Thomas Hardy: 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.”

 

Notes:

A nipperkin is a small cup of an alcoholic drink such as beer.

Traps are personal belongings.

 

***

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