Fig. 1: William Mulready, Seven Ages of Man, Oil on canvas, 1838.

A favorite William Shakespeare poem of mine, “All the World’s a Stage”, is from the play, As You Like It. Based on inspiration from this poem, I will begin a new series next week with seven installments. I have been mulling over buildings and structures built through history, and will loosely translate the the seven ages of man, from infancy to old age, as a parallel to buildings and structures through time.

Beginning next week , the first post will cover a contemporary structure as the first stage of infancy. From infancy I will discuss increasingly older buildings continuing along the stages of childhood, the lover, the soldier, the justice, old age, and extreme old age. There will be a few visual Wednesday breaks in this mini series for the first Thursday review and a few other surprises I have in store. I am truly thrilled to offer seven posts purely on buildings ans structures as the topic.

While I do have an outline in mind, I am open to suggestions on specific buildings for each stage. Readers are welcome to submit ideas by leaving a comment.

Until next week, enjoy this classic poem.

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.
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 woeful 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 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 slipper’d 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.


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