Felicia Dorothea Hemans – The Homes of England

A subtle and elegant assertion of belief in the traditional order and customs of English society, this poem is more than the grating panegyric that might be suggested by the title. For the main it glosses over class struggles and divisions, imagining a kind of equality enforced by shared faith and patriotism. At the same time there is a hint of a recognition of the plight of the ‘lowly’, and perhaps some responsibility on the part of the ‘stately’. The poem never goes so far as to imply things could be different – indeed this would run counter to its first purpose: to affirm the traditional way of things, and to look to the past for an ideal model of English society. Continue reading