In which play by Shakespeare can I find this quote, "When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew"?.

7 Answers

katwood001's profile pic

katwood001 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

This quote is from the Opera Falstaff by Verdi.  Fenton sings it to Nannetta in Act 2 Part 2: 

Come ti vidi
E tu sorridi
Perchè lo sai.

The Italian can be translated to:

"When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew."  

It is a lovely opera.  Bioto (mentioned by previous users) who wrote the libretto for the opera plagiarized a lot of quotes from Shakespeare: Henry IV, Romeo and Juliet, Merry Wives of Windsor, and Othello, among others.  This particular line does not exist in ANY of Shakespeare's works.  ( I personally think it is funny that Bioto plagiarized Shakespeare and one of the few lines he actually made up-- credit is given to the Bard.)

So why the confusion?

Blame Facebook and Twitter-  There is also some blame to go to a small print shop that printed it on throw pillows back in the early 2000s and attributed it to Shakespeare.  Truth be known, someone probably found the quote, saw it was from Falstaff, and assumed that Shakespeare wrote it, never realizing that Shakespeare never named a play after one of his most famous characters.  

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is no way that this quote is from any Shakespeare play.  Among other things, it sounds nothing like the kind of language that is used in the plays Shakespeare wrote.

I Googled it, and one place said it's from Romeo and Juliet.  But it definitely is not.  Another said it was from Hamlet.  It's not in there either.

The answer below says this comes from Hamlet Act II, Scene 2.  But it does not.  You can follow the link below, use the "find" function and type in "smile."  The word "smile" never appears in the text.

Finally, some results say it was written by someone called Arrigo Boito who wrote librettos for operas.

At any rate, there's no way this quote is an actual quote from Shakespeare.  He wrote stuff like "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" and "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks" -- hardly even the same language as the quote you give.

User Comments

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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 "When I saw you I fell in love. And you smiled because you knew."
Arrigo Boito

I checked on several major quote sights and this is the author of the quote.  I have to agree with pohnpei that the language of the quote is inconsistent with Shakespearean verse.  The style is all wrong and it lacks emphasis and the quality of Shakespeare’s writing.

 Arrigo Boito was a famous poet, writer, and even wrote some very famous operas.

"When I saw you I fell in love. And you smiled because you knew."
Arrigo Boito

His quote has often been used in commercialism like poets before him.  This particular quote I just happened to have on a small picture of a flower that my husband gave me years ago.  Guess what.  It is listed on the picture not as being by Shakespeare, but as being by Boito.






user7443121's profile pic

user7443121 | Student, Graduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

"When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew." ???

Shakespeare never used 'Modern English'. The diction used here is a 'Modern' one. Well, I don't think Shakespeare belong to our Age (period)? He belonged to an 'Elizabethan Age' where the later part of it, is also known as "The Shakespearean Age". Nevertheless, some says, it's from "Hemlet" and the other, "Romeo and Juliet". I assure that we will never find the exact quote in any of the acts & scenes in both the dramas (play)

                                                                           Thank you.

cassiefabray's profile pic

cassiefabray | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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I find answers from users in the internet always so useless, most of the time they are so laughably wrong its horrifying. The Quote is from Hamlet, and I'm not sure, but it should be the second act.