Mark Forsyth, of InkyFool.com, and author of several books on the language, cites in his The Elements of Eloquence (pages 10-11) an example of William Shakespeare, our old friend, lifting a passage from Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives for some lines in Antony and Cleopatra. From North we get this description of Cleopatra’s boat:
. . . the poop whereof was of gold, the sails of purple, and the oars of silver . . .
Shakespeare takes that and makes it into these lines: