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A monologue from the poem by Edward Albert Guest
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from One Hundred Choice Selections. Ed. Phineas Garrett. Philadelphia: Penn Publishing Co., 1897.
To 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.
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