not what we may be. 

There 's rosemary, that 's for remembrance;...
and there is pansies, that 's for thoughts. 

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. 
He hath borne me on his back a thousand times

Sweets to the sweet: farewell! 

Let Hercules himself do what he may, 
The cat will mew and dog will have his day. 

There 's a divinity that shapes our ends, 
Rough-hew them how we will.

For 'tis the sport to have the engineer 
hoist with his own petard.

What a piece of work is a man! 
how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! 
in form and moving, how express and admirable! 
in action how like an angel! 
in apprehension how like a god! 
the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!

'Tis now the very witching time of night, 
when churchyards yawn 
and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world.

To be, or not to be: that is the question

To die: to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: aye, there's the rub; 
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this motral coil, 
Must give us pause.

The dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns.


Look like the innocent flower, 
but be the serpent under 't.

Away, and mock the time with fairest show; 
false face must hide what the false heart doth know.

[Drink] provokes the desire, 
but takes away the performance.

Double, double, toil and trouble; 
fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Life's 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.

If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly. 

What's done cannot be undone.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

Methought I heard a voice cry, "Sleep no more! 
Macbeth does murder sleep!" the innocent sleep, 
Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care, 
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath, 
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, 
Chief nourisher in life's feast. 

Stand not upon the order of your going, 
But go at once. 

Eye of newt and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat and tongue of dog. 

By the pricking of my thumbs, 
Something wicked this way comes. 

Out, damned spot! out, I say! 

Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him? 

Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane, 
I cannot taint with fear. 


A plague o' both your houses! 
They have made worms' meat of me.

True, I talk of dreams, which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain fantasy.

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

For never was a story of more woe 
than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep;
The more I give to thee the more I have, 
for both are infinite.

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? 
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. 

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? 

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, 
That monthly changes in her circled orb, 
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable. 

Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, 
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Rom. Courage, man; the hurt cannot be much. 
Mer. No, 't is not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but 't is enough, 't will serve. 

Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night, and pay no worship to the garish sun.


As he was valiant, I honor him; 
but, as he was ambitious, I slew him.

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept; ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

But Brutus says he was ambitious; 
And Brutus is an honourable man.

When beggars die, there are no comets seen; 
the heavens themselves blaze forth 
the death of princes.

Et tu, Brute! 

There is a tide in the affairs of men, 
which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.

O! that a man might know the end of this day's 
business, ere it come.

Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war.

Beware the ides of March. 

Let me have men about me that are fat, 
Sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o' nights: 
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; 
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous. 

But, for my own part, it was Greek to me. 

A dish fit for the gods. 

Cowards die many times before their deaths; 
The valiant never taste of death but once. 
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, 
It seems to me most strange that men should fear; 
Seeing that death, a necessary end, 
Will come when it will come. 

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; 
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. 
The evil that men do lives after them; 
The good is oft interred with their bones; 
So let it be with Caesar. 


Lord, what fools these mortals be.

Ay me! for aught that ever I could read, 
could ever hear by tale or history, 
the course of true love never did run smooth.


Full fathom five thy father lies; 
of his bones are coral made: 
those are pearls that were his eyes: 
nothing of him that doth fade, 
but doth suffer a sea-change 
into something rich and strange.

We are such stuff as dreams are made of, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows. 

O brave new world that hath such people in't! 

Where the bee sucks, there suck I; 
In a cowslip's bell I lie. 


The fool doth think he is wise, 
but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

It was a lover and his lass, 
with a hey and a ho, and a hey nonino, 
that o'er the green corn-field did pass, 
in the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
when birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding; 
sweet lovers love the spring

Under the greenwood tree who loves to lie with me, 
and turn his merry note unto the sweet bird's throat, 
come hither, come hither, come hither. 
Here shall he see no enemy 
but winter and rough weather.

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in the stones, and good in every thing.

All the world 's a stage, 
And all the men and women merely players.

Let us make an honourable retreat... With bag and baggage... Answer me in one word...Neither rhyme nor reason...For ever and a day...It is meat and drink to me...Can one desire too much of a good thing?

Men have died from time to time, 
and worms have eaten them,--
but not for love. 


Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more. 
Men were deceivers ever. 
One foot in sea and one on shore, 
to one thing constant never. 
Then sigh not so but let them go 
and be you blithe and bonny, 
converting all your sounds of woe 
into hey nonny nonny. 


But love is blind, and lovers cannot see 
the pretty follies that themselves commit.

The quality of mercy is not strained,
it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven 
upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed; 
it blesseth him that gives and him that takes: 
'tis mightiest in the mightiest; 
it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown; 
his scepter shows the force of temporal power, 
the attribute to awe and majesty, 
wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings, 
but mercy is above this sceptered sway, 
it is enthroned in the hearts of kings, 
it is an attribute to God himself, 
and earthly power dost then show likest God's 
when mercy seasons justice.

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.

The weakest kind of fruit drops earliest to the ground.

It is a wise father that knows his own child.

All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told;
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold.

To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed
my revenge. He hath disgraced me and hindered me half
a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains,
scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my
friends, heated mine enemies—and what’s his reason? I
am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands,
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed
with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed
and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian
is? 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? If we are like you in the
rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a
Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian
example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will
execute—and it shall go hard but I will better the

God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man.


Then must you speak of one that lov'd not wisely, 
but too well.

I will wear my heart upon my sleeve 
For daws to peck at. For I am nothing, if not critical.

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! 
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock 
The meat it feeds on. 

He that filches from me my good name robs me of that 
which enriches him and makes me poor indeed.


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

Thou hast nor youth nor age, but, as it were, 
an after-diner's sleep, dreaming on both.


Some are born great, some achieve greatness, 
and some have greatness thrust upon'em.

If music be the food of love, play on.

Journeys end in lovers meeting, 
Every wise man's son doth know.


Who wooed in haste, and means to wed at leisure.

And do as adversaries do in law,-- 
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends. 

 This is a way to kill a wife with kindness. 


Come, let's have one other gaudy night. 
Call to me all my sad captains. 
Fill our bowls once more. 
Let's mock the midnight bell.

My salad days, 
When I was green in judgment.


How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is 
to have a thankless child.

Sit you down, Father; rest you.


The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey 
where eagles dare not perch.--King Richard III

Now is the winter of our discontent 
Made glorious summer by this sun of York-
King Richard III

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!-
King Richard III

Thus I clothe my naked villainy with odd old ends 
stol'n forth of holy writ, 
and seem a saint when most I play thedevil.–
King Richard III

Unbidden guests are often welcomest 
when they are gone--King Henry VI

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; 
the thief doth fear each bush an officer.–
King Henry VI, Part 3

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.--
Henry VI, Part II

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

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. -
Henry IV, Part II

He hath eaten me out of house and home.-
Henry IV, Part II


They say every why hath a wherefore. 
Comedy of Errors 

Why, then, the world's mine oyster, 
which I with sword will open.–
Merry Wives of Windsor

I have not slept one wink. -

Golden lads and girls all must, 
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. -


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate: 
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, 
and summer's lease hath all too short a date...
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, 
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.–
Sonnet 18. 

For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, 
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.–
Sonnet 147

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings 
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Sonnet 29

This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, 
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Sonnet 73

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 
Admit impediments. Love is not love 
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove...
If this be error and upon me proved, 
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Sonnet 116

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well 
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
Sonnet 129


 Return to Quotation Page


Background:  "The Beloved," by Dante Gabriel Rossetti