What was the Shakespeare quote about the perfect prince?
July 19, 2011 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a Shakespeare quote about the prince having been the ideal every man wished to be.

[Asking for a friend] Someone's describing one of the princes (Hamlet? Hal?), and says something to the effect that he was the model of perfection for all men or that he was once the ideal every man strived for. Except "model," "epitome," and "paragon" don't seem quite like the right word.

It makes the friend think of a cardboard cut-out of a person that you might stand next to for a picture. Standard? Placard? What was the quote?

Extra bonus clue: the cover of her copy of the play was red.
posted by ldthomps to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
Reminds me of Lady Percy in Henry IV part 2, speaking of her dead husband:
he was indeed the glass
Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves:
He had no legs that practised not his gait;
And speaking thick, which nature made his blemish,
Became the accents of the valiant;
For those that could speak low and tardily
Would turn their own perfection to abuse,
To seem like him: so that in speech, in gait,
In diet, in affections of delight,
In military rules, humours of blood,
He was the mark and glass, copy and book,
That fashion'd others.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:10 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Th' expectation and rose of the fair state / The glass of fashion and the mould of form."

Hamlet, Act 3, line 152-153
posted by BrashTech at 7:15 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Both great answers, and it looks like the Hamlet was the one she was looking for. Thanks, metafilter, fast and accurate as always!
posted by ldthomps at 7:44 AM on July 19, 2011

"model," "epitome," and "paragon" don't seem quite like the right word.

Another word that Shakespeare often used in this context was "pattern":
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
Glad you found the answer!
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:54 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't thank me, than Mrs. Maddox for requiring that we memorize a soliloquy in British Lit. :)
posted by BrashTech at 8:33 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another possibility:
"This was the noblest Roman of them all;
All the conspirators save only he
Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
He, only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, 'This was a man!' "
Julius Caesar, Act Act 5 scene 5.

posted by Logophiliac at 11:29 AM on July 19, 2011

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