The Ruined Maid By Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy is not generally known for his humour. However, in his poem “The Ruined Maid” we discern wry amusement. Perhaps there is also the unspoken question as to who is better off

 

“the ruined maid” or her friend,

 

“O ‘Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!

Who could have supposed I should meet you in Town?

And whence such fair garments, such prosperi-ty?” —

“O didn’t you know I’d been ruined?” said she.

— “You left us in tatters, without shoes or socks,

Tired of digging potatoes, and spudding up docks;

And now you’ve gay bracelets and bright feathers three!” —

“Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined,” said she.

— “At home in the barton you said thee’ and thou,’

And thik oon,’ and theäs oon,’ and t’other’; but now

Your talking quite fits ‘ee for high compa-ny!” —

“Some polish is gained with one’s ruin,” said she.

— “Your hands were like paws then, your face blue and bleak

But now I’m bewitched by your delicate cheek,

And your little gloves fit as on any la-dy!” —

“We never do work when we’re ruined,” said she.

— “You used to call home-life a hag-ridden dream,

And you’d sigh, and you’d sock; but at present you seem

To know not of megrims or melancho-ly!” —

“True. One’s pretty lively when ruined,” said she.

— “I wish I had feathers, a fine sweeping gown,

And a delicate face, and could strut about Town!” —

“My dear — a raw country girl, such as you be,

Cannot quite expect that. You ain’t ruined,” said she.).

4 thoughts on “The Ruined Maid By Thomas Hardy

      1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

        I first came across it, as with so many of my favourite poems while browsing in the school library. What a precocious child I was. While my peers where rough and tumbling in the play ground there I sat reading verse in the library! Kevin

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