This page details 40 Shakespeare Quotes about flowers. One of the many arguments against the Shakespeare conspiracy theory is the knowledge of rural life displayed by the author in his plays and poems. Moreover, the author had a particularly detailed, closely observed, knowledge of the flower, flora and fauna of Warwickshire, the rural area where Shakespeare grew up.

Warwickshire is well-known for the proliferation of violets in the Spring. Shakespeare loved this humble little flower and his texts are strewn with violets. The first 11 quotes are specific to violets, with the remaining quotes covering all types of plants.

1. ‘The forward violet thus I did chide-
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet that smells
If not from my love’s breath?’

Sonnet 99

2. ‘A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent.’


3. ‘I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows.’

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

4. ‘I think the king is but a man, as I
am: the violet smells to him as it doth to me: the
element shows to him as it doth to me.

Henry V

5. ‘Like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets.’

Twelfth Night

6. ‘From her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring’


7. ‘Daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white.’

Love’s Labours Lost

8. ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,…
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.’

9. ‘Purple violets and marigolds,
Shall as a carpet hang upon thy grave.’


10. ‘Welcome my son: who are the violets now
That strew the green lap of the new come spring?’

Richard II

11. ‘The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?
Not she: nor doth she tempt: but it is I
That, lying by the violet in the sun,
Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,
Corrupt with virtuous season.’

Measure for Measure

12. ‘Flower of this purple dye,
Hit with Cupid’s archery,
Sink in apple of his eye.’

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

13. ‘Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.’

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

14. ‘…luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

15. ‘When daffodils begin to peer,
With heigh! the doxy over the dale,
Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year;
For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale.’

The Winter’s Tale

16. ‘Now, my fair’st friend,
I would I had some flowers o’ the spring that might
Become your time of day; and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
Your maidenheads growing: O Proserpina,
For the flowers now, that frighted thou let’st fall
From Dis’s waggon! daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes
Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses
That die unmarried, ere they can behold
Bight Phoebus in his strength–a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and
The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one! O, these I lack,
To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
To strew him o’er and o’er!’

The Winter’s Tale

17. ‘Lawn as white as driven snow;
Cyprus black as e’er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask roses.’

The Winter’s Tale

18. ‘Here’s flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun
And with him rises weeping: these are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age.’

The Winter’s Tale

19. ‘Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer’s death, nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest
flowers o’ the season
Are our carnations and streak’d gillyvors,
Which some call nature’s bastards: of that kind
Our rustic garden’s barren; and I care not
To get slips of them.’

The Winter’s Tale

21. ‘Like the lily,
That once was mistress of the field and flourish’d,
I’ll hang my head and perish.’

Henry VIII

22. ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.’

Romeo and Juliet

23. ‘What, no more ceremony? See, my women!
Against the blown rose may they stop their nose
That kneel’d unto the buds.’

Antony and Cleopatra

24. ‘The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.’

Sonnet 54

25. ‘I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks…’

Sonnet 130

26. ‘No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.’

Sonnet 35

27. ‘Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.’

Sonnet 98

28. ‘The lily I condemned for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair:
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both
And to his robbery had annex’d thy breath;
But, for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker eat him up to death.
More flowers I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or colour it had stol’n from thee.’

Sonnet 99

29. ‘At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.’

Love’s Labours Lost

30. ‘When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight’

Love’s Labours Lost

31. ‘Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owedst yesterday.’


32. ‘His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise.’


33. ‘There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that’s for thoughts.’


34. ‘There’s fennel for you, and columbines: there’s rue
for you; and here’s some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o’ Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. There’s a daisy’


35. ‘There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook.’


36. ”Tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to
drink; but I tell you, my lord fool, out of this
nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.’

Henry IV Part 1

37. ‘He was met even now
As mad as the vex’d sea; singing aloud;
Crown’d with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds,
With bur-docks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers,
Darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow
In our sustaining corn.’

King Lear

38. ‘…the fairest flowers o’ th’ season
Are our carnations and streaked gillyvors
Which some call nature’s bastards’

The Winter’s Tale

39. ‘Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dared, and take
The winds of March with beauty.’

The Winter’s Tale

40. ‘Of all the flowers, methinks a rose is best.’

The Two Noble Kinsmen

41. ‘Women are as roses, whose fair flower, being once displayed, doth fall that very hour.’

Twelfth Night

Test your Shakespeare quote knowledge with our Shakespeare quote quiz – simply match the 10 Shakespeare quotes to the correct play!

That’s it folks! What’s your favorite Shakespeare quote about death, and why? Share in the comments section below.

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