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”
Great composition! Reading old poetry fills me up with some unknown joy! 😀
One of the best poets of his time!
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.
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?
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.