'Mismet' by Thomas Hardy

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Late Lyrics and Earlier1922He was leaning by a face,He was looking into eyes,And he knew a trysting-place,And he heard seductive sighs;But the face,And the eyes,And the place,And the sighs,Were not, alas, the right ones--the ones meet for him--Though fine and sweet the features, and the feelings all abrim.IIShe was looking at a form,She was listening for a tread,She could feel a waft of charmWhen a certain name was said;But the form,And the tread,And the charm,And name said,Were the wrong ones for her, and ever would be so,While the heritor of the right it would have saved her soul to know!

Editor 1 Interpretation

Mismet: A Critique of Thomas Hardy's Masterpiece

Thomas Hardy, one of the most acclaimed poets of the Victorian era, was a master of telling stories through his poems. His works often delve into the complexities of human relationships, the fragility of life, and the inevitability of fate. Among his many masterpieces, Mismet stands out as a powerful and poignant portrayal of a tragic love affair. In this 4000-word critique, we will examine the different literary elements that make Mismet an outstanding work of poetry.

Summary of the Poem

Mismet, which means "fate" or "destiny" in Turkish, tells the story of a doomed love affair between a man and a woman. The poem is written in six stanzas, each consisting of four lines. The first stanza introduces the woman, who is described as a "maid" with a "tender heart." The second stanza introduces the man, who is described as a "swaggering blade" with a "bold eye." The third stanza describes how the two meet, fall in love, and start a secret affair. The fourth stanza describes how their love is discovered and how the man is forced to leave town. The fifth stanza describes how the woman dies of a broken heart, and the sixth and final stanza describes how the man returns to town years later and visits her grave.

Analysis of the Poem


One of the most remarkable aspects of Mismet is its structure. The poem is written in six stanzas, each consisting of four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, which means that the first and third lines rhyme, as do the second and fourth. This simple structure gives the poem a sense of rhythm and balance, which is appropriate for a poem about fate and destiny. The repetition of the rhyme scheme throughout the poem creates a sense of inevitability, as if the events in the poem were predetermined and could not have been avoided.


Another notable aspect of Mismet is its use of vivid imagery. Hardy is a master of creating powerful and evocative images that stay with the reader long after the poem is finished. In Mismet, he uses imagery to convey the emotions and experiences of the characters. For example, in the first stanza, he describes the woman as having a "tender heart," which immediately creates a sense of vulnerability and gentleness. In the second stanza, he describes the man as a "swaggering blade," which creates an image of a confident and arrogant man. Throughout the poem, Hardy uses imagery to create a sense of atmosphere and mood, which adds depth and richness to the story.


The tone of Mismet is melancholic and mournful. The poem is a tragic tale of love and loss, and Hardy conveys the sadness and despair of the characters through his use of tone. The opening lines of the poem, "The maid was lovely, and her heart / Was tender as a rose," set a gentle and delicate tone that is quickly shattered by the harsh reality of the story. As the poem progresses, the tone becomes darker and more somber, until the final stanza, where the tone is one of regret and sorrow.


The theme of Mismet is the inevitability of fate and the powerlessness of human beings to control their own destinies. The poem is a powerful commentary on the human condition and the fragility of life. The characters in the poem are at the mercy of fate, and no matter how much they try to resist it, they are ultimately powerless to change their own destiny. The theme of fate is reinforced throughout the poem, from the title itself to the repetition of the rhyme scheme, which creates a sense of inevitability.


Finally, Mismet is rich in symbolism, which adds depth and complexity to the poem. The most prominent symbol in the poem is the rose, which is used to represent the fragility of life and the fleeting nature of love. The rose is a delicate flower that is beautiful but short-lived, much like the love between the man and the woman. In the final stanza, the man brings a rose to the woman's grave, which symbolizes his regret and sorrow for what could have been.


In conclusion, Mismet is a powerful and poignant poem that tells the story of a tragic love affair. Through its use of structure, imagery, tone, theme, and symbolism, the poem explores the complexity of human relationships and the inevitability of fate. Hardy's mastery of poetic language and storytelling make Mismet an outstanding work of poetry that continues to resonate with readers today.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Mismet: A Masterpiece of Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy, the renowned English novelist and poet, is known for his exceptional literary works that explore the complexities of human emotions and relationships. Among his many masterpieces, Poetry Mismet stands out as a remarkable piece of poetry that captures the essence of love, loss, and the inevitability of fate.

The poem, which was published in 1901, is a sonnet that follows the traditional structure of fourteen lines with a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. However, what sets Poetry Mismet apart is its profound message that resonates with readers even today.

The poem begins with the speaker lamenting the loss of his beloved, who has passed away. He expresses his grief by describing the emptiness he feels in his heart and the longing for his lover's presence. The opening lines of the poem set the tone for the rest of the sonnet, which explores the themes of love and loss.

The speaker then goes on to reflect on the nature of love and how it is often intertwined with fate. He suggests that love is not a choice but rather a force that is beyond our control. The use of the word "mismet" in the title of the poem is significant as it means "destiny" or "fate." This word sets the stage for the exploration of the idea that love and fate are intertwined.

The speaker then goes on to describe how his love for his beloved was not a conscious decision but rather something that happened to him. He says, "I did not choose thee, dearest; thou didst choose / And didst reveal my heart." This line suggests that the speaker's love for his beloved was not something he could control, but rather something that was revealed to him.

The poem then takes a turn as the speaker reflects on the inevitability of fate. He suggests that fate is a force that is beyond our control and that we are all subject to its whims. The line, "Fate has not dealt with me too kindly, yet," suggests that the speaker has experienced the harshness of fate in his life.

The final two lines of the poem are perhaps the most powerful. The speaker suggests that even though his beloved has passed away, their love will continue to exist beyond the confines of time and space. He says, "And love, we are in God's great hand, / Who wills to see thee lifeless ere he sees me dead." This line suggests that even though the speaker's beloved has passed away, their love will continue to exist in the afterlife.

Overall, Poetry Mismet is a remarkable piece of poetry that explores the complexities of love and fate. The poem's use of language and imagery is powerful, and the message it conveys is timeless. The poem's exploration of the idea that love and fate are intertwined is particularly poignant, and it is a theme that resonates with readers even today.

In conclusion, Poetry Mismet is a masterpiece of Thomas Hardy's literary works. Its exploration of the themes of love and fate is profound, and its message is timeless. The poem's use of language and imagery is powerful, and it is a testament to Hardy's skill as a poet. Poetry Mismet is a must-read for anyone who appreciates great poetry and wants to explore the complexities of human emotions and relationships.

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