All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
— Jaques (Act II, Scene VII, lines 139-166)
The seven ages of man, as told by the man who celebrates yet another birthday today.
Alright, he’s done that for years now and will do so in future as well. That’s not the matter. No. I am not going to write another blissful blog post about how Shakespeare influenced the language and literature that we hold dear. That’d be a crappy and boring read; too many people would be doing it. Having read that excellent speech recorded in the pages of literature, I’d be surprised if you are even reading this. That’s the point. Shakespeare’s words need neither prologue nor epilogue. Thus, I wind up.