As You Like It – All the world’s a trail

As You Like It


Jaques has a reputation for being melancholy. He is such a Debbie-downer that he brags he can make sadness out of good things. He belittles life itself by equating it to a play, which we merely act out.

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.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made 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 reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
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,
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 everything.


Jack is a contemplative dog. He loves to hike and reflect. Here, he realizes that a dog’s life is like a long trail.

All the world’s a trail,
And all the dogs and canines merely hikers:
They have their summits and their trail heads
And one dog in his time sees many yards,
His markers at seven stages. At first, the new whelp,
Blind, deaf, and nursing on mother’s milk.
And then the social puppy, with his new teeth,
And adorably cute face, jumping spring
All over his litter. And then the adopt’d,
Loving new family, with a woeful carpet
Made to be dripping yellow. Then a mongrel,
Full of strange ways, chewing up all the shoes,
Not coming when called, sudden and quick in humping,
Seeking the alpha reputation
Even in his Owner’s den. And then the adult,
In fair round belly with luscious treats lin’d,
With full grown size, calmed temperament,
Full of wise paws and growing distances;
And so he walks his part. The sixth stage shifts
Into the grey and droopy senior coat,
With cataracts in eye and slow panting,
His youthful toys well chew’d, a world too hard
For his worn teeth; and his big wolf-life bark,
Turning again toward puppish treble, yaps
And yip yips in his sound. Last post of all,
That ends this strange eventful exploring,
Is second puppyness and near oblivion
Sans ears, sans eyes, sans everything but love.