When I Set Out for Lyonnesse NCERT Question Answers

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Solved Short Questions and Answers: Here we have added some solved short and long questions related to the poem When I Set Out for Lyonnesse by Thomas Hardy. Please go through the solved question before exam to give you a better idea of the poem. We hope the following solved answers will help you prepare well for the exam and give you a detail idea of the poem as well. All the best!


  1. What does Lyonnesse refer to? Why does the poet use this name instead of real one?

Lyonnesse is a mythological place in Arthurian legend. The poet uses this place as a setting of his poem to create an air of magic and mysticism. The poem is written on the experience of the poet’s journey to a church near Cornwall. This experience remains as an important event in the memory of the poet. Hence, Lyonnesse is used as a land of bliss and perfect happiness.

  1. When was the poem written and when was it first published?

The poem was written in 1869 when the poet went to a church near Cornwall. He was in the charge to supervise the reconstruction of the church. But the poem was first published in 1914 in his collection of poems, Satire of Circumstances, Lyrics and Reveries.

  1. What were the changes in the poet in his journey to Lyonnesse?

After visiting the place the poet became happy and glad. This journey had changed his life completely. His heart was filled with unfathomable joy and there was a reflection of Heavenly bliss in his eyes. Such gifts were totally unexpected to the poet.

  1. What are the stages mentioned in the poet’s journey to Lyonnesse and what are they?

There are three stages mentioned in the poem. The poem is about the poet’s trip to a church near Cornwall. It is actually a description of the development of the poet’s state of mind. These three phases are- before his journey, his staying at the place and his journey back home.

  1. Comment on the structure of the poem.

The poem consists of three stanzas with six lines each. Each of the stanzas has different rhyme scheme which is given below:

Stanza 1:  a b b a a b

Stanza 2: a c c a a c

Stanza 3: a d d a a d.

  1. Did the poet have prior knowledge about what would happen to him at Lyonnesse?

The poet had hardly any prior knowledge about what would happen to him at Lyonnesse. He was in a vacant mood and he was alone in his journey to the place. He went there as an architect to supervise the reconstruction of a church. He was moved by the happenings to such an extent that he forsook the profession of architecture.

  1. How was the atmosphere when the poet set out for Lyonnesse?

When the poet set out for Lyonnesse, it was late evening. The atmosphere was cold and chilly. Trees were covered with frost.  Nature seems to be silent and desolate as if it had lost its charm and loveliness.

  1. What were the sudden changes in the appearance of the poet that people could understand?

When the poet come back home from Lyonnesse, the people saw sudden changes in facial expression of the poet. The poet had magic in his eyes and this gave him extra-confidence. Besides, the people could understand that the heart of the poet was filled the glow of blessing which is unfathomable and rare in quality.


  1. What did the speaker say about a prophet or a wizard?

The poet said that a prophet could hardly say about what would happen to him (poet) at Lyonnesse. Even the wisest magician had not the power to guess the incident that brought a drastic change in the life of the poet.

  1. Which season was it when the poet was traveling to Lyonnesse?

At the very beginning the poet speaks of ‘rime’ that covered the trees. This indicates the season was not other than winter. In winter paths remain lonely and empty. This also implies that it was winter.

  1. “What would bechance at Lyonnesse”What is the meaning of ‘bechance’? In what context did the poet use this term?

The word ‘bechance’ means happen or find by chance. The poet went to supervise the reconstruction of a church near Cornwall where he stayed few days. The experience that he gathered there made him a different ‘self’. Nobody could guess about these incidents. These experiences were unexpected to him. These experiences changed his life drastically.

  1. “My radiance rare and fathomless”

Who is the speaker and what does the speaker want to mean here?

The poet Thomas Hardy himself is the speaker. The poet realizes some changes within himself in the course of his journey. The experiences of this journey alter the course of his life completely. He becomes self-confident as he feels in his heart the unfathomable glow of some rare quality.

When I Set Out for Lyonnesse: NCERT Long Questions and Answers

  1. Write a note on the central theme of the poem.

The poem is about the poet’s journey to Lyonnesse. Lyonnesse is actually a mythical place in Arthurian legend. The poet uses this place to create an ambiance of charm and happiness. Here the poet refers to the actual occurrence that changes his life forever. Actually, the poet goes there to supervise the restoration of a church. In the first part, the poet gives an account of his loneliness and cold atmosphere. In the second stanza, the poet speaks of the unexpected happiness that he comes by at the place. The third stanza is about the twinkling of his eyes and unmeasurable glow in his heart.

  1. Bring out the significance of Lyonnesse.

The poet as a young architect went to superivise the reconstruction of a church near Cornwall. The place was a hundred miles away from his home. The poet sojourned there for few days where he happened to meet a young lady named Emma Gifford. He fell in love with her and later on he married her. This incident filled his life with pleasure and satisfaction. The poet was moved to such an extent by the incident that he left his profession of architecture. This was one of the most interesting happenings in Hardy’s life. To commemorate this happy incident the poet composed this poem and used Lyonnesse as a setting of his poem. Lyonnesse is a mythical place and here it is used as a land of joyfulness, gaiety and contentment.

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