Shakespeare Quotations
For All Occasions
Cummings Guides Home..|..Contact This Site..|..Shakespeare Videos..|..Shakespeare Books
Compiled by Michael J. Cummings

Alphabetized Subjects


And if the boy have not a woman’s gift 
To rain a shower of commanded tears,  124
An onion will do well for such a shift. (The Taming of the Shrew, Induction, 1.123-125)
Sweet are the uses of adversity, 
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head. (As You Like It, 2.1.14-16)
Appearances That Deceive
It is the bright day that brings forth the adder, and that craves wary walking. (Julius Caesar, 2.2.17)
April 15: (Tax Time in the U.S.)
Delays have dangerous ends. (Henry VI Part I, 3.2.37)
The teeming Autumn big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime 
Like widowed wombs after their lords' decease. (Sonnet 97, lines 6-8) 
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night 
Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear; 
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear! (Romeo and Juliet, 1.5.42-44)

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. (Sonnet 18, lines 1-4) 

To me, fair friend, you never can be old 
For as you were when first your eye I eyed, 
Such seems your beauty still. (Sonnet 104, lines 1-3) 

Beauty itself doth of itself persuade 
The eyes of men without an orator. (The Rape of Lucrece, lines 29-30)

The snake, rolled in a flow’ring bank,  
With shining checkered slough, doth sting a child  
That for the beauty thinks it excellent. (Henry VI Part II, 3.1.232-234)

Caesar, Julius
As he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. (Julius Caesar, 3.2.16)

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept; ambition should be made of sterner stuff. (Julius Caesar, 3.2.71)

Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. (Hamlet, 3.1.129)
I thought her 
As chaste as unsunn’d snow. (Cymbeline, 2.5.14-15)

Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. (Hamlet, 3.1.129)

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is 
To have a thankless child! (King Lear, 1.4.204-205)
There's small choice in rotten apples. (The Taming of the Shrew, 1.1.118)
The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne, 
Burn’d on the water; the poop was beaten gold, 
Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that 
The winds were love-sick with them, the oars were silver, 
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made 
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.2.223-229)
One fire burns out another’s burning, 
One pain is lessen’d by another’s anguish. (Romeo and Juliet, 1.2.42-43)
O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me. (Richard III, 5.3.198)
My crown is in my heart, not on my head;  
Not deck’d with diamonds and Indian stones,  
Nor to be seen: my crown is call’d content. (Henry VI Part III, 3.1.65-67)
God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another. (Hamlet, 3.1.131)
Cowards die many times before their deaths; 
The valiant never taste of death but once. (Julius Caesar, 2.2.37-38)
Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety. (Henry IV Part I, 2.3.6)
A plague o’ both your houses! 
They have made worms’ meat of me. (Romeo and Juliet, 3.1.70-71)
Mercutio, Romeo's friend, speaks those words while dying after being wounded in a duel. 

When beggars die there are no comets seen; 
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. (Julius Caesar, 2.2.35-36)

They'll give him death by inches. (Coriolanus, 5.4.19)

Cowards die many times before their deaths; 
The valiant never taste of death but once. (Julius Caesar, 2.2.37-38)

Beauty’s ensign yet 
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks, 
And death’s pale flag is not advanced there. (Romeo and Juliet, 5.3.97-99)

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made:
   Those are pearls that were his eyes:
       Nothing of him that doth fade,
   But doth suffer a sea-change
   Into something rich and strange. (The Tempest, 1.2.457)

This fell sergeant, death, 
Is strict in his arrest. (Hamlet, 5.2.277-278)

Give me my Romeo: and, when he shall die, 
Take him and cut him out in little stars,   24
And he will make the face of heaven so fine 
That all the world will be in love with night, 
And pay no worship to the garish sun. (Romeo and Juliet, 3.2.23-27)

There is no sure foundation set on blood,  
No certain life achieved by others’ death. (King John, 4.2.107-108)

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. (Measure for Measure, 3.1.142-145)

Look like the innocent flower, 
But be the serpent under ’t. (Macbeth, 1.5.63-64)

Away, and mock the time with fairest show: 
False face must hide what the false heart doth know. (Macbeth, 1.7.94-95)

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never. (Much Ado About Nothing, 2.3.33)

To show an unfelt sorrow is an office 
Which the false man does easy. (Macbeth, 2.3.135-136)

A goodly apple rotten at the heart. 
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath! (The Merchant of Venice, 1.3.83-84)

For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, 
Who art as black as hell, as dark as night. (Sonnet 147, lines 13-14) 

Apparel vice like virtue’s harbinger. (The Comedy of Errors, 3.2.14)

I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more. (Titus Andronicus, 5.1.145-148)

How far that little candle throws his beams! 
So shines a good deed in a naughty world. (The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.101-102)

How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds makes ill deeds done!–King John: Act IV, Scene II. 

Delays have dangerous ends. (Henry VI Part I, 3.2.37)
Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance? (Henry IV, Part 2, 2.4.114)
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes  
I all alone beweep my outcast state,  
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,  
And look upon myself, and curse my fate. (Sonnet 29, lines 1-4)
Et tu, Brute! (And you, Brutus!). (Julius Caesar, 3.1.87) 
Brutus, whom Caesar thought a loyal friend, is part of a band of conspirators who are in the act of assassinating Caesar. 
Civil dissension is a viperous worm 
That gnaws the bowels of the commonwealth. (Henry VI Part I, 3.1.74-78)
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.–Measure for Measure: Act I, Scene IV. 
True, I talk of dreams, 
Which are the children of an idle brain, 
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy. (Romeo and Juliet, 1.4.105-107)

We are such stuff  
As dreams are made on, and our little life  
Is rounded with a sleep. (The Tempest, 4.1.168-170)

MacDuff: What three things does drink especially provoke? 
Porter: Marry, sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine. (Macbeth, 2.3.8-9)
"Nose-painting" means the drinker's nose turns red.

[Drink] provokes the desire, but takes away the performance. (Macbeth, 2.3.9) 

I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment. (Othello, 2.3.26) 

His heart's his mouth:
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent. (Coriolanus, 3.1.320-321)

Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at grave-making? (Hamlet, 5.1.30)

I will wear my heart upon my sleeve 
For daws to peck at. (Othello, 1.1.67-68)

This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle, 
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, 
This other Eden, demi-paradise,   44
This fortress built by Nature for herself 
Against infection and the hand of war, 
This happy breed of men, this little world, 
This precious stone set in the silver sea,   48
Which serves it in the office of a wall, 
Or as a moat defensive to a house, 
Against the envy of less happier lands, 
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, 52
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings, 
Fear’d by their breed and famous by their birth
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Is now leas’d out,—I die pronouncing it,— 
Like to a tenement, or pelting farm. (Richard II, 42-54, 61-62)
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; 
I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him. 
The evil that men do lives after them, 
The good is oft interred with their bones. ( Julius Caesar: 3.2.52-55)

The world is grown so bad 
That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch. (Richard III, 1.3.74-75)

Methinks your maw, like mine, should be your clock 
And strike you home without a messenger. (The Comedy of Errors, 1.2.69-70)
They are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing. (The Merchant of Venice, 1.2.4)

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, 
To throw a perfume on the violet, 
To smooth the ice, or add another hue 
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light   
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish, 
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess. (King John, 4.2.13-17)

To loathe the taste of sweetness, whereof a little 
More than a little is by much too much. (Henry IV Part I, 3.2.74-75)

Oft expectation fails, and most oft there 
Where most it promises; and oft it hits  
Where hope is coldest and despair most fits. (All's Well That Ends Well, 2.1.144-146)
He lives in fame that died in virtue's cause. (Titus Andronicus, 1.1.405)
Oftentimes excusing of a fault   
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse. (King John, 4.2.32-33)
I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety. (Henry V, 3.2.6)

To fear the worst oft cures the worse. (Troilus and Cressida, 3.2.47)

Fight till the last gasp. (Henry VI Part I, 1.2.133) 
When I tell him he hates flatterers,  
He says he does, being then most flattered. (Julius Caesar, 2.1.225-226)
Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun; it shines everywhere.–Twelfth Night: Act III, Scene I. 
The dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits. (As You Like It, 1.2.18). 

Lord, what fools these mortals be!. (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 3.2.121)

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. (As You Like It, 5.1.22). 

There is a tide in the affairs of men,  
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. (Julius Caesar, 4.3.249-250)

O! I am Fortune's fool. (Romeo and Juliet, 3.1.103)

Were’t not madness, then, 
To make the fox surveyor of the fold? (Henry VI Part II, 3.1.256-257)
O, that a man might know
The end of this day's business ere it come! (Julius Caesar, 5.1.138-139)
Getting Even
For ’tis the sport to have the enginer 
Hoist with his own petard: and it shall go hard. (Hamlet, 3.4.228-229)
Glory is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself
Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought. (Henry VI Part I, 1.2.139-141)
There is some soul of goodness in things evil,  
Would men observingly distil it out. (Henry V, 4.1.6-7)
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon'em. (Twelfth Night, 2.5..74)
Grief fills the room up of my absent child,  
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,  
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words, 
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,  
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form. (King John, 3.4.98-102)
Unbidden guests are often welcomest when they are gone. (Henry VI Part I, 2.2.58-59) 
Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;  
The thief doth fear each bush an officer. (Henry VI Part III, 5.6.13-14)

So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt. (Hamlet,

How use doth breed a habit in a man! (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 5.4.3)
Is this a dagger which I see before me, 
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee: 
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. 
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible 
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but 
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? (Macbeth, 2.1.44-50)
O strange men! 
That can such sweet use make of what they hate. (All's Well That Ends Well, 4.4.25-26)

Thou cold sciatica, 
Cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt 
As lamely as their manners. Lust and liberty 
Creep in the minds and marrows of our youth, 
That ’gainst the stream of virtue they may strive, 
And drown themselves in riot! Itches, blains, 
Sow all the Athenian bosoms; and their crop 
Be general leprosy! Breath infect breath, 
That at their society, as their friendship, may 
Be merely poison! Nothing I’ll bear from thee, 
But nakedness, thou detestable town! 
Take thou that too, with multiplying bans! 
Timon will to the woods; where he shall find 
The unkindest beast more kinder than mankind. 
The gods confound—hear me, you good gods all— 
The Athenians both within and out that wall! 
And grant, as Timon grows, his hate may grow 
To the whole race of mankind, high and low! Amen. (Timon of Athens, 4.1.25-42) 

Helping Others
Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
But to support him after. (Timon of Athens, 1.1.127-128)
Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits. (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1.1.4)
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, 1.3.85-87)
If it be a sin to covet honour,  
I am the most offending soul alive. (Henry V, 4.3.33-34)

He wears his honour in a box, unseen (All's Well That Ends Well, 2.3.219)

A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery of honour. (All's Well That Ends Well, 4.4.38)

Our stomachs 
Will make what’s homely savoury. (Cymbeline, 3.6.35-36)
Every cloud engenders not a storm. (Henry VI, Part III, 5.3.15)
Thy ignominy sleep with thee in the grave, 
But not remember’d in thy epitaph! (Henry IV Part I, 5.4.107-108)
Do as adversaries do in law, 
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends. (The Taming of the Shrew, 1.2.157)

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. (Henry VI Part II, 4.2.43) 

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. (Macbeth, 5.5.29-33) 

I love long life better than figs.(Antony and Cleopatra, 1.2.27) 

Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,  
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man. (King John, 3.4.113-114)

Then must you speak
Of one that loved not wisely but too well;
Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought
Perplex'd in the extreme; of one whose hand,
Like the base Indian, threw a pearl away
Richer than all his tribe. (Othello, 5.2.399-404)

This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath, 
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet. (Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.129-130)

Love is blind, and lovers cannot see 
The pretty follies that themselves commit. (The Merchant of Venice, 2.6.41-42)

The course of true love never did run smooth. (A Midsummer-Night's Dream, 1.1.139)

Ruin’d love, when it is built anew,  
Grows fairer than at first, more strong, far greater. (Sonnet 119, lines 11-12)

It was a lover and his lass,
     With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
 That o’er the green corn-field did pass,
     In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
 When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
 Sweet lovers love the spring. (As You Like It, 5.3.11)

Love is a spirit all compact of fire,  
Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire. (Venus and Adonis, lines 149-150)

O! how this spring of love resembleth   
        The uncertain glory of an April day,  
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,  
And by and by a cloud takes all away! (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1.3.88-91)

Now, for the love of Love and her soft hours, 
Let’s not confound the time with conference harsh: 
There’s not a minute of our lives should stretch 
Without some pleasure now. (Antony and Cleopatra, 1.1.52-55) 

What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in 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! (Hamlet, 2.2.50)
I have seen a medicine 
That’s able to breathe life into a stone, 
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
With spritely fire and motion; whose simple touch, 
Is powerful to araise King Pepin, nay, 
To give great Charlemain a pen in his hand, 
And write to her a love-line. (All's Well That Ends Well, 2.1.67-73) 
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven 
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d; 
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  192
When mercy seasons justice. (The Merchant of Venice, 4.1.180-193)
Immortal gods, I crave no pelf;
I pray for no man but myself. (Timon of Athens, 1.2.62-63)
But, look, the morn in russet mantle clad, 
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastern hill. (Hamlet, 1.1.186-187)
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose 
By any other name would smell as sweet. (Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.47-48)
’Tis now the very witching time of night, 
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out 
Contagion to this world. (Hamlet, 3.2.277-279)

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day 
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops. (Romeo and Juliet, 3.5.11-12)

Grant I may never prove so fond,
To trust man on his oath or bond. (Timon of Athens, 1.2.64-65)
One for the Road
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. (Antony and Cleopatra, 3.11.225-227)
One fire burns out another’s burning, 
One pain is lessen’d by another’s anguish. (Romeo and Juliet, 1.2.42-43)