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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

In the first lines, the unnamed narrator addresses his "Comrades," the friends with whom he is visiting Locksley Hall. He tells them to leave him on his own for a little while so that he can reminisce about his early years in this place alone. Later in the poem, they sound the bugle in order to get his attention and let him know that they want him to meet them.

The unnamed narrator, then, is the main character of the poem. The bulk of the lines are comprised of his ruminations and reflections on his love for his cousin, Amy, her eventual abandonment of him when her parents wish her to marry a richer man, his anger about their—and the world's—greed, what he thinks will happen to the world as a result of every nation becoming so materialistic and focused on acquiring wealth, and the eventual fate of humankind once we stop warring with one another. This character is deeply emotional and angry that so many opportunities are denied to him because he is not wealthy. He also draws some sexist conclusions as a result of Amy's rejection of him for another, more lucrative match. Namely, he comes to believe that women are weaker than men, that their feelings are weaker than their male counterparts'. (He does not seem to allow for the possibility that Amy was coerced, compelled, or forced to obey her parents.)

Amy, of course, is another character, as are Amy's parents. Amy is the unnamed narrator's cousin, and the woman with whom he was in love when he was a young man at Locksley Hall, years ago. She has married another man instead of the narrator, due to her parents' wishes, as the narrator must have been relatively poor compared to the wealthy man she eventually marries. Her own, and her parents', greed really angers and antagonizes the narrator, especially as he is denied other opportunities due to his lack of wealth as he ages.

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