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Shakespeare quotes page

PLAY: King Henry V ACT/SCENE: 1.1 SPEAKER: Canterbury CONTEXT: Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose
Familiar as his garter; that, when he speaks,
The air, a chartered libertine, is still,
And the mute wonder lurketh in men’s ears
To steal his sweet and honeyed sentences;
So that the art and practic part of life
Must be the mistress to this theoric;
Which is a wonder how his Grace should glean it,
Since his addiction was to courses vain,
His companies unlettered, rude, and shallow, DUTCH: Waarlijk, als hij spreekt,
Is zelfs de lucht, de vrije woest’ling, stil,
En stom verbazen loert in ieders oor
Om zijner reed’nen honingzeem te buiten
Proverb: To cut the Gordian knot

Courses=Habits, way of life, conduct
Art=Practical skill (the practic part of life)
Gordian knot: Intricate/complex knot. Reference to Gordius (“De knoop doorhakken” also alludes to the Gordian knot.)

The Gordian knot=de Gordiaansche knoop (doorhakken) Topics: still in use, proverbs and idioms, custom, leadership

PLAY: Richard II
SPEAKER: King Richard II
For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison’d by their wives: some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour’d thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence: throw away respect,
Tradition, form and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?

Bedekt uw hoofd, drijft niet door huldebrenging
Den spot met vleesch en bloed; verzaakt den eerbied,
Gebruik en vorm en statig plichtbetoon


Antic=Buffoon, practising odd gesticulations (a fool in old farces, whose main purpose was to disrupt the more serious actors)
Tradition=Traditional practices, established or customary homage (‘state’ and ‘pomp’)
Mock=Treat with exaggerated respect (hence solemn reverence)
Subjected=(a) turned into a subject under the dominion of the king; (b) subjugated, exposed
Monarchize=Play at being King (OED cites this from Nashe (1592) suggesting a mockery that is not so evident in this use of the term)

To humour=Involgen, believen, opvolgen, naar den mond spreeken
Tradition=Overleevering van leerstukken of gevoelens
Mock=Bespotting, beschimping
Subject=Onderworpen; onderdaan

Topics: equality, status, order/society, respect, custom

PLAY: As You Like It
SPEAKER: Duke Senior
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?

Maakt niet gewoonte reeds dit leven zoeter Dan dat van glimp en praal?

Custom=habit, regular practice
Painted=Specious, feigned, unreal
Pomp=Magnificence, splendour
Reference to old proverb: Custom makes all things easy

Topics: custom, life, corruption, conspiracy

PLAY: Romeo and Juliet
SPEAKER: Mercutio
Why, what is Tybalt?
More than Prince of Cats. Oh, he’s the courageous captain of compliments. He fights as you sing prick-song, keeps time, distance, and proportion. He rests his minim rests—one, two, and the third in your bosom. The very butcher of a silk button, a duelist, a duelist, a gentleman of the very first house of the first and second cause. Ah, the immortal passado, the punto reverso, the hai!

Meer dan de vorst van het kattengeslacht, dat kan ik u
verzekeren; hij is de moedige aanvoerder van alle fijne manieren.

Prince of Cats = figure from Reynard the Fox, also called Tybalt
To compliment (or complement) = to observe formal ceremonies or courtesy. Hence captain of compliments = one who observes protocol.
Butcher of a silk button=precise, never misses the mark.

Topics: custom, civility, flattery, clarity/precision

PLAY: The Merchant of Venice
SPEAKER: Shylock
Signor Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto you have rated me
About my moneys and my usances.
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever, cutthroat dog,
And spet upon my Jewish gaberdine—
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help.
Go to, then! You come to me and you say,
“Shylock, we would have moneys.” You say so!—
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold! Moneys is your suit.
What should I say to you? Should I not say,
“Hath a dog money? Is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?” Or
Shall I bend low and in a bondman’s key
With bated breath and whispering humbleness
Say this: “Fair sir, you spet on me on Wednesday last;
You spurned me such a day; another time
You called me ’dog’—and for these courtesies
I’ll lend you thus much moneys?”

Signore Antonio, meermalen, vaak,
Hebt gij me op den Rialto doorgehaald
Ter zake van mijn leenera en mijn rente

Eckles v. State, 306 Ore. 380, 402 (1986) (contractual obligations): “Were specific performance required, the state, if it made an unwise or unfortunate bargain, might find itself in the position of Antonio, who, having agreed to forfeit a pound of his flesh upon failure to repay 3000 ducats, could not obtain mercy from Shylock even though friends offered to repay the debt many times over. Obligees with less of a point to prove than Shylock would nonetheless be in a position to extract an onerous settlement from the state.”
Rialto=Venetian Stock Exchange where merchants met to transact business deals
Rated = berated
My moneys and my usances=money and charging of interest
Usance=Koopmans gebruik, Uso, een woord onder de Koopluiden gebruikelyk omtrent de betaaling der Wisselbrieven, betekenende een maand tyd; en tusschen dit en Spanje, enz. twee maanden.
Double usance=Op dubbel Uso

Burgersdijk notes:
Zooals ik op den Rialto vernam. Onder Rialto is de plaats te verstaan, die als beurs diende. Een tijdgenoot van Sh. beschrijft die als een groot gebouw met open galerijen, waar de kooplieden tweemaal daags samenkwamen, ‘s morgens tissen 11 en 12 en ‘s namiddags tusschen 5 en 6 uren.

Topics: emotion and mood, misquoted

PLAY: As You Like It
SPEAKER: Rosalind
O, how full of briars is this working-day world!
CELIA They are but burrs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday foolery: if we walk not in the trodden paths our very petticoats will catch them.
I could shake them off my coat: these burrs are in my heart.

Neen, ook wel wat om mijns vaders kind. 0, hoe
vol distels is deze alledaagsche wereld!

Working-day (adjectively)=Common, ordinary, trivial vulgar
Burr=Rough head of the burdock
Foolery=Jesting, buffoonery

Topics: status, order/society, custom

PLAY: Cymbeline
So sick I am not, yet I am not well;
But not so citizen a wanton as
To seem to die ere sick. So please you, leave me.
Stick to your journal course. The breach of custom
Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me
Cannot amend me. Society is no comfort
To one not sociable. I am not very sick,
Since I can reason of it. Pray you trust me here—
I’ll rob none but myself—and let me die,
Stealing so poorly.

Gezelschap helpt niet wie niet gezellig is;

Journal course=Daily routine
Citizen a wanton=City-bred (soft) “wanton” spoilt child or indulged and self-indulgent youth
Reason=Speak of it

Journal=Dag-register, dag-verhaal
Wanton=Onrein, vuil, ontuchtig
To grow wanton with too much prosperity=In voorspoed weeldrig worden

Topics: wellbeing, emotion and mood, custom, life

PLAY: Hamlet
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this:
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery
That aptly is put on.

Dat monster, sleur, dat alle zinnen doodt, Die duivel van ons doen, is engel hierin/
Gewoonte, dat monster, dat alle redelijkheid verslindt. /
Dat monster, sleur, de vraat van elk besef, Aller gewoonten duivel, is hierin Een engel.

Custom=Habit, regular practice
Eat=To devour, to consume, to waste, to destroy

Topics: good and bad, conscience, custom

PLAY: Romeo and Juliet
SPEAKER: Mercutio
The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting fantasticoes, these new tuners of accents! “By Jesu, a very good blade! A very tall man! A very good whore!” Why, is not this a lamentable thing, grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted with these strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these “pardon me’s,” who stand so much on the new form, that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench? Oh, their bones, their bones!

Och, naar de maan met al die bespottelijke, lispelende,
gemaakte windbuilen, die nieuwe bauwers van brabbelwoorden!

Affecting=Using affectations
Fantasticoes (sometimes fantasmines)=Fantastic, coxcomical persons (fopppish, conceited)
Blade=Fencer; used as an emblem of youth
Fashion-monger=one who affects gentility (fashion-monging)
Tune=tune of the time (see Hamlet 5.2)
A pardon-me=One who is always excusing himself
Blade=Een Jonker, wittebroods kind
A fine blade=Een fraai Jongeling
To blade it=Den Jonker speelen
Pardon me=Vergeef het my
To pardon=Vergeeven, quytschelden
A pardon-monger=Die Aflaaten verkoopt

Topics: civility, appearance, custom, language

PLAY: Measure for Measure
SPEAKER: Isabella
O, fie, fie, fie!
Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd:
’Tis best thou diest quickly.

O foei, foei, foei!
Geen toeval was uw zonde, ze is uw ambacht.
Genade wierd, u sparend, koppelaarster;
‘t Best is uw snelle dood.

Sin=Offence, transgression

Topics: punishment, offence, custom, integrity, good and bad, mercy

PLAY: Romeo and Juliet
SPEAKER: First Servingman
When good manners shall lie all in one or two men’s hands, and they unwashed too, ’tis a foul thing.
Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate. Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane, and, as thou loves me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone and Nell.—Antony and Potpan!

Als het voor de netheid aankomt op een paar menschenhanden,
en die zijn bovendien ongewasschen, dan ziet het er treurig uit.

Court-cupboard (cubbert, cubbord)=movable display closet or buffet
Marchpane=marzipan. Do they
Joint-stool=Een zitbankje, schabelletje

Topics: civility, appearance, custom

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