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Mar 16, 2012

Poetry Friday: The Ruined Maid by Thomas Hardy

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  11:01 AM

I found myself thinking about one of my favourite fun poems today and decided to share it with you. I've actually shared this one before, a  year ago on another blog. Hardy's poems leave me feeling good. This one in particular I find fun and frivolous and inspirational. I also found a lovely You Tube presentation of it accompanied by a classical tune. I hope you get to enjoy Hardy's poetry as I do if you've never read him.  Don't forget to tell me what you think.

by: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

"" 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.

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Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...


  1. Interesting. I think you have to be knowledgeable of British class distinctions to fully understand the poem. It seems ironic that she's better off ruined than when she wasn't ruined.

  2. Actually Richard this is quite a sad poem underneath but the way Hardy writes it leaves me feeling it is never worthwhile to envy another persons position because I have no idea what they've been through to get there. In Hardy's time a virgin was referred to as a maid and if she had been seduced by the Lord of the manor or lost her virginity in another way or became a prostitute then she was ruined. In this case she "melia" appears to be telling this old acquaintance that unless she has been through all that she has, and become ruined,she can never be as she is "ruined". Which in actual fact could mean that the friend hasbetter prospects e.g for marriage even in her humble state as whoever ruined Melia and never married her ruined her chances of family in life too.

  3. So when I read it I am inspired to think that as much pressure as their is to perform and deliver to impress others in society and be like them, I am better of working with what I have, I have no idea what some may have had to give up to get to where they are. My friends and I have This conversation from time to time and its amazing how many people get into situations in order to fit in, instead of being happy with who they are and making the best of that.

  4. Your interpretation helps me to understand the poem better. Thank you.

  5. Wow, when I read the poem, I didn't understand that there was so much more to it. I felt as Richard did. How deep it is. Thanks for sharing.


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