It may be over 400 years since his death but The Bard has still got a thing or two to teach you. Here’s some of our favourite quotes from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets on love, happiness and biscuits. 

On wisdom . . .

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

As You Like It, Act V, Scene I

On fashion . . .

‘Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy—rich, not gaudy,
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.’

Hamlet, Act I, Scene III

On selfishness . . .

‘Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin,
as self-neglecting.’

Henry V, Act II, Scene III

On strength  . . .

‘O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.’

Measure For Measure, Act II, Scene II

On happiness . . .

'Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.'

Troilus and Cressida, Act I, Scene I

On doubt . . .

‘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

On greatness . . .

'Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.'

Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V

On intelligence . . .

‘There's many a man has more hair than wit.’

The Comedy Of Errors, Act II, Scene II

On lateness . . .

‘Better three hours too soon than a minute late.’

The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Act II, Scene II

On love . . .

‘But love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit.’

The Merchant of Venice, Act II, Scene VI

On risk-taking . . .

‘The better part of valour is discretion’

Henry VI, Part I, Act V, Scene IV

On people  . . .

‘Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none’

All’s Well that Ends Well, Act I, Scene I

On flattery . . .

'And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare 

As any she belied with false compare.' 


Sonnet 130 - 'My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;' 

On entertaining . . .

'Good company, good wine, good welcome can make good people'

Henry VIII, Act I, Scene 4

On fate . . .

‘Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.’

Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II

On biscuits . . .

‘Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.’

As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

Read Simon Callow's introduction to The Genius of Shakespeare 

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