Shakespeare in Love (1998)
William Shakespeare: You will never age for me, nor fade, nor die.
Viola De Lesseps: Nor you, for me.
William Shakespeare: Goodbye, my love. A thousand times goodbye.
Viola De Lesseps: Write me well.
William Shakespeare: My story starts at sea, a perilous voyage to an unknown land. A shipwreck. The wild waters roar and heave. The brave vessel is dashed all to pieces. And all the helpless souls within her drowned. All save one. A lady. Whose soul is greater than the ocean, and her spirit stronger than the sea's embrace. Not for her a watery end, but a new life beginning on a stranger shore. It will be a love story. For she will be my heroine for all time. And her name will be Viola.
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.
"Thomas Kent": Tell me how you love her, Will.
William Shakespeare: Like a sickness - and its cure, together.
"Thomas Kent": Oh, yes. Like rain and sun. Like cold and heat.
William Shakespeare: Marlowe's touch was in my Titus Andronicus. And my Henry VI was a house built on his foundation.
Viola De Lesseps: You never spoke so well of him.
William Shakespeare: He was not dead before.
Queen Elizabeth: I know something of a woman in a man's profession. Yes, by God, I do know about that.
Nurse: Lord Wessex was looking at you tonight.
Viola De Lesseps: All the men at court are without poetry. If they see me, they see my father's fortune, I - will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all.
Nurse: Not Valentine and Sylvia.
Viola De Lesseps: No! Not the artful postures of love, but love that overthrows life. Unbiddable, ungovernable, like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture. Love as there has never been in a play. I will have love. Or I will end my days as a...
Nurse: As a nurse?
Viola De Lesseps: Oh, but I will be Valentine and Sylvia too. Oh, good nurse, God save you and good night.
Viola De Lesseps: Master Shakespeare?
William Shakespeare: The same, alas.
Viola De Lesseps: Oh, but why "alas"?
William Shakespeare: A lowly player.
Viola De Lesseps: Alas indeed, for I thought you the highest poet of my esteem and writer of plays that capture my heart.
William Shakespeare: Oh - I am him too!
Viola De Lesseps: [as Juliet] I do remember well where I should be, and there I am - where is my Romeo?
Nurse: [shouting from the audience] Dead!
Hugh Fennyman: Uh, one moment, sir.
Ned Alleyn: Who are you?
Hugh Fennyman: I'm, uh... I'm the money.
Ned Alleyn: Then you may remain so long as you remain silent.
William Shakespeare: I'm done with theater. The playhouse is for dreamers. Look what the dream brought us.
Viola De Lesseps: It was we ourselves did that. And for my life to come, I would not have it otherwise.
Lord Wessex: How is this to end?
Queen Elizabeth: As stories must when love's denied: with tears and a journey.
Philip Henslowe: Another little problem.
William Shakespeare: What'll we do now?
Philip Henslowe: The show must... you know...
William Shakespeare: Go on?
Queen Elizabeth: You are an eager boy. Did you like the play?
John Webster: I liked it when she stabbed herself, Your Majesty.
Queen Elizabeth: [after inspecting Viola] Have her then, but you're a lordly fool. She's been plucked since I saw her last, and not by you... it takes a woman to know it.
Lord Wessex: [angrily] Marlowe!
Viola De Lesseps: I would not have thought it: there IS something better than a play!
William Shakespeare: There is.
Viola De Lesseps: Even your play.
William Shakespeare: Hmm?
Viola De Lesseps: And that was only my first try.
Lord Wessex: Is she obedient?
Sir Robert de Lesseps: As any mule in Christendom - but if you are the man to ride her, there are rubies in the saddlebag.
Lord Wessex: I like her!
Viola De Lesseps: I loved a writer and gave up the prize for a sonnet.
William Shakespeare: I was the more deceived.
Viola De Lesseps: Yes, you were deceived, for I did not know how much I loved you.
Philip Henslowe: [Repeated line] I don't know. It's a mystery.
Lord Wessex: I have spoken with your father.
Viola De Lesseps: So, my lord? I speak with him every day.
Philip Henslowe: [screams in pain]
Hugh Fennyman: Henslowe! Do you know what happens to a man who doesn't pay his debts? His boots catch fire!
Philip Henslowe: [screams]
Hugh Fennyman: Why do you howl when it is I who am bitten?
Viola De Lesseps: This is not life, Will. It is a stolen season.
[about Marlowe's death in a tavern]
Ned Alleyn: A quarrel about the bill.
Philip Henslowe: The bill! Ah, vanity, vanity!
Ned Alleyn: Not the billing - the BILL!
William Shakespeare: You, sir, are a gentleman.
Ned Alleyn: And you, sir, are a Warwickshire shithouse.
[Whispering at Viola's bedroom door]
Nurse: My lady, the house is stirring. It is a new day.
Viola De Lesseps: It is a new WORLD.
William Shakespeare: A broad river divides my lovers: family, duty, fate. As unchangeable as nature.
William Shakespeare: Follow that boat!
First Boatman: Right you are, guv'nor!... I know your face. Are you an actor?
William Shakespeare: [oh God, here we go again] Yes.
First Boatman: Yes, I've seen you in something. That one about a king.
William Shakespeare: Really?
First Boatman: I had that Christopher Marlowe in my boat once.
Hugh Fennyman: How much is that, Mr Frees?
Frees: Twenty pounds to the penny, Mr. Fennyman.
Hugh Fennyman: Correct.
Philip Henslowe: But I have to pay the actors and the author.
Hugh Fennyman: Share of the profits.
Philip Henslowe: There's never any.
Hugh Fennyman: Of course not.
Philip Henslowe: Oh, oh, Mr. Fennyman. I think you might have hit upon something.
Queen Elizabeth: [to Lord Wessex, about Viola] Have her, then, but you are a lordly fool. She's been plucked since I saw her last, and not by you.
William Shakespeare: Love knows nothing of rank, or riverbank. It will spark between a Queen and the poor vagabond who plays the King - and their love should be minded by each, for love denied blights the soul we owe to God.
Queen Elizabeth: Mr. Tilney! Have a care with my name - you will wear it out!
Richard Burbage: The Master of the Revels despises us all for vagrants and peddlers of bombast. But my father, James Burbage, had the first license to make a company of players from Her Majesty, and he drew from poets the literature of the age. We must show them that we are men of parts. Will Shakespeare has a play. I have a theatre. The Curtain is yours.
Lord Wessex: My lady, the tide waits for no man, but I swear it would wait for you.
[on first hearing the tragic ending to Romeo and Juliet]
Philip Henslowe: Well, that would have them rolling in the aisles.
William Shakespeare: His name is Mercutio.
Ned Alleyn: What's the name of the play?
William Shakespeare: Mercutio.
Philip Henslowe: It is?
William Shakespeare: Shh!
Viola De Lesseps: Good morning, my lord. I see you are open for business - so let's to church.
Philip Henslowe: Let us have pirates, clowns, and a happy ending, or we shall send you back to Stratford to your wife!
Ned Alleyn: [singing the stage directions] Gentlemen upstage; ladies downstage... Are you a lady Mr. Kent?
Queen Elizabeth: Playwrights teach us nothing about love. They make it pretty, they make it comical, or they make it lust, but they cannot make it true.
Viola De Lesseps: Oh, but they can!
Viola de Lesseps: Nurse, as I love you and you love me, you will bind my breast and buy me a boy's wig.
William Shakespeare: I have a wife, yes, and I cannot marry the daughter of Sir Robert De Lesseps. You needed no wife come from Stratford to tell you that, and yet, you let me come to your bed.
Viola De Lesseps: Calf-love. I loved the writer and gave up the prize for a sonnet.
Philip Henslowe: Will! Where is my play? Tell me you have it nearly done! Tell me you have it started.
Philip Henslowe: You have begun?
William Shakespeare: [struggling with his boots] Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move.
Philip Henslowe: No, no, we haven't the time. Talk prose.
William Shakespeare: Wait! You're still a maid. And perhaps have mistooken me as I was mistook on Thomas Kent.
Viola De Lesseps: Are you the author of the plays of William Shakespeare?
William Shakespeare: I am.
Viola De Lesseps: Then kiss me again for I am not mistook.
Lord Wessex: I cannot shed blood in her house, but I will cut your throat anon. Do you have a name?
William Shakespeare: Christopher Marlowe, at your service.
Ned Alleyn: Pay attention and you will see how genius creates a legend.
William Shakespeare: Love knows nothing of rank or river bank.
William Shakespeare: Love denied blights the soul we owe to God.
Viola de Lesseps: I would stay asleep my whole life, if I could dream myself into a company of players.
William Shakespeare: You see? The comsumptives plot against me. "Will Shakespeare has a play, let us go and cough through it."
Viola De Lesseps: Good sir? I heard you were a poet. But a poet of no words?
Queen Elizabeth: Fifty pounds! A very worthy sum on a very worthy question. Can a play show us the very truth and nature of love? I bear witness to the wager, and will be the judge of it as occasion arises. I have not seen anything to settle it yet.
Queen Elizabeth: And tell Master Shakespeare, something more cheerful next time, for Twelfth Night.
Ned Alleyn: [on learning the fate of his character] He dies?
Tilney: [paying Webster for having tipped him off] You will do well, I fear.
William Shakespeare: It's as if my quill is broken... as if the organ of my imagination has dried up... as if the proud tower of my genius has collapsed.
Dr. Moth: Interesting.
William Shakespeare: Nothing comes.
Dr. Moth: Most interesting.
William Shakespeare: It's like trying to pick a lock with a wet herring.
Dr. Moth: Tell me, are you lately humbled in the act of love? How long has it been?
Viola de Lesseps: The Queen commands a comedy, Will. The Twelfth Night.
William Shakespeare: A comedy. What would my hero be? The saddest wretch in all the kingdom - to suit with love?
Viola de Lesseps: It's a beginning. Let him be - a duke. And your heroine...
William Shakespeare: Sold in marriage! And half-way to America.
William Shakespeare: At sea then, a voyage to a new world.
Viola de Lesseps: A storm. All are lost.
Viola de Lesseps: She lands on a vast and empty shore. She's brought to the duke... Orsino.
William Shakespeare: Orsino... good name.
Viola de Lesseps: But, fearful of her virtue, she comes to him dressed as a boy.
William Shakespeare: And thus is unable to declare her love.
Viola de Lesseps: But, all ends well.
William Shakespeare: How does it?
Viola de Lesseps: I don't know. It's a mystery.
William Shakespeare: Good title.
Christopher Marlowe: Yours?
William Shakespeare: "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter". - Oh, yes, I know, I know.
Christopher Marlowe: What is the story?
William Shakespeare: Well, there's this pirate. - In truth I have not written a word.
William Shakespeare: It is not a comedy I'm writing now.
Philip Henslowe: You see - comedy. Love, and a bit with a dog. That's what they want.
William Shakespeare: You still owe me for One Gentleman of Verona.
Philip Henslowe: Where is my play?
William Shakespeare: It is all locked safe in here.
[points to his head]
Philip Henslowe: God be praised. Locked?
William Shakespeare: As soon as I find my muse.
Philip Henslowe: Who is she this time?
William Shakespeare: She is always Aphrodite.
Philip Henslowe: Aphrodite Baggett, who does it behind the Dog and Crumpet?
Philip Henslowe: [jumping up onto a table] I need actors! Those of you who are unknown will have a chance to *be* known!
Tavern Patron: What about the money, Mr. Henslowe?
Philip Henslowe: It won't cost you a penny! Ha ha ha ha!
William Shakespeare: Words, words, words. Once I had the gift. I could make love out of words as a potter makes cups of clay. Love that overthrows empires. Love that binds two hearts together come hellfire and brimstone. For six pence a line, I could cause a riot in a nunnery. But, now?
Viola De Lesseps: Do you intend to marry, my Lord?
Lord Wessex: Your father should keep you better informed. He has bought me for you. He returns from his estate to see us marry two weeks from Saturday. You are allowed to show your pleasure.
Viola De Lesseps: It is still dark.
William Shakespeare: It is day. The rooster tells us so.
Viola De Lesseps: It was the owl! Believe me, love, it was the owl.
Viola De Lesseps: Oh, Will, as Thomas Kent my heart belongs to you. But, as Viola, the river divides us.
Viola De Lesseps: I love theater. To have stories acted for me by a company of fellows is in deed...
Queen Elizabeth: They're not acted for you, they're acted for me. And?
Viola De Lesseps: And I love poetry above all.
Queen Elizabeth: Above Lord Wessex?
Queen Elizabeth: [to Wessex] My Lord, when you cannot find your wife, you better look for her at the Playhouse.
Queen Elizabeth: The Queen of England does not attend exhibitions of public lewdness. So, something is out of joint.
Viola De Lesseps: It is a house of ill repute!
William Shakespeare: It is, Thomas, but of good reputation. Come, there's no harm in a drink!
[first title cards]
Title card: London 1593
Title card: In the glory days of the Elizabethan Theatre two playhouses were fighting it out for writers and audiences.
Title card: North of the city was the Curtain Theatre, home to England's most famous actor, Richard Burbage.
Title card: Across the river was the competition, built by Philip Henslowe, a businessman with a cash flow problem...
Title card: ...the Rose...
Viola De Lesseps: [that she, as Thomas Kent, is actually a woman] Nobody knew.
John Webster: [pointing to Will] He did! I saw him kissing her bubbies.
Christopher Marlowe: His best friend is killed in a duel by Ethel's brother or something. His name is Mercutio.
William Shakespeare: Mercutio... good name.
Christopher Marlowe: I thought your play was for Burbage.
William Shakespeare: This is a different one.
Christopher Marlowe: A different one you haven't written?
Makepeace, the Preacher: [protesting outside The Rose] Licentiousness is made a show! Vanity and pride are likewise made a show! This is the very business of show!
Third Auditioneer: [after every auditioneer has recited "Faustus"] I would like to give you something from "Faustus."
Philip Henslowe: [exasperated] How refreshing!
Hugh Fennyman: [In a tavern-brothel, to the acting company] A famous victory! Kegs and legs open, and on the house! Oh, what happy hour.
Philip Henslowe: [bound, with feet high over burning coals] I have a wonderful new play.
Hugh Fennyman: Put them back in.
[Lambert lowers Henslowe's feet closer to the coals]
Philip Henslowe: It's a comedy!
Hugh Fennyman: Cut off his nose.
Philip Henslowe: It's a new comedy by William Shakespeare!
Hugh Fennyman: And his ears.
Philip Henslowe: And a share! We will be partners, Mr. Fennyman.
Hugh Fennyman: Partners?
[Lambert lifts Henslowe's feet off the coals]
Philip Henslowe: It's a crowd tickler. Mistaken identities. Shipwreck. Pirate King. A bit with a dog and love triumphant!
Lambert: I think I've seen it. I didn't like it.
Philip Henslowe: But, this time it's by Shakespeare!
Hugh Fennyman: What's it called?
Philip Henslowe: Romeo and Ethel the Pirates Daughter.
Hugh Fennyman: Good title.
William Shakespeare: Henslowe, you have no soul; so, how can you understand the emptiness that seeks a soulmate?
Makepeace, the Preacher: A handmaiden of the devil! And wickedness in your children. The rose smells thusly ranked by any name. I say a plague on both their houses.
Rosaline: When will you write me a sonnet, Will?
William Shakespeare: I've lost my gift.
Rosaline: You left it in my bed! Come to look for it again.
Viola De Lesseps: Stage love will never be true love while the law of the land has our heroines being played by pipsqueak boys in petticoats!
Nol: The special today is a pigs foot marinated in juniper berry vinegar served on a buckwheat pancake.
"Thomas Kent": May I begin sir?
William Shakespeare: Your name.
"Thomas Kent": Thomas Kent. I would like to do a speech by a writer who commands the heart of every player: What light is light, if Silvia be not seen? What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by? Unless it be to think that she is by, And feed upon the shadow of perfection, Except I be by Silvia in the night, There is no music in the nightingale; Unless I look on Silvia in the day, There is no day for me to look upon; She is my essence, and I leave to be, If I be not...
William Shakespeare: Take off your hat!
"Thomas Kent": My hat?
William Shakespeare: Where'd you learn how to do that? Let me see you. Take off your hat!
"Thomas Kent": Are you Master Shakespeare?
Hugh Fennyman: Now, listen to me, you dregs! Actors are ten a penny and I, Hugh Fennyman, hold your nuts in my hand.
Lord Wessex: Will you defy your father and your Queen?
Viola De Lesseps: The Queen has consented?
Lord Wessex: She wants to inspect you. At Greenwich, come Sunday. Be submissive, modest, grateful, and brief.
"Thomas Kent": Is she beautiful?
William Shakespeare: Thomas, if I could write the beauty of her eyes, I was born to look in them and know myself.
"Thomas Kent": And her lips?
William Shakespeare: Her lips? The early morning rose would whither on the branch if it could feel envy.
"Thomas Kent": And her voice, like lark's song?
William Shakespeare: Deeper. Softer. None of your twittering larks. I would banish nightingales from their garden before they interrupt her song.
"Thomas Kent": Ah, she sings too?
William Shakespeare: Constantly, without doubt. And plays the lute. She has a natural ear. And her bosom. Did I mention her bosom?
"Thomas Kent": What of her bosom?
William Shakespeare: Oh, Thomas, a pair of pippins as round and rare as golden apples.
"Thomas Kent": But what of Lord Wessex?
William Shakespeare: For one kiss, I would defy a thousand Wessexes.
William Shakespeare: You cannot marry Wessex.
Viola De Lesseps: If not you, why not Wessex? If not Wessex, the Queen will know the cause and there will be no more Will Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare: No. No.
Viola De Lesseps: But, I will go to Wessex as a widow from these vows, unsolemn as they are, unsanctified.
Philip Henslowe: Mr. Tilney, what is this?
Tilney: Sedition! And indecency.
John Webster: Master of the Revels, sir, she's over here.
Tilney: Where, boy?
John Webster: There! I saw her bubbies.
Tilney: So, a woman on the stage. A woman! I say this theater is closed!
Philip Henslowe: It's a woman.
Tilney: This theater is closed. Notice will be posted!
Philip Henslowe: No, I swear, I knew nothing of this.
Viola De Lesseps: Nobody knew.
John Webster: He did! I saw him kissin' her bubbies.
Philip Henslowe: It is over.
Lord Wessex: Farewell, you'll all be welcome in Virginia!
Lord Wessex: Is she fertile?
Sir Robert de Lesseps: Oh, she will breed. If she do not, send her back.
William Shakespeare: Will you lend me 50 pounds?
Philip Henslowe: 50 pounds? What for?
William Shakespeare: Burbage offers me a partnership in Lord Chamberlain's Men. For 50 pounds my days as a hired player are over.
Philip Henslowe: Oh! Cut out my heart! Throw my liver to the dogs!
William Shakespeare: No, then.
Viola De Lesseps: Did you like Proteus or Valentine best? Proteus for speaking. Valentine for looks.
Nurse: Oh, I liked the dog for laughs.
Viola De Lesseps: When can we see another?
Nurse: When the Queen commands it.
Viola De Lesseps: Oh, to Playhouse! Nurse!
Nurse: Be still. Playhouses are not for well born ladies.
Viola De Lesseps: Oh, I'm not so well born!
Nurse: Well moneyed is the same as well born. And well married is more so.
Viola De Lesseps: [from her balcony] Romeo, Romeo, a young man of Verona. A comedy by William Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare: My lady!
Viola De Lesseps: Who's there?
Philip Henslowe: Do you think it's funny?
Ralph Bashford: I was a Pirate King and now I'm a Nurse. That's funny.
William Shakespeare: Am I mad? Unmended and unmade. Like a puppet in a box.
Lord Wessex: Now, pay attention, Nursie. The Queen, Gloriana Regina, God's chosen vessel, the radiant One who shines her light on us, is at Greenwich today and prepared, during the evening's festivities, to bestow her gracious favor on my choice of wife and if we're late for lunch, the old boot will not forget. So, get you to my Lady's chamber and produce her with or without her undergarments!
Hugh Fennyman: Master Shakespeare, has asked me to play the part - of the Apoth-ecary.
Philip Henslowe: The Apothecary? Will, what is this story? Where is the shipwreck? How does the comedy end?
William Shakespeare: By God, I wish I knew.
Philip Henslowe: By God, if you do not, who does? Let us have pirates, clowns and a happy ending or we shall send you back to Stratford to your wife.
Wabash: For never was a story of more woe, Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
Christopher Marlowe: Romeo? Romeo is Italian. Always in and out of love.
William Shakespeare: Yes. That's good. And who does he meet?
Christopher Marlowe: Ethel.
William Shakespeare: Do you think?
Christopher Marlowe: Daughter of his enemy.
William Shakespeare: The daughter of his enemy.
Christopher Marlowe: His best friend is killed in a duel by Ethel's brother - or something. His name is Mercutio.
William Shakespeare: Mercutio! Good name.