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Quotations from Shakespeare's As You Like It

As You Like It is packed with unforgettable quotations that have become a part of present-day culture. The most famous passage, and one of the most eloquent in all of English literature, is Jaques' speech on the seven ages of man, which begins "All the world's a stage."

Fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world. (1.1.127)

Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally. (1.2.36)

Fortune reigns in gifts of the world. (1.2.39)

Always the dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits. (1.2.59)

How now, wit! whither wander you? (1.2.61)

Well said: that was laid on with a trowel. (1.2.113)

Your heart's desires be with you! (1.2.214)

One out of suits with fortune. (1.2.263)

My pride fell with my fortunes. (1.2.269)

Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown
More than your enemies. (1.2.272)

Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you. (1.2.302)

Thus must I from the smoke into the smother;
From tyrant duke unto a tyrant brother. (1.2.306)

O, how full of briers is this working-day world! (1.3.13)

Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold. (1.3.110)

We'll have a swashing and a martial outside,
As many other mannish cowards have
That do outface it with their semblances. (1.3.125)

Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as, the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say,
'This is no flattery.' (2.1.2)

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything. (2.1.13)

The big round tears
Coursed one another down his innocent nose,
In piteous chase. (2.1.39)

Unregarded age in corners thrown. (2.3.46)

Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly. (2.3.55)

Thou art not for the fashion of these times,
Where none will sweat but for promotion. (2.3.59)

In thy youth thou wast as true a lover
As ever sighed upon a midnight pillow. (2.4.28)

If thou remember'st not the slightest folly
That ever love did make thee run into,
Thou hast not loved. (2.4.36)

We that are true lovers run into strange capers. (2.4.55)

Thou speakest wiser than thou art ware of. (2.4.58)

I shall ne'er be ware of mine own wit till I break my shins against it. (2.4.60)

Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather. (2.5.1)

Who doth ambition shun
And loves to live i' the sun,
Seeking the food he eats,
And pleased with what he gets. (2.5.39)

I met a fool i' the forest,
A motley fool. (2.7.13)

And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
Says very wisely, "It is ten o'clock:
Thus we may see," quoth he, "how the world wags." (2.7.21)

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. (2.7.27)

O worthy fool! One that hath been a courtier,
And says, if ladies be but young and fair,
They have the gift to know it: and in his brain,--
Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
After a voyage,--he hath strange places crammed
With observation, the which he vents
In mangled forms. (2.7.38)

My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
That fools should be so deep-contemplative;
And I did laugh sans intermission
An hour by his dial. (2.7.33)

I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please. (2.7.48)

Oppress'd with two weak evils, age and hunger. (2.7.134)

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose well saved a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness, and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. (2.7.139)

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude:
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
Then heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.(2.7.175)

I earn that I eat, get that I wear,
owe no man hate,
envy no man's happiness,
glad of other men's good,
content with my harm. (3.2.79)

From the east to western Ind,
No jewel is like Rosalind. (3.2.96)

O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping! (3.2.205)

It is as easy to count atomies as to resolve the propositions of a lover. (3.2.247)

Answer me in one word. (3.2.215)

Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must speak. (3.2.240)

I do desire we may be better strangers. (3.2.277)

Time travels in divers paces with divers persons. (3.2.328)

Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical. (3.3.17)

I am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul. (3.3.41)

Down on your knees,
And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love. (3.5.57)

I pray you, do not fall in love with me,
For I am falser than vows made in wine. (3.5.73)

You were better speak first, and when you were gravelled for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss. (4.1.76)

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. (4.1.154)

Forever and a day. (4.1.151)

The horn, the horn, the lusty horn
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn. (4.2.18)

"So so" is good, very good, very excellent good: and yet it is not; it is but so so. (5.1.25)

Oh! how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes. (5.2.49)

'Tis like the howling of Irish wolves against the moon. (5.2.121)

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green cornfield did pass,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring. (5.3.18)

Here comes a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools. (5.4.37)

He uses his folly like a stalking-horse,
and under the presentation of that he shoots his wit. (5.4.112)

Quotations compiled by John Bartlett (Familiar Quotations, 1882).


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