As I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down and basked him in the sun,
And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.
’Good morrow, fool,’ quoth I. ‘No, sir,’ quoth he,
’Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune.’
And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And looking on it with lack-lustre eye
Says very wisely ‘It is ten o’clock.’
’Thus we may see’, quoth he, ‘how the world wags.
’Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more ‘twill be eleven.
And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.’
(II.vii. 14– 28)
In Act II, scene vii, melancholy Jaques
displays an uncharacteristic burst of delight. While wandering through
the forest, he relates, he met a fool, who entertained him with
rather nihilistic musings on the passage of time and man’s life.
According to Touchstone, time ensures nothing other than man’s own
decay: “from hour to hour we rot and rot” (II.vii.