Summarize the attitude of each speaker for the other. What details of the new 'Melia impress the other maiden? From these details what seems to be the poet's attitudes?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indicative of the farm girl's perception of Amelia is the address of  "'Melia" in the first line. For, this name denotes "rival," or possibly a "better" (a person elevated socially), a meaning which could be meant to be ironic. Speaking in the first three lines of each stanza, the girl from the farmlands which Amelia has fled is impressed with her fine clothes and less colloquial manner of speaking. Yet, there is a tone of curiosity in her words as she wonders how Amelia has such fine clothes, and lost her colloquial manner of speech and "megrims" and "melancho-ly."

With a bitter irony, Amelia replies that all her changes are due to her being "ruined." She can assume airs and wear pretty clothing and never work, but Amelia cannot never marry because she is "ruined." This use of "ruined" in each stanza is ironic because Amelia left the "barton," or farmland in a state of physical ruin--"in tatters, without shoes or socks"--but now, dressed in "gay bracelets and bright feathers three" with "little gloves fit as on any la-dy" she is in a state of moral ruin with no chance for marriage as is available to the still rustic girl. Thus, Amelia does still hold some melancholy in her heart as she has merely traded her physical deprivation for a spiritual one, void of chastity and purity. With a sad irony, Amelia tells the other,

My dear--a raw country girl, such as you be,
Cannot quite expect that. You ain't ruined,"

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