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Musical: Pippin – War Is A Science – Lyrics August 16, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Uncategorized.
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Video of “War Is A Science” from the Pippin movie. The lyrics are different from the stage musical — some lines rearranged, others completely different — and I could only find the stage version online. So here’s a transcription of the movie version.


CHARLES
War is a science, Pippin!

PIPPIN
Well, that takes half the fun out of it right there.

CHARLES
There’s plenty of fun when you win!

War is a science
With rules to be applied

CHORUS
Yeah!

CHARLES
Which good soldiers appreciate
Recall and recapitulate
Before they go to decimate the other side

Now, gentlemen, here’s the plan for tomorrow’s skirmish

The army of the enemy is stationed on the hill
They’ve got sabers in position, and they’re ready for the kill
So we’ve got to pull them down here, onto the plains
And suddenly, successfully, usurp them at a range
Then we go horsemen, into full effect
And it all must be accomplished in a way they won’t reject

And if all the ploys we pick to really work to bring to pass occur
We won’t just have a victory, we’ll have ourselves a massacre

Now, where was I? Ah yes, thank you…

War is a science
A breeding ground for brains
And though I cannot write my name
The men whose pens have brought them fame
Write endless paragraphs explaining my campaigns

Now listen to me closely I’ll endeavor to explain
What separates a charlatan from a Charlemagne
A rule confessed by generals illustrious and various
Though pompous as a Pompey or daring as a Darius
A simple rule that every good man learns by heart
It’s smarter to be lucky than it’s lucky to be smart

But if the fates feel frivolous and all our plans they smother
Well suppose this war does shrivel us — there’ll always be another!

PIPPIN
Oh yeah! And then the men go marching out —

CHARLES
Pippin! I shall not caution you again. War is a very serious business!

PIPPIN
I’m sorry, father!

CHARLES
And then…

CHORUS
And then…!

CHARLES
And, gentlemen, and then
Now, gentlemen, now!

CHORUS
And then the men go marching out into the fray
Conquering the enemy and carrying the day
Hark! The blood is pounding in our ears
Jubilations! We can hear a grateful nation’s cheers!

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