|In Time of “The Breaking of Nations”|
|Thomas Hardy (1915)|
Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.
Only a thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.
Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War’s annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.
|The Man He Killed|
|from “The Dynasts” by Thomas Hardy (1915)|
“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.”