The Man He Killed


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 war is!

            You shoot a fellow down

You’d treat if met where any bar is,

            Or help to half-a-crown.


                          – Thomas Hardy


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