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Shakespeare Quotations on Lust

Countess: Tell me the reason why wilt thou marry.
Clown: My poor body, madam, requires it; I am driven on
by the flesh, and he must needs go that the devil drives.
All's Well that Ends Well 1.3.27-30

Is it not strange that desire should so many years
outlive performance?
2 Henry IV 2.4.247-8, Poins speaking to Hal about Falstaff

She would hang on him
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on.
Hamlet 1.2.145-7, Hamlet speaking of his father and Gertrude

But to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,
Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty,--
Hamlet 3.4.98-101, Hamlet to Gertrude

So lust, thought to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed
And prey on garbage.
Hamlet 1.5.61-3, the Ghost to Hamlet

O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge,
Since frost itself as actively doth burn
And reason panders will.
Hamlet 3.4.87-93, Hamlet to Gertrude

They are in the very wrath of love, and they will together; clubs
cannot part them.
As You Like It 5.2.40-1, Rosalind to Orlando

The nobleness of life
Is to do thus, when such a mutual pair
And such a twain can do't.
Antony and Cleopatra 1.1.37-9, Antony embracing Cleopatra

A serving-man, proud in heart and mind; that curled
my hair; wore gloves in my cap; served the lust of
my mistress' heart, and did the act of darkness with
King Lear 3.4.85-88, Edgar to Lear

Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all.
King Lear 4.6.176-181, Lear to Gloucester

This momentary joy breeds months of pain;
This hot desire converts to cold disdain.
Lucrece 690-1

But there's no bottom, none,
In my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters,
Your matrons and your maids, could not fill up
The cistern of my lust.
Macbeth 4.3.73-6, Malcolm speaking to Macduff about Macbeth

Mistress Overdone: But what's his offence?
Pompey: Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.
Measure for Measure 1.2.81-2, Pompey and Mistress Overdone
speaking of the reason for Claudio's imprisonment

'Love comforteth like sunshine after rain,
But Lust's effect is tempest after sun;
Love's gentle spring doth always fresh remain,
Lust's winter comes ere summer half be done;
Love surfeits not, Lust like a glutton dies;
Love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.
Venus and Adonis 799-804, Adonis

Worse than killing lust.
Titus Andronicus 2.2.175, Lavinia to Tamora

I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot
to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.
Othello 4.3.42-3, Emilia speaking to Desdemona about Lodovico

How now, how now! how go maidenheads?
Troilus and Cressida 4.2.29, Pandarus to Cressida

They say all lovers swear more performance than they
are able and yet reserve an ability that they never
perform, vowing more than the perfection of ten and
discharging less than the tenth part of one.
Troilus and Cressida 3.2.81-4, Cressida to Troilus

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
Sonnet 129

Crack the glass of her virginity and make the rest malleable.
Pericles 4.6.133, Bawd to Boult

Tears harden lust, though marble wear with raining.
The Rape of Lucrece, 560

Sometime all full with feasting on your sight
And by and by clean starved for a look.
Sonnet 75


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