What’s your favorite line from William Shakespeare?
“There are more things in Heaven and Earth then dreamt of in your philosophy.” from Hamlet.
What’s your favorite line from William Shakespeare?
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Prospero, from *The Tempest *Act 4, Scene 1, lines 148-158
I memorized this when I was a teenager. Jonathan Frid, who played Barnabas Collins the vampire on Dark Shadows, recited this on the Dark Shadows LP (record, for people who only know CDs and iTunes). Of course, since I was in love with Jonathan Frid (and still am), I memorized every line of it.
As I got older, I got involved with theater as a pianist, and now my oldest daughter is a professional stage manager. I still play piano for community and church theater, and to me, this quote is so meaningful.
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.
from Hamlet, Act V, scene ii
"The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers" King Henry VI- Part 2, Act IV, Scene II.
“Yet Edmund was beloved”-Edmund in King Lear.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
Til the last syllable of recorded time.
And all our yesterdays light fools the way to dusty death.
Out, out, brief candle, life is but a walking shadow,
A poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage
Then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot,
Full of sound and fury,
- this used to make me cry! I love Shakespeare, he knew so much of human psychology…
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'T is 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,
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, Act 4 scene 1
What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3
Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
I am justly kill’d with mine own treachery.
Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2
I was Osric in a horrible college production of Hamlet. Our director/professor rewrote it to make it shorter and more “understandable”. In fact, it was so short that there was no Fortinbras at the ending! Memories aside, the line has a wisdom to it that I appreciate.
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.
As You Like It Act II, scene 7, 139–143
Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile,
And cry, ‘Content,’ to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
I’ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I’ll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I’ll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murd’rous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut! were it further off, I’ll pluck it down.
Act III, Scene 2 King Henry the VI.
What can I say? I rub my hands together with gleeful anticipation of Glouchester’s every move; I love a good villain.