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(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

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All the World's a Stage

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

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003


Read poems about / on: ballad, soldier, justice, history, school, women, world, woman

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  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (4/17/2014 3:37:00 AM)

    The great poet tells the different changes of human being in different stages of growth which is very interesting to read and understand. I love this poem very much which I have read earlier.

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Saw Dust (2/4/2014 10:18:00 AM)

    Perhaps there is no best role but only the role itself (i.e., what is) . The aware person realizes the stage in life they are in and performs well and appropriately.

  • Sara Abu Zaki (1/30/2014 8:08:00 AM)

    Undoubtedly he was terrified of growing old..

  • Ashwin Jadhav (12/24/2013 4:11:00 AM)

    according to Shakespeare a man plays many roles in life.which is the best role you think and how would you Ike to play it?

  • Sudan Budhathoki (12/5/2013 1:23:00 AM)

    World's a stage
    Then who is pulling on and off the curtain?
    Rather are we just puppet?
    Or a silence audience?

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/6/2013 4:50:00 AM)

    And at the end of the day
    When he so defeated lies
    His battered ego in his hands
    And his decaying body attracting flies........

    Very few people learn to live and die gracefully now. I think so I am which becomes a big bloated ego. So in this short span on this stage let us live and let live in an atmosphere of love and peace because life is but a brief picnic. I welcome every one reading this to my page of poems for your esteemed comments please

  • Laurel Vijitha ... (10/10/2013 10:22:00 AM)

    awsm! ! ! I came in search of this poem because I got this poem in my English reader! ! :) I have this poem for my exams don't know how I am gonna learn! ! :) awsm poem! ! admire shakespeare

  • Emeyazia Iwe Chukwudi (8/22/2013 2:53:00 PM)

    What a masterpiece of reality. He lives on.

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  • Rubab Atwal (7/10/2013 6:26:00 AM)

    its great.....................................

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