As the poem begins, the setting of the desolate, frigid, former site of the persona's childhood home sets, in the first two stanzas, the tone for a poem expressive of the feelings of shame, guilt and regret.
Maria feels that Henry duped her into a relationship that seduced her away from her familial obligations. She left "with him to roam" and believed her "days in joy would roll."
Ultimately, Henry rejected her; she believes it is because her father "was poor/No golden store/ Had he, no earthly treasure." She recognizes that the only valuable thing her father had was his love for her, his daughter. Maria is guilt-stricken when she observes "I see his tears/ I hear his groans of sadness" and reflects on how after his death, her guilt over abandoning him haunts her.
As the poem closes, Maria is alone, having been abandoned by her false lover for "a wealthier bride" and her father's death. She is "An outcast hurl’d/From all the world," and implores God to accept her into Heaven when death comes to claim her.