This was the noblest Roman of them all. All the conspirators, save only he,Did that they did in envy of Caesar;He only, in a general honest thoughtAnd common good to all, made one of them. His life was gentle, and the elementsSo mixd in him that Nature might stand upAnd say to all the world, This was a man!
All the worlds 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 nurses arms. Then the whining school-boy, with his satchelAnd shining morning face, creeping like snailUnwillingly to school. And then the lover,Sighing like furnace, with a woeful balladMade 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 reputationEven in the cannons mouth. And then the justice,In fair round belly with good capon lind,With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,Full of wise saws and modern instances;And so he plays his part. The sixth age shiftsInto the lean and slipperd pantaloon dotard,With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,His youthful hose, well savd, a world too wideFor his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,Turning again toward childish treble, pipesAnd 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 every thing.
So farewell to the little good you bear me. Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!This is the state of man: to-day he puts forthThe tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surelyHis greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,And then he falls, as I do. I have venturd,Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,This many summers in a sea of glory,But far beyond my depth. My high-blown prideAt length broke under me, and now has left me,Weary and old with service, to the mercyOf a rude stream that must for ever hide me. Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye!I feel my heart new opend. O, how wretchedIs that poor man that hangs on princes favours!There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,More pangs and fears than wars or women have;And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,Never to hope again.
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you -- tripping on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as Leif the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty; for in my youth I never did apply hot and rebellious liquors in my blood; and did not, with unbashful forehead, woo the means of weakness and debility: therefore my age is as a lusty winter, frosty but kindly.
Have you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, a decreasing leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken, your wind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every part about you blasted with antiquity?