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.
War is a science, Pippin!
Well, that takes half the fun out of it right there.
There’s plenty of fun when you win!
War is a science
With rules to be applied
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!
Oh yeah! And then the men go marching out —
Pippin! I shall not caution you again. War is a very serious business!
I’m sorry, father!
And, gentlemen, and then
Now, gentlemen, now!
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!