"The love of heaven makes one heavenly."
"I would give anything
in the world to read this play for the first time, knowing nothing about
- Professor G. Blakemore Evans, after a life studying "Romeo and Juliet"
He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again. (1.2)
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. (1.3)
So oft it chances in
That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As in their birth,- wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin,-
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'erleavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,
Their virtues else- be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo-
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault. The dram of e'il
Doth all the noble substance often dout To his own scandal. (1.4)
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (2.1)
"None my Lord, but that the world's grown honest."
"Then is doomsday near?"
- Hamlet & Rosencrantz (2.2)
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! In form, in 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! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so. (3.1)
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 wish'd. 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. There's the respect that makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, the pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay, the insolence of office, and the spurns that patient merit of th' unworthy takes, when he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin?
Who would fardels (burdens) bear,to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death, the undiscover'd country from whose bourn no traveler returns, puzzles the will, and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; and thus the native hue of resolutions 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. (3.1)
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. (5.1)
O, woe is me T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see!
When shall we three
meet again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?
When the hurlyburly 's done, when the battle 's lost and won.
- The Weird Sisters 1.1
There 's no art to find the mind's construction in the face (1.3)
There 's daggers in men's smiles (2.2)
Things without all remedy should be without regard. What's done is done. (3.2)
Better be with the dead, whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, Than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave; After life's fitful fever he sleeps well: treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison, Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing, can touch him further (3.2)
Angels are bright; still, though, the brightest fell (4.3)
Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace, yet grace must still look so (4.3)
Blow, wind! come, wrack! At least we'll die with harness on our back (5.5)
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. (?.?)
Present fears are less than horrible imaginings (?.?)
Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it (?.?)
Desperate times breed desperate measures (?.?)
Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee, I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight? or art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? (?.?)
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. (?.?)
She should have died hereafter; There would have been time for such a word. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time, and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. 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 (5.5)
Cassius hath a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous (1.1)
Men at some time are masters of their fates: the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings (1.2)
When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes (2.2)
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 (2.2)
But I am constant as the northern star (3.1)
How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet unknown! (3.1)
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war (3.1)
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 (3.2)
But yesterday the word of Caesar might have stood against the world; now lies he there, and none so poor to do him reverence (3.2)
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 (4.2)
All places that the eye of heaven visits are to a wise man ports and happy havens. (1.3)
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain, for they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain. (2.1)
The setting sun, and music at the close, as the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last, writ in remembrance more than things long past. (2.3)
This royal throne of
kings, this scepter'd isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This
other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against
infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall, Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings, Fear'd by their breed and famous by their birth, Renowned for their deeds as far from home, For Christian service and true chivalry, As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry, Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's Son, This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land.... (2.1)
Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings (3.2)
Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York (1.1)
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse! (5.4)
If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work (1.2)
I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men (1.2)
By heaven, methinks it were an easy leap to pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon, or dive into the bottom of the deep, where fathom-line could never touch the ground, and pluck up drowned honour by the locks (1.3)
I know a trick worth two of that (2.1)
Diseased Nature oftentimes breaks forth in strange eruptions (3.1)
I am not in the roll of common men (3.1)
The better part of valour is discretion (5.4)
[Taken from "Falstaff" by Orson Welles, which combines Parts I and II]
"Marry, then, sweet
wag, when thou art king, let not us that are squires of the night's body
be called thieves of the day's beauty: let us be Diana's foresters, gentlemen
of the shade, minions of the moon; and let men say we be men of good government,
being governed, as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon,
under whose countenance we steal."
- Falstaff to Prince Henry, "Henry IV Part I"
"'The purpose you undertake
is dangerous;' — why, that's certain: 'tis dangerous to take a cold, to
sleep, to drink; but I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle, danger,
we pluck this flower, safety."
- Hotspur, "Heny IV Part I"
"There lives not three
good men unhang'd in England, and one of them is fat, and grows old."
- Falstaff, "Henry IV Part I"
"I am an honest man's
wife: and, setting thy knighthood aside, thou art a knave to call me so."
"Setting thy womanhood aside, thou art a beast to say otherwise."
- The Hostess and Falstff, "Henry IV Part I"
"Gentlemen! the time
of life is short; To spend that shortness basely were too long, if life
did ride upon a dial’s point, still ending at the arrival of an hour. And
if we live, we live to tread on kings; If die, brave death, when princes
die with us! Now, for our consciences, the arms are fair, When the intent
of bearing them is just."
- Hotspur, in rebellion, "Henry IV Part I"
"O, give me the spare
men, and spare me the great ones."
- Falstaff, recruiting an army of sorts, "Henry IV Part I"
"You have deceived
our trust, And made us doff our easy robes of peace, to crush our old limbs
in ungentle steel."
- King Henry IV, "Henry IV Part I"
"It was alway yet the
trick of our English nation, if they have a good thing, to make it too
- Falstaff, "Henry IV Part I"
"How many thousand
of my poorest subjects are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, that thou no more wilt weigh
my eyelids down and steep my senses in forgetfulness?"
- King Henry IV, "Henry IV Part II"
"To the English court
assemble now, from every region, apes of idleness! Now, neighbour confines,
purge you of your scum: Have you a ruffian that will swear, drink, dance,
revel the night, rob, murder, and commit the oldest sins the newest kind
- King Henry IV. "Henry IV Part II"
"I am fortune's steward!
... Let us take any man's horses; the laws of England are at my commandment.
Blessed are they that have been my friends; and woe to my lord chief-justice!"
- Falstaff, "Henry IV Part II"
"Presume not that I
am the thing I was."
- King Henry V to Falstaff, "Henry IV Part II"
"As we hear you do
reform yourselves, we will, according to your strengths and qualities,
give you advancement."
- King Henry V to Falstaff, "Henry IV Part II"
"I will be the man
yet that shall make you great."
"I cannot perceive how, unless you give me your doublet and stuff me out with straw."
- Falstaff and Shallow, "Henry IV Part II"
"We have heard the
chimes at midnight."
"That we have, that we have, that we have... the days that we have seen!"
- Falstaff and Shallow, "Henry IV Part II 3.2"
"All things are ready, if our minds be so." (3.1)
"The game's afoot." (3.1)
"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: Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood." (3.1)
"This story shall the
good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother;
be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhood's cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day." (4.2 ?)
O for a Muse of fire,
that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!
Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,
Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,
Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,
The flat unraised spirits that have dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object: can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million;
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confined two mighty monarchies,
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
Into a thousand parts divide on man,
And make imaginary puissance;
Think when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth;
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times,
Turning the accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history;
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
- Prologue to "Henry V"
"My sovereign, take
up the English short, and let them know of what a monarchy you are the
Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting."
- The Dauphin to the King of France (2.4)
"I see you stand like
greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start. The game's afoot: Follow
your spirit, and upon this charge cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint
- King Henry, rallying his army (3.1)
"Fortune is Bardolph's
foe, and frowns on him."
- Pistol (3.6)
"The sum of all our
answer is but this: We would not seek a battle, as we are; Nor, as we are,
we say we will not shun it."
- King Henry, in response to French demands (3.6)
"Fire answers fire."
- Chorus (4)
"There is some soul
of goodness in things evil, would men observingly distil it out.
For our bad neighbour makes us early stirrers, which is both healthful and good husbandry:
Besides, they are our outward consciences, and preachers to us all, admonishing that we should dress us fairly for our end. Thus may we gather honey from the weed, and make a moral of the devil himself."
- King Henry (4.1)
"Methinks I could not
die any where so contented as in the king's company; his cause being just
and his quarrel honourable."
"That's more than we know."
"Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know enough, if we know we are the kings subjects: if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us."
"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection."
- on the morality of war, from Act 4 Scene 1
"The king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant; for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services... Every subject's duty is the king's; but every subject's soul is his own." (4.1)
"Let life be short;
else shame will be too long."
- The French vow to go down fighting (4.5)
"If thou would have
such a one, take me; and take me, take a soldier; take a soldier, take
a king. And what sayest thou then to my love? Speak, my fair, and fairly,
I pray thee."
"Is it possible dat I sould love de enemy of France?"
"No; it is not possible you should love the enemy of France, Kate: but, in loving me, you should love the friend of France; for I love France so well that I will not part with a village of it; I will have it all mine: and, Kate, when France is mine and I am yours, then yours is France and you are mine."
- King Henry to Princess Katharine of France (5.2)
"It is as easy for
me, Kate, to conquer the kingdom as to speak so much more French."
- King Henry (5.2)
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,that has such people in't! (?.?)
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. (1.2)
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows. (2.2)
Our revels now are ended...We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep. (4.1)
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. (1.3)
All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd. (2.6)
But love is blind, and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit. (2.6)
All that glisters is not gold; Often have you heard that told. (3.1)
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? (3.1)
You take my house when you do take the prop that doth sustain my house; You take my life when you do take the means whereby I live. (4.1)
He is well paid that is well satisfied. (4.1)
How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world. (5.1)
The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit are dull as night, and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. (5.1)
The quaility of mercy
is not strain'd
It droppeth as the gently rain from heaven upon the place beneath;
It is twice blest' It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. . . .
AS YOU LIKE IT
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 (2.7)
Blow, blow, thou winter wind! Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude (2.7)
I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad. (4.1)
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. (5.1)
How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes! (5.1)
Here comes a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools. (5.4)
ROMEO & JULIET
Two households, both
alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. (Prologue)
True, I talk of dreams,
which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy. (1.4)
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! O, that she knew she were! (2.2)
Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say goodnight till it be morrow. (2.2)
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? (2.4)
What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet (2.4)
O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, that changes monthly in her circle orb, lest thy love prove likewise variable. (2.4)
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. (3.2)
"I will do such things - What they are yet I know not; but they shall be the terrors of the earth."
"Although the last, not least." (1.1)
"Time shall unfold what plaited cunning hides." (1.2)
"This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behaviour, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical pre-dominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforc'd obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whore-master man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!" (1.2)
"I am a man more sinn'd against than sinning." (1.3)
"Striving to better, oft we mar what's well." (1.4)
"A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking, whoreson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pander, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch; one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deny the least syllable of thy addition." (2.2)
"You beastly knave,
know you no reverence?"
"Yes, sir, but anger hath a privilege." (2.2)
"How in one house should many people, under two commands, hold amity?" (2.4)
"Alas, sir, are you
here? things that love night love not such nights as these;
the wrathful skies gallow the very wanderers of the dark,
And make them keep their caves: since I was man,
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain, I never remember to have heard:
man's nature cannot carry The affliction nor the fear."
"Let the great gods, that keep this dreadful pother o'er our heads, find out their enemies now."
- Kent and Lear, amidst the storm (3.2)
"The prince of darkness is a gentleman." (3.4)
"The worst is not so long as we can say, 'This is the worst'." (4.1)
"Get thee glass eyes and, like a scurvy politician, seem to see the things thou dost not." (4.6)
"My state stands on me to defend, not to debate." (5.1)
"Men are as the time is." (5.3)
"The weight of this sad time we must obey, speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. The oldest hath borne most; we that are young shall never see so much, nor live so long." (5.3)
In following him, I follow but myself (1.1)
You are one of those that will not serve God, if the devil bid you (1.1)
I am one sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs (1.1)
I ha' look'd upon the world for four times seven years. (1.3)
Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: She has deceived her father, and may thee (1.3)
Thanks, you the valiant of the warlike isle (2.1)
I am not merry; but I do beguile the thing I am, by seeming otherwise (2.1)
If after every tempest come such calms, may the winds blow till they have waken'd death! (2.2)
I remember a mass of things, but nothing distinctly; a quarrel, but nothing wherefore. O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths, to steal away their brains; that we should with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts! (2.3)
Good name in man and woman's dear, my lord; is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; 't is something, nothing; 'T was mine, 't is his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed (3.3)
I swear 't is better to be much abused than but to know 't a little (3.3)
He that is robb'd, not wanting what is stolen, let him not know 't, and he 's not robb'd at all (3.3)
O that the slave had forty thousand lives! One is too poor, too weak for my revenge (3.3)
Knowing what i am, I know what she shall be (4.1)
Why, the wrong is but a wrong i' the world; and having the world for your labour, 'tis a wrong in your own world, and you might quickly make it right (4.3)
Whether he kill Cassio, or Cassio him, or each do kill the other, every way makes my game (5.1)
If Cassio do remain, he has a daily beauty in his life, that makes me ugly (5.1)
I never did offend you in my life, ...never lov'd Cassio, but with such general warranty of heaven, as I might love: I never gave him token (5.2)
Are there no stones in heaven but what serves for the thunder? (5.2)
If music be the food of love, play on (1.1)
'T is beauty truly blent, whose red and white nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on: Lady, you are the cruell'st she alive if you will lead these graces to the grave and leave the world no copy (?.?)
Journeys end in lovers meeting, every wise man's son doth know (2.3)
In my stars I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em (2.5)
Be great in act, as
you have been in thought. Let not the world see fear and sad distrust govern
the motion of a kingly eye. Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
- King John (5.1)
Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt
- Measure For Measure (1.1)
There is a kind of
merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her:
they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit between them.
- Leonato, "Much Ado About Nothing" Act 1 Scene 1
In a false quarrel
there is no true valour.
- Much Ado About Nothing (5.1)
"There's not one wise
man among twenty that will praise himself."
- Much Ado About Nothing
At Christmas I no more
desire a rose than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth; But like of
each thing that in season grows.
- Love's Labour Lost (1.1)
Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
I would there were
no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out
the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with
child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting...
- from "A Winter's Tale"
For aught that I could ever read, could ever hear by tale or history, the course of true love never did run smooth.
Tis a cruelty To load a falling man.
- King Henry VIII (3.3)
The first thing we do let's kill all the lawyers.
Who seeks for better
of thee, sauce his palate
With thy most operant poison. What is here?
Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods,
I am no idle votarist. Roots, you clear heavens!
Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,
Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant.
Ha, you gods! why this? What, this, you gods? Why, this
Will lug your priests and servants from your sides,
Pluck stout men's pillows from below their heads-
This yellow slave will knit and break religions, bless th' accurs'd,
Make the hoar leprosy ador'd, place thieves
And give them title, knee, and approbation, with senators on the bench.
- Timon, in "The Life of Timon of Athens"
My mistress' eyes are
nothing like the sun ;
Coral is far more red than her lips red :
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven,
I think my love as rare as any she belied by false compare.
-Sonnet # 130
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.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
- Sonnet #18
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.
- Sonnet CXVI
When to the sessions
of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh
the lack of many a thing I sought, and with old woes new wail my dear time's
- Sonnet XXX
Not marble, nor the
gilded monuments of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme.
- Sonnet LV
The summer's flower
is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
- From Sonnet #94
Heather: It's just
like Hamlet said, "To thine own self be true."
Cher: Hamlet didn't say that.
Heather: I think I remember Hamlet accurately.
Cher: Well, I remember Mel Gibson accurately, and he didn't say that. That Polonius guy did.
"All my life I always
wanted to fly. I always wanted to live like a hawk. I know you're not supposed
to be jealous of anything, but...to take flight, to soar above everything
and everyone, now that's living. But a hawk is no good around normal birds.
It can't fit in. Even though all the other birds probably wanna be hawks;
they hate him for what they can't be. Proud. Powerful. Determined. Dark.
Odin is a hawk. He soars above us. He can fly. One of these days, everyone's
gonna pay attention to me. Because I'm gonna fly too."
- Hugo\Iago, in "O", a modern retelling of Othello
After all, all he did
was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations.
- HL Mencken, on Shakespeare, tongue firmly in cheek
Shakespeare once said:
Life is pretty stupid, with lot's of hubbub to keep you busy, but really
not amounting to much ... I'm paraphrasing of course.
- Steve Martin, "L.A. Story"
The Third Reich ended
on a Shakespearian note, in a suicidal shambles.
- Richard Gordon, "The Alarming History of Sex"
"How often do you get
to see teenagers speak iambic pentameter and kill themselves?"
- Lorelai, going to see Chilton's "Romeo and Juliet" production, "The Gilmore Girls"
"Come out here Romeo!"
"Actually, I've always thought of myself more as Mercutio."
- from the "My Family" Christmas Special (2004)
"What do you think
of this tie? Should I have gone for something plainer?"
"Like a noose?"
"You really put the 'w' into anchorman, don't you?"
- Benedick and Beatrice, in BBC's modern reworking of "Much Ado About Nothing"
"I say something mean
to you. You say something mean to me. And then we go on from there until
you can't think of something else to say."
- Beatrice to Benedick, "Much Ado About Nothing"
Who wouldn't adore
Anthony O'Donnell's Dogberry? If it weren't for this idiot and his barely
sentient assistant, all these clever people would actually kill each other.
- Nancy Banks-Smith, reviewing the BBC's updating of "Much Ado About Nothing", "Guardian"
"You can't make someone
"You can't make someone not love you either."
- Hero and Dan, in "Much Ado About Nothing"
Courting need not be
such sweet sorrow.
- Editorial in "The Times", "Lovers should put Shakespeare before contemporary experts"
Leo and Demi were EastEnders'
own star-crossed lovers. If they had read Romeo and Juliet at Walford comprehensive
— admittedly unlikely as they never seemed to go to school at all — the
outcome might have been happier. But they didn't. So it wasn't. They had
run away and were living in a squalid squat and increasing desperation.
Last night Demi took heroin. As the pusher put it: "You go there and you
ain't likely to come back." Finding her, like Juliet, unconscious, Leo,
like Romeo, assumed the worst. "Demi, don't leave me! I ain't nothing without
- Nancy Banks Smith, commenting on EastEnders in "The Guardian"
Declare ‘it’s Greek
to me’, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against
than sinning... if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is
father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air,
you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch
or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose,
if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle...
you are quoting Shakespeare.
- Bernard Levin
The sympathies of a
well-adjusted person can easily be aroused by the plight of strangers.
Indeed, the skillful writer of a novel, a play, or an opera can engage
our emotions on behalf of people who are not only strangers to us, but
who do not even exist! And a person whose emotions cannot be so aroused
is not behaving normally. When Shakespeare has Hamlet say: "What's Hecuba
to me or me to Hecuba that I should weep for her?" we understand that there's
something wrong with the guy. He should weep for Hecuba.
- John Derbyshire, "National Review"
Shylock is a cruel
caricature, but isn't he also one of the first Jews allowed to speak for
himself in gentile European literature, to argue his case, to reveal his
humanity? It's possible that Shakespeare never actually met a Jew (to be
a Catholic was a hanging offense in his England), but then he never visited
Venice, either — or France, Denmark and the seacoast of Bohemia. His Shylock
begins as a lift from literary sources, like so many of his characters,
and is transformed by his genius into a man of feelings and deep wounds.
There is a kind of mad incongruity in the play's intersecting stories,
one ending in sunshine, marriage and happiness, the other in Shylock's
loss of everything — daughter, fortune, home and respect. And Shylock's
great speech, beginning "Hath not a Jew eyes?" is a cry against anti-Semitism
that rings down through the centuries. It is wrong to say that "The Merchant
of Venice" is not "really" anti-Semitic — of course it is — but its venom
is undercut by Shakespeare's inability to objectify any of his important
characters. He always sees the man inside.
- Roger Ebert, from his "Merchant of Venice" review, "Chicago Sun Times"
One of the great things
about Charles Dickens is the way his people colonize your memory. I wonder
if there's any writer except Shakespeare who has created more characters
whose names we remember, and whose types seem so true to human nature.
- Roger Ebert, from his review of "Great Expectations" for "Chicago Sun Times"
Marlon Brando's Anthony
has always been the star attraction, if only because at the time his shift
from mumbling to full-scale Elizabethan verse came as a surprise... The
great lesson of Shakespeare is that — given their best wishes — everyone
would speak in 16th century English.
- David Thomson, on Julius Caesar (1952), "Have You Seen?"
I delighted alike in
Mel Gibson's Hamlet and Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado. Deborah Moggach's recent
version of Pride and Prejudice may not be the novel, but it has inspired
a glorious film. Much that is "lost in translation" is gained in immediacy
for those unfamiliar with the original language. I do not care if Dickens
would have approved or disapproved of Bleak House. He is dead. But if his
work can inspire entertainment of this quality — and drive thousands back
to read his work — something of him lives.
- Simon Jenkins, on adaptations of literary classics, "The Guardian"
The notion of updating
Shakespeare always strikes me as a curious one. For a start it assumes
that the audience is stupid. Do we say, ‘I hadn’t realised that Julius
Caesar contains universal themes of ambition and betrayal until I saw it
set on the floor at the Chicago Board of Trade’? Or, ‘It never occurred
to me that Macbeth might have significance for our time until they played
it in a Birmingham Starbucks’? And why doesn’t it work the other way round?
You never see The Caretaker set in imperial Rome, or Abigail’s Party at
an 11th-century Scottish castle. The one time when this updating works
is when it’s merely the plot that has been dragged kicking and yelling
into the 21st century. Someone declaiming ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow’
in a space suit just looks silly. But the great plots — Pride and Prejudice,
King Lear — are hard-wired into the minds of any half-educated person and
have a resonance which a playwright can use and play with.
- Simon Hoggart, "The Spectator"
There is a great absence
at the heart of Shakespeare, a character who never speaks, never even makes
an entrance, is never seen but is always present — Elizabeth I. So much
of the Bard’s output was propaganda for her house and bespoke entertainment
for her court. Shakespeare’s timing, language and dramatic construction
have formed and framed the way we see her reign. So, as drama, Good Queen
Bess has become the greatest Shakespearian female character that Shakespeare
- AA Gill, reviewing "The Virgin Queen" in "The Times"
We were just in a financial
position to afford Shakespeare when he presented himself.
- JM Keynes, economist, writing about Elizabethan England
It was some years before
I was bold enough to decline an invitation to "Hamlet" on the grounds that
I knew who won.
- Quentin Crisp
"Just because something's
in Shakespeare it doesn't make it true. A-level English has always been
- Doris to Mr Skipling, "Dying Day"
We've got to stop genuflecting
at the altar of Shakespeare.
- Richard Harris
I meet Shakespeare
on his own terms. His people are real. You can smell their breath. They
piss against the wall.
- Peter O'Toole
For a writer as experienced
as Robert Harvey, there is a curious sloppiness of thought and inexactitude
of language. Conditions in the Japanese mines were ‘quite literally satanic’
— a phrase which suggests a surprisingly well-informed knowledge of affairs
in the underworld. Events in Japan in the late 1920s and 1930s ‘unfolded
like Shakespearian tragedy’. Which tragedy, one wonders, and why Shakespeare?
- Philip Ziegler, reviewing "American Shogun", "The Spectator"
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