« PreviousContinue »
THE SEVEN AGES.
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' eye-brow.
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 lin’d, 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's Pantaloon; With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side ; His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound:
* Trite, common.
Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is Second Childishness, and mere oblivion; Saus teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.
A SHEPHERD'S PHILOSOPHY. I KNOW, the more one sickens, the worse at ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is without three good friends :—That the property of rain is to wet, and fire to burn: That good pasture makes fat sheep: and that a great cause of the night is lack of the sun: That he, that hath learned no wit by nature nor art, may complain of good breeding, or comes of a very dull kindred.
CHARACTER OF AN HONEST AND SIMPLE SHEPHERD.
Sir, I am a true labourer; I earn that I eat, get that I wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other men's good, content with my harm: and the greatest of my pride is, to see my ewes graze, and my lambs suck.
Cor. And how like you this shepherd's life, master Touchstone?
Touch. Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life, it is nought. In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life, look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more plenty in it, it goes much against my stomach.
DESCRIPTION OF A LOVER. A lean cheek; which you have not: a blue eye, and sunken; which you have not: an unquestionable spirit*; which you have not: a beard neglected; which you have not:-but I pardon you for that; for, simply, your having t in beard is a younger brother's revenue :—Then your hose should be ungartered, your bonnetunbanded, your sleeve unbuttoned, your shoe untied, and every thing about you demonstrating a careless desolation. But you are no such
* A spirit averse to conversation.