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The relationship between the speaker and “’Melia” (Amelia) has been long-standing, for the first speaker tells us in stanzas 2-5 about how poor and ordinary Amelia had been before she “left us” (line 5). It is clear that Amelia has been gone from the farming community for a considerable time, and that in the interval she has gone into keeping with a wealthy man. Hence she has been “ruined” by conventional social standards even though she is also now well dressed and prosperous. It would be unreasonable to assume that she is not bragging about her new life. We may presume that the first, unnamed, speaker has not heard anything about Amelia because the society in which both live is not literate and for this reason people are not informed about neighbors who no longer are nearby.
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