Imagine a rather large cloud, as big and vast as the universe itself, moving across the furthest reaches of a sky above, inching towards the horizons, completing the points of the magnetic compass. The further away consider the Greeks of literature and then the Romans and their plays of history. Move closer towards your eye level here and gaze upon the written word to follow………………
As a child near 50 years ago, these words to follow I first heard. In my teenage years, my mind and eye brought them to life within my soul. Reading again and again over the decades till just today, I am less perplexed, more entranced and just now understand why I always felt unfinished, unknowing, feeling there is within here, the written word may be a key or code, some “thing” to be discovered to fulfill a ending.
It has been written before I could read, history repeats itself. The point of musical notes only may be arranged in a limited yet nevertheless near infinite number of times. As the Greeks invented plots and characters, in-turn writers of the Roman empire embellished plots, characters and rearranged the previous writings. The constant is the cloud, stretching from the universe to man’s horizon, repeating in his time as his fathers, fathers time. A conclusion? Yes, a conclusion.
As I read the lines to follow, the cloud of its words have changed. What not I comprehend at the age of 6years or the age of 20years or the age of 46years nor 55years of age. I see the lines describe the life I now have lived to have experienced the joys, the desperation, the follies and denials of the men of Greek,Roman and English. The men, the writers all experienced life the same. Reguardless of statue born into, forced upon them or destiny’s course yes irreversable, madding and rewarding.
My decades may have advance at time of metes and bounds, those small and frustrating calculations used to circle mountains from base to summit. Some years of time or longer having been measured with rods and chains, covering the fly over territories many miss from their lofty carriage. Mapping of these times are centered with temperance of knowing and to often I know to this we yield. “History repeats itself”. From those words the clouds of knowledge are shared to those who see and listen and pass along as they received.
All the World’s a Stage by William Shakespeare
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.
If you ain’t into Shakespeare and need a guide dog..thank Lebby Eyres……
The Seven Ages of Man
by Lebby Eyres
Shakespeare would have us believe that the Seven Ages of Man go something like this: infancy (mewling and puking); boyhood (whining and shining); lover (sighing); soldier (jealous, with a beard); justice (fat and wise); pantaloon (spindly spec-wearer); second childishness (oblivious to everything).
Well, you can’t say that Shakespeare is too complimentary about his sex, but that’s fair enough, really. However, seeing as this was written a good 400 years ago now, we couldn’t help thinking that it was time for a bit of an update. But we discovered, while some parts fall short of defining what is modern-day man, others were still eerily accurate. So here goes…
A formative time for the male race. While Shakespeare’s brat is nurtured by a nurse, who probably had several other brats to look after too, modern-day man is breast-fed, adored and spoilt by his mother, leading to a life-long dependence on the woman and/or fascination with large breasts, rather than some scrotty offerings that have fed half the village.
Whining, shining, creeping like a snail unwillingly to school? Sounds reasonable.
Blimey. Just how early did they get it on in Shakespeare’s time? Seems a bit of a leap here. For his “lover”, read our spotty adolescent. And while old Will might have been penning a few romantic lovenotes or two, this generation of teenage lovers are rather to be found scrawling “Debbie takes it up the arse” behind the bike sheds. And as for the eyebrow bit – well, your average 15-year-old will probably be aiming a little lower…
Leaving aside the few thousand men that actually do join the army aged 18, the majority of men have to direct their aggressive, man-killing urges elsewhere. Apart from that, Shakespeare’s description is pretty accurate. Full of strange oaths? Just your average football fan. Bearded like the pard? Student. Jealous in honour and quick in quarrel? Punch-up over mate’s girlfriend. Seeking the bubble reputation, Even in the cannon’s mouth? Okay, it’s a while since I did English A Level, but I’d say this pretty much equates to that strange habit small blokes have of picking on the tallest guy in the pub.
Seeing as people tended to kark it a bit earlier in Shakespeare’s day, this description surely matches today’s middle-youth. So, yes, we have the fat belly, from one too many lagers rather than, perhaps, too many large chickens, and as for the wise saws, well, blokes of a certain age (mid-thirties up) do tend to bang on a bit and always think they’re right. Sadly, Will’s man does seem a bit more mature than today’s middle-youthers, however – the regression to second childishness has already begun, with an obsession with gadget, fast cars and doling out “justice” via a computer game.
Looks a bit odd at first sight, but then we find that a Pantaloon, instead of being a type of trouser, is actually an “old wealthy suitor”. Rich, retired and mean and miserly, the pantaloon had a penchant for younger women, despite the fact, as we can see from Shakespeare’s original, he had specs, love-handles, and was a bit spindly. Any of your dad’s lecherous mates, then.
Shakespeare’s man ends up blind, deaf and oblivious to everything. Except themselves, we might add.
Only Shakespeare remains the same and you??