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Famous Quotations from Measure for Measure

Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so proper as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, ’t were all alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch’d
But to fine issues, nor Nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks and use. (1.1.29)

He was ever precise in promise-keeping. (1.2.69)

Good counsellors lack no clients (1.2.97)

The demi-god, Authority. (1.2.120)

We have strict statutes and most biting laws. (1.3.21)

Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight
For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mocked than feared; so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead,
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum. (1.3.23)

A man whose blood
Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense,
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast. (1.4.57)

He arrests him on it;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example. (1.4.70)

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt. (1.4.84)

We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch and not their terror. (2.1.1)

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall. (2.1.42)

This will last out a night in Russia,
When nights are longest there. (2.1.144)

Condemn the fault and not the actor of it? (2.2.37)

No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does. (2.2.59)

O! it is excellent
To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant. (2.2.107)

The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept. (2.2.112)

But man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he ’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep. (2.2.117)

That in the captain's but a choleric word,
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy. (2.2.130)

Is this her fault or mine?
The tempter or the tempted, who sins most? (2.2.162)

Most dangerous
Is that temptation that doth goad us on
To sin in loving virtue; never could the strumpet,
With all her double vigour, art and nature,
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
Subdues me quite. Ever till now
When men were fond, I smiled and wondered how. (2.2.178)

Might there not be a charity in sin
To save this brother's life? (2.4.64)

Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright
When it doth tax itself. (2.4.78)

The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope. (3.1.2)

A breath thou art,
Servile to all the skyey influences. (3.1.10)

If thou art rich, thou'rt poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee. (3.1.25)

Thou hast nor youth nor age;
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld. (3.1.32)

If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms. (3.1.81)

The sense of death is most in apprehension;
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies. (3.1.85)

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world. (3.1.114)

The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To what we fear of death. (3.1.123)

The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good. (3.1.182)

Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. (3.1.214)

There, at the moated grange, resides this dejected Mariana. (3.1.279)

A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow. (3.2.151)

Take, O take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again, bring again;
Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain. (4.1.1)

Every true man's apparel fits your thief. (4.2.46)

A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless of what's past, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal. (4.2.148)

O! death's a great disguiser. (4.2.185)

I am a kind of burr; I shall stick. (4.3.193)

Let the devil
Be sometime honoured for his burning throne. (5.1.289)

Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure. (5.1.411)

They say, best men are moulded out of faults,
And, for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad. (5.1.440)

What ’s mine is yours, and what is yours is mine. (5.1.576)

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