Quotes about William Shakespeare
451 Sourced Quotes
I suspect we have internal senses. The mind's eye since Shakespeare's time has been proverbial; and we have also a mind's ear. To say nothing of dreams, one certainly can listen to one's own thoughts, and hear them, or believe that one hears them: the strongest argument adducible in favour of our hearing any thing.
If an artist may say nothing except what he has invented by his own sole efforts, it stands to reason he will be poor in ideas. If he could take what he wants wherever he could find it, as Euripides and Dante and Michelangelo and Shakespeare and Bach were free, his larder would always be full, and his cookery might be worth tasting.
I had now the key to all language, and I was eager to learn to use it. Children who hear acquire language without any particular effort; the words that fall from others' lips they catch on the wing, as it were, delightedly, while the little deaf child must trap them by a slow and often painful process. But whatever the process, the result is wonderful. Gradually from naming an object we advance step by step until we have traversed the vast distance between our first stammered syllable and the sweep of thought in a line of Shakespeare.
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, "Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well."
Every time we moved on, I joined a different class in a different school with different girls until, aged 13, my father had taken the decision to pull me out of school altogether. Everything I needed, he reasoned, could be found within the rich language of Shakespeare's plays at which, by then, I was something of an old hand.
Nothing is sillier than this charge of plagiarism. There is no sixth commandment in art. The poet dare help himself wherever he lists, wherever he finds material suited to his work. He may even appropriate entire columns with their carved capitals, if the temple he thus supports be a beautiful one. Goethe understood this very well, and so did Shakespeare before him.