The Ruined Maid


'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 "theas 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.


Thomas Hardy.