E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Tennyson has a poem so called. The lord of Locksley Hall fell in love with his cousin Amy, but Amy married a rich clown. The lord of Locksley Hall, indignant at this, declares he will marry a savage; but, on reflection, adds: Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.