Monday, 19 July 2010


Act II Scene vii


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 prime plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And 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 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'd 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. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

William Shakespeare 

The 19th century critic and prose writer. William Hazlitt, remarked: "Jaques is the only contemplative character in Shakespeare. he thinks and does nothing."

The photograph is a still from the 1936 Paul Czinner film  'As You like It', an early example of a Shakespeare 'talkie'.  In his first filmed performance in a Shakespeare play Laurence Olivier is a dashing, virile Orlando, with Elizabeth Bergner as Rosalind.

Leon Quartermaine delivers this famous monologue perfectly.

(The film is available on DVD)