Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

William Shakespeare

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

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

"There are no tricks in plain simple faith."

"There is no vice so simple, but assumes some mark of virtue on its outward parts."

"There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."

"There is no darkness but ignorance."

"Those men who destroy a healthful constitution of body by intemperance and an irregular life do as manifestly kill themselves as those who hang or poison or drown themselves."

"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought."

"Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour."

"To me, fair friend, you never can be old, for as you were when first your eye I eyed, such seems your beauty still."

"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."

"Thought is the slave of life, and life time’s fool: and time, that takes survey of all the world, must have a stop."

"Truth is truth to the' end of reck'ning."

"Truth will come to light."

"Unquiet meals make ill digestion."

"Unhappy is the man for whom his own wife has not made all other women sacred."

"Virtue is chok’d with foul ambition."

"Vanity keeps persons in favor with themselves who are out of favor with all others."

"Virtue that transgresses is but patched with sin; and sin that amends is but patched with virtue."

"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!... And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?"

"Virtue is beauty."

"Who steals my purse steals trash; ‘tis something, nothing; ‘twas mind, ‘tis 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."

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

"What is more miserable than discontent?"

"Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile."

"Words pay no debts, give her deeds."

"A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser."

"Hamlet: There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

"If you can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear your favors nor your hate. Macbeth (Banquo at I, iii)"

"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."

"Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d, his glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heave, as make the angels weep."

"The fault dear Brutus, is not in our stars,"

"But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine own try self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

"Nothing is good or bad but that our thinking makes it so."

"Lord! we know what we are, but know not what we may be."

"One who never feels the wanton stings and motions of the sense, but doth rebate and blunt his natural edge with profits of the mind, study and fast."

"Sweet are the uses of adversity; which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head; and this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every things."

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness,"

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul, producing holy witness, is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple, rotten at the heart."

"Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing."

"Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

"To be wise, and love exceeds man's might."

"What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite if 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!"

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

"Action is eloquence; the eyes of the ignorant are more learned than their ears."

"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, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despised 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 undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveller 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 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.--Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remember'd!"

"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."

"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 wand'ring barque, 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."

"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: Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, And too often is his gold complexion dimm'd: And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance or natures changing course untrimm'd; By thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee."

"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: 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown; His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway; It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's When mercy seasons justice. "