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Thomas Hardy : 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 docks1;
And now you’ve gay bracelets and brights feathers 
					three!”—
“Yes: that’s how we dress when we’re ruined,” said she.

—“At home in the barton2 you said ‘thee’ and ‘thou,’
And ‘thik oon,’ and ‘thëas 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 megrims3 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 (1840-1928)	1915

 
FOOTNOTES
1 weeding; 2 farmyard; 3 depression
 

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