One man in his time plays many parts

I was born at a very early age. My first recollection is as an infant mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. What really sticks in my mind, however, is being taken by the hand by my grandad in his daily journey to the Kings Arms where he sat me on the billiard table and drank his pint of medicinal stout.

As a whining schoolboy, with my satchel and shining morning face, I crept like a blue-tongued lizard, unwillingly to school, and at every opportunity went to sea, or rather, to a little steamer that plied the waters of D'Entrecasteaux Channel. My Mark Twain-like existence, where the wheelhouse was my schoolhouse, I flew to faster than a Short-tailed Shearwater.

Then as a lover, sighing like furnace, with a series of woeful ballads of the C J Dennis variety made to many mistresses's eyebrows.

Then a soldier, full of strange oaths, yet cursing the law that treated me as a child, would not let me vote, and would gaol me if I went into a pub for a beer, yet taught me to follow orders without question and to kill and be killed in 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 I played my part. The sixth age shifted
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
My youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For my shrunk shank; and my big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in my 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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