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As You Like It

The Sixth Age

My 69th birthday today so I guess I am comfortably into the Sixth Age of Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man:

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.

As You Like It was the first play by Shakespeare I ever taught, at the Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis, 1972. The melancholy Jacques emphasises the frailties and follies of each age. Today, with the stained glass image from Stratford's Swan Theatre to brighten things up, I decided I would see how accurately the famous lines reflect my current condition.

Lean, slippered and spectacled all true! I don't think I've actually shrunk and (you may be relieved to hear) do not wear hose/stockings! The voice is much the same too. So! … as people seem to say when introducing themselves … not too bad.

The main physical alterations are undoubtedly the loss of my long black hair and the decision to remove my 20-something beard (now much in fashion again, of course), leaving only a moustache. As a human being, I think I must leave that for others to say but guess there will be a mixed vote.

Turning to life itself, the passion for writing and the determination to learn Italian are the two things which give me focus and life generally a sense of purpose … as well, of course, as the people I love.

A self-indulgent blog. I shall try to find something more diverting for tomorrow.

How embarrassing. I gave myself the image of the Justice this morning - the one before the Lean and Slippered Pantaloon! Here's the one I should have used:

Just a little more dilapidated!

All images and texts are subject to copyright 2018

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