Thursday, June 7, 2007

Friday poem

It's Friday (in Oz), and it's a poem, so I suppose it's a Friday poem. I opened my Norton Anthology of Poetry for a piece of serendipity, and found this bit of verse by Thomas Hardy, about the ill effects of depravity on women. Dedicated to Renegade Evolution, who's been having an unduly rough time of it these past few days.

The Ruined Maid
"O'Melia, my dear, this does everything crown!
Who could have supposed I should meet you in town?
And whencesuch 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 company!"
"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 melanchol-y!"
"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.

From 1902, so not quite Victorian.