"The Seven Ages of Man" is a monologue from Act II, Scene VII of William Shakespeare's play As You Like It It is spoken by

the character Jaques, and contains one of the best known metaphors in the English language. Shakespeare, via 

Jaques, compares the world to a stage: life is a play and we, human beings, are actors in that play. 

"The Seven Ages of Man"
     by William Shakespeare

Jacques: 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 honor, 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.

Listen to a recitation of "All the World's a Stage" 
here and here.

Watch a video of "All the World's a Stage" 
here and here.

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