Contents

Henry VI

 

BEDFORD
Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
That have consented unto Henry’s death!

Henry VI, Part 1 (1590) — Act I, Scene I. Westminster Abbey.

[SUFFOLK]
Their sweetest shade a grove of cypress trees!
Their chiefest prospect murdering basilisks!
Their softest touch as smart as lizards’ sting!
Their music frightful as the serpent’s hiss,

Henry VI, Part 2 (1592) — Act III, Scene II. Bury St. Edmund’s. A room of state.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

[HELENA]
Your eyes are lode-stars; and your tongue’s sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd’s ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act I, Scene I. Athens. The palace of THESEUS.

[LYSANDER]
Helen, to you our minds we will unfold:
To-morrow night, when Phoebe doth behold
Her silver visage in the watery glass,
Decking with liquid pearl the bladed grass,

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act I, Scene I. Athens. The palace of THESEUS.

Fairy
Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act II, SCENE I. A wood near Athens.

[TITANIA]
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night,
Full often hath she gossip’d by my side,
And sat with me on Neptune’s yellow sands,
Marking the embarked traders on the flood,
When we have laugh’d to see the sails conceive
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind;
Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait
Following,—her womb then rich with my young squire,—
Would imitate, and sail upon the land,
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandise.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act II, SCENE I. A wood near Athens.

OBERON
That very time I saw, but thou couldst not,
Flying between the cold moon and the earth,
Cupid all arm’d: a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts;
But I might see young Cupid’s fiery shaft
Quench’d in the chaste beams of the watery moon,
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free.
Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew’d thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.
Fetch me this herb; and be thou here again
Ere the leviathan can swim a league.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act II, SCENE I. A wood near Athens.

OBERON
I pray thee, give it me.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act II, SCENE I. A wood near Athens.

TITANIA
Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful.
BOTTOM
Not so, neither: but if I had wit enough to get out
of this wood, I have enough to serve mine own turn.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act III, SCENE I. The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.

TITANIA
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries;
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees,
And for night-tapers crop their waxen thighs
And light them at the fiery glow-worm’s eyes,
To have my love to bed and to arise;
And pluck the wings from Painted butterflies
To fan the moonbeams from his sleeping eyes:
Nod to him, elves, and do him courtesies.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act III, SCENE I. The wood. TITANIA lying asleep.

DEMETRIUS
[Awaking] O Helena, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!
To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?
Crystal is muddy. O, how ripe in show
Thy lips, those kissing cherries, tempting grow!
That pure congealed white, high Taurus snow,
Fann’d with the eastern wind, turns to a crow
When thou hold’st up thy hand: O, let me kiss
This princess of pure white, this seal of bliss!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act III, SCENE II. Another part of the wood.

OBERON
Thou see’st these lovers seek a place to fight:
Hie therefore, Robin, overcast the night;
The starry welkin cover thou anon
With drooping fog as black as Acheron,
And lead these testy rivals so astray
As one come not within another’s way.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act III, SCENE II. Another part of the wood.

OBERON
But we are spirits of another sort:
I with the morning’s love have oft made sport,
And, like a forester, the groves may tread,
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1596) — Act III, SCENE II. Another part of the wood.

Henry IV

 

[PRINCE HENRY]
So, when this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glittering o’er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I’ll so offend, to make offence a skill;
Redeeming time when men think least I will.

Henry IV, Part 1 (1597) — Act I, SCENE II. London. An apartment of the Prince’s.

[KING HENRY IV]
Presume not that I am the thing I was;
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn’d away my former self;
So will I those that kept me company.

Henry IV, Part 2 (1599) — Act V, SCENE V. A public place near Westminster Abbey.

The Merchant of Venice

 

SALARINO
There is more difference between thy flesh and hers
than between jet and ivory; more between your bloods
than there is between red wine and rhenish.

The Merchant of Venice (1598) — Act III, Scene I. Venice. A street.

Hamlet

 

HAMLET
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. 

Hamlet (1598) — Act III, Scene I. A room in the castle.

OPHELIA
My honour’d lord, you know right well you did;
And, with them, words of so sweet breath composed
As made the things more rich: their perfume lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.

Hamlet (1598) — Act III, Scene I. A room in the castle.

HAMLET
Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner
transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the
force of honesty can translate beauty into his
likeness: this was sometime a paradox, but now the
time gives it proof. I did love you once.
OPHELIA
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

Hamlet (1598) — Act III, Scene I. A room in the castle.

HAMLET
Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a
breeder of sinners?
[…]
What should such fellows as I do crawling
between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves,
all; believe none of us. Go thy ways to a nunnery.
Where’s your father?

Hamlet (1598) — Act III, Scene I. A room in the castle.

HAMLET
If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for
thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as
snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a
nunnery, go: farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs
marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough
what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go,
and quickly too. Farewell.

Hamlet (1598) — Act III, Scene I. A room in the castle.

As You Like It

 

ROSALIND
And his kissing is as full of sanctity as the touch
of holy bread.
CELIA
He hath bought a pair of cast lips of Diana: a nun
of winter’s sisterhood kisses not more religiously;
the very ice of chastity is in them.

As You Like It (1600) — Act III, Scene IV. The forest.

Othello

 

OTHELLO
Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume. When I have pluck’d the rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again.
It must needs wither: I’ll smell it on the tree.
Kissing her
Ah balmy breath, that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword! One more, one more.

Othello (1603) — Act V, Scene II. A bedchamber in the castle: DESDEMONA in bed asleep; a light burning.

Macbeth

 

MACBETH
Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be,
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.

Macbeth (1606) — Act I, SCENE IV. Forres. The palace.

MACBETH
Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown
His cloister’d flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons
The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums
Hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done
A deed of dreadful note.

Macbeth (1606) — Act III, SCENE II. The palace.

MACBETH
Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood:
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;
While night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.

Macbeth (1606) — Act III, SCENE II. The palace.

[First Murderer]
The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day:
Now spurs the lated traveller apace
To gain the timely inn; and near approaches
The subject of our watch.

Macbeth (1606) — Act III, SCENE III. A park near the palace.

MACBETH
Can such things be,
And overcome us like a summer’s cloud,
Without our special wonder? You make me strange
Even to the disposition that I owe,
When now I think you can behold such sights,
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks,
When mine is blanched with fear.

Macbeth (1606) — Act III, SCENE IV. The same. Hall in the palace.

[HECATE]
I am for the air; this night I’ll spend
Unto a dismal and a fatal end:
Great business must be wrought ere noon:
Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound;
I’ll catch it ere it come to ground:
And that distill’d by magic sleights
Shall raise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to his confusion:

Macbeth (1606) — Act III, SCENE V. A Heath.

[ROSS]
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors
And do not know ourselves, when we hold rumour
From what we fear, yet know not what we fear,
But float upon a wild and violent sea
Each way and move. I take my leave of you:

Macbeth (1606) — Act IV,SCENE II. Fife. Macduff’s castle.

All’s Well That Ends Well

 

[HELENA]
That I should love a bright particular star
And think to wed it, he is so above me:
In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.

All’s Well That Ends Well (1608) — Act I, SCENE I. Rousillon. The COUNT’s palace.

HELENA
The great’st grace lending grace
Ere twice the horses of the sun shall bring
Their fiery torcher his diurnal ring,
Ere twice in murk and occidental damp
Moist Hesperus hath quench’d his sleepy lamp,

All’s Well That Ends Well (1608) — Act II, SCENE I. Paris. The KING’s palace.

The Tempest

 

[FERDINAND]
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

The Tempest (1611) — Act V, Scene II. The island. Before PROSPERO’s cell.

Coriolanus

 

CORIOLANUS
Then let the pebbles on the hungry beach
Fillip the stars; then let the mutinous winds
Strike the proud cedars ’gainst the fiery sun;
Murdering impossibility, to make
What cannot be, slight work.

Coriolanus (1623) — Act V, Scene III. The tent of CORIOLANUS.