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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 69

William Shakespeare. (1564–1616) (continued)
    And wiped our eyes
Of drops that sacred pity hath engender’d.
          As You Like It. Act ii. Sc. 7.
    Oppress’d with two weak evils, age and hunger.
          As You Like It. Act ii. Sc. 7.
    All the world ’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players. 1
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 woful 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.
          As You Like It. Act ii. Sc. 7.
Note 1.
The world ’s a theatre, the earth a stage,
Which God and Nature do with actors fill.
Thomas Heywood: Apology for Actors. 1612.

A noble farce, wherein kinds, republics, and emperors have for so many ages played their parts, and to which the whole vast universe serves for a theatre.—Montaigne: Of the most Excellent Men. [back]