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Skunk Hour
Skunk Hour
by Robert Lowell

Stanza 2 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 7-9

Thirsting for
the hierarchic privacy
of Queen Victoria's century,

  • Here's another mouthful of words. So this lady wants some privacy. But what's hierarchic privacy? Well, if we take a hint from the next line, it could mean she wants the privacy of a queen – where she's above everyone, so nobody can bug her.
  • And what to make of Queen Victoria's century? Queen Victoria was the ruler of the United Kingdom during a time of serious expansion and power. (Her reign is also called the "Victorian era," and is known for being kind of stuffy and prudish.)
  • So if you relate the Queen Victoria bit to what comes before it, it probably means that this heiress wants to be left alone during her prosperous golden years, watching over what she's helped build over her lifetime.

Lines 10-12

she buys up all
the eyesores facing her shore,
and lets them fall.

  • She buys all the houses that are blocking her sea view and then gets rid of them.
  • This is also playing around with the queen's empire thing from the previous lines. The heiress has the power (and money) to basically be the ruler of this land, and to get rid of all the ugly houses around her that are ruining her property's stately appearance. They're expendable to her.

Next Page: Stanza 3
Previous Page: Stanza 1

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