Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Shakespeare

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

"Sweet are the uses of adversity."

"Tempt not a desperate man."

"They whose guilt within their bosom lies imagine every eye beholds their blame."

"The better part of valour is discretion."

"The purest treasure mortal times afford is spotless reputation."

"Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment."

"The mind of guilt is full of scorpions."

"The quality of mercy is not strain’d, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blest; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

"The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief."

"There is no virtue like necessity."

"There's a time for all things."

"There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently."

"To be furious is to be frightened out of fear."

"Thoughts are but dreams till their effects be tried."

"Violent vanities can never last."

"To weep is to make less the depth of grief."

"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."

"Thought is free."

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, 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."

"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 heartache 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: aye, 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, 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? who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death, the undiscovered 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?"

"Trust not him that hath once broken faith; he who betrayed thee once, will betray thee again."

"Violent delights have violent ends."

"Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful."

"We rarely like the virtues we have not."

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and out little life is rounded with sleep. We know what we are, but know not what we may be."

"What cannot be eschew'd must be embraced."

"What wound did ever heal but by degrees?"

"What's gone and past help, should be past grief."

"All places that the eye of heaven visits are to a wise man ports and happy havens. Teach thy necessity to reason thus; there is no virtue like necessity. King Richard II. Act i. Sc. 3."

"You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely."

"A jest's prosperity lies in the ear Of him that hears it, never in the tongue Of him that makes it. Love's Labour 's Lost. Act v. Sc. 2."

"All that glisters is not gold, often have you heard that told: many a man his life hath sold, but my outside to behold: gilded tombs do worms infold. Had you been as wise as bold, young in limbs, in judgment old, your answer had not been inscroll'd. Fare you well, your suit is cold. The Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 7."

"A politician... one that would circumvent God."

"All the worlds 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. At first the infant, mewling and puking in the nurses arms. Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school. And then the lover, sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress eyebrow. 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 cannons mouth. And then the justice, in fair round belly with good capon lind, with eyes severe and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws and modern instances; and so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon dotard, with spectacles on nose and pouch on side, his youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide for his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, turning again toward childish treble, pipes and whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing. As You Like It (Jaques at II, vii)"

"All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoyed."

"And many strokes, though with a little axe, Hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak. King Henry VI. Part III. Act ii. Sc. 1."

"And seeing ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven."

"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 patched."

"Be great in act, as you have been in thought. - Suit the action to the word and the word to the action."

"Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear."

"Better a little chiding than a great deal of heartbreak."

"Brevity is the soul of wit."

"Give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar... Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice. Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment... 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. Hamlet Prince of Denmark (Polonius at I, iii)"

"Celerity is never more admired than by the negligent."

"Dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream. And I hold of so airy and light a quality, that it is but a shadow’s shadow."

"Few love to hear the sins they love to act. Pericles Prince of Tyre (Pericles at I, i)"

"Go to your bosom, knock there and ask your heart what it doth know that is like my brother's fault; if it confess a natural guiltiness, such as his is, let it not sound a thought upon your tongue against my brother. Measure for Measure, Act ii, Scene 2"

"Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, is the immediate jewel of their souls: who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; 'twas mind, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands. But he that filches me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed."

"God had given you one face, and you make yourself another. Hamlet, Act iii, Scene 1"

"Hanging and wiving goes by destiny."