The Man He killed

Had he and I but met

By some old ancient inn,

We should have sat us down to wet

Right many a nipperkin!


But ranged as infantry,

And staring face to face,

I shot at him as he at me,

And killed him in his place.


I shot him dead because –

Because he was my foe,

Just so: my foe of course he was;

That’s clear enough; although


He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,

Off-hand like – just as I –

Was out of work – had sold his traps –

No other reason why.


Yes; quaint and curious was is!

You shoot a fellow down

You’d treat if met where any bar is,

Or help to half-a-crown.


Poem by Thomas Hardy

4 thoughts on “The Man He killed”

    1. I think I know what that unknown joy is like, I feel it myself from old poetry. I’m total agreement with you; truly, Mr Hardy was one of the best poets, and, let me add, one of the finest novelists.


  1. I love Hardy. I hadn’t read this one. It says something I have thought about before, seen elsewhere, but does it with such grace and direction. I know people who watch the Olympics and frown if any but the US does well. I look at them and wonder as I cheer inside for whoever is best or whoever I enjoy the personality the most. Then, I think of war and what it does to us and I wonder how I would be after that?


    1. Truly, Hardy was a great soul. This is one of his famous poems. I came across to this poem during my schooling days. War is absolutely pointless, it compels one to kill another. Such a miserable thing to do.


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