Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time;
If ever you have look'd on better days;
If ever been where bells have knoll'd to church;
If ever sat at any good man's feast;
If ever from your eye-lids wip'd a tear,
And know what 'tis to pity, and be pitied;
Let gentleness my strong enforcement be:
In the which hope, I blush, and hide my

Duke S. True is it that we have seen better days;
And have with holy bell been knoll'd to church;
And sat at good men's feasts; and wip'd our eyes
Of drops that sacred pity hath engender'd:
And therefore sit you down in gentleness,
And take upon command what help we have, 4
That to your wanting may be ministred.

Orl. Then, but forbear your food a little while,
Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn,
And give it food. There is an old poor man,
Who after me hath many a weary step
Limp'd in pure love; till he be first suffic'd,--
Onnan ay

cronol, evils, age and hunger,
I will not touch a bit.
Duke S.

Go find him out, And we will nothing waste till you return. Orl. I thank ye; and be bless'd for your good comfort!

[Exit. Duke S. Thou seest, we are not all alone unhappy: This wide and universal theatre Presents more woeful pageants than the scene Wherein we play in.6

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desert inaccessible,] This expression I find in The Ad. ventures of Simonides, by Barn. Riche, 1580: “

and onely acquainted himselfe with the solitarinesse of this unaccessible desert.

Henderson. 4 And take upon command what help we have,] Upon command, is at your own command. Steevens. 5 Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn, And give it food.] So, in Venus and Adonis : "Like a milch doe, whose swelling dugs do ake,

Hasting to feed her fawn.Malone. 6 Wherein we play in.] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope more cor. rectly reads:


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.8 At first, the infant,

Wherein we play.
I believe, with Mr. Pope, that we should only read-

Wherein we play: and add a word at the beginning of the next speech, to complete the measure; viz.

Why, all the world's a stage.” Thus, in Hamlet :

Hor. So Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go to 't.

Ham. Why, man, they did make love to their employment." Again, in Measure for Measure:

Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once.” Again, ibid:

Why, every fault's condemn'd, ere it be done.” In twenty other instances we find the same adverb introductorily. used. Steevens.

7 All the world's a stage, &c.] This observation occurs in one of the fragments of Petronius: “Non duco contentionis funem, dum constet inter nos, quod fere totus mundus exerceat histrioniam."

Steevens. This observation had been made in an English drama before the time of Shakspeare. See Damon and Pythias, 1582:

Pythagoras said, that this world was like a stage,

Whereon many play their parts.". In The Legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, 1597, we find these lines:.

“Unhappy man -
“Whose life a sad continual tragedie,
“ Himself the actor, in the world, the stage,

.While as the acts are measur'd by his age. Malone. 8 His acts being seven ages.] Dr. Warburton observes, that this"

no unusual division of a play before our author's time;" but. forbears to offer any one example in support of his assertion. I have carefully perused almost every dramatick piece antecedent' to Shakspeare, or contemporary with him; but so far from being: divided into acts, they are almost all printed in an unbroken continuity of scenes. I should add, that there is one play of six acts to be met with, another of twenty-one; but the second of these is a translation from the Spanish, and never could have been designed for the stage. In God's Promises, 1577, “ A Tragedie or Enterlude,” (or rather a Mystery) by John Bale, seven acts may“ indeed be found.

It should, however, be observed, that the intervals in the Greek Tragedy are known to have varied from three acts to seven.


was “

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
And then,' the whining school-boy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Dr. Warburton boldly asserts that this was “no unusual division of a play before our author's time.”. One of Chapman's plays (Two Wise Men and all the rest Fools) is indeed in seven acts. This, however, is the only dramatick piece that I have found so divided. But surely it is not necessary to suppose that our author alluded here to any such precise division of the drama. His comparisons seldom run on four feet. It was sufficient for him that a play was distributed into several acts, and that human life, long before his time, had been divided into seven periods. In The Treasury of ancient and modern Times, 1613, Proclus, a Greek author, is said to have divided the life-time of man into SEVEN AGES; over each of which one of the seven planets was supposed to rule. “The FIRST AGE is called Infancy, containing the space of foure yeares.--The SECOND AGE continueth ten years, until he attaine to the yeares of fourteene: this age is called Childhood.The THIRD AGE consisteth of eight yeares, being named by our auncients Adolescencie or Youthhood; and it lasteth from fourteene, till two and twenty yeares be fully compleate.-The FOURTH AGE paceth on, till a man have accomplished two and fortie yeares, and is termed Young Manhood.-The FIFTH AGE, named Mature Manhout, hath (according to the said author) fifteene yeares of continuance, and therefore makes his progress so far as six and fifty yeares.-Afterwards, in adding twelve to fifty-sixe, you shall make up sixty-eight yeares, which reach to the end of the sixt AGE,

and is called Old Age.--The SEAVENTH and last of these seven ages is limited from sixty-eight yeares, so far as four-score and eight, being called weak, declining, and Decrepite Age.--If any man 'chance to goe beyond this age, (which is more admired than noted in many) you shall evidently perceive that he will re. turne to his first condition of Infancy againe.”

Hippocrates likewise divided the life of man into seven ages, but differs from Proclus in the number of years allotted to each period. See Brown's Vulgar Errors, folio, 1686, p. 173. Malone.

I have seen, more than once, an old print, entitled, The Stage of Man's Life, divided into seven ages. As emblematical representations of this sort were formerly stuck up, both for ornament and instruction, in the generality of houses, it is more probable that Shakspeare took his hint from thence, than from Hippocrates or Proclus. Henley.

One of the representations to which Mr. Henley alludes, was formerly in my possession; and considering the use it is of in explaining the passage before us, “I could have better spared a better print."

I well remember that it exhibited the school-boy with his satchel hanging over his shoulder. Steevens.

9 And then,] And, which is wanting in the old copy, was supplied, for the sake of metre, by Mr: Pope. Steevens.

Unwillingly to school: And then, the lover;
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eye-brow: Then, a soldier;
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, 2
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick3 in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's 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

shifts Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon;'

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· Sighing like furnace,] So, in Cymbeline : “ - he furnaceth the thick sighs from him Malone.

a soldier; Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,] So, in Cynthia's Revels, by Ben Jonson:

“ Your soldiers face-the grace of this face consisteth much in a beard.Steevens.

Beurds of different cut were appropriated in our author's time to different characters and professions. The soldier had one fashion, the judge another, the bishop different from both, &c. See a note on King Henry V, Act III, sc. vi: “ And what a beard of the general's cut,” &c. Malone.

- sudden and quick ) Lest it should be supposed that these epithets are synonymous, it is necessary. to be observed that one of the ancient senses of sudělen, is violent. Thus, in Macbeth:

I grant him suclden, Malicious,” &c. Steevens. 4 Full of wise saws and modern instances,] It is remarkable that Shakspeare uses modern in the double sense that the Greeks used raivos, both for recens and absurdus. Warburton.

I am in doubt whether modern is in this place used for absurd: the meaning seems to be, that the justice is full of old sayings and late examples. Johnson. Modern means trite, common. So, in King Fohn:

“ And scorns a modern invocation.” Again, in this play, Act IV, sc. i: " betray themselves to modern censure.” Steevens.

Again, in another of our author's plays: “ - to make modern and familiar things supernatural and causeless.” Malone.

The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipperd pantaloon;] There is a greater beauty than appears at first sight in this image. He is here

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With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side;
His youthful hose well sav'd, 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 every thing.

Re-enter ORLANDO, with ADAM.
Duke S. Welcome: Set down your venerable burden,
And let him feed.

I thank you most for him.
Adam. So had you need;
I scarce can speak to thank


for myself. Duke S. Welcome, fall to: I will not trouble you As yet, to question you about your

fortunes:Give us some musick; and, good cousin, sing.

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comparing human life to a stage play of seven acts, which is no unusual division before our author's time. The sixth he calls the lean and slipper'd pantaloon, alluding to that general character in the Italian comedy, called Il Pantalóne; who is a thin emaciated old man in slippers; and well designed, in that epithet, because Pantalone is the only character that acts in slippers. Warburton.

In The Travels of the Three English Brothers, a comedy, 1606, an Italian Harlequin is introduced, who offers to perform a play at a lord's house, in which, among other characters, he mentions “a jealous coxcomb, and an old Pantaloune.” But this is seven years later than the date of the play before us: nor do I know from whence our author could learn the circumstance mentioned by Dr. Warburton, that “ Pantalone is the only character in the Italian comedy that acts in slippers.” In Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598, the word is not found. In The Taming of the Shrew, one of the characters, if I remember right, is called “an old Pantaloon,” but there is no farther description of him. Malone.

the lean and slipper'd pantaloon; With spectacles on nose,] So, in The Plotte of the deade Man's Fortune : “Enter the panteloun and pescode with spectakles."

Steevens. Set down your venerable burden,] Is it not likely that Shak. speare had in his mind this line of the Metamorphoses ? XIII, 125:

Patremque Fert humeris, venerabile onus, Gythereius heros." Johnson, A. Golding, p. 169, b. edit. 1587, translates it thus :

upon his backe “ His aged father and his gods, an honorable packe." Steevens.



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