Instagram is killing me. By far, *most* of the quotes that people are circulating as Shakespeare are, in fact, not. Here’s the latest: “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 not.” http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/14286-time-is-too-slow-for-those-who-wait-too-swift 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.~
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: [Source] 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. 🙂~
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 not afeard, the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.”~
However, this one is George Santayana:
Thanks to “That’s Not Shakespeare,” who looks to be as upset about misattributed Shakespeare as I am 🙂
UPDATED September 8, 2014: I was asked to provide a citation that this is Santayana. And you know what? I can’t. It’s quite possible that this quote has fallen victim to that same logic that gets us so many “Not by Shakespeare” quotes, where you find a couple of blogs saying something so it must be true. I can’t speak for the entirety of Santayana’s work but I can safely say that it’s definitely not in Shakespeare’s work. If anybody can cite exactly where it occurs, we’d all be very grateful!
UPDATED August 2018: Several commenters below point us to Reginald Holmes in his collection “Fireside Fancies”. Have we finally solved it??
“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.”
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.~
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??~