As You Like It: Act II, Scene vii


As You Like It             Act II, Scene vii             Jacques

(This speech is used in our interview with Nicholas Martin-Smith)

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139                                          All the world’s a stage,
140  And all the men and women merely players;
141  They have their exits and their entrances,
142  And one man in his time plays many parts,
143  His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
144  Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
145  Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
146  And shining morning face, creeping like snail
147  Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
148  Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
149  Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
150  Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
151  Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
152  Seeking the bubble reputation
153  Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
154  In fair round belly with good capon lined,
155  With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
156  Full of wise saws and modern instances;
157  And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
158  Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
159  With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
160  His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
161  For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
162  Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
163  And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
164  That ends this strange eventful history,
165  Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
166  Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

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