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At an Inn Summary & Analysis
by Thomas Hardy

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"At an Inn" is a poem from Thomas Hardy's first collection, Wessex Poems, published in 1898. Generally thought to be based on Hardy's own life, the poem describes a visit to an inn, during which the speaker and his female friend are mistaken for lovers—and not just any lovers, but "Love's own pair!" Looking back on the visit many years later, the speaker laments how he and this woman seemed in love back then but weren't, and how now they are in love but can't be together due to distance and the pesky fact that one (or both) of them is already married. The poem casts doubt on the idealized idea of love, suggesting that actual love is more like an anarchic prankster having fun at humanity's expense.

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