The Man He Killed

by Thomas Hardy

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"Quaint And Curious War Is!"

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Last Updated on July 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 126

Context: This poem, in the form of a monologue spoken by an infantryman, is a meditation on war, which makes a virtue of murdering men one does not even know, merely because their nation is a declared enemy of one's own. The speaker has just shot and killed an enemy soldier, and he speculates that if he had met that man in peacetime at an inn, they would have talked and drunk together. Perhaps the man enlisted, as he himself did, because he was without a job. The two were much alike and without quarrel, but were made mortal enemies because of their nationality.

"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."

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