Grudge Match: Rush vs. Shakespeare

Many, many years ago in high school, some stoned-out surfer dude was trying to explain to me the intellectual firepower behind the lyrics in each of the songs included in the album Moving Pictures, Rush’s “masterpiece.” Here’s how the conversation went down:

Surfer Dude: “Rush is truly great, they’ve got some really mind-blowing lyrics, man . . . ‘All the world’s indeed a stage,’ that’s so profound!”

Bill Chinaski: “I think Shakespeare wrote that first.”

Surfer Dude: “Who?”

“All the world’s indeed a stage

And we are merely players

Performers and portrayers

Each another’s audience

Outside the gilded cage”

-“Limelight,” Rush


“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 . . .

Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

As You Like It, William Shakespeare


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