Dialogue from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare

Excerpt from Act II Scene VII

Duke Senior    Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy;

This wide and universal theatre

Presents more woeful pageants than the scene

Wherein we play in.

 Jaques               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 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 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.

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2 Comments

Filed under Dialogue

2 responses to “Dialogue from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare

  1. William Shakespeare was baptised in Stratford-upon-Avon on 26 April 1564, and died on 23 April 1616, aged 52 years. ‘As You Like It’ was likely written around 1600.
    The characters involved here are the Duke Senior and Jaques, a lord in his attendance. The Duke is the elder brother to Duke Frederick, and is living in banishment since his brother usurped his throne. Duke Senior inhabits a cave in the forest of Ardenne where he spends time with other noblemen who have joined him. He is described as living like Robin Hood with his band of men.
    In the forest, the men the Duke Senior presides over spend their time hunting and playing games. One of them is Jaques who is a melancholy character and disagrees with killing the deer. He spends his time alone and prefers to contemplate how his life is awful.

  2. Pingback: Excerpt from “They Have Their Exits” by Airey Neave ~~Escape~~ | thingsthatmadeanimpression

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