APHORISMS  QUOTES AND IDEAS  BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

A SMALL REFERENCE LITERARY DICTIONARY

 by Carl William Brown founder of the Daimon Club

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Autumn

The teeming Autumn big with rich increase, bearing the wanton burden of the prime like widowed wombs after their lords decease.
William Shakespeare

Astronomy

These earthly godfathers of Heaven's lights, that give a name to every fixed star, have no more profit of their shining nights than those that walk and know not what they are.
William Shakespeare

Astrology

This is the excellent foppery of the world: that when we are sick in fortune -- often the surfeits of our own behavior -- we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars, as if we were villains on necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star!
William Shakespeare

Arts and Artists

The object of art is to give life a shape. [Midsummer Nights Dream]
William Shakespeare

Arts and Artists

O, had I but followed the arts!
William Shakespeare

Army and Navy

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother; be never so vile. This day shall gentle his condition. And gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
William Shakespeare

Army and Navy

'Tis the soldier's life to have their balmy slumbers waked with strife.
William Shakespeare

Argument

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
William Shakespeare

Argument

In a false quarrel there is no true valor.
William Shakespeare

Argument

I will name you the degrees. The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct.
William Shakespeare

Appreciation

Let never day nor night unhallowed pass, but still remember what the Lord hath done.
William Shakespeare

Antipathy

Thou art all ice. Thy kindness freezes.
William Shakespeare

Antipathy

Some men there are love not a gaping pig, some that are mad if they behold a cat, and others when the bagpipe sings I the nose cannot contain their urine.
William Shakespeare

Anecdotes

Your tale, sir, would cure deafness.
William Shakespeare

Business

To business that we love we rise bedtime, and go to't with delight.
William Shakespeare

Brevity

Brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes.
William Shakespeare

Bores and Boredom

For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, action nor utterance, nor the power of speech, to stir men's blood. I only speak right on. I tell you that which you yourselves do know.
William Shakespeare

Books and Reading

O, let my books be then the eloquence and dumb presages of my speaking breast.
William Shakespeare

Birth

When we are born we cry that we are come.. to this great stage of fools.
William Shakespeare

Bills

I did send to you for certain sums of gold, which you denied me.
William Shakespeare

Bereavement

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night.
William Shakespeare

Bed

What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?
William Shakespeare

Beauty

To me, fair friend, you never can be old. For as you were when first your eye I eyed. Such seems your beauty still.
William Shakespeare

Beauty

Beauty is but a vain and doubtful good; a shining gloss that fadeth suddenly; a flower that dies when it begins to bud; a doubtful good, a gloss, a glass, a flower, lost, faded, broken, dead within an hour. -

William Shakespeare

Beards

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.
William Shakespeare
 

Caution

It is the bright day that brings forth the adder, and that craves wary walking.
William Shakespeare

Caution

To fear the worst oft cures the worse.
William Shakespeare

Censorship

Art made tongue-tied by authority.
William Shakespeare

Censorship

Art made tongue-tied by authority.
William Shakespeare

Censorship

Art made tongue-tied by authority.
William Shakespeare

Courage

That's a valiant flea that dares eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.
William Shakespeare

Courage

I dare to do all that may become a man: who dares do more is none.
William Shakespeare

Courage

But screw your courage to the sticking-place and we'll not fail.
William Shakespeare

Cost

Why so large a cost, having so short a lease, does thou upon your fading mansion spend?
William Shakespeare

Cosmetics

God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.
William Shakespeare

Corruption

When rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.
William Shakespeare

Cooperation

Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.
William Shakespeare

Cooking

'Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers.
William Shakespeare

Conversation

Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affection, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood.
William Shakespeare

Contentment

My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones, Nor to be seen: My crown is called content: A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy.
William Shakespeare

Contentment

He that is well paid is well satisfied.
William Shakespeare

Conscience

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, and every tongue brings in a several tale, and every tale condemns me for a villain.
William Shakespeare

Conscience

Conscience does make cowards of us all.
William Shakespeare

Conceit

Conceit, more rich in matter than in words, brags of his substance: they are but beggars who can count their worth.
William Shakespeare

Conceit

Conceit in weakest bodies works the strongest.
William Shakespeare

Competition

When you fear a foe, fear crushes your strength; and this weakness gives strength to your opponents.
William Shakespeare

Competition

Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
William Shakespeare

Compassion

Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.
William Shakespeare

Company

Company, villainous company, hath been the spoil of me.
William Shakespeare

Comedy and Comedians

Though it make the unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve.
William Shakespeare

Comedy and Comedians

And I did laugh sans intermission an hour by his dial. O noble fool, a worthy fool -- motley's the only wear.
William Shakespeare

Children

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child.
William Shakespeare

Children

Children wish fathers looked but with their eyes; fathers that children with their judgment looked; and either may be wrong.
William Shakespeare

Cheerfulness

The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, and act and speak as if cheerfulness wee already there. To feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all our will to that end, and courage will very likely replace fear. If we act as if from some better feeling, the bad feeling soon folds its tent like an Arab and silently steals away
William Shakespeare

Cheating

For nothing can seem foul to those that win.
William Shakespeare

Chastity

Your old virginity is like one of our French withered pears: it looks ill, it eats dryly.
William Shakespeare

Charm

I am bewitched with the rogue's company. If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I'll be hanged.
William Shakespeare

Character

Life every man holds dear; but the dear man holds honor far more precious dear than life.
William Shakespeare

Character

The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.
William Shakespeare

Ceremony

Ceremony was but devised at first to set a gloss on faint deeds, hollow welcomes, recanting goodness, sorry ere 'Tis shown; but where there is true friendship, there needs none.
William Shakespeare

Coward and Cowardice

Cowards die a thousand deaths. The valiant taste of death but once.
William Shakespeare

Coward and Cowardice

Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.
William Shakespeare

Cries and Crying

I have full cause of weeping, but this heart shall break into a hundred thousand flaws or ere I'll weep.
William Shakespeare

Crime and Criminals

He that is robbed, not wanting what is stolen, him not know t, and he's not robbed at all.
William Shakespeare

Crisis

The time is out of joint. O cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right!
William Shakespeare

Danger

Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
William Shakespeare

Danger

Send danger from the east unto the west, so honor cross it from the north to south.
William Shakespeare

Danger

Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much; such men are dangerous. [Julius Caesar]
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

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.
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

All that live must die, passing through nature to eternity.
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

But I will be a bridegroom in my death, and run into a lover's bed.
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

I care not, a man can die but once; we owe God and death.
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

The weariest and most loathed worldly life, that age, ache, penury and imprisonment can lay on nature is a paradise, to what we fear of death.
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

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.
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

Men must endure, their going hence even as their coming hither. Ripeness is all.
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.
William Shakespeare

Death and Dying

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

Death and Dying

The undiscovered country form whose born no traveler returns. [Hamlet]
William Shakespeare

Debt

He that dies pays all his debts.
William Shakespeare

Debt

I can get no remedy against this consumption of the purse: borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the disease is incurable.
William Shakespeare

Debt

Words pay no debts.
William Shakespeare

Decay

'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine, and after one hour more twill be eleven. And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe, and then from hour to hour we rot and rot. and thereby hangs a tale.
William Shakespeare

Deception

For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, who art as black as hell, as dark as night.
William Shakespeare

Delinquency

Now, neighbor 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 of ways?
William Shakespeare

Despair

Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.
William Shakespeare

Despair

O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!
William Shakespeare

Destiny

Such as we are made of, such we be.
William Shakespeare

Devil

The devil has the power to assume a pleasing shape.
William Shakespeare

Devil

The devil can site scripture for his own purpose! An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek. [Merchant Of Venice]
William Shakespeare

Diligence

That which ordinary men are fit for, I am qualified in. and the best of me is diligence.
William Shakespeare

Dress

The apparel oft proclaims the man.
William Shakespeare

Dress

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not expressed in fancy; rich not gaudy; for the apparel oft proclaims the man.
William Shakespeare

Dreams

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.
William Shakespeare

Dreams

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life, is rounded with a sleep. [The Tempest]
William Shakespeare

Dreams

Thought are but dreams till their effects are tried.
William Shakespeare

Dreams

That, if then I had waked after a long sleep, will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming, the clouds me thought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked I cried to dream again.
William Shakespeare

Doubt

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
William Shakespeare

Doubt

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we might win, by fearing to attempt.[Measure For Measure]
William Shakespeare

Doubt

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we might win, by fearing to attempt.[Measure For Measure]
William Shakespeare

Doubt

Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.
William Shakespeare

Dreams

That, if then I had waked after a long sleep, will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming, the clouds me thought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked I cried to dream again.
William Shakespeare

Dreams

Thought are but dreams till their effects are tried.
William Shakespeare

Dreams

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life, is rounded with a sleep. [The Tempest]
William Shakespeare

Dreams

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.
William Shakespeare

Dress

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not expressed in fancy; rich not gaudy; for the apparel oft proclaims the man.
William Shakespeare

Dress

The apparel oft proclaims the man.
William Shakespeare

Explanations

There is occasions and causes why and wherefore in all things.
William Shakespeare

Experts

Good counselors lack no clients.
William Shakespeare

Excuses

And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.
William Shakespeare

Excellence

When workmen strive to do better than well, they do confound their skill in covetousness.
William Shakespeare

Excellence

Then to Silvia let us sing that Silvia is excelling. She excels each mortal thing upon the dull earth dwelling.
William Shakespeare

Evil

There's small choice in rotten apples.
William Shakespeare

Envy

Oh, what a bitter thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes.
William Shakespeare

Engineering

For 'Tis the sport to have the engineer hoisted with his own petard.
William Shakespeare

Engagement

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; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage, which they will climb incontinent, or else be incontinent before marriage.
William Shakespeare

Endurance

Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
William Shakespeare

Effort

Nothing can come of nothing.
William Shakespeare

Fashion

Fashion wears out more clothes than the man.
William Shakespeare

Farewells

Come, let's have one other gaudy night. Call to me. All my sad captains. Fill our bowls once more. Let's mock the midnight bell.
William Shakespeare

Family

The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are heaven's lieutenants.
William Shakespeare

Familiarity

Sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
William Shakespeare

Fame

Time hath a wallet at his back, wherein he puts. Alms for oblivion, a great-sized monster of ingratitudes.
William Shakespeare

Fame

Glory is like a circle in the water, which never ceaseth to enlarge itself, till, by broad spreading, it disperse to naught.
William Shakespeare

Fame

Death makes no conquest of this conqueror: For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
William Shakespeare

Fame

Celebrity is never more admired than by the negligent.
William Shakespeare

Faces

God had given you one face, and you make yourself another. [Hamlet]
William Shakespeare

Faces

Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn.
William Shakespeare

Faces

The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes.
William Shakespeare


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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S REPUTATION

To see him act is like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772-1834, British Poet, Critic, Philosopher

England has two books, one which she has made and one which has made her: Shakespeare and the Bible.
Victor Hugo 1802-1885, French Poet, Dramatist, Novelist

If those gentlemen would let me alone I should be much obliged to them. I would say, as Shakespeare would say... “Sweet Friend, for Jesus sake forbear.”
Thomas Carlyle 1795-1881, Scottish Philosopher, Author

We do not fear censorship for we have no wish to offend with improprieties or obscenities, but we do demand, as a right, the liberty to show the dark side of wrong, that we may illuminate the bright side of virtue - the same liberty that is conceded to the art of the written word, that art to which we owe the Bible and the works of Shakespeare.
David Wark Griffiths 1875-1948, American Pioneer Film Director

Find enough clever things to say, and you’re a Prime Minister; write them down and you’re a Shakespeare.
George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950, Irish-born British Dramatist

Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which, if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare.
Francis Herbert Hedge 1846-1924, British Philosopher

There is hardly a pioneer’s hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of Shakespeare. I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin.
Alexis De Tocqueville 1805-1859, French Social Philosopher

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
Martin Luther King Jr. 1929-1968, American Black Leader, Nobel Prize Winner, 1964

If you write fiction you are, in a sense, corrupted. There’s a tremendous corruptibility for the fiction writer because you’re dealing mainly with sex and violence. These remain the basic themes, they’re the basic themes of Shakespeare whether you like it or not.
Anthony Burgess 1917-1993, British Writer, Critic

When I heard the word “stream” uttered with such a revolting primness, what I think of is urine and not the contemporary novel. And besides, it isn’t new, it is far from the dernier cri. Shakespeare used it continually, much too much in my opinion, and there’s Tristam Shandy, not to mention the Agamemnon.
James Joyce 1882-1941, Irish Author

You ask whether I have ever been in love: fool as I am, I am not such a fool as that. But if one is only to talk from first-hand experience, conversation would be a very poor business. But though I have no personal experience of the things they call love, I have what is better - the experience of Sappho, of Euripides, of Catallus, of Shakespeare, of Spenser, of Austen, of Bronte, of anyone else I have read.
C. S. Lewis 1898-1963, British Academic, Writer, Christian Apologist

Here Greek and Roman find themselves alive along these crowded shelves; and Shakespeare treads again his stage, and Chaucer paints anew his age.
John Greenleaf Whittier 1807-1892, American Poet, Reformer, Author

The artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Shakespeare, Balzac, Homer have all written about the same things, and if they had lived one thousand or two thousand years longer, the publishers wouldn’t have needed anyone since.
William Faulkner 1897-1962, American Novelist

In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be.
Hubert H. Humphrey 1911-1978, American Democratic Politician, Vice President

Single-mindedness is all very well in cows or baboons; in an animal claiming to belong to the same species as Shakespeare it is simply disgraceful.
Aldous Huxley 1894-1963, British Author

Playing Shakespeare is really tiring. You never get to sit down, unless you’re the king.
Josephine Hull Actress

Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations.
Orson Welles 1915-1985, American Film Maker

A remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good in spite of all the people who say he is very good.
Robert Graves 1895-1985, British Poet, Novelist

Shakespeare, Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Lincoln never saw a movie, heard a radio, or looked at a TV They had loneliness and knew what to do with it. They were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would mark.
Carl Sandburg 1878-1967, American Poet

Raphael paints wisdom; Handel sings it, Phidias carves it, Shakespeare writes it, Wren builds it, Columbus sails it, Luther preaches it, Washington arms it, Watt mechanizes it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist

Young women... you are, in my opinion, disgracefully ignorant. You have never made a discovery of any sort of importance. You have never shaken an empire or led an army into battle. The plays by Shakespeare are not by you, and you have never introduced a barbarous race to the blessings of civilization. What is your excuse?
Virginia Woolf 1882-1941, British Novelist, Essayist

The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life: try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate!
Robert Browning 1812-1889, British Poet

Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players, and Tennessee Williams has about 5, and Samuel Beckett one - and maybe a clone of that one. I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.
Gore Vidal

The characteristic of Chaucer is intensity: of Spencer, remoteness: of Milton elevation and of Shakespeare everything.
William Hazlitt 1778-1830, British Writer and Critic


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WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS

1588-1593 The Comedy of Errors
1588-1594 Love’s Labor’s Lost
1590-1591 2 Henry VI
1590-1591 3 Henry VI
1591-1592 1 Henry VI
1592-1593 Richard III
1592-1594 Titus Andronicus
1593-1594 The Taming of the Shrew
1593-1595 The Two Gentlemen of Verona
1594-1596 Romeo and Juliet
1595    Richard II
1594-1596 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
1596-1597 King John
I596-1597 The Merchant of Venice
1597    1 Henry IV
1597-1598 2 Henry IV
1598-1600 Much Ado About Nothing
1598-1599 Henry V
1599-1600 Julius Caesar
1599-1600 As You Like It
1599-1600 Twelfth Night
1600-1601 Hamlet
1597-1601 The Merry Wives of Windsor
1601-1602 Troilus and Cressida
1602-1604 All’s Well That Ends Well
1603-1604 Othello
1604-1605 Measure for Measure
1605-1606 King Lear
1605-1606 Macbeth
1606-1607 Antony and Cleopatra
1605-1608 Timon of Athens
1607-1609 Coriolanus
1608-1609 Pericles
1609-1610 Cymbeline
1610-1611 The Winter’s Tale
1611-1612 The Tempest
1612-1613 Henry VIII

POEMS

1592    Venus and Adonis
1593-1594 The Rape of Lucrece
1593-1600 Sonnets
1600-1601 The Phoenix and the Turtle


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