Instagram is killing me. By far, *most* of the quotes that people are circulating as Shakespeare are, in fact, not. Here’s the latest:
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.”
That’s Henry van Dyke, an American author born in 1852. So to call it Shakespeare is off by almost 300 years and a continent.
December 5, 2013 No Comments
Love to faults is always blind, always is to joy inclined. Lawless, winged, and unconfined, and breaks all chains from every mind.
Something new! I’d not seen this one before, and had to go look it up. Sounds a little bit like Shakespeare, but I don’t know, something about the meter (DUH da DUH da DUH da DUH) was too bouncy to be Shakespeare’s style, even in the long poems where sometimes quotes hide that don’t have the same feeling as those that come from the plays.
Anyway, this one is from William Blake if Google Books is any indicator:
I think that my favorite source of misinformation comes from the two-fer on this Yahoo! Answers page.
First we have the answer that, “William Blake borrowed it from Shakespeare, who wrote it in one of his sonnets.” No mention of which sonnet, of course, and it’s not iambic pentameter. It’s very easy to check and cite references. But under “source” the person wrote, “I am a Shakespeare teacher.” Just not a good one I guess.
The second bit of genius comes from the well-meaning person who writes, “I searched and couldn’t find it as anything but a quote so maybe it’s something he never wrote down, only said.” That’s not the first time I’ve heard that, and it conjures up this hysterical image in my brain of the town drunk passing down his story over the centuries. ”So there I am, sitting next to the Bard of Avon himself William Shakespeare, telling him my problems with women. And you know what he does? He turns to me and says, he says, ‘Love to faults is always blind, always is to joy inclined.’ And I says to him I says, ‘Pal, you need to write that down.’ Well I guess he plum forgot because it doesn’t show up in any of his recorded works, but I swear to you, he said it. I was there.” Imagine Bill Murray telling his Dalai Lama story in Caddyshack.
November 26, 2013 No Comments
Also “The earth has music for those who will listen,” “The earth has its music for those who listen,” and so on.
This one is easily mistaken as Shakespeare because the words remind us of “If music be the food of love play on” while the sentiment closely echoes Caliban’s “Be no afeard, the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.”
However, this one is George Santayana:
“The earth has its music for those who will listen,
Its bright variations forever abound;
With all the wonders that God has bequeathed us,
There is nothing that thrills like the magic of sound.”
Thanks to “That’s Not Shakespeare,” who looks to be as upset about misattributed Shakespeare as I am
July 31, 2013 No Comments
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
George Bernard Shaw. At least, that’s according to the Oxford Dictionary of British Literature, and I’m going to take their word for it.
July 25, 2013 No Comments
As I work on ShakeShare, my Shakespeare Quotes app for the iPhone, I’m constantly scanning for new quotes. It is, as you might imagine, very important to me to cite every quote correctly. How could I look myself in the mirror if I let a Not By Shakespeare slip in there?
Today I found this one. Honestly I don’t even understand it. And I am a father to a son.
All I can find are references to this one as a “Jewish proverb.” Anybody got a definitive database of those??
July 25, 2013 No Comments
I admit that a long time ago I thought this was from Shakespeare, alongside “Tis better to have loved and lost…” Now I know better, but that doesn’t mean that word has spread.
No, this is not by William Shakespeare. It is in fact Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese - Sonnet 43, in fact:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
This is actually a nice reminder that the art of the sonnet neither began nor ended with Mr. Shakespeare. Others were pretty good at it, too.
May 24, 2012 2 Comments
When I spotted this quote as attributed to Shakespeare I immediately thought of the closest thing I could remember, Beatrice’s zinger in Benedick’s general direction:
- Alas! he gets nothing by that. In our last
- conflict four of his five wits went halting off, and
- now is the whole man governed with one: so that if
- he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him
- bear it for a difference between himself and his
- horse; for it is all the wealth that he hath left,
- to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his
- companion now? He hath every month a new sworn brother.
[Citation : Much Ado about Nothing – Act 1, Scene 1. Lines: 56-63. shakespeare.clusty.com; April 26, 2012
This ends up pretty close. Roughly translated, “In our last battle of wits he lost most of his, and now he’s only left with one, so I’m going to let him keep it so people can tell the difference between him and his horse.”
Is it even possible to give proper attribution to the quote in question, though? It seems like the generic sort of thing that many people have thought of over the years.
The best answer , I think, came from the ChaCha board. Every now and then for one of these quotes I’ll see someone who has asked, “What play is that from?” Because, as a general rule, if the quote always says “Shakespeare” but never says the play? That means he never said it. Anyway, somebody asks what play this wits quote is from. And the answer that came back was, and I’m not making this up, “It’s not in a play. William Shakespeare the person said it.”
Oh. Dear ChaCha answerer, if you have access to documents written by Mr. Shakespeare that the rest of us don’t know about, please share! You could be a very very rich man.
April 26, 2012 3 Comments
You say that you love rain, but you open your umbrella when it rains.
You say that you love the sun, but you find a shadow spot when the sun shines.
You say that you love the wind, but you close your windows when wind blows.
This is why I am afraid, you say that you love me too.
I must not be hanging out in the right circles, because I’d never heard this quote – but when I went googling for it, it’s all over the place. It should take about 2 seconds to realize that this isn’t Shakespeare, just another victim of “I don’t know who said it so I’ll make it sound better by attaching Shakespeare’s name.”
The best I’ve been able to find is that this quote is a Turkish poem called “I Am Afraid (Korkuyorum)” which is attributed even in the original to William Shakespeare. The source material has long since disappeared from the net, but with a little help from the Wayback Machine – here it is, I Am Afraid (Korkuyorum), in the original Turkish along with English translation. Enjoy. If anybody knows the actual author, please let us know. It’s just not Shakespeare.
UPDATED May 29, 2012 — It appears that the original author’s name might very well be Qyazzirah Syeikh Ariffin. At least, there are a number of sources attributing the Turkish version of the poem to him.
October 19, 2011 64 Comments
Saw this one go by on Twitter, and it didn’t take long to discover that it was said in 2007 by Richard Phillips, right here. I don’t know who Rick Phillips is – some sort of pastor/priest?
August 2, 2011 1 Comment
This one happens to be going around Twitter at the moment. And, as someone on Yahoo! Answers said, “This is quoted 100s of times around the net, but no one ever says where it’s from.” I’ve found similar results in all my searches. Although Shakespeare used the word “meaning” frequently, I can find no combination of meaning along with “hear” and “word” that suggests where this quote might have come from.
I’m still looking for a real source, but like so many other of these Hallmark sentiments, it’s just too simple to ever hope to find evidence for someone who said it first.
April 28, 2011 1 Comment