William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.
You will know a lot of his work but if you don’t it includes classic tragedies like Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, he also wrote many comedies including The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. On top of that he is also known for historical material like Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2, Henry VI Part 1, 2 and 3, Richard II and Richard III. He also remarkably wrote some poetry.
This is only a small selection of his works, many of which have been the basis of classic movies as well.
Now lets look at some of his most famous quotes
Shakepeare quotes 1
Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.
The golden age is before us, not behind us.
Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.
What, man, defy the devil. Consider, he’s an enemy to mankind.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
So foul and fair a day I have not seen.
I see that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man.
Lawless are they that make their wills their law.
To do a great right do a little wrong.
Mind your speech a little lest you should mar your fortunes.
He that loves to be flattered is worthy o’ the flatterer.
But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes.
No legacy is so rich as honesty.
It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.
He that is giddy thinks the world turns round.
Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains.
There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser.
Fishes live in the sea, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.
Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove.
Love to faults is always blind, always is to joy inclined. Lawless, winged, and unconfined, and breaks all chains from every mind.
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.
For my part, it was Greek to me.
Time and the hour run through the roughest day.
The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.
Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
Men’s vows are women’s traitors!
Let no such man be trusted.
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
It is the stars, The stars above us, govern our conditions.
Speak low, if you speak love.
O, had I but followed the arts!
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Lord, Lord, how subject we old men are to this vice of lying!
Boldness be my friend.
But men are men; the best sometimes forget.
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
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.
Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.
Life every man holds dear; but the dear man holds honor far more precious dear than life.
Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?
Use every man after his desert, and who should scape whipping?
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.
An overflow of good converts to bad.
When we are born we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.
Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Go to you bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.
To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
The stroke of death is as a lover’s pinch, which hurts and is desired.
They say miracles are past.
The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.
I bear a charmed life.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
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.
Women may fall when there’s no strength in men.
There have been many great men that have flattered the people who ne’er loved them.
When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.
O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!
In a false quarrel there is no true valor.
Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.
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.
Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered.
There’s many a man has more hair than wit.
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.
Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.
I were better to be eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.
‘Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.
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?
Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
Desire of having is the sin of covetousness.
In time we hate that which we often fear.
Nothing can come of nothing.
We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.
Death is a fearful thing.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
Life is as tedious as twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.
God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.
O’ What may man within him hide, though angel on the outward side!
I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.
Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds.
Parting is such sweet sorrow.
How well he’s read, to reason against reading!
Maids want nothing but husbands, and when they have them, they want everything.
There was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass.
The valiant never taste of death but once.
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.
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano; A stage where every man must play a part, And mine is a sad one.
‘Tis one thing to be tempted, another thing to fall.
Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
The attempt and not the deed confounds us.
Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!
He does it with better grace, but I do it more natural.
Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
Men shut their doors against a setting sun.
Shakepeare quotes 2
Absence from those we love is self from self – a deadly banishment.
My crown is called content, a crown that seldom kings enjoy.
Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.
Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
Expectation is the root of all heartache.
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent.
Having nothing, nothing can he lose.
Children wish fathers looked but with their eyes; fathers that children with their judgment looked; and either may be wrong.
Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.
When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.
The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
The love of heaven makes one heavenly.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
I shall the effect of this good lesson keeps as watchman to my heart.
The wheel is come full circle.
Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
Listen to many, speak to a few.
He is winding the watch of his wit; by and by it will strike.
O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.
I dote on his very absence.
Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me.
How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
There is no darkness but ignorance.
The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.
A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.
As he was valiant, I honour him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him.
Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.
The fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.
This above all; to thine own self be true.
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.
Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.
‘Tis best to weigh the enemy more mighty than he seems.
I will praise any man that will praise me.
I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad and to travel for it too!
My pride fell with my fortunes.
Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time.
Love is too young to know what conscience is.
Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes.
Now is the winter of our discontent.
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
Exceeds man’s might: that dwells with the gods above.
There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.
I was adored once too.
Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.
It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood.
To be, or not to be: that is the question.
By that sin fell the angels.
What’s done can’t be undone.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
Faith, there hath been many great men that have flattered the people who ne’er loved them.
What is past is prologue.
God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
I never see thy face but I think upon hell-fire.
No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.
Brevity is the soul of wit.
If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me.
It is a wise father that knows his own child.
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.
There’s not a note of mine that’s worth the noting.
And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words.
Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to make love known?
The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.
Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
If it be a sin to covet honor, I am the most offending soul.
The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.
They do not love that do not show their love.
Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.
Most dangerous is that temptation that doth goad us on to sin in loving virtue.
How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
If music be the food of love, play on.
When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.
Talking isn’t doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.
Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.
The course of true love never did run smooth.
As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.
‘Tis better to bear the ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.
Like as the waves make towards the pebbl’d shore, so do our minutes, hasten to their end.
Well, if Fortune be a woman, she’s a good wench for this gear.
Everyone ought to bear patiently the results of his own conduct.
There’s place and means for every man alive.
Where every something, being blent together turns to a wild of nothing.
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
For I can raise no money by vile means.
I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.
O! Let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven; keep me in temper; I would not be mad!
Alas, I am a woman friendless, hopeless!
We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
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.
O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.
Farewell, fair cruelty.
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
Give thy thoughts no tongue.
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds makes ill deeds done!
Such as we are made of, such we be.
I say there is no darkness but ignorance.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
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.
Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.