Skip to main content
Shakespeare & Beyond

Fakespeare: 5 quotes commonly misattributed to Shakespeare

Fake quotes have been in the news lately, from the Republican National Committee’s Abraham Lincoln flub to the bogus Winston Churchill quote about supporting funding for the arts during World War II. Such misattribution is familiar to Shakespeare enthusiasts. Every day, fake Shakespeare quotes are being shared on social media. Here are a few examples:

1. “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

The only time that Shakespeare uses the word “heartache” is in Hamlet’s famous “to be or not to be” speech:

“To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished.”

Nothing in there about expectations.


2. “When I saw you, I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.”

This one is printed on wall art canvases all over Etsy and Pinterest—but it’s not Shakespeare.

3. “All glory comes from daring to begin.”

This is a quote from poet, author, and politician Eugene F. Ware, not Shakespeare.

4. “But for those who love, time is eternal.”

Nope, not Shakespeare. But Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You Like It does have some clever things to say about how different people perceive time:

travels in divers paces with divers persons. I’ll tell
you who time ambles withal, who time trots withal,
who time gallops withal, and who he stands still
withal.” (Read more – 3.2.313-339)

5. “Love me or hate me, both are in my favor…If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart…If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.”

Nooooo. Please don’t include this one in your list of the 21 best William Shakespeare quotes.

Before you retweet words purporting to be the Bard’s or pin them to your Pinterest board, check a reliable Shakespeare text (or stick with reliable sources), or you’ll just be perpetuating the spread of fake quotes. After all, as Shakespeare said, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Oh, wait. That was Sir Walter Scott.


I believe #4 is a botched version of this quotation from author, poet, and professor Henry Van Dyke: “Time is 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 eternity.”

Melissa Kiser — February 23, 2017

[…] Immagine in evidenza. […]

False poesie per celebri autori | Tropismi — December 1, 2018

I cannot find proof that Shakespeare wrote the following phrase widely attributed to him on the Internet and in printed books: “With caution judge of probability. Things deemed unlikely, e’en impossible, experience oft hath proved to be true.”

Shane Bernard — January 15, 2020