All the World’s a Stage…

William Shakespeare, 1564-1616

…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.

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Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon

At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

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Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, Stratford-upon-Avon

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

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Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

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Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Bankside, London (pic: TONY LARKIN/REX FEATURES)

Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.

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Middle Temple Hall, London

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.

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New Place Garden, Stratford-upon-Avon

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered 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.

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Shakespeare’s grave, Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

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