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.

As You Like It - II, 7

I am quite sure I was born with Shakespearean verses coursing in my veins. By the age of five, I was convinced I would become the greatest Shakespearean actress of all time; by the age of eight, I felt fully qualified to play the role of Henry VI's Queen Margaret. By the age of fourteen I was so enamoured of the visiting Royal Shakespeare Company that I was very tempted to hide in their theater trunks as a talented runaway!

Why does Shakespeare so delight the hearts of adults and children alike? Simply because his writings are the richest, the purest, the fairest that genius ever penned. No truer words have been spoken of him than those of E.T. Roe who edited Mrs. Nesbit's Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare a hundred years ago:

Shakespeare's plays alone contain more actual wisdom than the whole body of English learning. He is the teacher of all good - pity, generosity, true courage, love. His bright wit is cut out 'into little stars.' There is scarcely a corner of the world today which he does not illuminate, or a cottage which he does not enrich. As his friend, Ben Johnson, wrote of him, 'He was not of an age but for all time.'

Shakespeare ever kept the highroad of human life. He did not pick out by-paths of feeling and sentiment. In his creations we have no moral highwaymen, sentimental thieves, interesting villains, or amiable, elegant adventuresses - no delicate entanglements of situation, in which the grossest of images are presented to the mind disguised under the superficial attraction of style and emotion. He flattered no bad passion, disguised no vice in the garb of virtue, trifled with no just and generous principle. While causing us to laugh at folly, and shudder at crime, he still preserves our love for our fellow-beings, and our reverence for ourselves.

Shakespeare was familiar with all beautiful forms and images which, in the midst of his most rugged and tragical scenes, fall like gleams of sunshine on ruins - reminding us of the existence of purer and brighter elements.

These things considered, what wonder is it that the works of Shakespeare, next to the Bible, are the most highly esteemed of all the classics of English literature and the author, himself, the world's greatest dramatist.

This Shakespearean montage comprises a very complete selection of monologues and scenes for two to six characters adapted for age-appropriate performance. I have drawn from the histories, comedies and tragedies. Included with each piece is a summary of the play from which it is taken, synopsis of the scene, a character study, and flow chart of the scene's dramatic structure. In addition, I have included some of his most famous sonnets.

The plays of Shakespeare were written by a man who understood the divine mysteries that vivify the soul. Within his matchless poetry are ciphers that clarify and illumine the mind with strength and beauty, and enrich the heart with lessons of sweet and honorable thoughts and actions. Shakespeare gives us, through drama, bountiful examples of every virtue and every vice showing us the rewards of right choice of action and the consequences of wrong. There is no richer or more compelling teaching in literature.

Though controversy still reigns as to the real author of the Shakespearean plays, my research and study over the years has convinced me that Francis Bacon is that author and it is to his honor that I dedicate this collection of his labor of unrequited love.
Ferdinand and Miranda

She in very pity would have helped him in his hard work, but he would not let her, yet he could not keep from her the secret of his love, and she, hearing it, rejoiced.

The Tempest

Sample Selections include:
Titania: Queen of the Fairies
Polonius Killed by Hamlet
Rosalind and Celia
A Midsummer Night's Dream
As You Like It
Antonio Signs the Bond
Romeo and Tybalt Fight
Cordelia Obedient to her Father
A Merchant of Venice
Romeo and Juliet
King Lear
Viola Meets Olivia
Prince Ferdinand Sees Miranda
Leontes Receiving Florizel and Perdita
Twelfth Night
The Tempest
The Winter's Tale
Luciana and Antipholus
Desdemona Pleads Her Innocence
Antonio Writes Letter to Sylvia
A Comedy of Errors
Two Gentlemen of Verona
"Your Friar is Now Your Prince"
Petruchio Finds Fault with the Supper
Lady Macbeth
The Taming of the Shrew
Measure for Measure
Claudio and Hero
Imogen and Leonatus
Helena and Bertram
Much Ado About Nothing
All's Well That Ends Well
Katherine Pleads For Her Life
Pericles Wins in the Tournament
Henry Waits Upon Margaret
King Henry the Eighth
King Henry the Sixth - Part 2
Shakespeare's Pearls of Wisdom
The truest I have is mine innocence,

And therefore am I bold and resolute.

Troilus and Cressida - IV, 4

Romeo and Juliet
This above all - to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Hamlet - I, 3

The quality of mercy is not strain'd;

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway,

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice by thy plea, consider this -

That in the course of justice none of us

Should see salvation; we do pray for mercy,

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy.

The Merchant of Venice - IV, 1

Antonio Chooses the Casket
Good name, in man, in woman,

Is the immediate jewel of their souls:

Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him

And makes me poor indeed.

Othello - III, 3

Sweet are the uses of adversity,

Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,

Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.

As You Like It - II, 1

The silence often of pure innocence

Persuades when speaking fails.

The Winter's Tale - II, 2

Falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent,

Three things that women hold in hate.

Two Gentlemen of Verona - III, 2

The hand, that hath made you fair, hath made you good; the goodness, that is cheap in beauty, makes beauty brief in goodness; but grace, being the soul of your complexion, should keep the body of it ever fair.

Measure for Measure - III, 1

Prince Florizel and Perdita
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! in form, and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!

Hamlet - II, 2

Assume a virtue if you have it not.

That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat

Of habit's devil, is angel yet in this,

That to the use of actions fair and good

He likewise gives a frock or livery

That aptly is put on: Refrain to-night;

And that shall lend a kind of easiness

To the next abstinence; the next more easy;

For use almost can change the stamp of nature,

And either curb the devil, or throw him out

With wondrous potency.

Hamlet - III, 4

The Play's the thing

Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King.

Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Julius Caesar - II, 2

Heaven is above all; there sits a Judge,

That no king can corrupt.

King Henry VIII - III, 1

That we would do,

We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes,

And hath abatements and delays as many

As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;

And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift's sigh

That hurts by easing.

Hamlet - IV, 7

Men at some time are masters of their fates:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves.

Julius Caesar - I, 2

Who seeks, and will not take when once 'tis offer'd,

Shall never find it more.

Antony and Cleopatra - II, 7

Midsummer Night's Revels
There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.

Julius Caesar - IV, 3

Brave conquerors! for so you are,

That war against your own affections,

And the huge army of the world's desires.

Love's Labor's Lost - I, 1

If these men have defeated the law, and outrun native punishment, though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to fly from God.

King Henry V - IV, 1

Titania and the Clown
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,

Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,

And craves no other tribute at thy hands

But love, fair looks, and true obedience -

Too little payment for so great a debt.

Such duty as the subject owes the prince,

Even such a woman oweth to her husband;

And when she is froward, peevish, sullen, sour,

And not obedient to his honest will,

What is she but a foul contending rebel

And graceless traitor to her loving lord?

I am asham'd that women are so simple

To offer war where they should kneel for peace;

Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway,

When they are bound to serve, love, and obey,

Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,

Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,

But that our soft conditions and our hearts

Should well agree with our external parts.

The Taming of the Shrew - V, 2

Petruchio and Katherine

Romeo and Juliet
I charge thee fling away ambition;

By that sin fell the angels, how can man then,

The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?

Love thyself last; cherish those hearts that hate thee;

Corruption wins not more than honesty.

Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,

To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not;

Let all the ends thou aim'st at, be thy country's,

Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st,

Thou fall'st a blessed martyr!

King Henry VIII - III, 2

The purest treasure mortal times afford

Is spotless reputation; that away,

Men are but gilded loam or painted clay.

A jewel in a ten-times barr'd-up chest

Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.

Mine honour is my life; both grow in one;

Take honour from me, and my life is done:

Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try;

In that I live, and for that will I die.

King Richard the Second - I, 1

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