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 school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like a 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


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 to wide

For his shrunk shank; his big manly voice,

Turning again towards childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange and eventful history,

Is childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

These concept of the 'stage' from which the Ronnie Davis takes the theme of his song The Stage - a class Rock Steady cut produced by George Murphy of The Tennors, for his Tennors label JA - comes from the second act of William Shakespeare's play As You Like It, believed to be written in 1599 or 1600. The famous lines are spoken in the play by Jaques - a melancholy Lord who is introduced to us in the play, weeping over the slaughter of a dear. For me it is the last line of this monologue, following on from the events in the preceding lines, that makes them amongst the most chilling and humbling words in the English language.

See also:

Laugh It Off Power Of Love Breaking Up Jah Jah Jehovah Tradition