The Ruined Maid

Author: Thomas Hardy  | Date: 1866


’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!’-

’A 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.

Westbourne Park Villas, 1866

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Chicago: Thomas Hardy, The Ruined Maid Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024,

MLA: Hardy, Thomas. The Ruined Maid, Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: Hardy, T, The Ruined Maid. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from