Did William Shakespeare Really Say That?

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By T. V. Antony Raj


Shakespeare said


The above is a widely copied and circulated quote on Facebook and other social networks, but I could not find the source of the quote anywhere in the works of William Shakespeare. Even though the attribution of the above quote to Shakespeare is incorrect, some people due to their ignorance re-post it without verification. Even goodreads.com, searchquotes.com, azquotes.com, and a few other websites have this fake quote on their pages.

Someone had initiated this fraud by copying the part of the text starting with “Before you speak” from the short poem titled “Before You” by William Arthur Ward (1921 – March 30, 1994), one of America’s most quoted writers of inspirational maxims.

Before You
by William Arthur Ward

Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.

Even though we have now stepped into the 21st century, a few choose to remain ignorant. I just wonder why these copycats do not surf the internet, enlighten themselves, and verify facts before posting whatever they copy on social media.

On a lighter vein, I came across this comment by Rodolphe in RoDoLpHe’S wOrLd dated August 18, 2011.

To blog or not to blog“, said Hamlet, in reply to Othello who told him “Put out the comment, and then, put out the comment.”

Both knew that Henry the Fifth was spamming Richard III’s blogger account on purpose because the latter dated Cromwell’s third girlfriend. It was Falstaff who discovered the plot because he hacked Iago’s secret identity database.

I hope no one will copy portions of Rodolphe’s comment and post them on social media and attribute it to the Bard of Avon.





8 thoughts on “Did William Shakespeare Really Say That?”

    1. It is social media not an academic journal paper, so as long as the idea inspire others, who cares who wrote it? I certainly don’t.


  1. I received the following version in Spanish from a friend in Mexico. This is a Google Translate version of the Spanish I received.

    I always feel happy, do you know why?. Because I do not expect anything from anyone; Waiting always hurts Problems are not eternal, they always have a solution, the only thing that is not solved is death. Do not let anyone insult you, humiliate you or lower your self-esteem. The cries are the soul of the cowards, of those who are not right. We will always find people who want to blame you for your failures, and everyone has what they deserve. We must be strong and rise from the setbacks that life gives us, to warn us that after a dark tunnel and full of solitude, very good things come. “Every cloud has a silver lining”. Therefore, enjoy the life that is very short, so love it, be happy and always smile. Only live intensely for you and for you. Remember: Before discussing. Breathe; Before speaking. Before writing. Before wounding. Before giving up. Before he died. The best relationship is not the one that unites perfect people, but the one in which each individual learns to live with the defects of others and to admire their qualities. That who does not value what he has, someday he will regret for having lost and that someone who does evil someday will receive his due. If you want to be happy make someone happy, if you want to receive, give a little of you, surround yourself with good people and be one of them. Remember, sometimes you least expect is who will make you live good experiences! Never ruin your present for a past that has no future. A strong person knows how to keep their lives in order. Still with tears in his eyes, he manages to say with a smile “I’m fine”

    Here’s the Spanish version I received:
    “Siempre me siento feliz, ¿sabes porqué?. Porque no espero nada de nadie; esperar siempre duele. Los problemas no son eternos, siempre tienen solución, lo único que no se resuelve es la muerte. No permitas que nadie te insulte, te humille o te baje la autoestima. Los gritos son el alma de los cobardes, de los que no tienen razón. Siempre encontraremos gente que te quiere culpar de sus fracasos, y cada quien tiene lo que se merece. Hay que ser fuertes y levantarse de los tropiezos que nos pone la vida, para avisarnos que después de un túnel oscuro y lleno de soledad, vienen cosas muy buenas. “No hay mal que por bien no venga”. Por eso, disfruta la vida que es muy corta, por eso ámala, se feliz y siempre sonríe. Solo vive intensamente para ti y por ti. Recuerda: Antes de discutir.respira; antes de hablar.escucha; antes de escribir.piensa; antes de herir.siente; antes de rendirte.intenta; antes de morir.VIVE. La mejor relación no es aquella que une a personas perfectas, sino aquella en que cada individuo aprende a vivir con los defectos de los demás y a admirar sus cualidades. Que quien no valora lo que tiene, algún día se lamentará por haber perdido y que quien hace mal algún día recibirá su merecido. Si quieres ser feliz haz feliz a alguien, si quieres recibir, da un poco de ti, rodéate de buenas personas y sé una de ellas. Recuerda, a veces de quien menos esperas es quien te hará vivir buenas experiencias¡. Nunca arruines tu presente por un pasado que no tiene futuro. Una persona fuerte sabe cómo mantener en orden su vida. Aún con lágrimas en los ojos, se las arregla para decir con una sonrisa “Estoy bien”.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you. I just got that on whatsapp for a NYE thing and I thought this didn’t really feel like Shakespeare. I don’t really know all his works, but I’ve read some…so I’ve been searching the net for some information on it and this has been the closest to something legit


  3. You might want to check the validity of the image purporting to be William Arthur Ward. For someone not born until 1921, he’s dressed rather anachronistically in clothes more suited for the late 19th Century. My dad was born in 1916, and trust me, he never dressed like that!


    1. Dear Mr Skip Middleton,

      You are correct in your premise that the validity of the image purporting to be that of William Arthur Ward is suspect. I checked once again, this time thoroughly, and found that the portrait is that of Chester Alan Arthur (October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886) who served as the 21st President of the United States (1881–85). By the way, if you google William Arthur Ward, you will find that this portrait of President Chester Alan Arthur has been used by many inadvertently as that of William Arthur Ward and I too erred. Mea culpa. Thanks for informing me. I have removed the questionable image from my post.


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