When I Set out for Lyonnesse by Thomas Hardy


Thomas Hardy in this short poems tries to put the readers in awesome wonder writing with ease on  simple theme- a journey to Lyonnesse- the mythical birthplace of Sir Tristram., in England. It is believed to have been submerged by the sea. In the poem it is used as an imaginary place. The poet once visited a parish to supervise the restoration of a church.

On his return from the parish, people noticed two things about him- a new glow in his eyes and a crumpled piece of paper sticking out of his coat pocket. That paper, it is recorded in one his biographies, contained the draft of a poem. The poem is suggestive of the spiritual benefit of visiting some places. The poet set out for Lynnese which was situated a hundred miles away. The ‘starlight’ lit his ‘lonesomeness’. He had no idea what would happen during his stay at Lyonnesse.

Neither could predict what would happen at Lyonnesse. The poet says that even a prophet or a ‘wisest wizard’ would fail to predict the experience accurately and vividly. Neverthless, the poet was sure that when he returned there was ‘magic in his eyes’. He also had the radiance which is rare and fathomless. Some places welcome us with a ‘mute surmise’. Visit to such places are really rewarding and illuminating!

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