Locksley Hall Summary
At the start of the poem, an unnamed speaker asks his friends to go away him alone for touch so that he can ruminate on his past, the time he spent at Locksley Hall, where he’s now visiting again. He reflects on his youthful years spent during this place also because of the time he spent together with his young love, his cousin, Amy, here.
He says that they were crazy and that they spent all their time together, but then, the “shallow-hearted” Amy rejected the narrator thanks to her “father’s threat” and maybe her mother’s “shrewish tongue.” She married somebody else, someone with extra money (making her “shallow”), and this new man is “[gross] in nature,” a veritable “clown” within the narrator’s eyes.
He realizes, however, that Amy must act the great wife to the present man, and it makes him feel disgusted. He curses the “social wants” that lead people to far away from their true feelings. He wrestles together with his feelings, wondering if it’s possible to like her still the way he knew her then. The narrator goes on to think about the babies that Amy will have with this man and the way they’re going to demand all her attention.
The narrator goes on to explain how he “must mix with action, lest [he] wither by despair.” he’s angry, and he had wished to die, but he tries to maneuver on and consider the longer term. He imagines that “the heavens [will] fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails”: he predicts that the “heavens [will] fill with shouting” and nations will wage war on each other, all thanks to people’s greed and specialize in money and things instead of people and feelings. Eventually, however, he believes that “common sense” will prevail and a “Parliament of man” is going to be created in peace. He predicts the decline within the importance of the individual and therefore the rise within the importance of the planet as an entire.
He hears his friends calling for him to come—they don’t understand him—and he expresses his belief that “Woman is that the lesser man.” In other words, women are weaker, and their emotions are frailer than men’s. He thinks of his range in the Orient, where he was a “trampled orphan and a selfish uncle’s ward.” Despite his hardships, he describes that place as a “Paradise.” His imagination is rekindled by his memories of his home, and he feels newly inspired. Now, he feels as if he can leave Locksley Hall and every one its sad memories behind him, and he hopes that a thunderbolt might “fall” on the place and destroy it.
Locksley Hall Analysis
In this poem, the narrator visits an area called Locksley Hall, where he spent some years in his youth and where he fell crazy together with his cousin, Amy. Although she loved him too, she eventually abandoned him—at her parents’ behest—to marry a person who had extra money but is, within the narrator’s words, “a clown” who loves her only a touch quite he loves his horse or his dog.
He questions whether he needs to wish for her happiness, knowing that she married someone with lesser feelings and a “narrower heart” than he just because the opposite man was richer. He believes that Amy has become a clown because she married a clown, and therefore the “grossness of his nature” weighs her down and affects her also.
The narrator curses the “social wants that sin against the strength of youth!” He feels that greed and materialism are held in higher esteem than true love, just like the love he felt for Amy in his youth. Wealth is prized quite a happiness; because he had no wealth, Amy’s parents wouldn’t allow her to marry him, though he loved her such a lot and would have made her happy (he believes).
The narrator goes on to lament and critique the state of the planet. it is not only his marriage to Amy that was prevented by her parent’s greed; actually, the planet only offers good opportunities to those with riches. He says, “Every door is barred with gold, and opens but to golden keys.” People with money seem to face in his way, and only people with money have the resources needed to succeed.
He laments the greed and materialism that appear to make the backbone of society at large; Amy’s parents’ decision now seems merely a symbol of the catastrophic greed that runs throughout all of society. He imagines that this materialism and greed will inevitably corrupt the planet, causing a war between the nations.
Only after this breakdown will cooler, wiser heads prevail within the creation of a “Parliament of man,” a “Federation of the planet .” sense, then, will rule, and peace will reign. In the meantime, however, the world’s specialize in acquisition and commerce will still make people unhappy.