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,
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 . . .
Henry VIII, Act I, Scene 4
'Good company, good wine, good welcome can make good people'
On fate . . .
Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II
‘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.’
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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