The Best Quotes of William Shakespeare, the Bard of Avon, That Enlighten Life

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The most beautiful and meaningful quotes about life sung by William Shakespeare, the powerful romantic name of English Literature.

William Shakespeare

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  1. We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
  2. Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
  3. 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.
  4. It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
  5. If music be the food of love, play on.
  6. Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.
  7. A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
  8. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
  9. Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love.
  10. God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
  11. There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
  12. 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?
  13. 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.
  14. No legacy is so rich as honesty.
  15. Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
  16. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
  17. One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
  18. Listen to many, speak to a few.
  19. Sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste.
  20. Now ’tis spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted; Suffer them now and they’ll o’ergrow the garden.
  21. Old Time the clock-setter.
  22. The inaudible and noiseless foot of Time.
  23. Every good servant does not all commands.
  24. Oppose not rage while rage is in its force, but give it way a while and let it waste.
  25. A smile cures the wounding of a frown.
  26. Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he’s most assur d, glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as make the angels weep.
  27. … the spring, the summer, The chilling autumn, angry winter, change Their wonted liveries; and the mazed world By their increase, now knows not which is which.
  28. From you have I been absent in the spring, When proud pied April, dressed in all his trim, Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing.
  29. When daffodils begin to peer, With heigh! the doxy, over the dale, Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year; For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale. The white sheet bleaching on the hedge, With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing! Doth set my pugging tooth on edge; For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
  30. 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.
  31. O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out Against the wreckful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout, Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays?
  32. Thou knowest, winter tames man, woman, and beast.
  33. Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud; And after summer evermore succeeds Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold: So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.
  34. Here feel we but the penalty of Adam, The seasons’ difference, as the icy fang And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind, Which, when it bites and blows upon my body, Even till I shrink with cold, I smile.
  35. What freezings I have felt, what dark days seen, What old December’s bareness everywhere!
  36. Winter’s not gone yet, if the wild geese fly that way.
  37. To me, fair friend, you never can be old, For as you were when first your eye I eyed, Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride, Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d In process of the seasons have I seen, Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d, Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
  38. The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose, And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer, The childing autumn, angry winter, change Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world, By their increase, now knows not which is which.
  39. As love is full of unbefitting strains, All wanton as a child, skipping and vain, Form’d by the eye and therefore, like the eye, Full of strange shapes, of habits and of forms, Varying in subjects as the eye doth roll To every varied object in his glance
  40. So loving to my mother, That he might not beteem the winds of heaven, Visit her face’ too roughly.
  41. 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: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
  42. Eternity was in our lips and eyes, Bliss in our brows’ bent; none our parts so poor But was a race of heaven.
  43. Have I caught thee, my heavenly jewel? Why, now let me die, for I have lived long enough.
  44. Such is my love, to thee I so belong, That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.
  45. But love, first learned in a lady’s eyes, Lives not alone immured in the brain; But, with the motion of all elements, Courses as swift as thought in every power, And gives to every power a double power, Above their functions and their offices.
  46. The sight of lovers feedeth those in love.
  47. I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride, Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide. Do not extort thy reasons from this clause, For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause But rather reason thus with reason fetter, Love sought is good, but given unsought better.
  48. Never durst poet touch a pen to write Until his ink were temper’d with Love’s sighs;
  49. The prize of all too precious you.
  50. For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
  51. A lean cheek, – a blue eye, and sunken, – an unquestionable spirit, – a beard neglected:- Then your hose should be ungartered, your bonnet unhanded, your sleeve unbuttoned, your shoe untied, and every thing about you demonstrating a careless desolation.
  52. Love is a spirit all compact of fire.
  53. He says, he loves my daughter; I think so too; for never gaz’d the moon Upon the water, as he’ll stand and read, As ’twere, my daughter’s eyes: and, to be plain, I think, there is not half a kiss to choose, Who loves another best.
  54. There’s beggary in love that can be reckoned
  55. Love is like a child, That longs for everything it can come by
  56. What is light, if Sylvia be not seen? What is joy if Sylvia be not by?
  57. Come what sorrow can, It cannot countervail the exchange of joy, That one short minute gives me in her sight
  58. Her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love
  59. Lovers can do their amorous rites by their own beauties
  60. Love hath made thee a tame snake
  61. Oh, how this spring of love resembleth, The uncertain glory of an April day, Which now shows all beauty of the Sun, And by and by a cloud takes all away
  62. I will not be sworn but love may transform me to an oyster
  63. In thy youth wast as true a lover, As ever sighed upon a midnight pillow
  64. You cannot call it love, for at your age the heyday in the blood is tame
  65. She will die if you love her not, And she will die ere she might make her love known
  66. Men’s vows are women’s traitors
  67. Love will not be spurred to what it loathes
  68. They are in the very wrath of love, and they will go together. Clubs cannot part them
  69. What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!
  70. Is this the generation of love? Hot blood, hot thoughts and hot deeds? Why, they are vipers. Is love a generation of vipers?
  71. Lovers ever run before the clock
    William Shakespeare

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  72. I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip
  73. I’ll make my heaven in a lady’s lap
  74. You have witchcraft in your lips
  75. I humbly do beseech of your pardon, For too much loving you
  76. Kiss me, Kate, we shall be married o’Sunday
  77. He is not great who is not greatly good.
  78. As good luck would have it.
  79. Shall I compare thee to a summer day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate… When in eternal lines to time thou growst So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
  80. You will never age for me, nor fade, nor die.
  81. Love denied blights the soul we owe to God.
  82. My story starts at sea, a perilous voyage to an unknown land. A shipwreck. The wild waters roar and heave. The brave vessel is dashed all to pieces. And all the helpless souls within her drowned. All save one. A lady. Whose soul is greater than the ocean, and her spirit stronger than the sea’s embrace. Not for her a watery end, but a new life beginning on a stranger shore. It will be a love story. For she will be my heroine for all time. And her name will be Viola.
  83. I’ll follow thee and make a heaven of hell, To die upon the hand I love so well
  84. Love goes toward love.
  85. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. O, no! It is an ever-fixed mark, That looks on tempests and is never shaken. It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
  86. So they loved as love in twain Had the essence but in one; Two distinct, divisions none…
  87. Love comforteth like sunshine after rain, But Lust’s effect is tempest after sun; Love’s gentle spring doth always fresh remain, Lust’s winter comes ere summer half be done; Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies; Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.
  88. I’ll say she looks as clear as morning roses newly washed with dew.
  89. This is the very ecstasy of love.
  90. 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.
  91. This above all; to thine own self be true.
  92. Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
  93. The wheel is come full circle.
  94. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
  95. How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
  96. When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.
  97. As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words.
  98. The course of true love never did run smooth.
  99. Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.
  100. Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
  101. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.
  102. Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
  103. Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.
  104. Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
  105. 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.
  106. The golden age is before us, not behind us.
  107. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.
  108. To be, or not to be, that is the question.
  109. When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.
  110. Now is the winter of our discontent.
  111. My crown is called content, a crown that seldom kings enjoy.
  112. Talking isn’t doing. It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.
  113. Speak low, if you speak love.
  114. And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.
  115. We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
  116. Brevity is the soul of wit.
  117. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
  118. The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
  119. Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.
  120. Most dangerous is that temptation that doth goad us on to sin in loving virtue.
  121. 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.
  122. What’s done can’t be undone.
  123. The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.
  124. To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
  125. Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.
  126. Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to make love known?
  127. Our peace shall stand as firm as rocky mountains.
  128. 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.
  129. Farewell, fair cruelty.
  130. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
  131. To do a great right do a little wrong.
  132. Give thy thoughts no tongue.
  133. Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.
  134. O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.
  135. Death is a fearful thing.
  136. Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.
  137. How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
  138. Nothing can come of nothing.
  139. If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me.
  140. The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.
  141. O! Let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven; keep me in temper; I would not be mad!
  142. Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made For kissing, lady, not for such contempt.
  143. False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
  144. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
  145. Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent.
  146. Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.
  147. I see that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man.
  148. Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.
  149. Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.
  150. What is past is prologue.
  151. Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me.
  152. The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.
  153. My pride fell with my fortunes.
  154. But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.
  155. O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.
  156. Go to you bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.
  157. There is no darkness but ignorance.
  158. We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.
  159. Like as the waves make towards the pebbl’d shore, so do our minutes, hasten to their end.
  160. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.
  161. A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser.
  162. With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
  163. I must be cruel, only to be kind.
  164. Life every man holds dear; but the dear man holds honor far more precious dear than life.
  165. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
  166. 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!
  167. It is a wise father that knows his own child.
  168. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
    William Shakespeare

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  169. Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.
  170. Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
  171. Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds.
  172. How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!
  173. Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.
  174. ‘Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support them after.
  175. ‘Tis one thing to be tempted, another thing to fall.
  176. Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.
  177. 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.
  178. I dote on his very absence.
  179. They say miracles are past.
  180. There was never yet fair woman but she made mouths in a glass.
  181. They do not love that do not show their love.
  182. No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.
  183. Let no such man be trusted.
  184. I was adored once too.
  185. By that sin fell the angels.
  186. I like not fair terms and a villain’s mind.
  187. There’s place and means for every man alive.
  188. An overflow of good converts to bad.
  189. I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad and to travel for it too!
  190. The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.
  191. Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.
  192. When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.
  193. O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!
  194. He does it with better grace, but I do it more natural.
  195. Praise us as we are tasted, allow us as we prove.

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