Hamilton Lines: The Top 10
Hamilton is that once-in-a-lifetime show that comes around and continues to astound Broadway fans, history buffs, music enthusiasts and the everyman alike. After its record-breaking 16 Tony Award nominations and subsequent 11 wins, the bloodbath-esque process of scoring a ticket, and the triple platinum status of the cast album, it would be a challenge to find someone who isn’t obsessed with, or at least appreciates the brilliance of Lin Manuel Miranda’s revolutionary (don’t mind the pun) Broadway sensation.
My best friend, an English major and incredible writer herself, is one of the biggest Hamilton and Lin Manuel-Miranda fans out there. She knows every word to every song and continues to comment on the brilliance of the musical’s score. With over two hours of music and lyrics, it’s hard to pluck out the best lines in the show, but we decided to take a shot (another Hamilton pun for you). So here are the 10 “best”, most resonant lyrics from Hamilton and why they’re just great.
1. We push away what we can never understand. – “It’s Quiet Uptown”
This is arguably the most versatile line in the show. It can be applied to the political realm and the very prevalent bigotry that has shown itself throughout history. It can be applied to relationships and judgements cast upon them. It is a simple line that is relevant in regard to many aspects of the show, and is sung in a soft but powerful way that makes an impact on the audience.
2. Burr, we studied and we fought and we killed for the notion of a nation we now get to build. – “Nonstop”
This line is gold for so many reasons. The rhyme comes effortlessly which is so hard to do, incorporating alliteration and the parallel of “notion” and “nation” which is just brilliant. The entire sentence encapsulates Alexander Hamilton’s political stance, where he wants the country to go, and who he is as a person. That’s a lot for one sentence.
3. I’m passed patiently waiting I’m passionately smashing every expectation every act is an act of creation. I’m laughing in the face of casualty and sorrow, for the first time I’m thinking past tomorrow. – “My Shot”
This is the line where everyone throws up their hands and thinks (or yells) “HOW”. Every Hamilton fan goes nuts for this line. It is an epic crescendo from one of the show’s most popular songs that took Miranda one whole year to write, not to mention that it’s a lot of fun to sing. In this line, it’s very evident that the time was worth it.
4. You built me palaces out of paragraphs, you built cathedrals. – “Burn”
Although it’s one of the less obvious lines of brilliance of those selected, it is a favorite of mine. This line is resonant because it talks about the act of creating something larger with your own original thoughts and words. This is something that every writer strives to accomplish. Although it is spoken of negatively in this particular song, sung by Eliza Hamilton, Hamilton’s mastery of such writing is unmatchable.
5. Love doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes.- “Wait For It”
This is another classic Hamilton lyric, and one that rings true no matter the time or place in history. This line is repeated in the song “Wait For It” with different subjects, the other two being death and life. I chose this particular lyric because love is the thing that grounds us in humanity. Thinking about love being able to encompass even the coldest most complicated of hearts is not only a beautiful thought but a remarkable feat. Anyone can feel love, no matter who you are.
6. We will fight up close, seize the moment and stay in it. It’s either that or meet the business end of a bayonet.- “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)”
I’m just impressed he found a rhyme to the word “bayonet”. Just another testament to his genius.
7. A civics lesson from a slaver, hey neighbor, your debts are paid cause’ you don’t pay for labor. – “Cabinet Battle #1”
It was hard to pick just one line from this debate-turned-song because there are so many brilliant burns. I chose this one because he somehow managed to fit 3 rhymes in one line and comment on one of the most important historical issues in American history. Hamilton destroys Jefferson in this battle and every line keeps you on the edge of your seat.
8. If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for? – “The Room Where It Happens”
This one line encapsulates both Hamilton and Burr’s characters perfectly. Hamilton is calling out Burr for not having solidified beliefs in anything, while Hamilton adheres strongly to his, almost to a fault. This flaw in Burr’s character ultimately leads to his loss in the future election against Thomas Jefferson and is an indirect cause of the duel that results in Hamilton’s death at his hands. Hamilton questions Burr’s integrity in one of the most epic lines of the show in one of the most epic songs.
9. God help and forgive me, I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me. – “ The Room Where It Happens”
This is a line that truly embodies Hamilton’s ultimate worry and goal throughout the entirety of the show. He is willing to die for his country, as long as he leaves behind a memorable and significant legacy.
10. In their eyes, I see you, Alexander. I see you every time and when my time is up, have I done enough, will they tell your story? – “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”
This is the second to last line in the show, at which point every person watching and/or listening is sobbing uncontrollably. This line, sung by Eliza, highlights her quest to keep her husband’s legacy alive as well as his spirit, childish essence and background as an orphaned immigrant. Despite his infidelity and lack of attention to their relationship, Eliza loved him so fiercely and loyally. In spite of his tragic flaws, she vows to do everything to preserve his rightful place in history. She is the sole reason that Alexander Hamilton is still present in the 21st century, and the fact that it is all because of love is truly spectacular. We really have her to thank for the beautiful story that has been brought back to life by Miranda.
Other Broadway Articles by Mena: