34 Of The Most Brilliant Shakespeare Quotes
In honor of the Bard's 451st birthday.
2. "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
—Hamlet in Hamlet
3. "From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain, and nourish all the world."
—Berowne in Love's Labor's Lost
4. "The wheel is come full circle: I am here."
—Edmund in King Lear
5. "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."
—Jaques in As You Like It
6. "Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall."
—Escalus in Measure for Measure
7. "I burn, I pine, I perish."
—Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew
9. "This above all: to thine ownself be true.
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
—Polonius in Hamlet
10. "Come, let's away to prison;
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news."
—Lear in King Lear
11. "They have been at a great feast of languages, and stol'n the scraps."
—Moth in Love's Labor's Lost
12. "I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety."
—Boy in Henry V
13. "For your brother and my sister no sooner
met, but they looked; no sooner looked, but they
loved; no sooner loved, but they sighed; no sooner
sighed, but they asked one another the reason; no
sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy."
—Rosalind in As You Like It
15. "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
—Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream
16. "Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never."
—Balthazar in Much Ado About Nothing
17. "I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is not that strange?"
—Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing
18. "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."
—Cassius in Julius Caesar
19. "Action is eloquence."
—Volumnia in Coriolanus
20. "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,
—Macbeth in Macbeth
22. "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."
—Malvolio in Twelfth Night
23. "Come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day."
—Macbeth in Macbeth
24. "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."
—The Fool in King Lear
25. "Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting."
—Dauphin in Henry V
26. "Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt."
—Lucio in Measure for Measure
28. "The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope."
—Claudio in Measure for Measure
29. "Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides:
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides."
—Cordelia in King Lear
30. "Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable."
—Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
31. "The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly."
—Touchstone in As You Like It
32. "The robb'd that smiles, steals something from the thief."
—Duke of Venice in Othello
33. "But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."
—from "Sonnet 8"
34. "Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice."
—Polonius in Hamlet
A historical note: While William Shakespeare's actual date of birth is unclear, we know that he was baptized on April 26, 1564. As baptisms took place a few days after a child's birth, historians believe that Shakespeare was born on April 23rd. Interestingly, April 23 is also the date of his death.