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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
MORE:
Proverb: To cut the Gordian knot

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

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

PLAY: Coriolanus
ACT/SCENE: 3.3
SPEAKER:
CONTEXT:
SICINIUS
Have you a catalogue
Of all the voices that we have procured
Set down by the poll?
AEDILE
I have; ’tis ready.
SICINIUS
Have you collected them by tribes?
AEDILE
I have.
SICINIUS
Assemble presently the people hither;
And when they bear me say ‘It shall be so
I’ the right and strength o’ the commons,’ be it either
For death, for fine, or banishment, then let them
If I say fine, cry ‘Fine;’ if death, cry ‘Death.’
Insisting on the old prerogative
And power i’ the truth o’ the cause.
AEDILE
I shall inform them.
BRUTUS
And when such time they have begun to cry,
Let them not cease, but with a din confused
Enforce the present execution
Of what we chance to sentence.

DUTCH:

MORE:
Burgersdijk notes:
En naar de wijken opgemaakt, nietwaar? In ‘t Engelsch: Have you collected then by tribes? Plutarchus moge hier opheldering geven: And first of all, the tribunes would in any case (whatsoever came of it) that the people should proceed to give their voices by tribes, and not by hundreds, for by this means the multitude of the poor needy people — — came to be of greater force — because their voices were numbered by the poll — than the noble honest citizens etc.

Topics: leadership, independence, free will, intellect

PLAY: King Henry VI Part 3
ACT/SCENE: 2.6
SPEAKER: Edward
CONTEXT:
Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies,
Which, whiles it lasted, gave King Henry light.
O Lancaster, I fear thy overthrow
More than my body’s parting with my soul!
My love and fear glued many friends to thee;
And, now I fall, thy tough commixture melts.
Impairing Henry, strengthening misproud York,
The common people swarm like summer flies;
And whither fly the gnats but to the sun?
And who shines now but Henry’s enemies?
O Phoebus, hadst thou never given consent
That Phaethon should check thy fiery steeds,
Thy burning car never had scorch’d the earth!
And, Henry, hadst thou sway’d as kings should do,
Or as thy father and his father did,
Giving no ground unto the house of York,
They never then had sprung like summer flies;
I and ten thousand in this luckless realm
Had left no mourning widows for our death;
And thou this day hadst kept thy chair in peace.
For what doth cherish weeds but gentle air?

DUTCH:
Maar nu ik val, nu smelt die taaie menging,
Maakt Hendrik zwak, versterkt den driesten York.
Waar vliegen muggen heen, dan in de zon?

MORE:

Proverb: His candle burns within the socket

Commixture=Compound (the ‘glued’ friends)
Misproud=Arrogant, viciously proud (Schmidt)
Phoebus=Apollo
Check=Control
Car=Chariot
Swayed=Governed, ruled
Give ground=Yield, recede
Chair=Throne
Cherish=Encourage (growth)

Compleat:
To keep a check on one=Iemand in den teugel houden
Sway=(power, rule, command) Macht, gezach, heerschappy
To bear sway=Heerschappy voeren
To sway=(govern) Regeeren. To sway the scepter=Den schepter zwaaijen
To cherish=Koesteren, opkweeken, streelen, aankweeken

Topics: proverbs and idioms, uthority, leadership

PLAY: Coriolanus
ACT/SCENE: 2.3
SPEAKER: Coriolanus
CONTEXT:
Most sweet voices!
Better it is to die, better to starve,
Than crave the hire which first we do deserve.
Why in this woolvish gown should I stand here,
To beg of Hob and Dick, that do appear,
Their needless vouches? Custom calls me to’t:
What custom wills, in all things should we do’t,
The dust on antique time would lie unswept,
And mountainous error be too highly heapt
For truth to o’er-peer. Rather than fool it so,
Let the high office and the honour go
To one that would do thus. I am half through;
The one part suffer’d, the other will I do.

DUTCH:
Dit wil ‘t gebruik? — Maar deden
Wij alles naar den eisch van oude zeden,
Dan wierd het stof des tijds nooit weggevaagd;
De dwaling wies tot berg, en nimmer waagt
De waarheid dan de slechting

MORE:
Proverb: Custom makes sin no sin

Schmidt:
Hob and Dick=Tom, Dick and Harry
Vouches=Attestations
Custom= (1) Common use, received order; (2) Habit, regular practice
O’erpeer (archaic definition)=Rise or tower above, overcome, excel.
Compleat:

Custom=Gewoonte, neering
The customary laws of a nation=De gewoone wetten van een Volk
Peer=Gelyk, weergaa

Topics: merit, achievement, status, authority, leadership, proverbs and idioms

PLAY: King Henry IV Part 2
ACT/SCENE: 2.3
SPEAKER: Lady Percy
CONTEXT:
(…) Who then persuaded you to stay at home?
There were two honours lost, yours and your son’s.
For yours, the God of heaven brighten it.
For his, it stuck upon him as the sun
In the grey vault of heaven, and by his light
Did all the chivalry of England move
To do brave acts. He was indeed the glass
Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves.
He had no legs that practiced not his gait;
And speaking thick, which nature made his blemish,
Became the accents of the valiant;
For those that could speak low and tardily
Would turn their own perfection to abuse
To seem like him. So that in speech, in gait,
In diet, in affections of delight,
In military rules, humours of blood,
He was the mark and glass, copy and book,
That fashioned others.

DUTCH:
Ja, hij was de spiegel,
Waar heel de jeugdige adel zich voor tooide.

MORE:
Speaking thick=Speaking fast
Accent=Speech pattern
Glass=Mirror
Affectations of delight=Recreations
Humours of blood=Temperament

Compleat:
Humours of the body=De humeuren van het lichaam
Affectation=Een al te nauwkeurige naaaping, gemaaktheid, waanwysheid; gemaakt

Topics: fashion/trends, honour, leadership

PLAY: Richard II
ACT/SCENE: 5.5
SPEAKER: King Richard II
CONTEXT:
Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men’s lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To cheque time broke in a disorder’d string;
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.

DUTCH:
Een zoete klank wordt bitter,
Wordt tijd miskend en regelmaat gestoord!

MORE:

CITED IN IRISH LAW: Judicial Review of Administrative Action: the Problem of Remedies (Working Paper No. 8-1979) [1979] IELRC 3 (December 1979) (in turn citing State (Kelly) v. District Justice for Bandon [1947] I.R. 258, 262, and State (Walsh) v. District Justice Maguire (not yet reported, Supreme Court, 19 February 1979)).

Proportion=Metre, cadence
Daintiness of ear=Acuity
Outward watch=The marks of the minutes on a dial-plate
Check=Censure
Concord=Harmony (of sound); agreement
Still=Continuously

Compleat:
Proportion=Evenredigheid, regelmaat
Check=Berisping, beteugeling, intooming
Concord=Eendragt, eendragtigheid, saamensstemming

Topics: cited in law, time, age/experience, leadership, unity/collaboration

PLAY: King Henry VI Part 3
ACT/SCENE: 4.1
SPEAKER: Gloucester
CONTEXT:
KING EDWARD IV
My love, forbear to fawn upon their frowns:
What danger or what sorrow can befall thee,
So long as Edward is thy constant friend,
And their true sovereign, whom they must obey?
Nay, whom they shall obey, and love thee too,
Unless they seek for hatred at my hands;
Which if they do, yet will I keep thee safe,
And they shall feel the vengeance of my wrath.
GLOUCESTER
[Aside] I hear, yet say not much, but think the more.

DUTCH:
Ik hoor, doch zeg niet veel; maar denk te meer.

MORE:

Proverb: Though he said little he thought the more

Forbear=Avoid, refrain from
Fawn=Wheedle, act in a servile manner

Compleat:
Forbear=Zich van onthouden
To fawn upon=Vleijen, streelen

Topics: proverbs and idioms, loyalty, leadership

PLAY: Richard II
ACT/SCENE: 5.5
SPEAKER: King Richard II
CONTEXT:
Ha, ha! keep time: how sour sweet music is,
When time is broke and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men’s lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
To cheque time broke in a disorder’d string;
But for the concord of my state and time
Had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock:
My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point,
Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears.

DUTCH:
Doch voor den welstand van mijn staat en tijd
Had ik geen oor, al was de maat verbroken.
‘k Verdeed mijn tijd, nu doet de tijd het mij;

MORE:

CITED IN IRISH LAW: Judicial Review of Administrative Action: the Problem of Remedies (Working Paper No. 8-1979) [1979] IELRC 3 (December 1979) (in turn citing State (Kelly) v. District Justice for Bandon [1947] I.R. 258, 262, and State (Walsh) v. District Justice Maguire (not yet reported, Supreme Court, 19 February 1979)).

Proportion=Metre, cadence
Daintiness of ear=Acuity
Outward watch=The marks of the minutes on a dial-plate
Check=Censure
Concord=Harmony (of sound); agreement
Still=Continuously

Compleat:
Proportion=Evenredigheid, regelmaat
Check=Berisping, beteugeling, intooming
Concord=Eendragt, eendragtigheid, saamensstemming

Topics: cited in law, time, age/experience, leadership, unity/collaboration

PLAY: King Henry VIII
ACT/SCENE: 1.2
SPEAKER: Queen Katherine
CONTEXT:
QUEEN KATHERINE
I am much too venturous
In tempting of your patience; but am bolden’d
Under your promised pardon. The subjects’ grief
Comes through commissions, which compel from each
The sixth part of his substance, to be levied
Without delay; and the pretence for this
Is named, your wars in France: this makes bold mouths:
Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
Allegiance in them; their curses now
Live where their prayers did: and it’s come to pass,
This tractable obedience is a slave
To each incensed will. I would your highness
Would give it quick consideration, for
There is no primer business.

DUTCH:
O, mocht uw hoogheid
Dit daad’lijk willen overwegen, want
Geen zaak is sterker dringend!

MORE:
Venturous=Daring
Commissions=Taxes, instructions to impose tax
Grief=Complaints, grievances
Substance=Assets, wealth
Spit=Tongues spit out: Refuse with disrespectful language
Tractable=Compliant
Primer=More significant
Compleat:
Venturous=Ligtwaagend, stout
Commission=Last, volmagt, lastbrief, provisie
Grievance=Bezwaarenis
Substance=Zelfsandigheyd; bezit
Spit out=Uytspuuwen
Tractable=Handelbaar, leenig, buygzaam, zachtzinnnig
Prime=Eerste, voornaamste

Topics: loyalty, language, order/society, leadership

PLAY: King Henry VI Part 2
ACT/SCENE: 5.1
SPEAKER: York
CONTEXT:
From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right
And pluck the crown from feeble Henry’s head.
Ring, bells, aloud! Burn, bonfires, clear and bright
To entertain great England’s lawful king!
Ah, sancta maiestas, who would not buy thee dear?
Let them obey that knows not how to rule.
This hand was made to handle naught but gold.
I cannot give due action to my words
Except a sword or scepter balance it.
A scepter shall it have, have I a soul,
On which I’ll toss the fleur-de-luce of France.

DUTCH:
Sancta majestas! wie kocht u niet duur?
Dat hij gehoorzaam’, die niet heerschen kan

MORE:

Sancta maiestas=Sacred majesty
Except=Unless
Balance=Add weight to
“Flower-de-luce”=”Fleur-de-lis”

Compleat:
Except=Behalve, uitgezonderd, uitgenomen, uitgezegd
Ballance=Opweegen
“Flower-de-luce”=Fransche lely

Topics: leadership, respect, authority

PLAY: Coriolanus
ACT/SCENE: 3.1
SPEAKER: Coriolanus
CONTEXT:
O good but most unwise patricians! why,
You grave but reckless senators, have you thus
Given Hydra here to choose an officer,
That with his peremptory ‘shall,’ being but
The horn and noise o’ the monster’s, wants not spirit
To say he’ll turn your current in a ditch,
And make your channel his? If he have power
Then vail your ignorance; if none, awake
Your dangerous lenity. If you are learn’d,
Be not as common fools; if you are not,
Let them have cushions by you. You are plebeians,
If they be senators: and they are no less,
When, both your voices blended, the great’st taste
Most palates theirs. They choose their magistrate,
And such a one as he, who puts his ‘shall,’
His popular ‘shall’ against a graver bench
Than ever frown in Greece. By Jove himself!
It makes the consuls base: and my soul aches
To know, when two authorities are up,
Neither supreme, how soon confusion
May enter ‘twixt the gap of both and take
The one by the other.

DUTCH:
O goede, doch kortzichtige adel! achtb’re,
Doch achtelooze senatoren, ziet!
Waarom schonkt ge aan de Hydra hier de keus
Eens ambt’naars,

MORE:
Proverb: As many heads as Hydra
Proverb: Experience is the mistress of fools

The horn and noise=Reference to Triton earlier
Vail your ignorance=”If this man has power, let the ignorance that gave it him vail or bow down before him” (Johnson)
Awake your dangerous lenity=Shake your out of your tolerant attitude
Ignorance=Want of experience and skill, the state of not knowing what to do or how to behave; fault ignorantly committed

Schmidt:
Vail=To lower, let fall (From M.English ‘avalen’, French ‘avaler’). (See Taming of the Shrew 5.2, ‘vail your stomacks’, i.e. pride; )
Palate=Taste (Most please the plebeians – popular opinion)
Peremptory=Absolute, positive, so as to cut off all further debate
Hydra=Fig. the multitude
Given=Allowed

Compleat:
To vail his bonnet to one=Den hoed voor iemand afligten
That won’t fit his palate=Dat zal zyn smaak niet weezen; dt zal met zyn smaak niet overeenkomen
It doth not please my palate=Het smaakt my niet; ik heb er geen smaak in’; ‘t mondt my niet.

Topics: authority, proverbs and idioms, leadership

PLAY: King Henry VI Part 3
ACT/SCENE: 2.6
SPEAKER: King Henry VI
CONTEXT:
Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies,
Which, whiles it lasted, gave King Henry light.
O Lancaster, I fear thy overthrow
More than my body’s parting with my soul!
My love and fear glued many friends to thee;
And, now I fall, thy tough commixture melts.
Impairing Henry, strengthening misproud York,
The common people swarm like summer flies;
And whither fly the gnats but to the sun?
And who shines now but Henry’s enemies?
O Phoebus, hadst thou never given consent
That Phaethon should check thy fiery steeds,
Thy burning car never had scorch’d the earth!
And, Henry, hadst thou sway’d as kings should do,
Or as thy father and his father did,
Giving no ground unto the house of York,
They never then had sprung like summer flies;
I and ten thousand in this luckless realm
Had left no mourning widows for our death;
And thou this day hadst kept thy chair in peace.
For what doth cherish weeds but gentle air?

DUTCH:
Maar nu ik val, nu smelt die taaie menging,
Maakt Hendrik zwak, versterkt den driesten York.
Waar vliegen muggen heen, dan in de zon?

MORE:

Proverb: His candle burns within the socket

Commixture=Compound (the ‘glued’ friends)
Misproud=Arrogant, viciously proud (Schmidt)
Phoebus=Apollo
Check=Control
Car=Chariot
Swayed=Governed, ruled
Give ground=Yield, recede
Chair=Throne
Cherish=Encourage (growth)

Compleat:
To keep a check on one=Iemand in den teugel houden
Sway=(power, rule, command) Macht, gezach, heerschappy
To bear sway=Heerschappy voeren
To sway=(govern) Regeeren. To sway the scepter=Den schepter zwaaijen
To cherish=Koesteren, opkweeken, streelen, aankweeken

Topics: leadership, rivalry, friendship, loyalty, proverbs and idioms

PLAY: Coriolanus
ACT/SCENE: 2.3
SPEAKER: First Citizen
CONTEXT:
CORIOLANUS
No, sir,’twas never my desire yet to trouble the
poor with begging.
THIRD CITIZEN
You must think, if we give you any thing, we hope to
gain by you.
CORIOLANUS
Well then, I pray, your price o’ the consulship?
FIRST CITIZEN
The price is to ask it kindly.
CORIOLANUS
Kindly! Sir, I pray, let me ha’t: I have wounds to
show you, which shall be yours in private. Your
good voice, sir; what say you?
SECOND CITIZEN
You shall ha’ it, worthy sir.
CORIOLANUS
A match, sir. There’s in all two worthy voices
begged. I have your alms: adieu.

DUTCH:
De prijs is, dat gij vriendlijk er om vraagt.

MORE:
Schmidt:
Consulship=Position of consul
A match=Agreement, compact, bargain

Compleat:
Match (or bargain)=Koop, onderhandeling, overeenstemming
Consulship=Consulaat, consulschap

Topics: poverty/wealth, promise, leadership, merit

PLAY: King Henry IV Part 2
ACT/SCENE: 5.1
SPEAKER: Falstaff
CONTEXT:
It is a wonderful thing to see the semblable coherence of his men’s spirits and his. They, by observing of him, do bear themselves like foolish justices; he, by conversing with them, is turned into a justice-like servingman. Their spirits are so married in conjunction with the participation of society that they flock together in consent like so many wild geese.

DUTCH:
Hun ziel en zijn zie-reclhterachtige zijn onder den invloed van hun onderlingen omgang zoo met elkander getrouwd, dat zij zich eendrachtig opeendringen als even zoovele wilde ganzen.

MORE:

Schmidt:
Semblable=resembling, similar
Birds of a feather flock together wasn’t invented by Shakespeare but was already in use in the mid 16th century.

Compleat:
Semblable=Gelijk. Semblably=Desgelyks
Semblance of truth=Schyn van waarheid

Topics: leadership, friendship

PLAY: Othello
ACT/SCENE: 1.1
SPEAKER: Iago
CONTEXT:
O sir, content you.
I follow him to serve my turn upon him.
We cannot all be masters, nor all masters
Cannot be truly followed. You shall mark
Many a duteous and knee-crooking knave
That (doting on his own obsequious bondage)
Wears out his time much like his master’s ass
For naught but provender, and when he’s old, cashiered.

DUTCH:
Wel, maak je maar geen zorg!
Ik dien hem slechts om ’t hem betaald te zetten.
Niet elk kan meester zijn, noch alle meesters
getrouw gediend. Je zult er wel een kennen,
zo’n plichtsgetrouwe, kruiperige knecht
die, opgaand in zijn lage slavernij,
als de ezel van zijn baas voor slechts wat voer
zijn tijd uitdient en, oud, wordt afgedankt.

MORE:

Proverb: Every man cannot be a master (lord)

Whipping was a cruel punishment. In the days of Henry VIII an Act decreed that vagrants were to be carried to some market town, or other place, and there tied to the end of a cart, naked, and beaten with whips throughout such market-town, or other place, till the body should be bloody by reason of such whipping. The punishment was mitigated in Elizabeth’s reign, to the extent that vagrants need only to be “stripped naked from the middle upwards and whipped till the body should be bloody”.

Schmidt:
Content you=Be quiet, calm
Doting=to be fond, to love to excess
Knee-crooking=Flattering
Obsequious=Zealous, officious, devoted
Wear out=To spend all of, to come to the end of
Provender=Dry food for beasts
Cashiered=Discarded from service

Compleat:
Dote upon=Op iets verzot zyn; zyne zinnen zeer op iets gezet hebben
Obsequious=Gehoorzaam, gedienstig
To cashiere=Den zak geeven, afdanken, ontslaan

Topics: loyalty, deceit, proverbs and idioms, leadership, duty

PLAY: Coriolanus
ACT/SCENE: 1.1
SPEAKER: Martius
CONTEXT:
MENENIUS
For that, being one o’ the lowest, basest, poorest,
Of this most wise rebellion, thou go’st foremost:
Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,
Lead’st first to win some vantage.
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs:
Rome and her rats are at the point of battle;
The one side must have bale.
(…)
Hail, noble Martius!
MARTIUS
Thanks. What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues,
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?

DUTCH:
Dank. — Wat wil dit hier, oproertuig, dat gij,
Zoodra u ‘t oordeel jeukt, uzelf door krabben
Gansch uitslag maakt?

MORE:
Schmidt:
Stiff bats=Cudgels
Bale=Injury, sorrow
Dissentious=Seditious

Compleat:
Bat=Knuppel
Bale=Een baal
Dissentaneous=Tegenstrijdig
Dissension=Oneenigheid, verdeeldheid.
To sow dissentions amongst friends=Onder vrienden tweedracht zaaijen

Topics: insult, status, conflict, leadership, order/society

PLAY: King Henry VI Part 2
ACT/SCENE: 3.1
SPEAKER: York
CONTEXT:
Well, nobles, well, ’tis politicly done,
To send me packing with an host of men:
I fear me you but warm the starved snake,
Who, cherish’d in your breasts, will sting
your hearts.
‘Twas men I lack’d and you will give them me:
I take it kindly; and yet be well assured
You put sharp weapons in a madman’s hands.
Whiles I in Ireland nourish a mighty band,
I will stir up in England some black storm
Shall blow ten thousand souls to heaven or hell;
And this fell tempest shall not cease to rage
Until the golden circuit on my head,
Like to the glorious sun’s transparent beams,
Do calm the fury of this mad-bred flaw.

DUTCH:
Ik zeg u dank, maar weet, een’ dolhuis-man
Drukt gij recht scherpe wapens in de hand.

MORE:

Proverb: To nourish a viper (snake) in one ‘s bosom
Proverb: Ill putting (put not) a naked sword in a madman’s hand

Politicly=For political reasons
The starved snake=Frozen snake (reference to Aesop’s Fable of the Farmer and the Snake)
Fell=Strong; Vicious, intense, savage

Compleat:
Fell=(cruel) Wreed, fel
Starve=(of cold) Van koude sterven
Politickly=Staatkundiglyk

Topics: proverbs and idioms, ingratitude, leadership

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