Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Shakespeare

English Playwright, Poet, Most widely known Writer in English Literature

"A golden mind stoops not to shows of dross."

"A peace above all earthly dignities, A still and quiet conscience. The Life of King Henry the Eighth (Wolsey at III, ii)"

"All the world’s a stage. [Motto of Shakespeare Theatre]"

"A light heart lives long."

"Assume a virtue, if you have it not. That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat, of habits devil, is angel yet in this, that to the use of actions fair and good he likewise gives a frock or livery that aptly is put on. Refrain tonight, and that shall lend a kind of easiness to the next abstinence; the next more easy; for use almost can change the stamp of nature. "

"Conscience is but a word that cowards use, devis'd at first to keep the strong in awe: our strong arms be our conscience, swords our law. March on, join bravely, let us to't pell-mell; if not to heaven, then hand in hand to hell. "

"Every like is not the same."

"Be still prepared for death: and death or life shall thereby be the sweeter."

"Conscience does make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought."

"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 (Caesar at II, ii)"

"Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood."

"Every why hath a wherefore. -The Comedy of Errors. Act ii. Sc. 2."

"False face must hide what the false heart doth know."

"Frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bar a thousand harms and lengthen life."

"Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice; take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment. Hamlet Prince of Denmark (Polonius at I, iii)"

"Give me that man that is not passion's slave, and I will wear him In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart, as I do thee. Hamlet, Act iii, Scene 2"

"He jests at scars that never felt a wound. I would have thee gone, and yet no further than a wanton's bird, who lets it hop a little from her hand, like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves, and with a silk thread plucks it back again. Romeo and Juliet (Romeo at II, ii)"

"How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes!"

"How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees? Othello the Moor of Venice (Iago at II, iii)"

"Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest, lend less than thou owest, ride more than thou goest, learn more than thou trowest, set less than thou throwest; leave thy drink and thy whore, and keep in-adoor, and thou shalt have more than two tens to a score. King Lear (Fool at Act i, Scene 4)"

"He is well paid that is well satisfied. The Merchant of Venice. Act iv. Sc. 1."

"How sour sweet music is, when time is broke and no proportion kept! So is it in the music of men's lives, and here have I the daintiness of ear to check time broke in a disordered string; but for the concord of my state and time had not an ear to hear my true time broke. I wasted time, and now doth time waste me; for now hath Time made me his numbering clock. My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch, whereto my finger, like a dial's point, is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears. Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is are clamorous groans which strike upon my heart, which is the bell. Richard II, Act v, Scene 5"

"It is a great sin to swear unto a sin, but greater sin to keep a sinful oath."

"How far that little candle throws its beams; so shines a good deed in a naughty world. The Merchant of Venice (Portia at Act v, Scene 1)"

"It is the mind that makes the body rich; and as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds, so honour peereth in the meanest habit."

"Light vanity, insatiate cormorant, consuming means soon preys upon itself."

"Keep yourself within yourself."

"Love all, trust a few."

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."

"No legacy is so rich as honesty."

"Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend; and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry."

"Men of few words are the best."

"Nothing is impossible."

"No profit grows where is no pleasure taken; in brief, sir, study what you most affect."

"O mischief, thou art swift to enter in the thoughts of desperate men."

"Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy."

"Oft expectation fails."

"One sin doth provoke another."

"One fire burns out another's burning, one pain is lessen'd by another's anguish."

"Opinion's but a fool, that makes us scan the outward habit by the inward man."

"Our bodies are our gardens... our wills our gardeners."

"Opportunity often makes the thief."

"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt."

"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to heaven."

"Our virtues lie in th' interpretation of the time."

"Reputation is... oft got without merit and lost without deserving."

"Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own."

"Some rise by sin, ands some by virtue fall."

"Strong reasons make strong actions."

"Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind."