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William Shakespeare
English dramatist and poet

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All's Well that Ends Well (1603-4)

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
Which we ascribe to heaven.
-- All's Well that Ends Well, Act I, Scene I

Antony and Cleopatra (1606-7)

My salad days,
When I was green in judgment.
-- Antony and Cleopatra, Act I, Scene V

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety; other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies.
-- Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, Scene II

As You Like It (1599)

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 stages. (...)

At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. (...)

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. (...)

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon. (...)

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
-- As You LIke It, Act II, Scene VII

Blow, blow, thou winter wind!
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude.
-- As You LIke It, Act II, Scene VII

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino.
-- As You LIke It, Act V, Scene III

Coriolanus (1608)

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air,-- I banish you.
-- Coriolanus, Act III, Scene III

Cybeline (1609-10)

Boldness be my friend!
Arm me, audacity.
-- Cybeline, Act I, Scene VI

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
-- Cybeline, Act IV, Scene II

Hamlet (1601)

Not a mouse stirring.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene I

In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene I

O! that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew;
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter!
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene II

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene II

Frailty, thy name is woman!
The little month; or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears;
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene II

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene III

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene III

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene IV

O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables,—meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene V

I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combinèd locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene V

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene V

Brevity is the soul of wit.
-- Hamlet, Act II, Scene I

Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.
-- Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
-- Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

It goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is 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! .
-- Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene II

The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.
-- Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and, by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin?
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? (...)
Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. (...)
I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hath given you one face and you make yourselves another.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

O! what a noble mind is here o'erthrown:
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form,
The observèd of all observers, quite, quite, down!
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene II

Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV

I must be cruel only to be kind.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV

For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petar.
-- Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV

Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest.
-- Hamlet, Act V, Scene I

Sweets to the sweet: farewell!
-- Hamlet, Act V, Scene I

I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum.
-- Hamlet, Act V, Scene I

There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.
-- Hamlet, Act V, Scene II

The rest is silence.
-- Hamlet, Act V, Scene II

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
-- Hamlet, Act V, Scene II

Julius Caesar

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.
-- Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene II

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
-- Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene II

King Lear

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!
-- King Lear, Act I, Scene IV

The worst is not,
So long as we can say, 'This is the worst.' .
-- King Lear, Act IV, Scene I


FIRST WITCH: When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
SECOND WITCH: When the hurlyburly 's done,
When the battle's lost and won.
-- Macbeth, Act I, Scene I

All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.
-- Macbeth, Act V, Scene I

Out, out, brief candle!
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.
-- Macbeth, Act V, Scene V

The Merchant of Venice

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?.
-- The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene I

Richard III

Now is the winter of our discontent.
-- King Richard III, Act I, Scene I

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!.
-- King Richard III, Act V, Scene IV

Romeo and Juliet

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?.
-- Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II

It is the east, and Juliet is the sun .
-- Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
-- Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II

Good-night, good-night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good-night till it be morrow.
-- Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II

Twelfth Night

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.
-- Twelth Night, Act II, Scene V

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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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