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636 Inspiring Quotes by William Shakespeare

  • Last updated Jun 28 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by William Shakespeare.

Wikipedia Summary for William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, 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" (or simply "the Bard"). His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, three long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. They also continue to be studied and reinterpreted.

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. At age 49 (around 1613), he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive; this has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, his sexuality, his religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until 1608, among them Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language. In the last phase of his life, he wrote tragicomedies (also known as romances) and collaborated with other playwrights.

Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime. However, in 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays. The volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson presciently hailed Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time".

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Longer Version:

A jest's prosperity lies in the ear Of him that hears it, never in the tongue Of him that makes it.


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Longer Version:

But pearls are fair; and the old saying is:
Black men are pearls in beauteous ladies' eyes.


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Longer Version:

And oftentimes excusing of a fault Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse, As patches set upon a little breach, Discredit more in hiding of the fault Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.


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Longer Version:

But thought’s the slave of life, and life time’s fool; And time, that takes survey of all the world, Must have a stop. O, I could prophesy, But that the earthy and cold hand of death Lies on my tongue.


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Longer Version:

Poor and content is rich, and rich enough; But riches fineless is as poor as winter To him that ever fears he shall be poor;– Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend From jealousy!


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Longer Version:

She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her; she would infect to the north star. I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam bad left him before he transgresse.


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Longer Version:

Ships are but boards, sailors but men; there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks.


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Longer Version:

Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.


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Longer Version:

One pain is lessened by another’s anguish. ... Take thou some new infection to thy eye, And the rank poison of the old will die.


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Longer Version:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger.


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Longer Version:

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin, That all with one consent praise new-born gauds, Though they are made and moulded of things past, And give to dust that is a little gilt More laud than gilt o'er-dusted. The present eye praises the present object.


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Prosperity's the very bond of love, Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together Affliction alters.


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Not only is it Sum­mer Sol­stice, there is a Full Moon. May love sur­round you like sun­shine on a sunny day.


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Longer Version:

The sweetest honey Is loathsome in his own deliciousness, And in the taste confounds the appetite: Therefore love moderately— long love doth so.


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With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come. And let my liver rather heat with wine, than my heart cool with mortifying groans.


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Longer Version:

Suit the action to the word : the word to the action : with this special observance that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature.


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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: Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, And too often is his gold complexion dimm'd: And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance or natures changing course untrimm'd; By thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee.


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Strong reasons make strong actions let us go If you say ay, the king will not say no.


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Longer Version:

The tempter or the tempted, who sins most? Ha! Not she: nor doth she tempt: but it is I That, lying by the violet in the sun, Do as the carrion does, not as the flower, Corrupt with virtuous season.


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Longer Version:

All that glitters is not gold; Often have you heard that told: Many a man his life has sold But my outside to behold: Gilded tombs do worms enfold Had you been as wise as bold, Your in limbs, in judgment old, Your answer had not been in'scroll'd Fare you well: your suit is cold.' Cold, indeed, and labour lost: Then, farewell, heat and welcome, frost!


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Longer Version:

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she. Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! Oh, that she knew she were!


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Longer Version:

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, Men were deceivers ever, One foot in sea and one on shore, To one thing constant never.


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Longer Version:

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men May read strange matters. To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under't.


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Longer Version:

The wound of peace is surety, Surety secure; but modest doubt is called The beacon of the wise, the tent that searches To th' bottom of the worst.


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Longer Version:

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our own virtues.


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