The Bachelor’s Soliloquy

By Edgar Albert Guest 1881–1959
To wed, or not to wed; that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The bills and house rent of a wedded fortune,
Or to say “nit” when she proposes,
And by declining cut her. To wed; to smoke
No more; And have a wife at home to mend
The holes in socks and shirts
And underwear and so forth. ’Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To wed for life;
To wed; perchance to fight; ay, there’s the rub;
For in that married life what fights may come,
When we have honeymooning ceased
Must give us pause; there’s the respect
That makes the joy of single life.
For who would bear her mother’s scornful tongue,
Canned goods for tea, the dying furnace fire;
The pangs of sleepless nights when baby cries;
The pain of barking shins upon a chair and
Closing waists that button down the back,
When he himself might all these troubles shirk
With a bare refusal? Who would bundles bear,
And grunt and sweat under a shopping load?
Who would samples match; buy rats for hair,
Cart cheese and crackers home to serve at night
For lunch to feed your friends; play pedro
After tea; sing rag time songs, amusing
Friendly neighbors. Buy garden tools
To lend unto the same. Stay home at nights
In smoking coat and slippers and slink to bed
At ten o’clock to save the light bills?
Thus duty does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of matrimony
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of chores;
And thus the gloss of marriage fades away,
And loses its attraction.

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Poet Edgar Albert Guest 1881–1959

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Relationships, Home Life, Marriage & Companionship, Living, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Allusion, Blank Verse, Dramatic Monologue

 Edgar Albert Guest

Biography

Edgar Guest began his career at the Detroit Free Press in 1895, where he first worked as a copyboy. He was soon promoted to police writer and later to exchange editor, and in 1904 he began writing verse for the Free Press under the heading "Chaff." Those columns evolved into an immensely popular daily feature entitled "Breakfast Table Chat," which, at the height of its popularity, was syndicated in about three hundred other . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Relationships, Home Life, Marriage & Companionship, Living, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Allusion, Blank Verse, Dramatic Monologue

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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