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Shakespeare quotes wisdom
January 12, 2019 Anniversary Wishes 3 comments

May 3, 2017- Explore tinaliddie's board "Words of Wisdom by Shakespeare", William Shakespeare Quote Typed on Typewriter and by farmnflea, $12.00.

Lacking a mentor in your empty life? In need of someone to steer you in the right direction, away from a vortex of self-pity and eating in bed? Well, we have a very legitimate contender for the role.

Okay so he's dead, let's just get that out of the way. But in his lifetime, he managed to weave enough pieces of poster-worthy wisdom that his legacy shows no sign of disappearing. We're talking about William Shakespeare of course. And we have 30 of his best nuggets of advice for you here.

Live by them, yeah?

Click on each image for the full quote


"To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one picked out of ten thousand"


"What's done cannot be undone"

All's Well That Ends Well

"Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none"

Julius Caesar

"Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once."

Twelfth Night

"Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit."

Measure For Measure

"'Tis one thing to be tempted, another thing to fall."

As You Like It

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


"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy"

Titus Andronicus

"Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge."

Two Gentlemen Of Verona

"Absence from those we love is self from self – a deadly banishment."


"Society is no comfort to one not sociable."

Troilus and Cressida

"Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise."


“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.”

Henry V

"Men of few words are the best men."

Twelfth Night

"Be not afraid of greatness; some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them"

Romeo & Juliet

"Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers."

Measure For Measure

"The miserable have no other medicine but only hope."

A Midsummer's Night Dream

"The best in this kind are but shadows, and the worst are no worse if imagination amend them"

The Tempest

"Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows"

Antony and Cleopatra

"In time we hate that which we often fear"


"Nature teaches beasts to know their friends"

King Lear

"'Jesters do oft prove prophets'"


"Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving."

The Comedy Of Errors

"Ill deeds is doubled with an evil word"


"There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."

Love's Labour's Lost

"Many can brook the weather that love not the wind."

Much Ado About Nothing

"Time goes on crutches till love have all his rites."

The Taming Of The Shrew

"No profit grows where is no pleasure ta'en"

Two Gentlemen Of Verona

"That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,

If with his tongue he cannot win a woman."

Henry IV, Part 1

"If all the year were playing holidays,

To sport would be as tedious as to work."

William Shakespeare might have died 400 years ago with modern William Shakespeare quotes: The Bard's most powerful words of wisdom.

William Shakespeare

shakespeare quotes wisdom

“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;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly 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 respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd!”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet


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50 Best William Shakespeare Quotes About Life

shakespeare quotes wisdom

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William Shakespeare Quotes on Wisdom & Knowledge (40 Quotes)

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  • The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
    (William Shakespeare, "As You Like It")
  • I do profess to be no less than I seem; to serve him truly that will put me in trust: to love him that is honest; to converse with him that is wise, and says little; to fear judgment; to fight when I cannot choose; and to eat no fish.
    (William Shakespeare, "King Lear")
  • Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
    (William Shakespeare)
  • O, if, I say, you look upon this verse,
    When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
    Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
    But let your love even with my life decay,
    Lest the wise world should look into your moan
    And mock you with me after I am gone.
    (William Shakespeare, "King Lear")
  • Wise men ne'er sit and wail their loss, but cheerily seek how to redress their harms.
    (William Shakespeare)

  • Love is your master, for he masters you;
    And he that is so yoked by a fool,
    Methinks, should not be chronicled for wise.
    (William Shakespeare, "King Lear")
  • All is the fear and nothing is the love;
    As little is the wisdom, where the flight
    So runs against all reason.
    (William Shakespeare, "King Lear")
  • And whatsoever else shall hap tonight, Give it an understanding, but no tongue
    (William Shakespeare)
  • He is wise, sir; he knew your worship would kill
    him if he came.
    (William Shakespeare, "King Lear")
  • Withal I did infer your lineaments,
    Being the right idea of your father,
    Both in your form and nobleness of mind;
    Laid open all your victories in Scotland,
    Your discipline in war, wisdom in peace,
    Your bounty, virtue, fair humility;
    Indeed, left nothing fitting for your purpose
    Untouch'd or slightly handled in discourse.
    (William Shakespeare, "King Lear")
  • Give it an understanding, but no tongue.
    (William Shakespeare)
  • Alas, my lord,
    Your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
    (William Shakespeare, "King Lear")
  • Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with dearer
    (William Shakespeare, "King Lear")
  • Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
    (William Shakespeare)
  • Who is Silvia What is she, That all our swains commend her Holy, fair, and wise is she.
    (William Shakespeare)

    Related Authors

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Beautiful inspirational Shakespeare quotes on love, life, friendship, time and Here are some of Shakespeare's most clever words of wisdom.

William Shakespeare Sayings and Quotes

shakespeare quotes wisdom

Last Updated on

William Shakespeare, the great English bard, wrote his works about five centuries ago, but even today his words about so important for mankind emotions and relationships are strongly relevant.

This talented playwright in his works described the joy, love, hardships of human life; he skillfully weaved all sorts of feelings of people, creating eternal masterpieces that can be quoted over the years.

Reading Shakespeare’s oeuvres in the original gives a unique opportunity to deeply feel and understand the author, to enjoy his syllable and style of writing, to understand the whole essence of his immortal statements about the futility of our existence in “Macbeth”, the need to control our desires and dreams in “Caesar”, all think carefully before talking in “King Lear” and about how important is the integrity in “Hamlet”.

In Shakespeare’s works, every person can find wise words and inspiration for themselves – parents listen to his advice when raising children, romantics for centuries cite his words about love, as well as realists, treating them as a guide to life, as well as readers who need moral support and guidance through their lives.

Below are presented some of the most interesting quotes from Shakespeare’s poems that help to live and fight.


On Love

‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind’

(A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Act 1, Scene 1)

‘If music be the food of love, play on’

(Twelfth Night – Act 1, Scene 1)

‘Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs’

(Romeo & Juliet – Act 1, Scene 1)

‘Love is like a child, That longs for everything it can come by’

(The Two Gentlh3en of Verona – Act 3, Scene 1)

‘I would not wish any companion in the world but you’

(The Tempest – Act 3, Scene 1)

‘Mistress, you know yourself, down on your knees, And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man’s love’

(As You Like It – Act 3, Scene 5)


On Friendship

Words are easy, like the wind; Faithful friends are hard to find.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

‘Hamlet’ (1601) act 1, sc. 3, l. 58

I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good Friends

‘Richard II’ (1595) act 2, sc. 3, l. 46

A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities.

‘Julius Caesar‘ (1599) act 4, sc. 3, l. 85

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To digg the dust encloased heare! Blest be the man that spares thes stones, And curst be he that moves my bones.


On marriage

Men are April when they woo, December when they wed: maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.
(As You Like It 4.1.130-2)

Marriage is a matter of more worth
Than to be dealt in by attorneyship.
(1 Henry VI 5.5.50-1)

The fittest time to corrupt a man’s wife is when she’s fallen out with her husband.
(Coriolanus 4.3.30-2)

I will be master of what is mine own:
She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house,
My household stuff, my field, my barn,
My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing.
(The Taming of the Shrew 3.2.228-31)


On Jealousy

How many fond fools serve mad jealousy?
The Comedy of Errors (2.1)

O, how hast thou with ‘jealousy infected
The sweetness of affiance!
Henry V (2.2)

Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ.
Othello (3.3)
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy!
The Merchant of Venice (3.2)


On expectations

Oft expectation fails and most oft there

Where most it promises, and oft it hits

Where hope is coldest and despair most fits.

All’s Well That Ends Well


On integrity

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

“Plays of William Shakespeare”

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

Hamlet’ (1601) act 1, sc. 3, l. 58

This above all; to thine own self be true.

‘Hamlet’ (1601) act 1, sc. 3, l. 58


On nature

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

‘Troilus And Cressida’ (1602) act 3, sc. 3, l. 171

O sleep! O gentle sleep! Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down And steep my senses in forgetfulness? Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee, And hush’d with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber, Than in the perfum’d chambers of the great, Under the canopies of costly state, And lull’d with sound of sweetest melody?

‘Henry IV, Part 2’ (1597) act 3, sc. 1, l. 5

How sometimes nature will betray its folly, Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime To harder bosoms!

“The Plays of William Shakespeare”

On thinking before you speak

Have more than you show, speak less than you know.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.


On trust

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.

“Plays of William Shakespeare”

Don’t trust the person who has broken faith once.

There’s no trust, No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured, All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.


On money

Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.

1603-4 Iago to Othello. Othello, act 3, sc.3, l.176-8.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

‘Hamlet’ (1601) act 1, sc. 3, l. 58

For I can raise no money by vile means. By heaven, I had rather coin my heart, And drop my blood for drachmas

William Shakespeare (1864). “The Works of William Shakespeare”, p.781

Nothing comes amiss, so money comes withal.

‘The Taming Of The Shrew’ (1592) act 1, sc. 2, l. [82]


On Wisdom

All that glisters is not gold; Often have you heard that told: Many a man his life hath sold But my outside to behold: Gilded tombs do worms enfold.

William Shakespeare (2010). “The Merchant of Venice”, p.52, Palgrave Macmillan

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

1599 Antony. Julius Caesar, act 3, sc.2, l.74-86.


On mercy

Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.

‘Timon Of Athens’ act 3, sc. 5, l. 3

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: ‘Tis 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.

‘The Merchant of Venice’ (1596-8) act 4, sc. 1, l. [182]


On death

The gloomy shade of death

King Henry VI, Part I

On pain of death, no person be so bold

(King Richard II))

The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes

(Julius Caesar)

‘Death is my son-in-law, death is my heir’

(Romeo & Juliet)


On patience

How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?

‘Othello’ (1602-4) act 2, sc. 3, l. [379]

No, I will be the pattern of all patience; I will say nothing.

‘King Lear’ (1605-6) act 3, sc. 2, l. [37]

Sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.

‘The Merchant of Venice’ (1596-8) act 1, sc. 3, l. [107]

On ambition

The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.


As he was valiant, I honour him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him.

‘Julius Caesar‘ (1599) act 3, sc. 2, l. [27]

Dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream. And I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow’s shadow.


Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars
That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th’ ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!

‘Othello’ (1602-4) act 3, sc. 3, l. 346

On the futility of life

And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe.
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.

As You Like It (c.1599-1600), Act II, scene 7, line 25.


And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe.
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.

As You Like It (c.1599-1600), Act II, scene 7, line 25.


And a man’s life’s no more than to say “One.”

Hamlet (1600–01), Act V, scene 2, line 74.


I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.

Julius Cæsar (1599), Act I, scene 2, line 93.


On grief

Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once

‘Julius Caesar‘ (1599) act 2, sc. 2, l. 30

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.

Tell them, that, to ease them of their griefs, Their fear of hostile strokes, their aches, losses, Their pangs of love, with other incident throes That nature’s fragile vessel doth sustain In life’s uncertain voyage, I will some kindness do them.

‘Timon Of Athens’ act 5, sc. 1, l. [203]

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