Reference > Quotations > John Bartlett, comp. > Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. > William Shakespeare > A Midsummer Night's Dream.
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John Bartlett, comp. (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.
 
William Shakespeare. (1564-1616)
 
A Midsummer Night's Dream.
 
 
1
    But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d
Than that which withering on the virgin thorn 1
Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 1.
2
    For aught that I could ever read, 2
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 1.
3
    O, hell! to choose love by another’s eyes.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 1.
4
    Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
That in a spleen unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say, “Behold!”
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 1.
5
    Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 1.
6
    Masters, spread yourselves.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 2.
7
    This is Ercles’ vein.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 2.
8
    I ’ll speak in a monstrous little voice.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 2.
9
    I am slow of study.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 2.
10
    That would hang us, every mother’s son.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 2.
  
  
  
11
    I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you, an ’t were any nightingale.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 2.
12
    A proper man, as one shall see in a summer’s day.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act i. Sc. 2.
13
    The human mortals.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1. 3
14
    The rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid’s music.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1.
15
    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.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1. 4
16
    I ’ll put a girdle round about the earth
In forty minutes. 5
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1.
17
    My heart
Is true as steel. 6
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1. 7
18
    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.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1.
19
    A lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act iii. Sc. 1.
20
    Bless thee, Bottom! bless thee! thou art translated.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act iii. Sc. 1.
21
    Lord, what fools these mortals be!
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act iii. Sc. 2.
22
    So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act iii. Sc. 2.
23
    Two lovely berries moulded on one stem.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act iii. Sc. 2.
24
    I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act iv. Sc. 1.
25
    I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act iv. Sc. 1.
26
    The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, 8 man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act iv. Sc. 1.
27
    The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush supposed a bear!
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act v. Sc. 1.
28
    For never anything can be amiss,
When simpleness and duty tender it.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act v. Sc. 1.
29
    The true beginning of our end. 9
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act v. Sc. 1.
30
    The best in this kind are but shadows.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act v. Sc. 1.
31
    A very gentle beast, and of a good conscience.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act v. Sc. 1.
32
    This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go near to make a man look sad.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act v. Sc. 1.
33
    The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
          A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act v. Sc. 1.
 
Note 1.
Maidens withering on the stalk.—William Wordsworth: Personal Talk, stanza 1. [back]
Note 2.
”Ever I could read,”—Dyce, Knight, Singer, and White. [back]
Note 3.
Act ii. sc. 2 in Singer and Knight. [back]
Note 4.
Act ii. sc. 2 in Singer and Knight. [back]
Note 5.
See Chapman, Quotation 12. [back]
Note 6.
Trew as steele.—Geoffrey Chaucer: Troilus and Cresseide, book v. line 831. [back]
Note 7.
Act ii. sc. 2 in Singer and Knight. [back]
Note 8.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard.—1 Corinthians, ii. 9. [back]
Note 9.
I see the beginning of my end.—Philip Massinger: The Virgin Martyr. act iii. sc. 3. [back]
 

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