The Seven Ages of Man

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 canon’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.

(As You Like It, 2. 7. 139-167)

 

You can read more of Shakespeare’s plays with the Spark Notes  Shakespeare Study Guide.