"The Man He Killed", the immortal poem by Thomas Hardy

Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set 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-
Becuase he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He though he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like-just as I-
Was out of work-has 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.
--Thomas Hardy

What I feel is that, the more the things change, the more the remain the same. The poem may have been created in 1902, it still holds and will always...

Suggested Reading:
  • A wonderful commentary on the poem (...because, as he realizes, the person killed could just as easily have been himself...)
  • Discussion on the poem (...Hardy is speaking to the necessity of having to distance oneself from the act of killing. The tone...)
  • Thomas Hardy (...in the semi-imaginary county of Wessex, delineates characters struggling against their...)