“THE MAN HE KILLED” BY THOMAS HARDY

14th November 2018

Notice of motion.

The Hon. MARK PEARSON (11:06): I move:

(1)That this House commends the works of Thomas Hardy, poet and author who:

(a)was born near Dorchester in 1840 into a stonemason’s family; and

(b)became renowned for his poetry and novels critiquing the social mores of Victorian and Edwardian England.

(2)That this House notes that Thomas Hardy’s poem The Man He Killed:

(a)reflects upon the senselessness of two strangers engaging in mortal combat on a battlefield; and

(b)for reasons unexplored, and in acknowledgement that had they met outside the arena of war, they would likely have shared a drink together in friendship.

(3)That this House, in honour of the centenary of the World War I armistice:

(a)contemplates the folly and tragedy of sending humans and animals to war; and

(b)considers the words of Hardy’s poem:

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.”

Motion agreed to.