"The Man He Killed" was written by the British Victorian poet and novelist Thomas Hardy, and first published in 1902. A dramatic monologue, the poem's speaker recounts having to kill a man in war with whom he had found himself "face to face." Talking casually throughout, the speaker discusses how this man could easily have been his friend, someone he might have, under different circumstances, had a drink with in an "ancient inn." Struggling to find a good reason for shooting the man, the speaker says it was "just so"—it was just what happens during war. The poem thus highlights the senselessness and wasteful tragedy of human conflict, and is specifically thought to have been inspired by the events of the Boer War in South Africa.