Follow TV Tropes


Warrior Poet

Go To
Samurai Writing a Poem on a Flowering Cherry Tree Trunk
Print by Ogata Gekko.

The minstrel boy to the war has gone,
In the ranks of death you'll find him;
His father's sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him.
Thomas Moore, "The Minstrel Boy"


Modern Western culture often tends to stereotype Warriors and Poets as belonging to distinct, different, and opposing groups (Elves Versus Dwarves + Sensitive Guy and Manly Man). Warriors are manly men who like hitting each other and other simple pleasures. Poets are culturally refined wimps.

Traditionally though, poetry and war are complementary pursuits. Poems sing of the glory found in battle. Honor and virtue are on display when men are facing deadly peril. Experiencing death and the horrors of war make a man contemplate the big questions of life. Often the war is being fought for some greater purpose or cause, such as liberty. Great generals devote their spare time to philosophy, wondering what it all means. Poetry (except free verse) is built on the optimal deployment of limited resources — words that fit together with other words, and with words that aren't there — not unlike the strategic decisions a soldier makes on the battlefield.


Note that this isn't only about poetry. This trope is about literature, music, writing epic sagas, philosophy... any sufficiently refined way of expression combined with warfare, fighting, or any kind of physical combat.

Thus singers, poets, and writers have gone off and joined the armed forces, looking for that glory and enlightenment. They are often welcomed by the other warriors who want someone who can express their feelings and experiences in poetry or song. Often because they themselves feel those things too deeply to be able to express them bluntly in plain words (unless they are drunk).

That's where this character comes in. He's fought in battle and is no slouch at war-making, but he thinks about the purpose behind all the bloodshed and philosophizes on the meaning of life and death. Since War Is Hell he tends to have a bit of a melancholy tone about it all. Perhaps his poems long for peace as only a man who has seen war can. However, since War Is Glorious he might write songs glorifying the battle he just witnessed. If he is a supporting character, expect other warriors in his Band of Brothers to be moved by his poetry and philosophical insights when he shares them.


If he's the lead, he might be a loner with his fellows being unable to understand his way of thinking. It might also be a way of showing his Love Interest that he's not just a bloodthirsty barbarian but actually a sensitive soul who is forced to do horrible things because of war or human nature (as he understands it).

Note: Do not mistake this for Cultured Badass. That trope is about a badass with "cultured" hobbies; this trope is about a mindset rather than hobbies. Essentially, a Cultured Badass can appreciate love poetry, but a Warrior-Poet will incorporate that poetry into their daily life and their thoughts about warfare. Additionally, a Cultured Badass can enjoy battle for the thrill and pleasure, but a Warrior-Poet will espouse something more mystical and/or spiritual from the fighting. Basically, just because you can write poetry doesn't mean you are a poet.

Compare Genius Bruiser, Badass Bookworm, and Cultured Warrior.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Graham Spector of Baccano! mixes this with Talkative Loon. His endless monologues certainly seem poetic, but his rapid mood shifts and short attention span makes him sound more schizophrenic than anything.
  • Jesse Glenn from Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders, though he's more of a warrior thespian. "All the world's a stage", indeed.
  • Gennosuke Kouga from Basilisk is not only a mighty swordsman who doesn't even need to brandish his blade to kill you, he's also a talented flutist and dancer.
  • Berserk:
    • Griffith, the World's Best Warrior, is also a man of learning with a bent for the philosophical and fights to realize his philosophy. Unfortunately, it ultimately takes a dark turn in the Nietzsche Wannabe mold. Turns out he's not really philosophically opposed to the monarchy, he just thinks they're mistaken about who the real Übermensch is. (Hint: it's him.)
    • Guts is astonishingly good at this for a gruff towering, powerhouse of testosterone with an attitude to boot. He fights because he's Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life, and (at least for a time), finds it in fighting itself, not because of any real wish to inflict violence on others (yet), but Because I'm Good At It and because he finds meaning in honing his skills to the utmost. His way of persuading Jill, a young girl who looked up to him for protection, about how dangerous it was to be with him was pretty much a poem of awesome, tearjerking, and heartwarming. In the end, it gave Jill the courage to survive with the life she had to live with.
    • The Skull Knight, Guts' Cynical Mentor, is given to waxing philosophical about the existential struggle of mere humans against an uncaring and often actively hostile universe. Being an undead warrior with a few centuries to think about such things will do that.
  • Revy and Balalaika from Black Lagoon occasionally fall into this. The former gives lectures on nihilism and the latter on warrior life.
  • Blade of the Immortal:
    • Kuroi Sabato was one of these.
    • The first indication that Sori-sensei is a badass comes from him cutting a guy to pieces with barely any effort, because 'people who treat art as a doormat are not welcome in his house'.
  • Bleach:
    • Vice-Captain Kira of the military force, the Gotei 13, is a published haiku poet, and his entire philosophy on both life and war is that War Is Hell. That melancholic attitude comes across in everything he does.
    • Captain Kyouraku is a published writer, but he has no idea how unpopular his stories are.
    • Rose Otoribashi fits this trope to a tee, being both a great lover of music and art as well as ensuring all of his abilities, as well his fights, invoke a sense of ART. Has become a meme in certain fan circles.
    • And Byakuya Kuchiki, who is certainly a very good fighter, being one of the captains, and also does calligraphy.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo:
    • A one-time example: when fighting Carman, Bobobo and Softon take to writing Haiku. Carman thinks that this will distract them long enough for him to get a few hits in. Unfortunately for him, one of Bobobo's was:
      "I'll beat you to death!
      Beat beat beat beat beat beat beat!
      I'll beat you to death!"
    • Also a literal example in the other Cyber Knight, Poet.
  • In Brave10, despite being the Handsome Lech and acting the part of a lazy and unconventional samurai lord, Yukimura is one surprisingly. Of all the samurai in the story, he has the biggest philosophical streak and spends a lot of his non-Obfuscating Stupidity time ruminating on war, power, morality, and fate.
  • Darker than Black has the character of Isaak, who fits this both literally and figuratively. He is a KGB agent and has a compulsion to write poetry after using his powers. In a figurative sense, he and his partner Bertha are presented as being remarkably sensitive and likable, even though they feature in the series as opponents of the hero.
  • In Fairy Tail, we have Keith, who appears to talk as if giving morbid religious sermons. Combined with his black Badass Long Robe and his Staff of Authority, this pretty much explains why he's recognized as "The Black Monk".
  • The Major in Ghost in the Shell is a One-Woman Army of the highest order, but next to her day job as a counter-terror special forces commander she's also spending a lot of time dealing with questions about existence and reality. In a way, she eventually Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence. Batou is much the same, though he doesn't show it quite as obviously.
  • Captain Raballo, the handler assigned to train Claes in Gunslinger Girl, has an extensive library on the grounds that knowledge is essential to any soldier. On noting, however, that the book he's reading is about growing vegetables, he says dryly: "Should come in handy if we're invaded by plants from outer space." (manga only).
  • Akisame Koetsuji, one of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple's teachers. A Jiu-jutsu master who has "Warrior Philosopher" as his epithet. He spends his spare time carving ornate Buddhist statues and transcribing poetry in beautiful calligraphy. He is also quite insightful, so much so that Kenichi believes he can read minds.
  • Killer Bee from Naruto is actually a warrior rapper who always speaks in rhyme.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Evangeline occasionally waxes eloquent concerning topics such as the nature of happiness, what true power is, and what it means to have a soul.
  • This is how Tatewaki Kunō sees himself in Ranma ½. Of course, everyone else sees him as a complete and utter raving loony.
  • Shibata Taketora of Shibatora is a kendo champion who cautions a hotheaded young practitioner that "A fighting heart is not a strong heart. A heart which seeks conflict will never find true strength." Shortly after, he demonstrates his ability to cut down a violent delinquent with a "shinken," a word usually used to mean "real sword," but which he uses to describe a "heart sword," an imaginary blade.
  • Sky-Byte of Transformers: Robots in Disguise — an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who loves human culture, especially haiku.
  • Arguably the entire point of Vagabond is to see the main character (Miyamoto Musashi) slowly transition from an immature glory-hound into a Warrior Poet.

    Comic Books 
  • Warlock developed into this under the writing of Jim Starlin, becoming a sort of philosopher-hero.
  • Robert Bearclaw, alias Ripclaw, from Image Comics' Cyberforce is both a Badass Native Wolverine Wannabe and an avid poet/poetry scholar.
  • The titular character of Dramatus, a 1995 short-lived Mexican comic, is a tormented soul just back from the tomb who wields a sword and also a vampire. When he gets angry, he becomes an Ax-Crazy ready to make a blood bath out of his aggressors. But when his beautiful lover appears to calm him down and comfort him, he gets inspired enough to recite some improvised poetry just for her. He even says in his inner monologues during the story: "I am a poet".
  • Major Sebastian Bludd from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) is a ruthless mercenary frequently on Cobra's payroll. He's also very fond of poetry (albeit not so talented in this field), frequently writing cringe-worthy bad poems and rhymes. One of his earlier samples goes as follows:
    Raise the glasses and sing the praises
    Of our leader who nothing fazes;
    Cobra Commander, he's my chum,
    I trust him like I trust my gun.
  • Most of the traits that make up a Warrior-Poet also exist in Destruction of The Endless from The Sandman (1989). He abandoned his role as overseer of destruction to try his hand at being creative — like writing poetry and painting pictures... really, really badly.
  • Wallace from Sin City is a soft-spoken, intelligent, and highly philosophical man... who can kill you in 90 different ways... after making the most polite warning you've ever heard.
  • Superman — as Clark Kent, of course — is an accomplished writer as well as being a potent warrior; being an award-winning journalist, and a best-selling author. Lex Luthor, of all people, says that he "writes like a poet".
  • Inverted with the title character of Thorgal, who started off as a skald (Viking bard), then got into the warrior biz (mostly against his will, which he will never let you forget).
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers (IDW) reveals that before the war, Megatron used to write reams of poetry, much to the exasperation of his drinking buddies. Even after he went evil he still wrote poetry, eventually leading a half-crippled Impactor to spend what he thought was the last few minutes of his life writing a plea to Megs.
      Impactor: Not more poetry.
    • Sky-Byte shows up later, still obsessed with haikus.
    • The Transformers: Shattered Glass counterpart of the cruel Decepticon tyrant Straxus is a legendary poet and playwright, and still a formidable fighter.
  • The Ultimates: Ultimate Thor. He used to be arrogant and lust for battle (not unlike the mainstream version...), but after maturing (and experiencing Ragnarok), he's become much more philosophical and thoughtful. More commonly, he will talk his opponents to death rather than battle them directly; however, he has been known to face down alien armadas, the Hulk, a super man, and the entire team of Ultimates. Twice.
  • V for Vendetta: V is a rather flamboyant example: superhuman speed and reflexes, check. Awesome hacking skills, check. Suicide-bombing-level of insanity, check. And when he's not fighting? Well, he just grows roses, writes songs, and reads so much he can quote Shakespeare, Goethe, or Pynchon by the book and generally behave as a Shakespearean anti-hero, emulating the speech of the playwright's characters to perfection.
  • Watchmen: In a twisted, delusional, batshit crazy way? Just read Rorschach's journal...
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Nol Lapp is a revolutionary and poet. The only piece of her poetry given to the reader is about getting revenge on the empire that enslaved her. Unfortunately for the reader, there's some translation betwixt the original poetry and what is on page as Lapp is not writing in any earth languages.
    Once I was your slave
    and knelt in chains for your favor,
    but now I have returned
    and I have molded my chains into an executioner's sword.
  • X-Men:
    • James "Logan" Howlett, alias Wolverine, codifies this trope by possessing both the heart of a bestial berserker and the honorable soul of a samurai. Throughout a long life shrouded by overwhelming amounts of pain and loss, Logan chooses to use his considerable mutant/augmented gifts to protect/mentor his loved ones, while also defending those who fear (or even hate) the very existence of his mutant kind.
    • The X-Men's Russian powerhouse-strongman, Colossus, not only has a deeply poetic soul that finds joy through painting, but he is a very capable warrior ready to sacrifice everything for the greater good of humanity.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied constantly in Calvin and Hobbes as Calvin treats all snowball fights as epic wars. One time, he gave a speech about the importance of craftsmanship while meticulously assembling a snowball from just the right kinds of snow (and signing it) before getting steamrolled by Suzie, who had used the time to amass a massive snowball arsenal. Another time, he actually consecrated his snowball before throwing it:
    Oh lovely snowball, packed with care,
    Smack a head that's unaware!
    Then with freezing ice to spare,
    Melt and soak through underwear!
    Fly straight and true, hit hard and square!
    This, oh snowball, is my prayer.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Thor has matured into this (parenthood helped, for all that it provided a new source of stress), being much more wise and philosophical than he once was. However, he still loves a good fight.
    • Steve is, well, Captain America. He's also an amateur artist of some talent, which he enjoys working on.
    • While he rarely shows it, being more widely known for his manipulative brilliance and extraordinary magical abilities, Doctor Strange was originally a bard back when he was known as Taliesin, and a legendary one at that. Literally, in fact - Taliesin is a notable figure in Welsh Mythology, being to bards what Merlin was to wizards - serving as King Arthur's Court Bard and Physician. And when he's not being manipulative, or winding people up, he's also prone to philosophical musings, quoting everything from Doctor Who to William Shakespeare at the drop of a hat.
  • RWBY: Second Generation:
    • Verse is the embodiment of this. He goes into battle with both his sword and quill drawn, and his Semblance actively reflects this. Anything he writes with his quill is temporarily summoned via Hard Light, and his poetic mind allows him to come up with solutions on the fly.
    • This also applies to Orion, but to a lesser extent. While primarily a combatant, his first introduction has him painting. This hasn't been seen since.

    Films — Animation 
  • Manolo from The Book of Life is a talented fighter in sword and bullfighting, but he is also a gifted musician who plays from his heart. His father in particular doesn't understand the musician part of Manolo.
  • Horton, of Horton Hears a Who!, is called a Warrior-Poet by his friend near the end of the movies.
  • Twilight from Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole calls himself one after he is given the nickname "The Warrior" by the Echidna. In fact, like in the books, he's been known to sing heroically to cheer his friends on and frighten his foes.
  • In Turning Red, Sun Yee is described as being, among other things, a poet and is said to have fended off bandits and protected her village with her giant red panda form.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dennis Hopper described Col. Kurtz as this in Apocalypse Now.
  • The last lines of Braveheart: "They fought like warrior-poets. They fought like Scotsmen. And won their freedom."
  • In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Yu Shu Lien deduces from Jen Yu's calligraphy skills that she must be good with a sword as well. She is, but she's nowhere as good as Li Mu Bai, who later defeats her with a stick while quoting philosophy.
  • The Nameless Warrior from Deadlands is fond of using long-winded Badass Boasts reminiscent of Shakespeare.
  • Though not a literal example, Draco from Dragonheart is very learned, and a talented fighter.
  • Mickey Rourke's character, Tool, in The Expendables is a Retired Badass who spends most of his time as an artist, both traditional and tattoo.
  • Broken Sword, one of the three Zhao master assassins of the film Hero (2002), is a calligraphy artist and a poetic philosopher in addition to being deadly with a blade.
  • Katsumoto from The Last Samurai is made of this trope. He is the titular samurai after all. They wrote as much poetry as death warrants.
  • T.E. Lawrence the title character in Lawrence of Arabia (though he didn't write a whole lot of poetry).
  • Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most thoughtful and introspective of The Avengers, not to mention being a talented artist before his induction into superheroism.
  • The Proposition:
    • The main villain from the film, Arthur Burns, despite being a violent and dangerous sociopath, has a wonderfully eloquent and deep outlook on life. He is just as capable of looking off into the sunset and quoting Burroughs as he is capable of torturing and murdering innocent people.
    • The Proposition is full of such characters. Captain Stanley is a Shakespeare-quoting badass played by the mighty Ray Winstone, and Jellon Lamb is a bounty hunter of "no little education." Considering that Nick Cave wrote the screenplay, it's only natural that everyone around is going to be super-literate.
  • Chris Kenner from Showdown in Little Tokyo is a cop who has immersed himself in Samurai culture. His half Asian partner Johnny Murata laughs when Kenner tells him he practices the art of Ikebana (flower arranging). Kenner tells him that a warrior must nurture his sensitive side or else leave it vulnerable to attack, and points out that many of the most powerful Samurai wrote poetry.
  • Tony Curtis' character in Spartacus, Antoninus, begins as a "singer of songs" and he teaches songs to the other members of the slave army, but he turns out to be pretty handy with a sword as well.
  • M. Bison in Street Fighter, when Guile is faking the dead, muses in a poetic fashion about the loss of a worthy enemy and how he wished it could have ended another way. Admittedly, that way involved Bison facing Guile in single combat and snapping his spine.
    Bison: Ah, the road not taken...
  • D'Artagnan gets the Musketeers to like him in The Three Musketeers by tossing out a one-liner.
    D'Artagnan: I may not wear the tunic, but I believe I have the heart of a Musketeer.
    Porthos: Warrior.
    Aramis: Poet.
  • Underground: Marko is a drug-running Boisterous Bruiser during WW2 who also composes poetry for the Communist regime of Yugoslavia during Tito's reign. However, he wasn't nearly the patriotic hero he claims to have been.
  • You Don't Mess With The Zohan:
    • Adam Sandler's character, Zohan, is a crazily competent Mossad agent who decides to leave war behind and choose the Ambiguously Gay profession of hairstylist.
    • Along similar lines but done seriously, Daniel Silva's series character Gabriel Allon is an Israeli spy and assassin who when on 10-Minute Retirement has the delicate profession of art restorer.

  • According to Ax, in the Animorphs universe Andalite warriors are supposed to be scientists and artists as well as soldiers. How well the first two actually take depends on the individual.
  • Harun ar-Rashid in The Arabian Nights. And probably in Real Life too. Nearly all Middle Eastern royalty had some elements of this trope. Ottoman Sultans in particular were known not only for their abilities on the battlefield but for their patronage and in many cases their participation in great art. Suleyman the Magnificent was a proficient metalworker, and most rulers after him decided to master a craft as well.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark book Envoy from the Heavens, Ivar Trevelian arrives on a planet to investigate why the local Human Alien population is stuck in Medieval Stasis for the better part of a millennium. He disguises himself as a member of the Rhapsod Brotherhood (traveling bards and minstrels), so his travels don't arouse suspicion. Very quickly he finds out that singing and entertaining is not all the rhapsods do. Apparently, they are also highly-skilled warriors, feared and respected throughout the world. When the need arises to dispense justice, they replace their robes and lutes with armor and weapons. Thanks to his own training, Ivar is equal to them in this regard.
  • Both Aubrey and Maturin from the Aubrey-Maturin series. Each has his forte and loves bringing destruction to the enemies of the crown; Aubrey as a more than competent naval officer, Maturin as a spy. Also, they're deadly with blades and guns individually. And in their spare time, they while away the hours playing duets written for violin and cello. And the officers under Aubrey's command also love music and turn their hand to poetry. Frankly, this is Truth in Television, since months at sea could get boring.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse, there is not only Elf the minstrel ("whose hand was heavy on the sword, though light upon the string..."), but King Alfred himself. He was this in Real Life too. And he was the epitome of a Badass Bookworm.
  • Several of the characters in Belisarius Series, notably Rao.
  • In Beowulf a hero is not judged just by how well he can perform feats of bravery and strength. He is judged at least as much by how well he can tell tales of his heroic feats.
  • The sci-fi short story "Between Two Dragons" by Yoon Ha Lee is set in a Space Opera future where the military leadership are all expected to be warrior poets so that even messages of defeat have a certain grace to them.
  • Lois Mcmaster Bujold's Chalion series:
    • Prince (and possibly pirate) Jokol Skullsplitter. It turns out "Skullsplitter" doesn't mean what we think it does.
    • To a lesser extent former soldier, Lupe dy Cazaril, finds that poetry is the only way he can come close to describing his divine experience.
  • Bobby Shaftoe from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, a US Marine Raider who composes a haiku in the face of danger.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, Count Jaume is Empire's prime duelist and fine military commander, but also one of Nuevaropa's more famous poets, who's written some works on philosophy.
  • Discworld:
    • Subverted in Terry Pratchett's book, The Wee Free Men — Feegles are mostly Boisterous Bruisers, but to them words cut deeper than any blade. Thus... Gonnagles. To be fair, however, poetry is a dangerous weapon in their hands, because it quickly gets so horrifically bad even wild animals flee in genuine pain.
    • And again in Interesting Times. Lord Hong is the cleverest person in the Aurient, so it's him who figures out that when choosing someone for a highly specialized position, for instance warrior, it's better to examine them on that topic than the level of exquisiteness of their seven-line poem about an ethereal white horse floating through a lavender meadow.
  • Yuri Zhivago of Doctor Zhivago is a deconstruction of this trope. Although Yuri is a poet, he is a Starving Artist throughout the narrative, making many detailed observations about life in his writings but rarely able to publish or get money from his works. He is also a Reluctant Warrior, acting as a medic most of the time in World War I and the Russian Civil War but being forced to take up arms in certain situations.
  • Draycos the K'da of the Dragonback series explicitly calls himself a warrior-poet. He's shown considering how he could compose something for an occasion, and before he learns how to read English he once memorizes something by making a kind of poem in which each letter is a warrior posed in a particular way. He's also quite good at the warrior aspect.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward and his brother Tosten both qualify. Ward is a bit more of a fighter, but knows lots of ballads by heart and can play the harp. Tosten is a bard by profession and makes his own songs (about heroic deeds in battle, among other things). He is also quite good at swordfighting.
  • Gurney Halleck in Dune is a literal example. He is a musician and philosopher with seemingly infinite supply of witticisms for any occasion. He is also a remorseless killer, perfectly willing to cut any Harkonnen he comes across (or anyone who gets on the wrong side of Duke Leto for that matter) into pieces. Or as his brother-in-arms Duncan Idaho describes him:
    Duncan: Ah, Gurney! He could kill you while singing and never miss a note!
  • Jonathan Hemlock of The Eiger Sanction. Assassin and art historian.
  • The title character in Eurico the Presbyter is a knight that becomes a Roman Catholic priest who had the habit of composing songs and hymns, often to repress the heartbreak from being denied the chance to marry the woman he loved.
  • The Executioner. Soldier-turned-vigilante Mack Bolan is very well-read. Each novel in the series begins with a couple of quotes from a literary work, then a quote from Bolan's journal giving his own take on it. His favourite book is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, as Bolan often sees himself as "tilting at windmills."
  • Most unicorns in The Firebringer Trilogy count as this — though they are trained and raised as warriors, they also enjoy the festivities of having one appointed "singer" tell poetic stories of their heritage. Tek in particular is both a fearsome warrior and a talented singer.
  • Logen Ninefingers from The First Law, as in the quote at the top of the page. He was a Conan-esque adventurer in the past, but in the actual story is a tragic figure hounded by old feuds. Most of these old feuds are examples of Bullying a Dragon. Say one thing about Logen Ninefingers, say he's a hardcore, if reluctant, badass.
  • Glerk of The Girl Who Drank the Moon composes poetry on a daily basis. He remembers his warrior past wielding five swords at once, but prefers not to engage in violence these days.
  • Harry Potter: Bane the Centaur has an extremely intimidating and warlike personality but is, nevertheless, shown to be just as stargazing and philosophical as the rest of his kind.
  • Heir Apparent: Saint Bruce was a warrior poet./He lived in a cave, don't you know it?/He wrote sonnets and verses,/But never said curses./He'll give you one chance—please don't blow it.
  • Many characters in The Icelandic Sagas. Norse culture did not see literary talent and fighting ability as incompatible, and often they went together, as one of the most effective ways of making your name as a poet was coming up with cutting insults for your enemies. Who would often respond by trying to cut bits off you.
    • One of the most notable examples is Egil Skallagrimsson, an anti-hero Viking native to Iceland who was both noted as groundbreaking skald and all-around badass berserker. In his titular saga after an event, the narrative will stop to relate a poem Egil supposedly sang to mark the occasion. He was so good he convinced one King Eric Bloodaxe to abandon their long-running feud instead of having Egil's head chopped, with a poem he made up the night before.
    • The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue is about two Warrior Poets in a tragic love triangle with a woman.
  • Inheritance Cycle:
    • Murtagh is very much a warrior, but also appreciates reading and scholarship.
    • After Brom teaches him to read, Eragon devours any literature he can find, and during his time in Ellesmera, he writes poetry in between combat and magic training.
    • Most of the elves appear to be this. When you're immortal, there's plenty of time to learn both swordplay and fine arts. Plus, every participant in the Agaeti Blodhren must bring a work of art or literature they've made to share.
  • The black panther Bagheera, of the The Jungle Book stories by Rudyard Kipling is a consummate badass with a heart attuned to the tragedy of life.
  • The main character of Daniel Silva's spy novel "The Kill Artist", Gabriel Allon, is an Israeli assassin and the best art restorer in the business.
  • The Legend of Drizzt: Drizzt Do'Urden in Forgotten Realms certainly is a poetic soul. But not a poet.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • Karsa Orlong is most definitely a barbaric Proud Warrior Race Guy... and also a great sculptor.
    • Fiddler of the Malazan army always carries an instrument with him but never seems to play it. As it turns out, the few times he does play it the song can touch the hearts of an entire city.
  • Also by G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday has Gabriel Syme, a police detective who is also a poet with an appreciation for philosophy.
  • Volker of Alzey in the Nibelungenlied — court musician, but also one of the most badass fighters in the epic poem. The anonymous writer loves to refer to Volker's sword as his "strong (fiddle-)bow".
  • The Outlaw Chronicles:
    • Alan Dale is a minstrel who has performed duets with King Richard the Lionheart (making verses up on the spot to tactfully remind the King that he owes Robin (Robin Hood, now an Earl) a large amount of money) and for Queen Eleanor, being the originator of pretty much all the songs about Robin...and is tall, especially for the time, being 6 foot tall, strong, fast and reckoned one of the best swordsmen in the kingdom by his late teens/early twenties. That and using unorthodox fighting moves to beat a far better swordsman in under 2 minutes.
    • Richard himself, who happens to be even better at both.
  • Siegfried Sasson, Wilfred Owen, and Robert Graves in The Regeneration Trilogy, see the Real Life entry below.
  • David Zindell's Requiem for Homo Sapiens has the Order of Warrior-Poets. Every year they clone billions of children, whose educational process includes regular fights to the death — either via combat, or poetry competitions. Each "graduating class" numbers in the hundreds, if that.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms:
    • Cao Cao is a perfect example. Not only did he conquer most of Northern and Central China, but was also a famous poet who is credited today for starting the Jian'an style of poetry in China.
    • Other characters display this as a more important part of their back-story, as well. For example, Lu Meng of the Wu Kingdom was once something closer to a Glory Hound or The Brute, when his superiors berated him for it. Unlike most brutes, however, he actually took it upon himself to become a scholar as well as a warrior and achieved far greater fame for his efforts.
    • Considering what period of China this takes place in, and how it shaped Chinese thought about war for centuries, this belief should not be considered surprising.
  • Gallinger in A Rose For Ecclesiastes. He is a linguist and poet, but when he gets rustled he's implacable.
  • Second Apocalypse: It's implied that the Ishroi of the Non-Men have this in their culture. When Nin’janjin wrote a diplomatic message to Cû’jara-Cinmoi requesting aid, he wrote it in verse.
  • Sharpe:
    • Daniel Hagman is the best marksman in his unit but is also a talented musician, singing for the other men (in one case as the man dies) and occasionally playing the guitar or some equivalent. Of course, this was mostly because his TV actor is primarily a folk singer and wrote or arranged most of the music for the show...
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Girdwood, on the other hand, thought of himself as a warrior-poet but proved to be incompetent in both areas.
    • William Frederickson is not only a Captain of the Rifles but also an accomplished artist and architecture enthusiast.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Denzo D'han, a sellsword of The Windblown, is described in-universe as one.
    • Rhaegar Targaryen is said to have been one, as well, but with more emphasis on the poet part than a warrior. For most of his life, he completely ignored martial training and spent his days and nights reading and playing the harp. One day he read something that convinced him he needed to be a warrior. He quickly became one of Westeros' finest warriors.
    • Mance Rayder, who is a skilled bard in addition to King Beyond the Wall.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Death Star has Nova Stihl, Imperial prison guard, trooper, and master of martial arts, who has Battle Precognition. He's also got a sense for fair play and likes training people. And the stash of illicit holograms under his bunk? Dissertations on philosophy. He doesn't think of himself as a particularly deep thinker at the start of the book, though.
    • Explicit with the S'krrr poet Sh'shak in Galaxy of Fear. Apparently all S'krrr poets can also fight, due to cultural mores.
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn of The Thrawn Trilogy in the Star Wars Expanded Universe believes that if you understand the art of a species, you can understand their tactics. It works quite well for him. It's not as esoteric as it sounds; he's mostly looking for conceptual blind spots and places where they'll jump to false conclusions.
  • Daniel Bookman in The Summer Before the War. He continues to work on his poems on the battlefield after enlisting in the armed forces.
  • Richard from Sword of Truth is an excellent sculptor.
  • Ythrians who are eagle-like recurring Warrior Poets in Technic History. The reptilian Merseians are also so, though they tend to be placed in the role of Worthy Opponent.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien Legendarium:
    • Maglor from The Silmarillion, already a great minstrel and warrior, after spending the better part of the book (somewhat reluctantly) engaged in wholesale slaughter of innocent bystanders in an effort to steal back the eponymous Silmarils, decides to throw the one he eventually acquires into the sea and take up a repentant existence Walking the Earth and singing about how sorry he is.
    • This is de rigueur for the elves and those aligned with them. Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, for example, can recite the melancholy poetry of his ancestors (both human and elven) and wield the sword of his ancestors with equal alacrity.
    • Also Éomer, who actually composes poetry on the battlefield in The Return of the King.
    • Samwise isn't necessarily a good poet, but he still fits the spirit of the trope, finding meaning in war through stories and songs, and at one point attempting to compose an elegy for a (temporarily) fallen comrade.
    • Gimli. Many prominent characters describe him as silver-tongued, and his appreciation for the natural beauty of the world shows a romantic side to him. When he declares a Courtly Love for Galadriel, she's genuinely charmed.
    "It is said that the skill of the Dwarves is in their hands rather than in their tongues, yet that is not true of Gimli."
  • Subverted in the sci-fi novel Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks. The protagonist Cheradenine Zakalwe wants to be a poet as well as a soldier, but all his efforts are amateurish. In a particular irony, the novel is bookended by the (much better) poetic efforts of his co-workers. Worth noting is his behavior after he realized he was a better warrior than a poet. There was a nasty slave-driver who liked to cut off people's tongues. Right after Zakalwe left the planet he was on at the time, the guy's corpse was discovered with a look of horror on his face, and several human tongues and the paper on which Zakalwe was trying to write poetry shoved down his throat.
  • In War and Peace, a near-death experience turns Prince Andrei from being just a normal Proud Warrior Race Guy to a Warrior Poet.
  • Brandark Brandarkson from David Weber's War God series wants to be one of these badly. He's got the Warrior part down; it's the Poet part that eludes him. He's a notable warrior even for a hradani, and easily the most educated person in all hradani lands, and even plays the balakaika. Unfortunately, his attempts at poetry witty doggerel at best, and the less said about his singing voice the better. The Goddess of Music herself honors his artist's soul, but even she can't make him a poet.
  • Stock from Lloyd Alexander's Westmark series composes poetry of his Muse while being a core member of Florian's band of rebels.
    "Our worthy Stock, though he may look like a prize bull, is by inclination a poet; by temperament, a dreamer."
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Al'Lan Mandragoran, prince of the fallen kingdom of Malkier. It's almost an Informed Ability since there is exactly one scene in the series in which he recites poetry, but given that he's rightfully a king one would expect him to have a certain amount of cultured education, especially for one raised by Fantasy Counterpart Culture Samurai and himself being the Dalai Lama (obviously without the pacifism) crossed with Lancelot.
    • Mat Cauthon becomes one, courtesy of The Fair Folk giving him Past-Life Memories from hundreds of accomplished soldiers across thousands of years. He's intelligent and an exceptional fighter in his own right, but growing up as a backwater Farm Boy didn't afford him much opportunity for formal education.
  • Young Wizards: From A Wizard Abroad, we have Tualha, the bard who goes into battle and recites epic — and insulting — poetry at her enemies. And is a small kitten.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tyr Anasazi in Andromeda. Often seen reading Ayn Rand while on bridge duty. The whole of Nietzschean society was meant to be this by their progenitor, but even the Nietzcheans themselves admit this was generally a failure. Gaheris Rhade drops the trope name when explaining to Tyr what the Nietzscheans should have been but have failed to become.
  • Babylon 5:
    • G'Kar, post-season three epiphany. While he has a difficult time teaching his people, he is highly respected and his book becomes one of their holy books, painstakingly reproduced by hand (complete with a certain circular mark on page 83). Even before his Character Development (or rather, early in it), G'Kar was shown to be a devout religious leader amongst his people on the station.
    • In addition to being a ruthless and ambitious diplomat and courtier, Londo Mollari is a skilled pilot and swordsman, earning the fighting name "Paso Leati", or "Fights Like A Madman", while also being a lover of opera, not entirely unlike G'Kar.note 
    • Delenn is more a priestess who Minored in Ass-Kicking than a warrior who minored in poetry.
    • Marcus Cole, who could beat the unholy hell out of people with a staff, as well as recite Shakespeare and sing Gilbert and Sullivan, and is shown to be familiar with Arthurian legend.
    • Sinclair tops all of them. In addition to quoting Alfred, Lord Tennyson, he's Valen, the prophet of the Minbari religion.
    • Ta'Lon, G'Kar's replacement as Narn ambassador. G'Kar explains that he chose Ta'Lon because they are both warrior poets, only coming at it from opposite directions. He's capable of kicking major ass (and wields the Narn equivalent of a katana), but also has a rather philosophical bent, and is G'kar's intellectual equal, at least. When G'Kar gives Ta'Lon a Mathematician's Answer in one episode, Ta'Lon not only calls him on it but does so in an eloquent manner.
      Ta'Lon: A stirring reply, Citizen G'Kar. Unfortunately, while all answers are replies, not all replies are answers. You did not answer my question.
  • Subverted in the final series of Black Adder, with Private Baldrick's poem "The German Guns", in which he just repeats the word "boom", mimicking said guns.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Spike was a poet before he became a vampire, and found himself with the nickname "William the Bloody" because his poetry was so bloody awful. He spends most of the series as either a big tough bad guy or trying to deny his Heel–Face Turn. In the final episode of Angel, however, he spends his last evening before the Final Battle drinking and talking big — acting as if he's trying to start a bar-brawl — but it's all to work up his courage to get up and read his poetry to the audience at the bar.
    • Don't forget that Angel's also an accomplished sketch artist. No one ever mentions it, really, but he draws exceptional portraits quite often.
    • Buffy would like to study poetry but doesn't have the time. Her lecturer jokingly suggested she try short poems instead.
    • Angel gives Buffy a copy of Sonnets from the Portuguese for her eighteenth birthday. The moment highlights their May–December Romance, as Pop-Cultured Badass Buffy has trouble appreciating the gift.
  • For a while, "Warrior-Poet" took pride of place as the main word used to describe Stephen Colbert in the opening credits for The Colbert Report. (Others include "Megamerican" and "Grippy".) Other than that, he has very little to do with this trope.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Although the Daleks are supposed to have little emotion, they apparently enjoy poetry. Their precursor race, the Dals/Kaleds was supposed to be one of poets, philosophers, and scientists (as opposed to the Thals, a warrior race).
      • "Align to advance! Advance to attack! Attack to destroy! Destroy to rejoice!"
      • Their most celebrated and mentioned work on that subject is The Lament of the Non-Operational, which runs to 128 stanzas.
      • One rather odd audio drama involves them actually teaming up with the Doctor to help him save William Shakespeare, whose poetry they find beautiful.
    • The Third Doctor had strong elements of this due to Buddhist writers and script editors, such as Barry Letts and Robert Sloman, who imbued him with elements of their philosophy.
  • In Downton Abbey, Sir Anthony Strallan describes Kaiser Wilhelm IINote  as this. Edith adds that he may be a poet, but "a poet in need of an army."
  • D'Argo from Farscape: quite apart from the time where he revealed that the "weapon" he'd been building for the last few episodes was actually a musical instrument, but his ultimate goal was to settle down, grow a few vineyards and make wine for the rest of his life. It's his life-long dream.
  • Firefly:
    • In "War Stories", Shepherd Book, who may be something of a warrior poet himself, mentions the writings of Shan Yu.
      Simon: Shan Yu, the psychotic dictator?
      Book: Fancied himself quite the warrior poet. Wrote volumes on war, torture, the limits of human endurance. He said, "Live with a man forty years; share his house, his meals, speak on every subject. Then tie him up, and hold him over the volcano's edge. And on that day, you will finally meet the man."
      Simon: What if you don't live near a volcano?
      Book: I suspect he was being poetical.
      Simon: Sadistic crap legitimized by florid prose. Tell me you're not a fan.
    • Sadistic gangster Adelei Niska turns out to be a big fan of Shan Yu, needless to say.
  • Game of Thrones: Some of the things Daario Naharis says give off this vibe, such as "I fight for beauty." and "The gods gave men two gifts to entertain ourselves before we die. The thrill of fucking a woman who wants to be fucked, and the thrill of killing a man who wants to kill you." Michiel Huisman's performance gives off this vibe more than the swaggering bad boy interpretation of Ed Skrein.
  • Kamen Rider Revice: Hideo Akaishi is very articulative with proverbs, and in episode 33, shows off the abilities bestowed to him by Giff while quoting Sun Tzu's The Art of War.
  • The Cold Sniper in The Kill Point is a subversion. He seems like quite the philosopher at first, but as the series goes on, it becomes clear that he's just babbling about whatever pops into his head.
  • Kwai-Chang Caine, of Kung Fu (1972), and his Identical Grandson in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
  • Lexx:
    • The Brunnen-G are described as "a race of romantic warriors" or "romantic dreamers", who led the rest of humanity to victory against a civilization of planet-sized insects — all while sporting beehive hairdos and dazzlingly intricate rainbow-colored bodysuits. (Curiously, the only Brunnen-G poet we meet, Poet Man, is a non-conformist who wears drab, colorless clothes and a plain hairstyle.)
    • And one of the Divine Shadow brains was a Genocidal Tyrant Poet:
      His Shadow: As a result of the fall the evil section of my brain was destroyed. Only my poet half remains. I am at peace. Fair lady, would you care to hear a sonnet?
  • Jax from Sons of Anarchy writes down his thoughts in a diary. Like his Father.
  • Hawk from Spenser For Hire and A Man Called Hawk certainly qualifies. He plays the Mbila, plays an excellent game of chess, and often waxes philosophical with his mentor, all while fighting crime, Shaft style. Also worthy of mention is he's played by Capt. Sisko himself, Avery Brooks.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Stargate SG-1 has two perfect examples in Teal'c and Bra'tac, two highly honored and wise leaders and warriors among their race, the Jaffa. They started the rebellion by their people against those who enslaved them, and are widely honored as among the wisest, if not the wisest, of the Jaffa. Despite their age, they are stronger warriors than most other Jaffa. Still, they are full of wisdom and are incredibly loyal and caring. They fight with both action and words, sometimes even at the same time, which is absolutely awesome. They have never, ever, ever renounced their beliefs, even when faced with death. In this situation, their only response is, "I die free."
    • Stargate Atlantis: According to a deleted scene, Ronon Dex used to write poetry in his youth (though it may have been a way of impressing the ladies).
  • Star Trek:
    • Klingons love their opera (tends to be violent) and would love to claim Shakespeare as one of their own. Standard Klingon mating rituals apparently involve the male reading love poetry... while ducking the roaring, clawing female's hurled objects.
    • Starfleet officers are like this too in a less flamboyant manner. Jean-Luc Picard in particular exemplifies this trope. "[...]the heart of an explorer and the soul of a poet." He's also in command of his civilization's single most technologically advanced and powerful vessel. While battle for him is a last resort, he is still an imposing tactical and moral presence (particularly his alternate universe self, who personally mans the tactical station when a certain officer is killed). "If the cause is just and honorable, they are prepared to give their lives. Are you prepared to die today, Tomalak?"
    • For the matter of that, even Quark was this in "looking for Par'mach in all the wrong places" — with Worf's help.
    • One episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has two bridge officers reciting "Charge of the Light Brigade" as they're approaching a battle in which the Federation fleet is drastically outnumbered.
  • Coach (Benjamin Wade) from Survivor: Tocantins (season 18), Heroes vs. Villains (20) and South Pacific (23) may be a satire of this trope. He calls himself "The Warrior" as his moniker and quotes writers like Marcus Aurelius, Shakespeare and Nietzsche. He often misquotes historical writers as well. Once he said, "Some of the greatest inspiration is born of desperation." and attributed that to Marcus Aurelius when in fact, it was instead a quote by the entrepreneur Comer Cottrell.
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, in The Tudors, was not only a capable warrior but also an accomplished poet. As he's being led to be executed, he quotes one of his poems in his mind with a serene look on his face.
  • Daryl from The Walking Dead brings a Cherokee rose to a woman mourning the loss of her daughter and tells her how it got its name.

  • The novelty song/comedy sketch Boot to the Head (Tae Kwan Leep) by The Frantics features a martial arts master trying to teach philosophy and mediation to his students. When Ed Gruberman makes it difficult, he shows him (and then the rest of the class) why he is the master.
  • Much of the lasting appeal of slain rap icon Tupac Shakur is the question of whether he was, deep down, an intellectual or a thug.
  • Celtic Folk Song "The Minstrel Boy", about a minstrel boy that goes to fight in a war. He is even called a "warrior bard".

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism: Examples in The Bible:
    • King David composes much of the Book of Psalms in his free time from giant slaying and country-rebuilding, as well as showing his repentance in his later year after inventing the Uriah Gambit and praying for his enemies' downfall. In fact, the only reason He Who Slew Hundreds of Thousands has an opportunity to become king is that the music he played could make you cry and the previous King had to hear him. He's also famous for dancing happily in the street once he brought The Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.
    • Samson tried to get in on the action quite a bit earlier, in the midst of a riddle game. Readers of English translations in which the poem rhymes sometimes mistake that for Stylistic Suck, since in the context of the times, Hebrew poetry normally did not rhyme. The original Hebrew version of Samson's poetry doesn't actually rhyme, however. Opinions differ over whether it (or the translation) sucks anyway.
  • The Irish hero Finn MacCool, known nowadays for having far too many pubs named after him, was an early example of this trope. He commanded a large group of heroes who were required to be masters of war and poetry as well.
  • Väinämöinen in The Kalevala. Not only he is the mightiest poet ever, but his kantele is made from a jawbone of a giant pike.
  • Tristan (or Tristran) was musically gifted, and also a knight of the Round Table.
  • Odin from Norse Mythology is a deity of war and poetry. This is in contrast with Tyr, another God of war; and Braggi, another God of poetry; both of whom are not this trope. They can hold their own in war and words — just not to the point of being this trope. His name is even derived from the Norse word "Odr" (the "-inn" grammatically signifies a specific male) which means both "fury" and "poetry". This was also reflected in Norse society in general. See the Real Life section.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Caprice Coleman's approach to promos is often poetic, enough so to make C&C Wrestle Factory partner Cedric Alexander follow him with an amen. And yes, he has sung of the glory their victories would bring. By no coincidence, he was trained by the Hardy boys and started out around the same time Jeff took up the Willow gimmick.
  • Antonio Inoki had/has uncommon spiritual belief in regards to fighting, to say the least and in a more literal example than most, is an author of poetry.
  • During her seven-year retirement from wrestling, Becky Lynch took performing arts courses in college and did classical theater. She also went to clown school during this time to hone her comedic skills.
  • On WWECW, John Morrison started spewing really bizarre diatribes about spiritual paradise and wisdom after winning the ECW Championship.
  • Hikaru Shida does Japanese theater aside from her wrestling career.
  • Jesse "The Body" Ventura, as he had a beatnik gimmick.
  • The Ultimate Warrior might be the single defining example for pro wrestling. Not only was the warrior part right in the name, but his promos consisted almost exclusively of topics such as life and death, legacy, gods, spirituality, the meaning of life, interplanetary travel, and even touches of String Theory. They were generally incomprehensible, but that's not the point.
  • Willow The Wisp's gimmick, besides lots of laughing, involves poetically describing his current state of affairs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In CthulhuTech there are the Nazzadi were specifically created by the Migou to be intelligent ass-kickers, and it shows. Also, one of the things that gnaws at the Nazzadi is that as a cloned race with no members chronologically in their 40s, they have no true culture of their own, and are desperate to create one. Therefore, any of the 2nd generation Nazzadi who take up one of the arts are highly prized by their families and the Nazzadi as a whole.
  • The game mechanics of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG reflect the samurai ideal of a Warrior-Poet. "Levels" (School Ranks) are based on Rings which take the lowest of two statistics; one physical and one mental/spiritual. A truly accomplished samurai thus had to be quite proficient in mental attributes even if he is primarily a warrior (and vice versa). Many of the more sophisticated Bushi (warrior) Schools also offer training in artistic skills along with the more traditional martial fare with the epitome of this philosophy being the Kakita Bushi of the Crane Clan.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Bard class generally fills this archetype.
    • Fifth Edition Battlemasters (a subclass of Fighters) have some fluff that implies this trope, including proficiency in an "artistic" skill like calligraphy or painting.
  • Pathfinder
    • The class system takes this one step further by not only having the Bard class, but also the Hybrid Class of Barbarian and Bard: the Skald, whose verses inspire their allies into a frenzy and can even temporarily raise a dead ally among other things. All while they fight their own opponents on the battlefield.
    • Lorewise, Shelyn is the Neutral Good goddess of romantic love, beauty, and the fine arts, who sponsors orders of clerics and paladins who are required to produce and protect works of art as a devotional exercise. Her favored weapon is the glaive.
  • In Traveller different races have their own martial traditions. The Sword Worlders, for instance, name planets after mythological swords some of which come from the works of a famed Terran epic poet. The Azhanti have some of the best martial music and provide choirs for the Imperial Duke. Aslan have traditions of epic tales and decorative weaponry. And so on.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Eldar exhibit signs of this trope, but here the order rebelled against was not so much dishonorable or brutish war as decadence. Harlequins are a special subset of the Eldar race who are devoted to Cegorach (also known as the Laughing God), patron deity of the arts and the last remaining god of the Eldar pantheon. As per the nature of their deity, Harlequins keep knowledge of Eldar culture and history alive by reenacting it on stage. They also guard the Black Library (an interdimensional archive that specializes in the collection of information regarding Chaos) and are among the most dangerous combatants in the entire setting, capable of single-handedly taking down Greater Daemons of Chaos without breaking a sweat.
    • The Space Marines used to be encouraged to be this back before the Horus Heresy. The idea was that one day, they would have conquered everything, and being functionally immortal would have to adapt to lives of peace, so they were advised to study peaceful vocations like literature, art, and such. Nowadays, this isn't much of a priority anymore, though being in a World of Ham means they can still exhibit this trope:
      O Emperor, in wrath rejoicing at bloody wars: fierce and untamed.
      Whose mighty power doth make the strongest walls from their foundations shake.
      O Emperor, lord of war, hear this, my warrior's oath.
      You who are the mightiest of all men. The Paragon. The exemplar. The all-conquering master of Mankind. Make these coming hours of your servant's life full of valour and value.
      My sword shall not waver nor my heart weaken. I shall drown the xeno in his own blood. I shall smite glorious ruin upon the heretic. This I swear!
    • Factions and characters associated with Slaanesh, the Chaos God of lust, pleasure, and beauty, tend to exemplify this trope in particularly bizarre and unpleasant ways. Chaos is the collective id of sapient life turned into an incredibly dangerous Enemy Without, driving mortals to sacrifice everything in the pursuit of their own emotions and desires. Appeasing Slaanesh is thus both inherently violent (thanks to Chaos's rapacious hyperindividualism) and inherently artistic, with his Mad Artist champions leaving only a trail of eerily beautiful and startlingly innovative carnage in their wake. It should come as no surprise that the other two Warrior Poet factions mentioned above served as particularly fearsome recruits for the Prince of Excess - the Chaos Space Marines of the Emperor's Children Legion and the Dark Eldar of the extradimensional city-state Commorragh are amongst the most dreaded beings in the galaxy.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse:
    • The Fianna, which were a tribe of Warrior Poets in what was already a Proud Warrior Race. They supposedly spawned the first werewolf bard in all of existence. They're also just a little bit Oirish.
    • Speaking of that "werewolf bard", it's actually one of the five Auspices — the Galliard, born under the gibbous moon, who starts the game with the second-highest Rage rating of all five Auspices, but whose Gifts tend towards communication, inspiration, and passion. They reappear in Werewolf: The Forsaken as Cahaliths, and while there are still bardic elements, they're more regarded as prophets.
  • The Brujah vampire clan in the Historic World of Darkness Vampire: The Dark Ages and to a lesser extent Victorian Age Vampire. By the time of Vampire: The Masquerade itself, though, they'd lost the poet aspect almost entirely, and were just violent rebels without a cause. Well, not "entirely": they still have a reputation as terrible coffee shop beat poets and frame their rebellion in philosophical terms, but have gained a fairly justified reputation for using it as a simple framework for anarchistic violence.

  • The title character of Cyrano de Bergerac, he in fact fights a duel while composing a poem about it. "And as I end the refrain, thrust home!"
  • The title character of Shakespeare's Othello won over Desdemona with eloquent tales of his adventures, and his description of their courtship similarly wins over the Venetian senate, with the exception of Desdemona's father (as the Duke comments, "I think this tale would win my daughter too").

    Video Games 
  • The cyclops Gargarensis, who also happens to be one of the main antagonists of the Age of Mythology campaigns. For some reason, he loves quoting Lepanto during cutscenes.
  • Koal of Advance Wars, being an Expy of Sun Tzu, invokes this trope, calling himself "a warrior and a scholar", and generally speaking like an old samurai movie.
  • Arcanum gives you the opportunity to play as one of these, if you build a character that is both strong and dexterous enough to wield the deadliest weapons and lay waste to your foes in combat, but also intelligent and charismatic enough to be given several opportunities to learn about and discuss various philosophies (including receiving a lesson in dwarven philosophy, then showing a dwarf king how his own approach to dwarf philosophy is flawed, a discussion on the differences between dwarven and elven philosophies with a priest, asking a Bedokaan shaman to teach you of the "Cold-Blooded Dream" in exchange for teaching him some human philosophy, and challenging the Big Bad to a debate and showing him so many holes in his logic that he submits to an assisted suicide).
  • Betrayal at Krondor has Gorath, whose Warrior-Poet views are the main point of conflict between him and the rest of his race.
  • Borderlands:
    • Zer0 speaks in Haiku whenever he speaks longer than one or two words. Some are beautifully written prose, others... not so much. He only breaks this rule when he becomes flustered, as demonstrated in an ECHO log in Meridian Metroplex when he met Lorelei for the first time.
    • FL4K in Borderlands 3 has a tendency towards the theatrical, especially when they wax lyrically over their faux-religious belief in a concept called "The Hunt". They were originally meant to have more theatrical dialogue in general, but this idea was scrapped during development.
  • Captain John Price, from the Modern Warfare sub-series of the Call of Duty franchise.
    • Despite normally being a badass with a dry sense of humor and a dedication to get any mission done, no matter how insane or difficult, he has a rather awesome change of pace with some rather poetic speeches in Modern Warfare 2. They in simple terms are No More Holding Back Speeches which he delivers to Soap to show him how there is no need to be afraid of fighting Shepherd and his army because as soldiers they have the luxury of knowing when their time might be up and because of it they can face any challenge without fear or regret, and they will kill Shepherd before they can die.
      Price: The healthy human mind doesn't wake up in the morning thinking this is its last day on earth. But I think that's a luxury, not a curse. To know you're close to the end is a kind of freedom. Good time to take... inventory. Out-gunned. Outnumbered. Out of our minds. On a suicide mission. But the sand and rocks here stained with thousands of years of warfare... they will remember us. For this. Because out of all our vast array of nightmares this is the one we choose for ourselves. We go forward like a breath exhaled from the earth. With vigor in our hearts and one goal in sight: We. Will. Kill him.
      Price: This is for the record... History is written by the victor. History is filled with liars. If he lives, and we die, his truth becomes written, and ours is lost. Shepherd will be a hero, 'cause all you need to change the world is one good lie and a river of blood. He's about to complete the biggest trick a liar ever played on history. His truth will be the truth. But only if he lives, and we die.
    • In Modern Warfare 3, during the aftermath of Shepherd's death, Price began to contemplate the effects of lies and truth that became the cause of World War 3, both by the late Shepherd, who became the cause of Soap and Price declared as war criminals, and Vladimir Makarov, who was still at large, and the man who triggered the war with the massacre in the Russian airport, pinning the blame on USA with Allen's body. With that, only Soap and Price knew the truth, and the Russian and American soldiers who fought during WW 3 didn't know of the truth, but instead continue fighting over a lie. Bonus points for Price's contemplating speech began shortly before Makarov foiled a peace treaty that would end the war peacefully.
      Price: They say truth is the first casualty of war. But who defines what's true? Truth is just a matter of perspective. The duty of every soldier is to protect the innocent, and sometimes that means preserving the lie of good and evil, that war isn't just natural selection played out on a grand scale. The only truth I've found is that the world we live in is a giant tinderbox. All it takes is someone to light the match.
  • Genesis of Crisis Core, seriously if his army didn't consist entirely of clones of himself, they'd be wondering what exactly to make of his orders which consisted entirely of quote from his favorite play.
  • The Leper in Darkest Dungeon is an absolutely brutal warrior capable of enduring an incredible amount of pain simply because it pales in comparison to the agony of his condition. He is also a thoughtful, introspective man, eloquent even when the stresses of the dungeon take their toll... with one exception.
    Normal Leper: [lands a Critical Hit] Summer before the Fall.
    Paranoid Leper: Lions in the savanna. A lone campfire.
    Masochistic Leper: Cut away the dead meat. Search out my soul.
    Abusive Leper: There are better ways to fill a teacup than with a storm.
    Selfish Leper: Death is inevitable. But the cause is my choice alone.
    Hopeless Leper: Even steel may shatter in the cold.
    Irrational Leper: Fish oil wasted on the ramparts. Slime down the abbey.
  • The backstory for the Tarth species in DEADLOCK: Planetary Conquest includes a Tarth named Guh, who lived as a warrior. After he received what he believed to be a mortal wound, he resigned himself to death...until he looked up at one of the planet's moons and saw movement. He regained his will to live and went on to become a famous astronomer. A statue in his honour depicts him impaled on a spear, looking at the sky through a telescope.
  • The Druid player character in Diablo II is this, along with his entire Druidic society inhabiting the northern forests of Scosglen. Thematically, it is their philosophical, academic, and spiritual pursuits, which distinguish them from their barbarian cousins, both in daily living and as integrated into warfare. According to official sources, anyway.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, Tribunal deity Vivec is considered one, and actually has it as part of his title: "Warrior Poet and Guardian God-King of the Holyland of Vvardenfell." As the mortal Vehk, he served the legendary hero Lord Nerevar as a junior councilor and General. After ascending to godhood, he would go on to serve as the protector of the Dunmer people from all manner of threats. He thwarted the malevolent plans of various Daedric Princes in order to protect Morrowind repeatedly, including using his "spear," MUATRA to slay the monster children he begat with Molag Bal, one of those Daedric Princes. He is also a prolific author, in particular penning The 36 lessons of Vivec, a series of books detailing his godly exploits in very cryptic and heavily metaphorical terms. (They're quite exaggerated and Metaphorically True at best, with some outright Blatant Lies at worst.) If one digs deeply into the stories, you can also uncover some Fourth Wall Breaking. However, since Michael Kirkbride, who wrote the Lessons, did not write Vivec's in-game dialogue, Vivec seems way too plain-spoken for a poet when you meet him in-game. (It's also plausible, given the seriousness of the situation along with his impending loss of divinity, that he's dropped his godly facade a bit to be more plain-spoken and direct in Saving the World.
    • While seen as little better than Horny Vikings or a Barbarian Tribe by the other races of Tamriel, Nord culture fits. Yes, they are a Proud Warrior Race who greatly enjoys the thrill and glory of battle, but they are also a deeply religious and traditional people, with great respect for their Skalds and a strong bardic element present.
    • Like their Nord cousins, the Noble Savage Skaal people of Solstheim have this present in their culture, but take it even farther. Epic, primarily oral poetry is their standard means of passing down stories and myths. They are also a group of Badass Natives who manage to live in a place so inhospitable that every other group who has tried has struggled mightily.
    • Topal the Pilot, the legendary Aldmeri Bold Explorer, was a noted raconteur in addition to his skills as a ships captain, survivalist, cartographer, and archer. The in-game book Father of the Niben is what remains of his account of being the first Aldmer to explore Tamriel.
  • Ulysses from Fallout: New Vegas. He's as badass as humans come in the Fallout universe, but he also has a philosophical, almost mystical way of speaking that's completely unheard of anywhere else in the Mojave. He's also very well versed in Pre-War history, which is very unusual in this series.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, nearly all of the ten protagonists come off as this, since they all got a wise side to share.
    • Kuja, however, has a theatrical background that makes him a literal example.
    • Bards in Final Fantasy XIV, with the "Warrior" part emphasized more than Bards usually are - despite having magical abilities, Bards here are one of the Disciple Of War classes, rather than the Disciple Of Magic, and are actually an evolution of the Archer class. It is the "Warrior" part that powers the "Poet" part, as it is a Bard's empathy with his fellow soldier that gives their Magic Music its power. The art of Bard fighting nearly went extinct because hired minstrels who never fought in battle or existing Bards embellishing tales to the point of disconnect from events lacked the Emotional Powers needed.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Blood Knight Karel managed to turn into one of these after Fire Emblem 7. In the chronological sequel, Fire Emblem 6, he's a calm and philosophical swordsman, a far cry from his bloodthirsty younger self.
    • Forde from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is one of Those Two Cavaliers and a very accomplished painter, as well as a good map-maker. Two of his three possible endings involve him becoming famous due to his artistic talent.
    • The kunoichi Kagero from Fire Emblem Fates enjoys painting and tea ceremonies in her free time and she even has her own art studio.
  • Tai Kaliso of the Gears of War series communicates almost solely via poetic waxing.
  • Genshin Impact: Kazuha is a Rōnin who speaks in an elegant, almost mystical manner, recites poetry in his spare time, and is as deft with his sword as he is with his words. Interestingly, the English dub at least, has him subvert what'd you'd expect out of a well spoken samurai - he's a skilled verse poet focused on meter, rhyming, and even a good helping of alliteration, but he considers himself to be bad at haikus.
  • Ghost of Tsushima suggests that writing Haiku is a good way for Samurai to hone their minds, and has an actual gameplay mechanic in which you can write Haiku while contemplating the beauty of nature, clearing your mind between Mongol Massacres.
  • Hollow Knight:
    • The Hunter, who initially only seems to care about hunting and killing everything he can, but deciphering the notes in his Hunter's Journal reveals his musings on the history of Hallownest, the infection (which he briefly considered taking unto himself until he decided that losing his mind wasn't worth the power it came with,) and other topics.
    • "Zote the Mighty", a would-be wandering knight, styles himself as this, with his "57 Precepts of Zote" ranging from Captain Obvious (Precept Twelve: 'Keep Your Cloak Dry') to startlingly relevant to the game's deeper lore (Precept Fifty-Six: 'Do Not Dream'). However, for all his boasting, he's an utterly incompetent fighter.
  • The King of Fighters Kyo Kusanagi, believe it or not. Poetry is a hobby of his, making him a literal example of this. Though he's not very good at it.
  • The titular character from Klonoa is a pretty good poet and his poems talks about dreams (as seen in intros of some of his games).
  • Canderous Ordo from Knights of the Old Republic gets very poetic when describing his past battles.
  • Li Bai from Lyrica is a famous poet from the Tang Dynasty, and is apparently as almost adept with the sword as he is with words. However, this is ultimately subverted, as the scene where he used his sword fighting skills is revealed to be All Just a Dream, and he is never actually involved in any physical combat.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Wrex is surprisingly philosophical for your average reptilian Bounty Hunter. Ashley Williams as well, in what is actually a quite literal example: she really does quote poetry. Classical poetry as a matter of fact, and she gets the quotation right, too. She also examines her own religious and philosophical learnings and the impact that space travel and aliens have on the theoretical existence of God.
    • There is a Krogan Warrior reciting love poems in the second game. His poetry shows up again in the third game, in a tearjerking manner.
    • Grunt is a rather amusing subversion, as he spends a lot of his time during the game musing on his place in the universe and his reason for being. Indeed many of his statements are quite poetic, and this eventually leads him to his ultimate conclusion... that he really likes killing things. He seems to consider this a great spiritual victory, and who are you to disagree? According to the Shadow Broker's files on him, he has become a fan of Ernest Hemingway (though he didn't like A Farewell to Arms very much).
    • The Shadow Broker's file on Jack (Subject Zero) show that she wrote a poem for Galactic Poetry Monthly, but her poem wasn't accepted due to not following guidelines on proper meter. Jack's poetry also seems to be less a cultured pursuit, and more a way of grappling with her own personal demons (of which she has plenty).
    • Kasumi is revealed to have written several haiku (again, from the Shadow Broker's files).
  • Metal Gear:
    • Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid is a particularly schizophrenic example — one moment he's gunning down countless enemies with brutal efficiency, and the next moment he's discussing the meaning of life, morality, and nature, while simultaneously agonizing about the agony of being a soldier.
    • In terms of literal poetry — he does deliver legitimately evocative soliloquies at the start of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, although he does have quite a few clunkers at other moments.
    • Raiden, as well. In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden mentions a quote from Bushido describing his policy of using violence to save lives, with the Prime Minister he was bodyguarding remarking "A soldier and a philosopher!" Later, he berates himself for "arguing philosophy with terrorists" before fighting Monsoon.
    • The Boss, the mentor of Big Boss, is one of the greatest soldiers who ever lived and her experiences have made her very wise to the workings of the world, wisdom that she doesn't hold back when talking to her most beloved student.
  • It might come as a surprise to some that Mortal Kombat of all games contains a few of them, seeing as the premise of the games essentially boil down to seeing how horrifically you can mutilate your opponent. The standout examples are Nightwolf and Kai, but even guys like Raiden and Younger Sub-Zero can get pretty pithy with their speeches at times.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous: Party member Sosiel Vaenic is a cleric of Shelyn, goddess of beauty and the fine arts. This makes him a medium-armored Magic Knight with a Blade on a Stick who spends his off time painting portraits and landscapes, as creating works of art is a devotional exercise in his religion. When asked about it, he notes that, while it serves no purpose in battle, art can still keep morale up by reminding people that not all the world is bloodshed and horror.
  • Power Gig: Rise of the SixString has the Followers of Zhen clan, a group of musical warrior mage-priests. As music is both sacred and used for combat, their art is their weapon of choice! Many of them also engage in philosophy and some even take vows that reflect their personal beliefs on their path towards enlightenment.
  • Red Alert 3:
    • The Emperor is repeatedly shown indulging in traditional pastimes like bonsai trimming and calligraphy, and clearly expects his son and his troops to aspire towards the same.
    • According to the manual, Tsunami tank crews have calligraphy as part of their training, being meant to be modern-age Samurai.
  • John Marston from Red Dead Redemption is very well-read for a former bandit and has a very developed vocabulary, especially considering the literacy rate of the time. So long as it's in English, of course. Arthur Morgan, the sequel's protagonist, is an even more accurate version of this trope, complete with artistic skills.
  • Signy from Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, as a member of a shamanistic warrior tribe, frequently speaks in animal and/or nature metaphors.
  • Shingen, Kenshin, Nagamasa, and a few others from Sengoku Basara quote or compose poetry a couple times during/after battles. Then again, they're all samurai, so it was expected.
  • Monster Knight Gaichû from Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong is a former Renraku Red Samurai, with a college degree in Japanese literature and an appreciation for the fine arts: Even as a Ghoul his philosophy of perfectionism and his ability to self-reflect on the weaknesses and advantages of his transformation helped him remain sane. His room in The Bolthole contains a box of mementos, almost all of which are cultural in nature, and he will happily discuss them and their meaning at length with the Player Character. He defies the stereotype of the samurai in one way, however: His calligraphy (a stereotypical Samurai pastime) was awful even before Ghoulhood rendered him blind. He keeps a calligraphy set as a gift from one of his professors, but has no desire to actually use it.
  • Colonel Corazon Santiago shows signs of this in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. As with all faction leaders, the game occasionally gives quotes from her, ostensibly excerpts from books she's written, and while her philosophical side is very military-oriented and bleak, it's also perfectly suited for the Death World she and her followers have landed on.
  • Yoshimitsu of both the Soul Series and Tekken usually speaks in metaphors.
  • Agent 8 in Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion writes poetry in iambic octometer for each of the eighty mem cakes. Some of these express their eagerness to join Inkling society, which, as hedonistic and commercial as it is, is vastly preferable to life under the Octarian regime. Others are introspective, contemplative, or simply artistic musings on both their past and current happenings. A pity they don't speak Inkling nearly as well.
  • The entire Protoss race from StarCraft embody this ideal, having embraced a rigid quasi-religious collectivist social order based on self tempering, personal honor, and obedience, to escape a tumultuous war-filled past. This leads to a peculiar view of warfare, wherein "modern" mass-destructive weapons have been largely shunned in favor of armies of melee combatants and civilian machines repurposed for war, with machines designed specifically for war regarded as abominable. They've lightened up on this in the sequel, since they've suffered so many losses that they need their old war machines and more.
  • Street Fighter has had several over the years. More standout examples include Sagat, Gouken, Akuma, Gen, Rose, Guy, and (to a slightly lesser extent) Ryu. Guy's master, Zeku, is probably the most straightforward example, as almost all of his win quotes are written in haiku format.
  • In Vega Strike, surprisingly, Rlaan communications show the signs of this. Such as:
    "Hulls pop like vibrant seeds. Splashing photons in a void. I am sticky."
  • Thrall in Warcraft III. One of the Expanded Universe novels contains a Fictional Document which is basically a heroic poem he writes about his own father.
  • BJ Blazkowicz seems to have evolved into this in Wolfenstein: The New Order from his generic action man persona from the previous games. He delivers most of his dialogue in a subdued melancholic whisper dripping with prose and is able to come up with flowery musings on the fly.
    "Death at the gates again. Howling my name. Can't greet you today. I have a war to win."

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Once he starts opening up more, Lie Ren is revealed to be one of the more eloquent and introspective members of the heroes, with a greater knowledge of philosophical and spiritual aspects of Aura than his companions.
    • Tyrian Callows might be a Laughing Mad, Ax-Crazy devotee of the series' Big Bad, but he is remarkably eloquent between his hysterical giggles, and he has a penchant for the theatrical.

  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Omnicidal Maniac Jagganoth is a thoroughly dark take on the concept. Jagganoth's personal philosophy is based in real-world beliefs on the nature of suffering from Buddhism, and his desire to destroy the world is grounded in the desire to end the Vicious Cycle of a flawed Creation, and the suffering of those trapped within it. Jagganoth is an ascetic stoic, dabbles in debate, has a rather sizeable poetry collection and has even composed some pieces of his own. According to The Rant he wrote at least one treatise on the nature of death, and he is also one of the few people aware that the universe is stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • Looking for Group:
    • It features Krunch, a minotaur with a passion for history and knowledge. Of course the fact that he'll quite casually turn you into a bloody puddle with his mace means he's sometimes confused with his warrior brother. His treatment by his brethren also holds true to the trope. Despite being a badass most of the time he was generally the butt of jokes around his father.
    • There's also Pella the dwarf warrior, who in one fight scene sings "The Rose" by Bette Midler while calmly hacking up enemies.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • An extremely literal example: While everyone in Visionaries have Voluntary Shapeshifting powers, some of them also have magic staves that contain a kind of unique, one-use battle genie. These spirits are released using, of all things, rhyming couplets. So when the Blood Knight wants to wreck a castle, he can summon a monster by holding up his staff and yelling:
    By nature's hand, by craft, by art,
    What once was one now fly apart!

    Real Life 
  • The book that has been in consistent publication longer than any other book in human history is a book of poetry lasting only thirteen chapters. This book is also the most important book on war ever written, The Art of War attributed to Sun Tzu who made his living as a mercenary general.
  • Elliot Ackerman: Mr. Ackerman attended the prestigious Tufts University, graduating with top honors with a joint degree in literature and history. He then went on to serve in the United States Marine Corps, at first as an infantry officer before becoming a special operations officer. He served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan, being wounded in the former during the Second Battle of Fallujah. Ackerman retired after 8 years of service as a Captain and is currently an author based out of Turkey. His debut novel, Green on Blue, has received critical acclaim.
  • Jason Everman is a musician who played guitar in bands such as Soundgarden and more prominently in Nirvana. The entire warrior poet philosophy motivated him to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1994. He first served in the Rangers before joining Special Forces (aka the Green Berets), serving tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired from the Army in 2006 and went on to earn a degree in Philosophy from the highly prestigious Columbia University. Fits the bill quite nicely, huh?
  • 3rd Century Chinese warlord Cao Cao and his son and successor Cao Pi were both considered the greatest poets of their generations, in addition to the warmongering thing.
  • Traditional Japanese culture is known for demanding samurai to be good at Ikebana (floral arrangement) and poetry and stuff. The ideal was summed up as "Bun Bu Ryo Do", literally "literary arts, military arts, both ways", or more loosely "The pen and the sword in accord". Samurai were among the most cultured and literate classes in pre-Meiji Japanese culture. The tea ceremony and rock garden also had their roots in Samurai culture.
    • Miyamoto Musashi is a famous example. Apart from being a swordsman, he painted and sculpted, practiced calligraphy, and studied Zen Buddhism.
    • Yagyu Jubei, grandfather (Sekishusai), father (Munenori) all fit this trope. They mastered the sword but also took time to write books on the Zen in sword, and Munenori was a politician, even if an Evil Chancellor.
    • A noticeable aversion of this trope among the samurai was Kato Kiyomasa. Unlike the norm, he disdained the arts and even outlawed participating in Noh drama for the samurai within his domain with the punishment of Seppuku. This may have stemmed from him being a prominent figure during a chaotic conflict in the Sengoku Period. His precepts in general encouraged a spartan attitude and discouraged beautification while samurai were an upper-class category that were likely to display this as upper-classes are apt to. That being said, he didn't go into Dumb Muscle territory and still encouraged reading of non-artistic matters.
  • Similarly, in old Ireland, you couldn't be a great warrior unless you played the harp and mastered fidchell, an ancient Irish board game, somewhat similar to chess.
  • Norsemen got great social recognition for being good skalds as well as warriors. Poetry and berserker-rage were gifts from the Gods. Therefore, a skilled warrior and poet was thought to be favored by Odin. See the mythology entry above.
  • The medieval knights of Europe were expected to be skilled at poetry, chess, and dancing, as well as following a strict code of chivalry. This may have had something to do with the fact that European knights were also nobles — such pastimes were probably taught to all noblemen regardless.
    • The Medieval German minstrel knights, Minnesänger such as Wolfram von Eschenbach, Tannhäuser or Walther von der Vogelweide, could well be the Trope Namers
    • Raimbaut de Vaqueiras, as far as we can tell, worked his way up from penniless Provençal minstrel, to man at arms, to knight, to crusader, and finished out his days as a feudal lord somewhere in the neighborhood of Bulgaria. A sample from one of his most famous works: "Handsome warriors and good fencers/ Sieges and catapults and pikes/ And the destruction of walls, new and antique, And the vanquishing of battalions and towers/ I see and hear, and I cannot get/ anything that would avail me in love!" He's got another poem where each of the five stanzas is in a different language. He was by all accounts a pretty impressive dude.
    • As was Bertran de Born, Richard the Lionheart 's minstrel.
      • And King Richard himself.
  • Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, was a former soldier who lost a hand in Lepanto and was held captive for five years.
  • Irishman Joseph Mary Plunkett, executed for rebellion in 1916. He wrote "The Presence of God":
    I see His blood upon the rose, // And in the stars the glory of His eyes; // His body gleams amid eternal snows, // His tears fall from the skies. // I see His face in every flower; // The thunder, and the singing of the birds // Are but His voice; and, carven by His power, // Rocks are His written words. // All pathways by His feet are worn; // His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea; // His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn; // His cross is every tree. //
  • The 10th-century Iraqi poet Al-Mutanabbi arguably deconstructs this. His (truly great) poetry is full of boasts about his military prowess, although no more so than many others at the time. Particularly well known is the couplet:
    I am known to night, and horses, and the desert, // and the sword and the lance, and the paper and the pen.
    • But one day he finds himself travelling through the desert, and his company is set upon by bandits. Hopelessly outnumbered, Al-Mutanabbi and company turned to flee, but he was stopped by a servant who asked him, "What about those famous lines of yours, 'I am known to night, and horses, etc.'" Determined to make good on his rep, Al-Mutanabbi turned and charged the bandits single-handedly. He was instantly killed.
    • For that matter however, played straight with ancient Arab tribes of the Quraysh during around 6th century AD in Mecca. While a good bit of them are traders, the most renowned warriors are also poets; in fact, one's prestige during the Quraish era was either on their feats of prowess in combat and/or their poetry. The affinity of poetry in the Middle East is in full effect even today, and while the "warrior" aspect has faded nowadays, it certainly was in full force in ancient times.
  • Julius Caesar, Magnificent Bastard extraordinaire if there ever was one, was not only one of the greatest military geniuses ever but also a great prose writer and poet. Although his surviving prose works are still admired to this day for their clear, energetic style, practically none of his poems survives... however his fellow ancient Romans seem to have been divided over the quality of his poems.
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
  • Patton. Anyone remember in the movie? "Through the travail of ages, midst the pomp and toils of war, have I fought and strove and perished, countless times amongst the stars."
  • Saint Ignatius Loyola, along with the fellow founding members of the Society of Jesus. Aka Jesuits. He starts as a Genius Bruiser, finishes as the leader of a whole league of Badass Preachers.
  • When you consider that it was (and still is) a requirement for all Greek men to serve in the military, then all the ancient Greek philosophers (Socrates, Aristotle, etc.) and playwrights (Euripides, Sophocles, etc.) were Warrior Poets. (In fact, Aeschylus' gravestone spends more time talking about his military successes than about his multi-award-winning literary career.) And since the Greeks fought each other all the time, the image of the "old philosopher" probably means the ones who survived that long were probably pretty good at fighting. To sum up: Socrates probably could have kicked your ass.
  • Many Irish rebels were also poets, most notably Patrick Pearse and James Stephens.
  • Cyrano De Bergerac. Although perhaps better known for his fictional exploits, such as the play named after him, the real Cyrano was a famous writer, a fearsome duelist in a time when duels had been made illegal, and was so dangerous with a sword that his friends nicknamed him the Devil of Bravery. He also fought alongside d'Artagnan, another tough guy who is better remembered for his life in fiction.
  • Though more famous as a warrior, King Richard the Lionheart was also a poet; though only two of his poems survive, his routrenge, Ja Nuns Hons Pris is well-known to connoisseurs of medieval music.
  • In the Befreiungskriege, the German "Wars of Liberation" from Napoleon's domination, the poet Theodor Körner left a successful play-writing career in Vienna to join the famous Freikorps of Ludwig von Lützow; he wrote and sang poems for his fellow soldiers, accompanying himself on the guitar. These poems were collected posthumously by his father in the anthology Lyre and Sword and later set to music by Weber, Schubert, and others.
    • Other poets serving as Volunteers in the Prussian army in the Wars of Liberation included Friedrich von La Motte-Fouqué (creator of, among others, Undine) and Joseph von Eichendorff. Adelbert von Chamisso had been a Prussian officer until 1806.
  • The Prince-Bishop of Montenegro, Petar II Petrovic Njegos, was his nation's most renowned poet and philosopher — when not indulging in notoriously bloody feuds with the Ottoman Turks. Oh, and he was a monk, nominally at least.
  • Most poetry, drama, and music of the Aztecs were written by the battle-hardened warriors.
  • Lord Byron, poet and playwright, who took up arms for the cause of Greek independence and died while drilling Alpine troops at Missolonghi.
  • Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, two of the best-known war poets in history. Both were decorated for heroism; Sassoon was arguably more badass, and certainly luckier (he survived the war and lived to a ripe old age; Owen died so close to the end of it that his mother got the telegram as the armistice bells were ringing).
  • World War I in particular produced a great deal of war poetry of acclaim. Besides Sassoon and Owen, John McCrae is another of the better-known examples of this lot. He was an artilleryman who had fought in the Second Boer War before serving as a surgeon in World War I. Like Owen, he died on the battlefields of France (though unlike Owen, who was killed in action, McCrae died of pneumonia). His poem "In Flanders Fields" earned him fame while the war was still raging, and is still often read to commemorate Remembrance Day.
    • On the German side, you had e. g. Hermann Löns, Gorch Fock, and Walter Flex, writers who joined the armed forces in 1914 and who all were killed in action. The school sailing vessel of the German Bundesmarine is named after Gorch Fock, who perished aboard S. M. S. Wiesbaden in the battle of Jutland. Two well-known marching-songs of both World Wars, Wildgänse rauschen durch die Nacht (Wild geese are rushing through the night) and Wir fahren gegen Engeland were written by Flex and Löns, respectively. Another well-known warrior poet was Ernst Jünger, who was awarded a Pour le mérite (better known in America as the "Blue Max"), survived World War I to write In Stahlgewittern (In steel-storms) and other works, served in World War 2 and lived to be 100 years old.
    • Italy had a few among the soldiers who served on the front, but the most famous is Gabriele D'Annunzio, who, already a famous poet before the war, decided the best way to support the war effort was to go on the frontline and do outrageous things, like leading a charge to Austro-Hungarian trenches while wearing a Badass Cape and armed with a gun for hand and a knife in the mouth, lead three torpedo boats in what was supposed to be the most impenetrable harbour in the world and fire torpedoes at the Austro-Hungarian ships there and leave mocking messages in the attempt to lure the enemy fleet into an ambush, and fly over Vienna and drop leaflets telling the citizens to thank Italy for not dropping bombs while chastising the Austro-Hungarian government for bombing Milan. He's also well known for having been completely crazy.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis didn't write much about World War I but they served in it and it influenced their writings. The Dead Marshes, for instance, are said to be from memories of the trenches.
  • Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) is now more known for being the founder/leader/dictator of the People's Republic of China. He also wrote quite a few poems during the period of conflict between the Communists and the Nationalist government. Wikipedia article here. He was also quite good at calligraphy.
  • Both World Wars had several famous writers which makes sense as they were wars between nations rather then just governments. This continued into the Cold War to some degree.
    • MI6 was populated by British intellectuals several of whom retired to write, among other things, Spy Fiction.
  • Tupac Shakur and other gangsta rappers created very influential and popular music, while at the same time engaged in some pretty serious urban violence.
  • Egil Skallagrimsson of Iceland was famous as both a fighter (a berserker in fact) and a poet. He subverts this trope somewhat, in that while he had a caring and sentimental side, he also had a terrible temper and sometimes behaved very rashly.
  • Emperor Marcus Aurelius of Ancient Rome was more famous for his philosophical thoughts then for his warlike enterprises.
  • Russian writers Fyodor Dostoevsky and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn both served in the military before beginning their writing careers.
    • In fact, given Russia's long literary tradition and the Russian people's history of fighting against pretty much every other country, their own government, and even their environment, just for their own survival, Russia can be seen as a Warrior-Poet country.
  • Winston Churchill: As a soldier, he served with distinction in India, Sudan, and the Second Boer War; he also fought on the front line in World War One despite being a battalion commander. He also led Britain in World War II. As a man of arts and letters, he was a decent amateur painter, an accomplished memoirist, and a good historian, writing the all-encompassing (if a bit dated) History of the English-Speaking Peoples, for which he won a Nobel Prize in Literature. He also was an accomplished wit and a master of oratory (which helped him lead Britain during World War II).
  • Several eighteenth and nineteenth-century military and naval officers. Including King Frederick the Great.
    • "Several" puts it mildly. Life at sea was dull and many (most) turned to the arts and other intellectual pursuits to pass the time. Naval gazettes included poems written by officers, and officers were known to collect their works and publish. Note: They weren't necessarily inspired, nor even all that good, but, still, there you are.
    • Frederick the Great besides ruling his country and commanding his army in the field wrote historical and philosophical works, poetry (including a very long didactic treatise about the art of war in verse), opera libretti, and instrumental music (some of which is performed to this day). He also dabbled in architecture.
    • Ewald Christian von Kleist (1715-1759), one of Frederick's officers, also achieved fame as a poet, but his career in both fields was cut short when he was mortally wounded in the battle of Kunersdorf.
    • August Neithard von Gneisenau, Blücher's chief of staff at Waterloo, wrote poetry in his youth and also displayed a measure of literary and rhetorical talent in articles such as the ones he wrote to popularize the Prussian army reforms. His first work was a poem in honour of poet, playwright, and critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing on the occasion of his death.
    • Paul Thiébault (1769-1846), the son of a French scholar and pedagogue, grew up in Berlin during the last years of Frederick the Great's reign. He was an amateur poet, playwright, composer, landscaper, author of epistolary romances... and a general, from time to time.
    • Etienne de Jouy (1764-1846), Thiébault's brother-in-law, began his life as a soldier and retired after the Terror. He wrote several plays and operas that were quite successful in their time and earned him a seat at the Académie Française, but are now largely forgotten.
  • José Martí, Cuban revolutionary, national hero, and one of the most important figures in Latin America literature.
  • José Hernández, soldier and author of the Argentine national book, El Gaucho Martín Fierro. The title himself is, appropriately enough, something of an example as well.
  • Muhammad Ali would sometimes write poems before going into the ring. Many of his poems were about boxing, but he also did one that was a protest of the Vietnam War and another about the Attica Prison Riot of 1971.
  • In a similar vein to the Muhammad Ali example above, '90s British boxer Chris "Simply the Best" Eubank Sr was known for his dandy image and aristocratic, flowery manner of speech that often led to elaborate discussions about culture and philosophy. He is also a connoisseur of poetry (such as being able to recite "If" by Rudyard Kipling by memory, as well as Invictus and Desiderata). He also composed a poem he dubs "The Warrior's Code", a Badass Creed he adopted as his personal philosophy.
  • John Musgrave and William D. Ehrhart, both veterans of the U.S. Marine Corps who were featured in Ken Burns' PBS documentary The Vietnam War (2017), have both published several volumes of their war-related poetry.
  • Denis Davydov, a Russian soldier-poet of The Napoleonic Wars.
  • Francisco de Quevedo, one of Spain's greatest poets and a damn good swordsman.
  • Alan Seeger is a perfect example, though he was a poet that became a warrior instead of vice versa. He was an aspiring poet that traveled Europe, writing of nature's beauty, up until the start of World War I. When the war broke out he headed to France to join the Foreign Legion, taking up arms to defend the country he loved. He died fighting to retake a village from the Germans, though even after being mortally wounded he continued to cheer on his comrades until he succumbed to his injuries. Gamers will most likely remember him by his poem "I Have A Rendezvous With Death" that was featured in the trailer for Gears of War 2
  • John Gillespie Magee Jr., a US citizen who earned a scholarship to Yale but instead chose to join the Canadian RAF prior to the US entering WWII. He is best known for his poem "High Flight," although he wrote others, and was in the middle of writing one when he died at the age of 19.
  • Masaharu Homma, the Japanese general who commanded the troops responsible for the Bataan Death March. He was also an amateur playwright and poet.
  • Alfred the Great
  • Yukio Mishima
  • Scottish clans often had a hereditary bard that accompanied their chief into battle to record the glorious deeds of him and his followers. Parodied in the Discworld by the Gonnagle, the battle-poet of the Nac Mac Feegle. They are called gonnagles for a very good reason...
  • Ralph Bagnold was not only a great adventurer and special forces soldier but a great scientist and his studies on deserts are still considered a source of information to this day.
  • Rapping U.S. Marines.
  • William Golding, a Nobel Laureate who fought in World War Two and wrote much more than Lord of the Flies.
  • The two poems in Audie Murphy's war memoir To Hell and Back were composed by him, although they are attributed to a different character in the book. He wrote poems about his war experiences all his life, but had little interest in publishing them, often discarding or mislaying them when he was done. The Alabama War Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama includes lines from one of his later poems. Also co-wrote lyrics for Country Music songs, mostly about love, loss, and depression in general, rather than about the war in particular.
  • Do artists count? Vasily Vereshchagin, a famous Russian battle painter.
  • George Washington was famous for simple, yet elegant prose in his speeches, and even wrote a book on etiquette, but this may have more in common with the Cultured Badass.
  • Fitzroy Maclean, the famous Scottish spy, soldier, swashbuckler, and explorer. He would probably fit this trope more exactly then many as he both fought in war and wrote about it.
  • Martin van Crevald's The Culture of War is an actual study about this attitude as indicated by the title. Of course he comes from a country where everyone is a warrior.
  • George Orwell- Fought in the Spanish Civil War, then wrote about it. He also used his experience of CPS censorship to influence the doublethink in 1984 (anarchists in one issue of Daily Worker, Trotskyists in the next)
  • Joe Hill- he was a radical organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World- wobblies. He is most famous for his prolific songwriting. In fact, 95% of Labor Ballads come from him. At that time labor organizing was a form of combat, with strike breakers, cops and the army often called in to break up strikes.
  • Anti-fascist action, a group of militant anarchists who fought street battles with neo-Nazis produced many punk ballads.
  • One Sikh hymn compares God to every weapon known to the writer.
  • A number of Russian intellectuals went to battle in World War I and the Russian Civil War carrying copies of Pushkin in their backpacks.
  • There was once an Israeli poem about how beautiful Mirage fighters were. This sort of thing became kind of over the top after the Six-Day War but was toned down after the Yom Kippur war.
  • The CD Partisans of Vilna is a collection of poems and songs written by Jewish partisan fighters in WWII. Another one called Yiddish Glory was also released.
    • Hirsh Glick wrote a song, "Zog nit keyn mol", that became an anthem of the resistance and Holocaust survivors.
    • Abba Kovner, a partisan leader, published poems about the war afterwards in Israel.
  • Nordahl Grieg, a literal warrior poet and journalist. He spent time as a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War and then served as a soldier in World War II, while writing poems to boost morale in his native country, Norway. To make the claim of the title even more just, Grieg was shot down on a reconnaissance flight over Berlin in December 1943. His final resting place was a mystery for over sixty years.
  • Several Spanish Conquistadors also had a poetic streak within them. Most notably Alonso de Ercilla who wrote La Araucana, one of the most highly regarded epic poems in the Spanish language.
  • Duke of Caxias composed a lot of amateur poetry in his spare time.
  • Alexander Hamilton is most famous as a politician, but he served with distinction in the Continental Army, leading the assault on Redoubt 10 at the Battle of Yorktown. He was also a poet, who published several works from an early age.
  • Likewise, Hamilton's opponent Thomas Jefferson was an intellectual of renown who, while not a military officer, also saw a bit of combat during The American Revolution and afterward.
  • Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler of the Green Berets. In addition to his military career, he was a singer, a songwriter, an actor, and an author.
  • Suheil al-Hassan, a Syrian army general who rose to fame on equal parts for being The Ace and The Dreaded during the Syrian Civil War, is known for writing poetry. It is, in fact, one of the few personal details known about an otherwise very secretive man. His soldiers have often used loudspeakers to broadcast his poems during battles.
  • Luís de Camões was both a soldier of the Portuguese Empire and a poet, being one of the most important names in the Portuguese literature canon, equivalent to Cervantes or Shakespeare to the worlds of Spanish and English literature, respectively. Several of his portraits show him wearing armor and lacking an eye he lost in a battle at Ceuta.
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi, the "Hero of Two Worlds", was a key figure in the Wars of Italian Independence and its military success, and was also a consistent writer of literature and poetry.
  • John Lovell is a US Army Ranger veteran, who now works as a firearms instructor with his own company called the Warrior Poet Society.
  • British Bangladeshi Rapper Sparkaman sometimes has raps song highlighting difficulties in life, such as his song Two Identities. Outside of music, he is a passionate Muay Thai kickboxer and in even went to a training camp in Thailand as seen in his Music Video for Shine, which is also one of his more somber rap songs.


Video Example(s):



The Cyclops is introduced reciting poetry while overlooking his minions as they toil away.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / WickedCultured

Media sources: