Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index S > William Shakespeare Quotes

Thumbnail of William Shakespeare (source)
William Shakespeare
(baptised 26 Apr 1564 - 23 Apr 1616)

English dramatist and poet who remains the world's most-performed playwright. His surviving works include 38 plays and 154 sonnets. Among his poems, he wrote two long narrative poems.

Science Quotes by William Shakespeare (46 quotes)

CALPURNIA: When beggars die there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
CAESAR: Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I have yet heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
— William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar (1599), II, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Blaze (4)  |  Comet (20)  |  Death (183)  |  End (51)  |  Fear (53)  |  Heaven (55)  |  Prince (5)  |  Wonder (64)

CLAUDIO: Death is a fearful thing.
ISABELLA: And shamed life a hateful.
CLAUDIO: 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 imprisioned in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendant world; or to be worst than worst
Of those lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling—'tis too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisionment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.
— William Shakespeare
Measure for Measure (1604), III, i.
Science quotes on:  |  Death (183)  |  Fear (53)  |  Flood (16)  |  Ice (17)  |  Nature (534)  |  Paradise (4)  |  Rotting (2)  |  Spirit (52)  |  Wind (28)

GLENDOWER: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
HOTSPUR: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
— William Shakespeare
Henry IV, Part I (1597), III, i.
Science quotes on:  |  Call (11)  |  Deep (17)  |  Spirit (52)

LEPIDUS: What manner o' thing is your crocodile?
ANTONY: It is shaped, sir, like itself, and it is as broad as it hath breadth. It is just so high as it is, and moves with it own organs. It lives by that which nourisheth it, and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.
LEPIDUS: What colour is it of?
ANTONY:Of its own colour, too.
LEPIDUS:'Tis a strange serpent.
ANTONY:'Tis so, and the tears of it are wet.
— William Shakespeare
Antony and Cleopatra (1606-7), II, vii.
Science quotes on:  |  Crocodile (3)  |  Nourishment (12)  |  Serpent (3)  |  Tear (11)

MACBETH: Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
DOCTOR: Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
MACBETH: Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it.
— William Shakespeare
Macbeth (1606), V, iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Antidote (3)  |  Bosom (5)  |  Brain (106)  |  Cleanse (2)  |  Disease (170)  |  Dog (24)  |  Heart (46)  |  Memory (42)  |  Mind (272)  |  Minister (4)  |  Oblivious (4)  |  Patient (54)  |  Peril (2)  |  Physic (4)  |  Psychiatry (8)  |  Root (19)  |  Sorrow (3)  |  Trouble (22)  |  Writing (50)

QUEEN: Thou know'st 'tis common—all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
HAMLET: Ay, madam, it is common.
— William Shakespeare
Hamlet (1601), I, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Cycle (12)  |  Death (183)  |  Eternity (22)  |  Life (460)  |  Pass (20)

SIR TOBY: Does not our lives consist of the four elements?
SIR ANDREW: Faith, so they say; but I think it rather consists of eating and drinking.
SIR TOBY: Thou'rt a scholar; let us therefore eat and drink.
— William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night (1601), II, iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Drinking (4)  |  Eating (13)  |  Element (68)  |  Faith (73)  |  Life (460)  |  Scholar (19)

And nature must obey necessity.
— William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar (1599), IV, iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Nature (534)  |  Necessity (78)  |  Obedience (9)

And teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night …
— William Shakespeare
The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2. In Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain (1986), 188.
Science quotes on:  |  Day (20)  |  Moon (78)  |  Night (26)  |  Nomenclature (102)  |  Sun (115)

As true as steel, as plantage to the moon,
As sun to day, at turtle to her mate,
As iron to adamant, as earth to centre.
— William Shakespeare
Character Troilus speaking to Cressida, in play Troilus and Cressida (c.1601), Act 3, lines 352-354. In Troilus and Cressida (1811), 72.
Science quotes on:  |  Centre (13)  |  Day (20)  |  Earth (250)  |  Gravity (59)  |  Iron (33)  |  Law Of Gravitation (10)  |  Mate (2)  |  Moon (78)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Steel (5)  |  Sun (115)  |  Truth (450)  |  Turtle (4)

Be not afeard.
The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That if I then had waked after long sleep
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.
— William Shakespeare
The Tempest (1611), III, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Cloud (22)  |  Delight (22)  |  Dream (39)  |  Ear (9)  |  Humming (3)  |  Hurt (6)  |  Instrument (40)  |  Isle (2)  |  Noise (13)  |  Riches (5)  |  Sleep (25)  |  Sound (21)  |  Thought (170)  |  Voice (16)  |  Waking (4)

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow,
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drench'd our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulph'rous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head; and thou all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o'th' world,
Crack nature's moulds, all germens spill at once
That makes ingrateful man.
— William Shakespeare
King Lear (1605-61, III, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Blow (5)  |  Cock (2)  |  Crack (2)  |  Drown (3)  |  Fire (59)  |  Head (20)  |  Hurricane (2)  |  Oak (7)  |  Rage (3)  |  Sulphur (9)  |  Thunder (3)  |  Thunderbolt (3)  |  Wind (28)

But soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It speaks, and yet says nothing.
— William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2.
Science quotes on:  |  Light (117)  |  Nothing (89)  |  Speak (13)  |  Window (11)

But the strong base and building of my love
Is as the very centre of the earth,
Drawing all things to 't.
— William Shakespeare
Character Cressidus to Pandarus in play Troilus and Cressida (c.1601), Act 4, lines 200-202. In Troilus and Cressida (1811), 92.
Science quotes on:  |  Base (10)  |  Building (34)  |  Centre (13)  |  Drawing (15)  |  Earth (250)  |  Gravity (59)  |  Law Of Gravitation (10)  |  Love (64)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Strength (25)

By medicine life may be prolong'd, yet death
Will seize the Doctor too.
— William Shakespeare
Cymbeline (1609, publ. 1623), Act 5, Scene 5. In Charles Knight (ed.), The Works of William Shakspere (1868), 605.
Science quotes on:  |  Death (183)  |  Medicine (185)  |  Physician (172)

Creatures that by a rule in nature teach
The act of order to a peopled kingdom.
They have a king and officers of sorts;
Where some, like magistrates, correct at home,
Others, like merchants, venture trade abroad,
Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings,
Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds;
Which pillage they with merry march bring home
To the tent-royal of their emperor.
Who, busied in his majesty, surveys
The singing masons building roofs of gold;
The civil citizens kneading up the honey;
The poor mechanic porters crowding
Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate;
The sad-eyed justice, with his surly hum,
Delivering o'er to executors pale
The lazy yawning drone.
— William Shakespeare
Henry V (1599), I, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Abroad (3)  |  Burden (9)  |  Citizen (11)  |  Creature (51)  |  Gate (4)  |  Gold (19)  |  Honey (4)  |  Justice (11)  |  King (11)  |  Kingdom (18)  |  Majesty (4)  |  Mason (2)  |  Merchant (4)  |  Nature (534)  |  Officer (2)  |  Order (60)  |  Roof (5)  |  Soldier (2)  |  Sting (3)  |  Teaching (64)  |  Tent (3)  |  Velvet (2)

Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.
— William Shakespeare
Spoken by character Longaville in play, Love's Labour's Lost, Act 1, Scene 1, Line 26. In Louis Klopsch, Many Thoughts of Many Minds (1896), 110.
Science quotes on:  |  Bankrupt (2)  |  Fat (8)  |  Gluttony (5)  |  Lean (2)  |  Rib (2)  |  Wit (13)

For there was never yet philosoper
That could endure the toothache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods,
And made a push at chance and sufferance.
— William Shakespeare
Much Ado about Nothing (1598-9), V, i.
Science quotes on:  |  Chance (77)  |  Endurance (4)  |  Patience (16)  |  Philosopher (67)  |  Sufferance (2)  |  Toothache (2)

For to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
— William Shakespeare
Hamlet (1601), II, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Definition (86)  |  Madness (15)  |  Nothing (89)  |  Truth (450)

I'll teach you differences.
— William Shakespeare
King Lear (1605-6), I, iv.
Science quotes on:  |  Difference (135)  |  Teaching (64)

In nature's infinite book of secrecy
A little I can read.
— William Shakespeare
Antony and Cleopatra (1606-7), I, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (100)  |  Infinity (44)  |  Little (29)  |  Nature (534)  |  Reading (25)  |  Secret (44)

It goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory. This most excellent canopy the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging, this majestic roof fretted with golden fire—why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving, how express and admirable, in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god—the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me—no, nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.
— William Shakespeare
Hamlet (1601), II, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Admirable (5)  |  Air (84)  |  Angel (10)  |  Animal (143)  |  Apprehension (8)  |  Canopy (2)  |  Congregation (2)  |  Disposition (7)  |  Dust (20)  |  Earth (250)  |  Excellence (18)  |  Faculty (21)  |  Fire (59)  |  Foul (2)  |  Frame (9)  |  Infinite (39)  |  Man (258)  |  Nobility (3)  |  Paragon (2)  |  Pestilence (6)  |  Promontory (2)  |  Quintessence (2)  |  Reason (173)  |  Roof (5)  |  Sterile (2)  |  Vapor (2)  |  Work (198)

It is as easy to count atomies as to resolve the propositions of a lover.
— William Shakespeare
As You Like It (1599), III, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Atom (164)  |  Ease (20)  |  Proposition (28)  |  Resolution (10)

It is excellent
To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.
— William Shakespeare
Lines for Isabelle in Measure For Measure (1604), Act 2, Scene 2, 133-135.
Science quotes on:  |  Excellence (18)  |  Giant (15)  |  Strength (25)  |  Tyranny (3)  |  Use (54)

Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
— William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar Act 1, Scene 2, lines 139-141.
Science quotes on:  |  Astrology (19)

Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck,
And yet methinks I have astronomy.
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or season's quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell ... Or say with princes if it shall go well ...
— William Shakespeare
Sonnet 14 (1609). The Sonnets, (1906), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Astrology (19)  |  Astronomy (105)  |  Judgment (39)  |  Star (132)

O for the Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention…
— William Shakespeare
Henry V, Prologue. In Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain (1986), 262.
Science quotes on:  |  Fire (59)  |  Heaven (55)  |  Invention (174)  |  Muse (2)

O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.
— William Shakespeare
Hamlet (1601), II, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Bound (8)  |  Dream (39)  |  God (234)  |  Infinity (44)  |  King (11)  |  Space (68)

Oh God! that one might read the book of fate,
And see the revolution of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent,
Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea.
— William Shakespeare
Henry V (1599), I, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (100)  |  Continent (22)  |  Fate (16)  |  Level (16)  |  Melting (5)  |  Mountain (66)  |  Revolution (34)  |  Sea (57)

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
— William Shakespeare
Ulysses speaking to Achilles, in Troilus and Cressida, Act 3, Scene 3, line 175. John Phin and Edward Dowden clarify to the true meaning of this quote in The Shakespeare Cyclopædia and New Glossary (1902), 183, writing that in ‘an article in the Galaxy for Feb., 1877, Grant White calls attention to its true meaning, which is: “There is one point on which all men are alike, one touch of human nature which shows the kindred of all mankind—that they slight familiar merit and prefer trivial novelty. ... [It is] one of the most cynical utterances of an undisputable moral truth, disparaging to the nature of all mankind, that ever came from Shakespeare's pen.” ’
Science quotes on:  |  Kin (5)  |  Nature (534)  |  Touch (19)  |  Whole (46)  |  World (231)

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to heaven.
— William Shakespeare
In All's Well That Ends Well, Act 1, 1, 199-200. Collected in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (1906), Vol. 1, 299.
Science quotes on:  |  Ascribe (6)  |  Heaven (55)  |  Lie (23)  |  Often (4)  |  Ourselves (6)  |  Remedy (23)

Our revels are now ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air;
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve.
And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
— William Shakespeare
The Tempest (1611), IV, i.
Science quotes on:  |  Actor (4)  |  Air (84)  |  Cloud (22)  |  Dream (39)  |  Fabric (6)  |  Foretelling (3)  |  Life (460)  |  Melt (5)  |  Palace (2)  |  Revel (2)  |  Sleep (25)  |  Spirit (52)  |  Tower (4)  |  Vision (21)

Plutus himself,
That knows the tinct and multiplying med'cine,
Hath not in nature's mystery more science
Than I have in this ring.
— William Shakespeare
All's Well that Ends Well (1603-4), V, iii.
Science quotes on:  |  Medicine (185)  |  Mystery (74)  |  Nature (534)  |  Science (875)

Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud.
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this.
— William Shakespeare
Sonnet 35.
Science quotes on:  |  Bud (2)  |  Cloud (22)  |  Eclipse (11)  |  Fountain (7)  |  Moon (78)  |  Mud (12)  |  Rose (3)  |  Silver (11)  |  Stain (7)  |  Sun (115)  |  Thorn (2)

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But bad mortality o'ersways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
— William Shakespeare
Sonnet 65.
Science quotes on:  |  Action (57)  |  Earth (250)  |  Flower (24)  |  Sea (57)  |  Stone (20)  |  Stronger (3)

The poet's eye, in a 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 into shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
— William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5, Scene 1. In Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain (1986), 162.
Science quotes on:  |  Earth (250)  |  Heaven (55)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Nomenclature (102)  |  Pen (5)  |  Poet (26)  |  Shape (20)

The soul and body rive not more in parting
Than greatness going off.
— William Shakespeare
Antony and Cleopatra (1606-7), IV, xiii.

There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
— William Shakespeare
Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5.
Science quotes on:  |  Dream (39)  |  Earth (250)  |  Heaven (55)  |  Philosophy (132)

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
— William Shakespeare
Hamlet (1601), II, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Bad (21)  |  Good (81)  |  Nothing (89)

There's no art To find the mind's construction in the face.
— William Shakespeare
Macbeth (1606), I, iv.
Science quotes on:  |  Construction (36)  |  Face (23)  |  Mind (272)

There's nothing situate under heaven's eye
But hath his bond in earth, in sea, in sky.
The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls
Are their males' subjects and at their controls.
Man, more divine, the master of all these,
Lord of the wide world and wild wat'ry seas,
Indu'd with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more pre-eminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females, and their lords;
Then let your will attend on their accords.
— William Shakespeare
The Comedy of Errors (1594), II, i.
Science quotes on:  |  Beast (14)  |  Bond (11)  |  Control (41)  |  Divine (17)  |  Earth (250)  |  Fish (33)  |  Fowl (2)  |  Heaven (55)  |  Intellect (99)  |  Male (11)  |  Man (258)  |  Master (19)  |  Sea (57)  |  Sky (32)  |  Soul (54)  |  Subject (51)  |  Wing (16)

Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound;
And through this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose.
— William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595-6), II, i.
Science quotes on:  |  Disease (170)  |  Distemper (5)  |  Flood (16)  |  Frost (6)  |  Moon (78)  |  Rose (3)  |  Season (8)

These are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater.
— William Shakespeare
Love's Labour's Lost (1595), IV, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Memory (42)  |  Nourishment (12)  |  Ventricle (3)  |  Womb (3)

These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights
That give a name to every fixed star,
Have no more profit of their shining nights
Than those that walk and wot not what they are.
— William Shakespeare
The Sonnets, (1906), 169.
Science quotes on:  |  Astronomer (28)  |  Name (58)  |  Star (132)

This is the excellent foppery of the world: that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeits of our own behaviour—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and stars, as if we were villains on necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence, and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition on the charge of a star! My father compounded with my mother under the Dragon's tail and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows that I am rough and lecherous. Fut! I should have been that I am had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.
— William Shakespeare
King Lear (1605-6), I, ii.
Science quotes on:  |  Astrology (19)  |  Behavior (13)  |  Compulsion (6)  |  Disaster (15)  |  Drunkard (4)  |  Evil (31)  |  Firmament (6)  |  Fool (32)  |  Heaven (55)  |  Influence (47)  |  Liar (3)  |  Moon (78)  |  Necessity (78)  |  Planet (84)  |  Rough (2)  |  Star (132)  |  Sun (115)  |  Thief (2)  |  Villain (2)

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.
— William Shakespeare
Measure for Measure (1604), III, i.
Science quotes on:  |  Age (60)  |  Dream (39)  |  Sleep (25)  |  Youth (32)



Quotes by others about William Shakespeare (17)

In science, address the few; in literature, the many. In science, the few must dictate opinion to the many; in literature, the many, sooner or later, force their judgement on the few. But the few and the many are not necessarily the few and the many of the passing time: for discoverers in science have not un-often, in their own day, had the few against them; and writers the most permanently popular not unfrequently found, in their own day, a frigid reception from the many. By the few, I mean those who must ever remain the few, from whose dieta we, the multitude, take fame upon trust; by the many, I mean those who constitute the multitude in the long-run. We take the fame of a Harvey or a Newton upon trust, from the verdict of the few in successive generations; but the few could never persuade us to take poets and novelists on trust. We, the many, judge for ourselves of Shakespeare and Cervantes.
Caxtoniana: A Series of Essays on Life, Literature, and Manners (1863), Vol. 2, 329- 30.
Science quotes on:  |  William Harvey (21)  |  Literature (33)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Poet (26)  |  Science (875)

Concerning alchemy it is more difficult to discover the actual state of things, in that the historians who specialise in this field seem sometimes to be under the wrath of God themselves; for, like those who write of the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy or on Spanish politics, they seem to become tinctured with the kind of lunacy they set out to describe.
The Origins of Modern Science (1949), 115.
Science quotes on:  |  Alchemy (17)

My Opinion is this—that deep Thinking is attainable only by a man of deep Feeling, and that all Truth is a species of Revelation. The more I understand of Sir Isaac Newton's works, the more boldly I dare utter to my own mind ... that I believe the Souls of 500 Sir Isaac Newtons would go to the making up of a Shakspere [sic] or a Milton... Mind in his system is always passive—a lazy Looker-on on an external World. If the mind be not passive, if it be indeed made in God's Image, & that too in the sublimest sense—the image of the Creator—there is ground for suspicion, that any system built on the passiveness of the mind must be false, as a system.
Letter to Thomas Poole, 23 March 1801. In Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1956), Vol. 2, 709.
Science quotes on:  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Thinking (166)  |  Truth (450)

This is, in truth, the first charm of chemistry, and the secret of the almost universal interest excited by its discoveries. The serious complacency which is afforded by the sense of truth, utility, permanence, and progression, blends with and ennobles the exhilarating surprise and the pleasurable sting of curiosity, which accompany the propounding and the solving of an Enigma... If in SHAKPEARE [sic] we find Nature idealized into Poetry, through the creative power of a profound yet observant meditation, so through the meditative observation of a DAVY, a WOOLLASTON [sic], or a HATCHETT; we find poetry, as if were, substantiated and realized in nature.
Essays on the Principle of Method, Essay VI (1818). In The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Friend (1969), Vol. 4, 1, Barbara E. Rooke (ed.), 471.
Science quotes on:  |  Chemistry (143)  |  Sir Humphry Davy (39)  |  Poetry (63)

I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me.
Charles Darwin: His Life Told in an Autobiographical Chapter, and in a Selected Series of his Published Letters, edited by Francis Darwin (1892), 50.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (199)

A million million spermatozoa,
All of them alive:
Out of their cataclysm but one poor Noah
Dare hope to survive.
And among that billion minus one
Might have chanced to be Shakespeare, another Newton, a new Donne—
But the One was Me.
'Fifth Philosopher's Song', Leda (1920),33.
Science quotes on:  |  John Donne (6)  |  Genetics (79)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Sperm (4)

Even if I could be Shakespeare I think that I should still choose to be Faraday.
In 1925, attributed. Walter M. Elsasser, Memoirs of a Physicist in the Atomic Age (1978), epigraph.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (199)  |  Choice (40)  |  Michael Faraday (58)

In fact a favourite problem of [Tyndall] is—Given the molecular forces in a mutton chop, deduce Hamlet or Faust therefrom. He is confident that the Physics of the Future will solve this easily.
Letter to Herbert Spencer (3 Aug 1861). In L. Huxley, The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley (1900), Vol. 1, 249.
Science quotes on:  |  Literature (33)  |  Physics (156)  |  Problem (180)  |  John Tyndall (38)

All that comes above the surface [of the globe] lies within the province of Geography; all that comes below that surface lies inside the realm of Geology. The surface of the earth is that which, so to speak, divides them and at the same time 'binds them together in indissoluble union.' We may, perhaps, put the case metaphorically. The relationships of the two are rather like that of man and wife. Geography, like a prudent woman, has followed the sage advice of Shakespeare and taken unto her 'an elder than herself; but she does not trespass on the domain of her consort, nor could she possibly maintain the respect of her children were she to flaunt before the world the assertion that she is 'a woman with a past.'
Proceedings of the Geological Society of London (1903), 59, lxxviii.
Science quotes on:  |  Advice (22)  |  Divide (6)  |  Domain (6)  |  Earth (250)  |  Geography (14)  |  Geology (145)  |  Man (258)  |  Metaphor (9)  |  Past (42)  |  Relationship (37)  |  Surface (37)  |  Union (6)  |  Wife (9)  |  Woman (36)

It is strongly suspected that a NEWTON or SHAKESPEARE excels other mortals only by a more ample development of the anterior cerebral lobes, by having an extra inch of brain in the right place.
Lectures on Physiology, Zoology, and the Natural History of Man (1819), 110.
Science quotes on:  |  Brain (106)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)

Thought and science follow their own law of development; they are slowly elaborated in the growth and forward pressure of humanity, in what Shakespeare calls
...The prophetic soul,
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come.
St. Paul and Protestantism (1875), 155.
Science quotes on:  |  Development (122)  |  Elaborate (7)  |  Humanity (46)  |  Law (273)  |  Science (875)  |  Soul (54)  |  Thought (170)

Nernst was a great admirer of Shakespeare, and it is said that in a conference concerned with naming units after appropriate persons, he proposed that the unit of rate of liquid flow should be called the falstaff.
'The Nemst Memorial Lecture', Journal of the Chemical Society (1953), Part 3, 2855.
Science quotes on:  |  Admiration (23)  |  Conference (5)  |  Flow (14)  |  Liquid (12)  |  Walther Hermann Nernst (4)  |  Nomenclature (102)  |  Rate (11)  |  Unit (15)

I had at one time a very bad fever of which I almost died. In my fever I had a long consistent delirium. I dreamt that I was in Hell, and that Hell is a place full of all those happenings that are improbable but not impossible. The effects of this are curious. Some of the damned, when they first arrive below, imagine that they will beguile the tedium of eternity by games of cards. But they find this impossible, because, whenever a pack is shuffled, it comes out in perfect order, beginning with the Ace of Spades and ending with the King of Hearts. There is a special department of Hell for students of probability. In this department there are many typewriters and many monkeys. Every time that a monkey walks on a typewriter, it types by chance one of Shakespeare's sonnets. There is another place of torment for physicists. In this there are kettles and fires, but when the kettles are put on the fires, the water in them freezes. There are also stuffy rooms. But experience has taught the physicists never to open a window because, when they do, all the air rushes out and leaves the room a vacuum.
'The Metaphysician's Nightmare', Nightmares of Eminent Persons and Other Stories (1954), 38-9.
Science quotes on:  |  Arrival (7)  |  Curiosity (52)  |  Damned (2)  |  Death (183)  |  Department (11)  |  Dream (39)  |  Effect (72)  |  Eternity (22)  |  Experience (132)  |  Fever (5)  |  Fire (59)  |  Freeze (3)  |  Game (28)  |  Happening (23)  |  Hell (13)  |  Imagination (130)  |  Impossibility (32)  |  Improbable (3)  |  Kettle (2)  |  Monkey (26)  |  Opening (8)  |  Order (60)  |  Perfection (43)  |  Physicist (74)  |  Possibility (70)  |  Room (11)  |  Rush (5)  |  Shuffle (3)  |  Sonnet (3)  |  Special (25)  |  Torment (5)  |  Typewriter (6)  |  Vacuum (16)  |  Walk (24)  |  Water (122)  |  Window (11)

There is a popular cliché ... which says that you cannot get out of computers any more than you have put in..., that computers can only do exactly what you tell them to, and that therefore computers are never creative. This cliché is true only in a crashingly trivial sense, the same sense in which Shakespeare never wrote anything except what his first schoolteacher taught him to write—words.
In The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (1966, 1986), 64. Excerpted in Richard Dawkins, ‘Creation and Natural Selection’. New Scientist (25 Sep 1986), 111, 38.
Science quotes on:  |  Cliche (3)  |  Computer (51)  |  Creativity (45)  |  Do (19)  |  Exactly (3)  |  Exception (16)  |  First (42)  |  Never (19)  |  Output (5)  |  Popular (10)  |  Sense (104)  |  Teacher (54)  |  Trivial (14)  |  Truth (450)  |  Word (97)  |  Writing (50)

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?
The Two Cultures: The Rede Lecture (1959), 14-5.
Science quotes on:  |  Asking (18)  |  Company (14)  |  Culture (44)  |  Educated (2)  |  Equivalent (7)  |  Gathering (5)  |  Illiteracy (2)  |  Incredulity (2)  |  Negative (10)  |  People (72)  |  Reading (25)  |  Response (8)  |  Second Law Of Thermodynamics (9)  |  Standard (15)  |  Traditional (2)

One day at Fenner's (the university cricket ground at Cambridge), just before the last war, G. H. Hardy and I were talking about Einstein. Hardy had met him several times, and I had recently returned from visiting him. Hardy was saying that in his lifetime there had only been two men in the world, in all the fields of human achievement, science, literature, politics, anything you like, who qualified for the Bradman class. For those not familiar with cricket, or with Hardy's personal idiom, I ought to mention that “the Bradman class” denoted the highest kind of excellence: it would include Shakespeare, Tolstoi, Newton, Archimedes, and maybe a dozen others. Well, said Hardy, there had only been two additions in his lifetime. One was Lenin and the other Einstein.
Variety of Men (1966), 87.
Science quotes on:  |  Achievement (73)  |  Addition (12)  |  Archimedes (13)  |  Cricket (5)  |  Albert Einstein (174)  |  Excellence (18)  |  Field (69)  |  G. H. Hardy (41)  |  Human (168)  |  Idiom (3)  |  Lenin_Vladimir (2)  |  Lifetime (10)  |  Literature (33)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (176)  |  Personal (16)  |  Politics (52)  |  Science (875)  |  Count Leo Tolstoy (6)  |  Visit (4)

Ode to The Amoeba
Recall from Time's abysmal chasm
That piece of primal protoplasm
The First Amoeba, strangely splendid,
From whom we're all of us descended.
That First Amoeba, weirdly clever,
Exists today and shall forever,
Because he reproduced by fission;
He split himself, and each division
And subdivision deemed it fitting
To keep on splitting, splitting, splitting;
So, whatsoe'er their billions be,
All, all amoebas still are he.
Zoologists discern his features
In every sort of breathing creatures,
Since all of every living species,
No matter how their breed increases
Or how their ranks have been recruited,
From him alone were evoluted.
King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba
And Hoover sprang from that amoeba;
Columbus, Shakespeare, Darwin, Shelley
Derived from that same bit of jelly.
So famed is he and well-connected,
His statue ought to be erected,
For you and I and William Beebe
Are undeniably amoebae!
(1922). Collected in Gaily the Troubadour (1936), 18.
Science quotes on:  |  Abyss (9)  |  Amoeba (13)  |  William Beebe (3)  |  Billion (24)  |  Breed (8)  |  Chasm (5)  |  Christopher Columbus (10)  |  Creature (51)  |  Charles Darwin (216)  |  Division (19)  |  Evolution (342)  |  Fission (6)  |  Hoover_Herbert (2)  |  Jelly (2)  |  Life (460)  |  Matter (135)  |  Poem (76)  |  Protoplasm (7)  |  Reproduction (34)  |  Mary Shelley (7)  |  Species (96)  |  Split (4)  |  Statue (5)  |  Zoologist (7)


See also:
  • todayinsci icon Shakespeare on Earth's Gravity - Quotes that seem to reference the effects of Earth's gravity, long before Isaac Newton identified his Law of Gravitation, as discussed in The Galaxy (Dec 1867).

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Custom Quotations Search - custom search within only our quotations pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Author Icon
who invites your feedback

Today in Science History

Most Popular

Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton