by: Anonymous

      O wed, or not to wed;--that is the question:
      Whether 'tis nobler in a man to suffer
      The slings and sorrows of that blind young archer;
      Or fly to arms against a host of troubles,
      And at the altar end them. To woo--to wed--
      No more; and by this step to say we end
      The heartache, and the thousand hopes and fears
      The single suffer--'tis a consummation
      Devoutly to be wished. To woo--to wed;--
      To wed--perchance repent!--ay, there's the rub;
      For in that wedded state, what woes may come
      When we have launched upon that untried sea
      Must give us pause. There's the respect
      That makes celibacy of so long life;
      For who would bear the quips and jeers of friends,
      The husband's pity, and the coquette's scorn,
      The vacant hearth, the solitary cell,
      The unshared sorrow, and the void within,
      When he himself might his redemption gain
      With a fair damsel. Who would beauty shun
      To toil and plod over a barren heath;
      But that the dread of something yet beyond--
      The undiscovered country, from whose bourne
      No bachelor returns--puzzles the will,
      And makes us rather bear those ills we have
      Than fly to others that we know not of!
      Thus forethought does make cowards of us all,
      And thus the native hue of resolution
      Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
      And numberless flirtations, long pursued,
      With this regard, their currents turn awry
      And lose the name of marriage.

"The Bachelor's Soliloquy" is reprinted from One Hundred Choice Selections. Ed. Phineas Garrett. Philadelphia: Penn Publishing Co., 1897.




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