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William Shakespeare
According To...



"The players often mention it as an honour to Shakespeare that in his writing; whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, 'Would he had blotted a thousand.'"
- Ben Jonson
 
"The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good."
- Robert Graves
 
"Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask —thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge. For the loftiest hill,
Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty,

Planting his stedfast footsteps in the sea,
Making the heaven of heavens his dwelling-place,
Spares but the cloudy border of his base
To the foiled searching of mortality;

And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
Self-schooled, self-scanned, self-honored, self-secure,
Didst tread on earth unguessed at—better so!

All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow,
Find their sole speech in that victorious brow."
- Matthew Arnold from the poem "Shakespeare"
 
"To draw no envy, Shakspeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;"
- Ben Jonson From poem "To the Memory of My Beloved Master William Shakspeare, and What He Hath Left Us "
 
"You are a friend then, as I make it out,
Of our man Shakespeare, who alone of us..."
- Edwin A Robinson from the poem Ben Jonson Entertains a Man from Stratford"
 
"Had I the choice to tally greatest bards,
To limn their portraits, stately, beautiful, and emulate at will,
Homer with all his wars and warriors--Hector, Achilles, Ajax,
Or Shakspere's woe-entangled Hamlet, Lear, Othello--Tennyson's fair ladies,
Metre or wit the best, or choice conceit to wield in perfect rhyme, delight of singers;
These, these, O sea, all these I'd gladly barter,
Would you the undulation of one wave, its trick to me transfer,
Or breathe one breath of yours upon my verse,
And leave its odor there."
- Walt Whitman poem "Had I the Choice"
 
"Poets like Shakespeare--
Beautiful souls!"
- Matthew Arnold from the poem "Bacchanalia"
 
"There must have been more time
in Shakespeare's day
to sit and watch a play."
- Marianne Moore from the poem "Marriage"
 
"Shakespeare's mind is the horizon beyond which, at present, we do not see."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
"I do not believe that any book or person or event in my life ever made so great an impression on me as the plays of Shakespeare. They appear to be the work of some heavenly genius."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
 
"I remember the players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare that in his writing, whatever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, 'Would he had blotted a thousand."
- Ben Jonson Timber
 
"Was there ever such thing as great Shakespeare? Only one must not say so! But what think you — what — was there not sad stuff?"
- George III
 
"Dante and Shakespeare divide the modern world between them, there is no third."
- T S Eliot