Shakespearean "Nothing New" Is there a quote from Shakespeare on the subject of there being nothing new under the sun, or about how history repeats itself? Something similar?
The actual quote is from the Bible. Ecclesiastes, 1:9:
What has been is what will be,
and has been done is what will be done;
and there is nothing new under the sun.
However, in Sonnet 59, Shakespeare explores the same theme:
If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguil'd,
Which labouring for invention bear amiss
The second burthen of a former child.
Oh that record could with a backward look,
Even of five hundred courses of the sun,
Show me your image in some antique book,
Since mind at first in character was done,
That I might see what the old world could say
To this composed wonder of your frame;
Whether we are mended, or where better they,
Or whether revolution be the same.
Oh sure I am the wits of former days,
To subjects worse have given admiring praise.
You can find out more about Shakespeare's sonnets and the quote from Ecclesiastes from the links below. I have also posted your Question to the William Shakespeare Group, in case others have alternate quotes to offer.
So many lines from Shakespeare have become part of our culture and language. You have provided a good example. Also consider "all the world's a stage" and "to be or not to be, that is the question." Sometimes we don't realize the origins of what we say.