Documented  ASTROLOGY quotes by Shakespeare - selections by Ove von Spaeth

Edition by:  THE OVE VON SPAETH PAPERS - on History and Science:  Rediscovery, Insight, Renewal”


Copyright © 2015 by:  Ove von Spaeth

Astrology related quotations by Shakespeare,

as documented in his “The First Folio” (1623).

The Shakespearean works contain hundreds of references to the stars and astrology, also indirectly: -

*   In the play "Comedy of Errors”, a place called Centaur Inn is mentioned several times. A ‘centaur’ can contextually be identical with the zodiac’s 9th sector, the Sagittarius constellation (not to be confused with the centaur Chiron). - In Act I, Scene2, where some gold (a possible sun-reference) must be routed to the inn, it informs us about time: the sun is in the west, and “in the same hour” that was “dinner-time” (which in Elizabethan times was not “supper” but a meal in the early afternoon hours 1-2 p.m.), thus consistent with the Sagittarius sector of a diurnal scale.  -

*   Or in “Hamlet”, Act I Scene 2, when King Claudius uses an astronomy term by saying that Hamlet's wanderlust is “retrograde” to what this king wants.  -

*   In “The Merchant of Venice” the Jewish protagonist is named Shylock which is not a common name of Jewish descent. It is a fictitious personal name - in fact, ‘Shyloch’ is the Hebrew and Arabic name for the main star in the constellation Lyra in the sky, the upper pole of the World-axis.   -

*   In many parts of Shakespearean texts, influence can be recognized from hermetic teachings. For example, in the play "As You Like It", Act II Scene 7, there is a description of “the seven ages of life” in which there are embedded astrological characteristics of the seven planets - even though the planets are not themselves mentioned by name. In the Shakespearean works there are alchemical and astrological concepts that may often have been forgotten in our time but can still be rediscovered here.  -

*   In modernized and translated editions of the Shakespearean works it can often be seen that ‘planets’ have been replaced with the term ‘stars’. Or when Shakespeare makes puns based on a comet, as this word is Greek meaning a "hairy star", often this concept, however, is not being perceived in the translated or modernized editions.  -                                                                                                          /Ove von Spaeth

The text line placement numbers are set as in “The  First Folio”, Shakespeare The Complete Works, 1623, - reprinted as: The Tudor Edition of William Shakespeare The Complete Works, London and Glasgow (Collins, 1951), 2nd reprint 1954. In other published editions such numbers might vary slightly or different.     /OvS



Shakespeare astrology quotes  




(Aaron:)    Madam, though Venus govern your desires, Saturn is dominator over mine.
    - William Shakespeare, - “Titus Andronicus”, Act II, Scene 3.      lines no.29-39.    -  (1588-1593).

*  *  *

(Marcus:)    If I do dream, would all my welth would wake me !  If I do wake, some planet strike
me down, that in my slumber an eternal sleep !

    - William Shakespeare, - “Titus Andronicus”, Act II, Scene 4.      lines 14-15.  -  (1588-1593).

*  *  *


(Julia:)    Base men, that use them to so base effect !  But truer stars did govern Proteus' birth ;  His words are bonds, his oaths are oracles, …  His heart as far from fraud as heaven from earth.

     - William Shakespeare, - “The Two Gentlemen Of Verona”, Act II, Sc.7. lines 73-78.  (1589-92).

*  *  *

(Chorus/prologue:)    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.  From forth the fatal loins of these two foes ;  a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life ; whose misadventured piteous overthrows doth with their death bury their parents' strife.  The fearful passage of their death-marked love, and the continuance of their parents' rage,

     - William Shakespeare, - “Romeo And Juliet”, Chorus.    lines 2-10.   -  (1591-1595).


*  *  *


 (Romeo:)    Some consequence yet hanging in the stars, shall bitterly begin his fearful date

      - William Shakespeare, - “Romeo And Juliet”, Act I, Scene 4.     lines 106-108.   -  (1591-1595).

*  *  *

(Romeo:)    Oh, here    Will I set up my everlasting rest, and shake the yoke of inauspicious stars from this world-wearied flesh.
     - William Shakespeare, - “Romeo And Juliet”, Act V, Scene 3.     lines 109-111.   - (1591-1595).

*  *  *


(King Richard:)    Heaven and fortune bar me happy hours !  day, yield me not thy light ;  nor, night, thy rest !  Be opposite all planets of good luck to my proceedings ! -

      - William Shakespeare, - “King Richard III”, Act IV, Scene 4.      lines 399-403.   -  (1592).

*  *  *


(Bedford:)    Comets, importing change of time and states, brandish your crystal tresses in the sky and with them scourge the bad revolting stars that have consented unto Henry’s death ! 

     - William Shakespeare, - “1st part of, King Henry The Sixth”, Act I, Sc.1.  lin.2-6. -  (1589-1592).

*  *  *

(Exeter:)     What !  shall we curse the planets of mishap that plottet thus our glory’s overthrow ?  Or shall we think on the subtle-witted French conjurers and sorceres that, afraid of him, by magic verses have contrived his end ?

     - William Shakespeare, - “1st part of, King Henry The Sixth”, Act I, Sc.1.   lin.23-24.  -  (1592).

*  *  *

(Bedford:  Combat with adverse planets in the heavens.  A far more glorious star thy soul will make than Julius Caesar or bright - -
     - William Shakespeare, - “1st part of, King Henry The Sixth”, Act I, Sc.1. lin.54-56. (1589-1592).

*  *  *

(Charles:)    Mars, his true moving, even as in the heavens so in the earth, to this day is not known.    Late did he shine on the English side ;  now we are victors, upon us he smiles.

     - William Shakespeare, - “1st part of, King Henry The Sixth”, Act I, Sc.2.  lin.1-4. -  (1589-1592).

*  *  *


(Constance:)    Been sworn my soldier, bidding me depend    Upon thy stars, thy fortune and thy  strength,     And dost thou now fall over to my foes ?
     - William Shakespeare, - “The Life And Death Of King John”, Act III, Sc.1.  lin.136-139. - (1596).

*  *  *

(Philip the Bastard:)    Now, now, you stars that move in your right spheres,    Where be your powers ?  Show now your mended faiths, and instantly return with me again to push destruction and perpetual shame out of the weak door of our fainting land.

     - William Shakespeare, - “The Life And Death Of King John”, Act V, Sc.7.   lines 82-86. -  (1596).


*  *  *

(Don John:)    I wonder that thou, being, as you sayest thou art, born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief.

      - William Shakespeare, - “Much Ado about Nothing”, Act I, Sc.3.    lines 7-10.   -  (1598-1599).


*  *  *


(Margaret:)     No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.

     - William Shakespeare, - “Much Ado about Nothing”, Act V, Sc.2.   lines 36-37. -  (1598-1599).

*  *  *


(Bernardo:)    Last night of all, when yond same star that's westward from the pole had made his course to illume that part of heaven where now it burns, Marcellus and myself, the bell then beating one,                                                                                                              [! the pole, i.e. the Pole star]

     - William Shakespeare, - “Hamlet”, Act I, Scene 1.     lines 35-38.     -  (1599).

*  *  *

(Horatio:)    As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, disasters in the sun ;  and the moist star upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse ;  and even the like precurse of feared events, as harbingers preceding still the fates, and prologue to the omen coming on have heaven and earth together demonstrated unto our climatures and countrymen.                                                                                                          [! the moist star, i.e. the moon]

     - William Shakespeare, - “Hamlet”, Act I, Scene 1.     lines no. ca.117-125.    -  (1599).

*  *  *

(Claudius:)    For your intent in going back to school in Wittenberg,  it is most retrograde to our desire ;
     - William Shakespeare, - “Hamlet”, Act I, Scene 2.     lines 112-124.   -  (1599).

*  *  *

(Claudius:)    As the star moves not but in his [Hamlet's] sphere,
     - William Shakespeare, - “Hamlet”, Act IV, Scene 7.     line 15.   -  (1599).

*  *  *

(Hamlet:)     What is he whose grief bears such an emphasis?   whose phrase of sorrow conjures the wandering stars, and makes them stand like wonder-wounded hearers ?   This is I, Hamlet the Dane.                                                                                                                      [! wandering stars, i.e. planets]

     - William Shakespeare, - “Hamlet”, Act V, Scene 1.     lines 250-251.  -   (1599).

*  *  *


(Cassius:)    Men at some time are masters of their fates : The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,   but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

      - William Shakespeare, - “Julius Caesar”, Act I, Scene 2.       lines 139-141.    -  (1599).


*  *  *

(Calpurnia:)    When beggars die there are no comets seen :  The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
     - William Shakespeare, - “Julius Caesar”, Act II, Scene 2.     lines 30-31.   -  (1599).

*  *  *



(Sir Toby Belch:)    Were we not born under Taurus?  -  (Sir Andrew:)  Taurus! That's sides and heart.  -  (Sir Toby Belch:)   No, sir; it is legs and thighs. Let me see thee caper.
                                                      [! actually, Taurus is associated with neck and throat, but also with 'music and dance']

      - William Shakespeare, - “Twelfth Night”, Act I, Scene 3.     line 147.   -  (1601-1602).

*  *  *

(Sebastian:)    My stars shine darkly over me ;  the malignancy of my fate might perhaps distemper

yours ;  therefore I shall crave of you your leave that I may bear my evils alone.  It were a bad recompense for your love to lay any of them on you.

     - William Shakespeare, - “Twelfth Night”, Act II, Scene 1.   lines 3-7.  -  (1601-1602).

*  *  *

(Malvolio:)    In my stars I am above thee ;  but be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. - … I thank my stars I am happy. I will be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting on.  Jove and my stars be praised !                                                                 [! Jove, i.e. Jupiter]

     - William Shakespeare, - “Twelfth Night”, Act II, Sc.5.   lines 127-137 & 154-157. - (1601-02).

*  *  *


(Helena:)   That we, the poorer born,  whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes, might with effects of them follow our friends …

     - William Shakespeare, - “All’s well that Ends Well”, Act I, Sc. 1.    lines 169-172 -  (1603-1604).


*  *  *

(Helena:)    You were born under charitable star.   - (Parolles:)  Under Mars, I.   - (Helena:)   I especially think, under Mars.   - (Parolles:)  Why under Mars?   - (Helena:)   The wars have so kept you under that you must needs be born under Mars.   - (Parolles:)  When he was predominant.  - (Helena:)   When he was retrograde, I think rather.  - (Parolles:)  Why think you so ?   - (Helena:)  You go so much backward when you fight. 

     - William Shakespeare, - “All’s well that Ends Well”, Act I, Sc.1.   lines 179-188. -  (1603-1604).

*  *  *


(Othello:)    It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul - let me not name it to you, you chaste stars - it is the cause.

      - William Shakespeare, - “Othello”, Act V, Scene 2.     lines 1-3.   -  (1604).

*  *  *

(Othello:)    Oh, insupportable !  Oh, heavy hour !  Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse of

sun and moon, and that the affrighted globe did yawn at alteration.
      - William Shakespeare, - “Othello”, Act V, Scene 2.     lines 101-103.   -  (1604).

*  *  *

(Othello:)    It is the very error of the moon ;  she sometimes comes more nearer earth than she was wont, and makes men mad.

      - William Shakespeare, - “Othello”, Act V, Scene 2.     lines 111-113.   -  (1604).

*  *  *


(Gloucester:)    These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us.  Though the wisdom of nature can reason it thus and thus, yet nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects :  love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide ;  in cities mutinies ;   in countries discord ;   in palaces treason ;  and the bond cracked ’twixt son and father. This villain of mine comes under the prediction :   there’s son against father.  

    - William Shakespeare, - “King Lear”, Act I, Scene2.    lines 100-106.  -  (1605-1606).

*  *  *

(Edmund:)   This is the excellent foppery of the world that when we are sick in fortune - often the surfeit of our own behavior - we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars ;  as if we were villains by necessity ;  fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves, and treachers by spherical predominance ;  drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence ;   and all that we are evil in by a divine thrusting on - an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star !   My father compounded with my mother under the Dragon’s tail and my nativity was under Ursa Major, so that it follows I am rough and lecherous.   Fut, I should have been that I am, had the maidenliest star in the firmament twinkled on my bastardizing.       
                    [! Dragon's tail is the ecliptic node at the setting moon orbit, - & Ursa Major is the Great Bear constellation]
    - William Shakespeare, - “King Lear”, Act I, Scene2.    lines 118-133.   -  (1605-1606).

*  *  *

(Kent:)    It is the stars   The stars above us, govern our conditions ;  else one self mate and make could not beget such different issues.   

    - William Shakespeare, - “King Lear”, Act IV, Scene3.    lines 32-34.   -  (1605-1606).

*  *  *


(Ulysses:)   The heavens themselves, the planets and this centre, observe degree, priority, and Place, insisture, course, proportion, season, form, office and custom, in all line of order ;  and therefore is the glorious planet Sol in noble eminence enthroned and sphered amidst the other, whose medicinable eye corrects the ill aspects of planets evil, and posts, like the commandment of a king, sans cheque, to good and bad.  But when the planets in evil mixture to disorder wander, what plagues and what portents, what mutiny, what raging of the sea, shaking of earth, commotion in the winds !

     - William Shakespeare, - “Troilus And Cressida”, Act I, Scene 3.  lines 84-98.  -  (1605-1608).


*  *  *


(Antony:)   When my good stars, that were my former guides, have empty left their orbs …    
      - William Shakespeare, - “Antony And Cleopatra”, Act III, Sc.13.  lin.144-146.  -  (1606-1607).

*  *  *

(Caesar:)    - That our stars, unreconcilable, should divide our equalness to this.    
     - William Shakespeare, - “Antony And Cleopatra”, Act V, Scene 1.   lines 46-48.  -  (1606-1607).

*  *  *


(Pericles:)    Until our stars that frown lend us a smile.
     - William Shakespeare, - “Pericles”, Act I, Scene 4.    lines 10-11.  -  (1606-1608).

*  *  *


(Imogen:)  His foot Mercurial, his Martial thigh, The brawns of Hercules ;  but his Jovial face - -
[i.e. as these planets …Mercury, & … Mars, & …Jupiter]

    - William Shakespeare, - “Cymbeline, King of Britain”, Act IV, Scene 2.  ca.308-310.  - (1609).

*  *  *

(Jupiter:)  Our jovial star reigned at his birth.                                               [! jovial star, i.e. the planet Jupiter]

      - William Shakespeare, - “Cymbeline, King of Britain”, Act V, Scene 4.   ca.110-111.  - (1609).

*  *  *


Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck and yet methinks I have astronomy but not to tell of good or evil luck of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality;  nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell ;  …  Or say with princes if it shall go well by oft predict that I in heaven find.
      - William Shakespeare, -  “Sonnet, [No.] 14”.   -  (1609).

*  *  *

The Winter's Tale

(Prospero:)    And by my prescience I find my zenith doth depend upon a most auspicious star, whose influence if now I court not, but omit, my fortunes will ever after droop.
     - William Shakespeare, - “The Tempest”, Act I, Scene 2.    lines 179-185.   -  (1610-1611).

*  *  *

(Leontes:)     It is a bawdy planet, that will strike where ‘tis predominant - and ‘tis powerful, think it - from east, west, north, and south. Be it concluded,
     - William Shakespeare, - “The Winther’s Tale”, Act I, Sc.2.  lin.201-203.  - (1610-1611, 1623).

*  *  *

(Hermione:)     There’s some ill planets reigns.  I must be patient till the heavens look with an aspect more favourable.

     - William Shakespeare, - “The Winther’s Tale”, Act II, Scene 1.  lin.105-107. - (1610-1611, 1623).

*  *  *





Titus Andronicus  -  (1588-1593).
The Two Gentlemen Of Verona  -  (1589-1592).
Romeo And Juliet  -  (1591-1595).
King Richard III  -  (1592).
1st part of, King Henry The Sixth  -  (1589-1592).
The Life And Death Of King John  -  (1596).
Much Ado about Nothing  -  (1598-1599).
Hamlet  -  (1599).
Julius Caesar  -  (1599).
Twelfth Night  -  (1601-1602).
All’s well that Ends Well  -  (1603-1604).
Othello  -  (1604).
King Lear  -  (1605-1606).
Troilus And Cressida  -  (1605-1608).
Antony And Cleopatra  -  (1606-1607).
Pericles  -  (1609).
“Sonnet, [no.] 14  -  (1609).
The Tempest  -  (1610-1611).
The Winter's Tale  -  (1610-1611, 1623).


*  *  *


Bibligraphy  - orientating


Allen, Don Cameron:  The Star-crossed Renaissance: the Quarrel about Astrology and its Influence in
, Duke University Press, USA, 1941; repr. New York (Octagon Books/
Routledge) 1966.


Aston, Margaret E.:  The Fiery Trigon Conjunction. An Elizabethan Astrological Prediction, Isis, Vol.61, 1970, 
        pp. 159-187.


Buckley, G.T.:  What Star Was Westward from the Pole?, Notes and Queries, Volume 208, (New Series
          10), Published by: Oxford University Press, London, November, 1963, pp.412-413.

Camden, Carroll, Jr.:  Astrology in Shakespeare’s Day, ISIS, XIX, 1933, pp.26-70.
- -   :  Elizabethan Almanacs and Prognostications, The Library, 4.Series, XII, 1931-32, pp.83-108, 194-207.

Gingerich, Owen:  Great Conjunctions, Tycho, and Shakespeare, Sky & Telescope, May 1981, pp.394-395.

Rusche, Harry:   Edmund's Conception and Nativity in King Lear, Shakespeare Quarterly 20:2, 1969,



Sondheim, Moriz:  Shakespeare and the Astrology of His Time, Journal of the Warburg Institute, Vol.2, No.3, 
          Article DOI: 10.2307/750101, Published by The Warburg Institute, Jan., 1939, pp. 243-259.


Spaeth, Ove von:  Tycho Brahe og Shakespeares stjernekode, Zenith e-book  6200DA  -
          - ISBN 978-87-89171-67-8  -  Copenhagen 2013.


*  *  *


Quotes gathered by  THE OVE VON SPAETH PAPERS on History and Science:  Rediscovery, Insight, Renewal”

*  *  *


Other documented QUOTATIONS by collections gathered and presented by related books by Ove von Spaeth


More and other quotes on astrology are presented in
OVE VON SPAETH’s books ”
Regents, Admirals - and the Royal Astrologers
- and in “
The Basilisk, the Kings, and the Stellar World” :
Downloads for FREE


*  *  * 

web-site                           facebook

*  *  *


Copyright © 2015 by:  Ove von Spaeth  -   -  All rights reserved.