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 foolsThe 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 taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury,Signifying nothing.
- Macbeth in Macbeth
, Act V, Scene 531
To be, or not to be, that is the question:Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take arms against a sea of troublesAnd by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,No more; and by a sleep to say we endThe heart-ache and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummationDevoutly 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 respectThat makes calamity of so long life.
- Hamlet in Hamlet
, Act III, Scene 132
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?Deny thy father and refuse thy name;Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my loveAnd I'll no longer be a Capulet.
- Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
, Act II, Scene 233
Et tu, Brute?
- Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar
, Act III, Scene 134
I am a Jew. Hathnot a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed withthe same food, hurt with the same weapons, subjectto the same diseases, healed by the same means,warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, asa Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poisonus, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we notrevenge? If we are like you in the rest, we willresemble you in that.
- Shylock in The Merchant of Venice
, Act III, Scene 135
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;But do not dull thy palm with entertainmentOf each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. BewareOf entrance to a quarrel, but being in,Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;For the apparel oft proclaims the man,And they in France of the best rank and stationAre of a most select and generous chief in that.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 ownself be true,And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man.
- Polonius' speech to Laertes in Hamlet, Act I, Scene 336
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,His acts being seven ages.
- Jacques in As You Like It, Act II, Scene 737
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 dimmed,And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed: 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.
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 1838
GOOD FREND FOR JESUS SAKE FORBEARE,TO DIGG THE DUST ENCLOASED HEARE:BLESTE BE Ye MAN Yt [that] SPARES THES STONES,AND CURST BE HE Yt MOVES MY BONES.
- Inscription on Shakespeare's grave39
"He was not of an age, but for all time."
- Ben Jonson on Shakespeare40
To the Reader.This Figure, that thou here seest put,It was for gentle Shakespeare cut,Wherein the Graver had a strifewith Nature, to out-doo the life :O, could he but have drawne his witAs well in brasse, as he hath hitHis face; the Print would then surpasseAll, that was ever writ in brasse.But, since he cannot, Reader, lookeNot on his Picture, but his Booke.
- Ben Jonson on Martin Droeshout's engraving on the First Folio41