[Dedicated to the Exempts] To go or not to go, that is the question: Whether it pays best to suffer pestering By idle girls and garrulous old women Or to take up arms against a host of Yankees And by opposing get killed -- to die, to sleep -- (Get out!) and in this sleep to say we "sink To rest by all our country's wishes blest," And to live forever (there's a consummation, Just what I'm after). To march, to fight -- To fight! Perchance to die -- aye, there's the rub! For while I'm asleep, who'd take care of Mary And the babes -- when Bill is in the low ground -- Who'd feed 'em, eh? There's the respect I have for them that makes life sweet; For who would bear the bag to mill, Plow Dobbin, cut the wheat, dig "taters," Kill hogs, and do all sorts of drudgery, If I am fool enough to get a Yankee Bullet in my brain! Who'd cry for me? Would patriotism pay my debts, when dead? But oh! the dread of something after death -- That undiscovered fellow who'd court Mary, And do my hugging -- that's agony, And makes me want to stay at home, 'Specially as I ain't mad with nobody. Shells and bullets make cowards of us all; And blamed my skin if snortin' steeds And pomp and circumstance of war Are to be compared with feather-bed And Mary by my side.

The Home Front

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Last modified 16-April-2001