Famous Quotations from Hamlet

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You come most carefully upon your hour. (1.1.6)

 

For this relief much thanks; ’tis bitter cold
And I am sick at heart. (1.1.10)

Not a mouse stirring. (1.1.12)

Look, where it comes again! (1.1.41)

But in the gross and scope of my opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state. (1.1.69)

In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets. (1.1.125)

And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. (1.1.148)

Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
The extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine. (1.1.153)

It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is the time. (1.1.157)

But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastern hill. (1.1.167)

The memory be green. (1.2.2)

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the brain,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father. (1.2.47)

A little more than kin, and less than kind. (1.2.65)

Not so, my lord; I am too much i’ the sun. (1.2.67)

Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. (1.2.68)

All that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity. (1.2.72)

Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not ‘seems’.
‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected ‘haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly; these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe. (1.2.77)

But to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; ’tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient. (1.2.93)

O! that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew;
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world.
Fie on’t! O fie! ’tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr: so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on; and yet, within a month,
Let me not think on’t: Frailty, thy name is woman!
A little month; or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father’s body,
Like Niobe, all tears; why she, even she,–
O God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourned longer,–married with mine uncle,
My father’s brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules. (1.2.129)

It is not, nor it cannot come to good;
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue! (1.2.158)

A truant disposition, good my lord. (1.1.169)

We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart. (1.2.175)

He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again. (1.2.187)

In the dead vast and middle of the night. (1.2.198)

Arm’d at point exactly, cap-a-pe. (1.2.200)

A countenance more in sorrow than in anger. (1.2.231)

While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred. (1.2.240)

Give it an understanding, but no tongue. (1.2.249)

All is not well;
I doubt some foul play. (1.2.254)

Foul deeds will rise,
Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes. (1.2.256)

And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire.
The chariest maid is prodigal enough
If she unmask her beauty to the moon. (1.3.35)

Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede. (1.3.48)

Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel. (1.3.59)

Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man. (1.3.68)

Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry,
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. (1.3.69)

You speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. (1.3.101)

When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows. (1.3.116)

Ham. The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
Hor. It is a nipping and an eager air. (1.4.1)

But to my mind,–though I am native here,
And to the manner born,–it is a custom
More honoured in the breach than the observance. (1.4.14)

Angels and ministers of grace, defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn’d,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee: I ’ll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell
Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly inurn’d,
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisit’st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls? (1.4.39)

I do not set my life at a pin’s fee. (1.4.65)

Unhand me, gentlemen,
By heaven! I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me. (1.4.85)

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (1.4.90)

I am thy father’s spirit,
Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin’d to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg’d away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand an end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list! (1.5.14)

Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder. (1.5.25)

Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural. (1.5.27)

And duller shouldst thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Wouldst thou not stir in this. (1.5.32)

O my prophetic soul!
My uncle! (1.5.40)

Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatched;
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not. (1.5.74)

The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And ‘gins to pale his uneffectual fire. (1.5.89)

Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there. (1.5.96)

O most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damn’d villain!
My tables, – meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark. (1.5.105)

Hamlet. There’s never a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he ’s an arrant knave.
Horatio. There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this. (1.5.123)

 

Every man has business and desire,
Such as it is. (1.5.130)

These are but wild and whirling words, my lord. (1.5.133)

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange! (1.5.164)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (1.5.166)

To put an antic disposition on. (1.5.172)

Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! (1.5.182)

The time is out of joint; O curs’d spite,
That ever I was born to set it right! (1.5.188)

The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind,
A savageness in unreclaimed blood. (2.1.32)

 

Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyved to his ancle. (2.1.78)

This is the very ecstasy of love. (2.1.101)

Brevity is the soul of wit. (2.2.90)

To define true madness,
What is’t but to be nothing else but mad? (2.2.93)

More matter, with less art. (2.2.95)

That he is mad, ’t is true: ’t is true ’t is pity;
And pity ’t is ’t is true. (2.2.97)

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love. (2.2.116)

Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star. (2.2.141)

Pol. Do you know me, my lord?
Ham. Excellent well; you are a fishmonger. (2.2.173)

Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes,
is to be one man picked out of ten thousand. (2.2.179)

Still harping on my daughter. (2.2.190)

Pol. What do you read, my lord?
Ham. Words, words, words. (2.2.195)

They have a plentiful lack of wit. (2.2.200)

Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. (2.2.211)

Pol. My honourable lord, I will most humbly take my leave of you.
Ham. You cannot, sir, take from me any thing that
I will more willingly part withal; except my life,
except my life, except my life. (2.2.222)

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. (2.2.259)

A dream itself is but a shadow. (2.2.261)

O God! I could be bounded in a nut-shell,
and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams. (2.2.263)

This goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! (2.2.316)

He that plays the king shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me. (2.2.341)

There is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out. (2.2.392)

I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw. (2.2.405)

One fair daughter and no more,
The which he loved passing well. (2.2.435)

Come, give us a taste of your quality. (2.2.460)

The play, I remember, pleased not the million; ’twas caviare to the general. (2.2.465)

Will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstracts and brief chronicles of the time: after your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live. (2.2.553)

Use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping? (2.2.561)

O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I:
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in ‘s aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!
For Hecuba!
What’s Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba
That he should weep for her? (2.2.584)

I, A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing. (2.2.601)

Am I a coward?
Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i’ the throat,
As deep as to the lungs? (2.2.606)

But I am pigeon-livered, and lack gall
To make oppression bitter, or ere this
I should have fatted all the region kites
With this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! (2.2.613)

For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. (2.2.622)

The devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape. (2.2.640)

The play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king. (2.2.641)

‘Tis too much proved–that with devotion’s visage
And pious action, we do sugar o’er
The devil himself. (3.1.47)

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 wished. 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 disprized 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 undiscovered 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 doth 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. (3.1.56)

Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered. (3.1.89)

Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind. (3.1.101)

I am myself indifferent honest. (3.1.122)

Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go. (3.1.142)

I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hath given you one face and you make yourselves another. (3.1.150)

I say, we will have no more marriages. (3.1.156)

Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh. (3.1.158)

O! what a noble mind is here o’erthrown:
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers, quite, quite, down! (3.1.160)

Do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o’erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod. (3.2.4)

I have thought some of Nature’s journeymen had made men and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably. (3.2.34)

No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning. (3.2.63)

A man that fortune’s buffets and rewards
Hast ta’en with equal thanks. (3.2.69)

Give me that man
That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him
In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart,
As I do thee. (3.2.76)

It is a damn’d ghost we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan’s stithy. (3.2.87)

Here ’s metal more attractive. (3.2.117)

That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs. (3.2.127)

Nay, then, let the devil wear black, for I ’ll have a suit of sables. (3.2.129)

For, O, for, O, the hobby-horse is forgot. (3.2.135)

Oph. ‘Tis brief, my lord.
Ham. As woman’s love. (3.2.151)

The lady doth protest too much, methinks. (3.2.242)

We that have free souls, it touches us not:
let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung. (3.2.256)

What! frighted with false fire? (3.2.282)

The proverb is something musty. (3.2.366)

You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. (3.2.387)

By and by is easily said. (3.2.380)

Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me. (3.2.393)

They fool me to the top of my bent. (3.2.409)

’T is now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. (3.2.413)

Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
I will speak daggers to her, but use none. (3.2.420)

O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t,
A brother’s murder. (3.3.37)

O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engag’d! Help, angels! Make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe! (3.3.70)

Now might I do it pat, now he is praying. (3.3.73)

He took my father grossly, full of bread,
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven? (3.3.80)

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go. (3.3.97)

How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead! (3.4.24)

A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king, and marry with his brother. (3.4.29)

Look here, upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow:
Hyperion’s curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill, —-
A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man. (3.4.53)

At your age
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it ’s humble. (3.4.68)

Speak no more;
Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul. (3.4.89)

Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseam’d bed,
Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty. (3.4.91)

A cut-purse of the empire and the rule,
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket! (3.4.100)

A king of shreds and patches. (3.4.103)

For in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg. (3.4.154)

I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind. (3.4.179)

For ’tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petar. (3.4.206)

Diseases desperate grown,
By desperate appliances are relieved,
Or not at all. (4.2.9)

A certain convocation of politic worms are e’en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. (4.2.22)

A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm. (4.2.29)

We go to gain a little patch of ground,
That hath in it no profit but the name. (4.4.18)

How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To fust in us unused. (4.4.33)

Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour’s at the stake. (4.4.53)

To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime. (4.5.46)

Lord! we know what we are, but know not what we may be. (4.5.43)

Come, my coach! Good-night, ladies; good-night, sweet ladies; good-night, good-night. (4.5.72)

When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions. (4.5.78)

We have done but greenly
In hugger-mugger to inter him. (4.5.83)

There’s such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would. (4.5.123)

They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rained many a tear. (4.5.164)

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. (4.5.174)

You must wear your rue with a difference.
There ’s a daisy; I would give you some violets, but they withered. (4.5.170)

And where the offence is let the great axe fall. (4.5.219)

A very riband in the cap of youth. (4.7.78)

That we would do
We should do when we would. (4.7.119)

No place, indeed should murder sanctuarize. (4.7.128)

Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears; but yet
It is our trick, nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will. (4.7.186)

Is she to be buried in Christian burial that wilfully seeks her own salvation? (5.1.1)

There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers and grave-makers; they hold up Adam’s profession. (5.1.32)

Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating. (5.1.62)

The houses that he makes last till doomsday. (5.1.64)

Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? (5.1.98)

How absolute the knave is! we must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. (5.1.147)

The age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe. (5.1.150)

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now; your gambols, your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? Quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come. (5.1.201)

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till we find it stopping a bung-hole? (5.1.222)

Imperious Caesar, dead, and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away. (5.1.235)

Lay her i’ the earth:
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring! (5.1.261)

Sweets to the sweet: farewell! (5.1.265)

I thought thy bride-bed to have decked, sweet maid,
And not have strewed thy grave. (5.1.268)

I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum. (5.1.292)

There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will. (5.2.10)

I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair. (5.2.33)

The bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion. (5.2.85)

Not a whit, we defy augury; there’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all. (5.2.209)

I have shot mine arrow o’er the house,
And hurt my brother. (5.2.233)

A hit, a very palpable hit. (5.2.271)

Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
I am justly killed with my own treachery. (5.2.296)

The point envenomed too!-
Then, venom, to thy work. (5.2.311)

This fell sergeant, death,
Is swift in his arrest. (5.2.326)

Report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied. (5.2.328)

I am more an antique Roman than a Dane. (5.2.331)

If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story. (5.2.335)

The rest is silence. (5.2.348)

Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! (5.2.349)

The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
To tell him his commandment is fulfilled,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. (5.2.359)