Let’s continue Shakespeare week with some inspiring quotes. Since it’s not hard enough to pick out a few quotes from a rather large and iconic literary collection, I’m going to take it one step further. Here are my top 15 lines from Shakespeare’s plays. (These aren’t in any particular order.)
Let me know if they’re yours as well!
1. Love’s Labor’s Lost
For when would you, my lord, or you, or you,
Have found the ground of study’s excellence
Without the beauty of a woman’s face?
From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They are the ground, the books, the academes,
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire.
2. As You Love It
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.
3. The Taming of the Shrew
Say she rail; why, I’ll tell her plain
She sings as sweetly as a nightingale.
Say that she frown; I’ll say she looks as clear
As morning roses newly wash’d with dew.
Say she be mute and will not speak a word;
Then I’ll commend her volubility,
and say she uttereth piercing eloquence.
4. Romeo and Juliet
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.
5. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
7. Julius Caesar
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
8. Romeo and Juliet
Swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
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;
13. Twelfth Night
If this fall into they hand, revolve. In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.
14. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste;
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste.
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.
And, of course, I couldn’t leave this famous Sonnet out:
15. Sonnet 18
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:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
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.
Well, there it is. Did I leave out your favorite passage? Let me know!