by (Francis) Bret(t) Harte (1839 - 1902)

Mrs. Judge Jenkins
Language: English 
Maud Muller all that summer day 
Raked the meadows sweet with hay; 

Yet, looking down the distant lane, 
She hoped the Judge would come again. 

But when he came, with smile and bow, 
Maud only blushed, and stammered, "Ha-ow?" 

And spoke of her "pa," and wondered whether 
He'd give consent they should wed together. 

Old Muller burst into tears, and then 
Begged that the Judge would lend him "ten"; 

For trade was dull, and wages low, 
And the "craps", this year, were somewhat slow. 

And ere the languid summer died, 
Sweet Maud became the Judge's bride. 

But on the day that they were mated, 
Maud's brother Bob was intoxicated; 

And Maud's relations, twelve in all, 
Were very drunk in the Judge's hall. 

And when the summer came again, 
The young bride bore him babies twain; 

And the Judge was blest, but thought it strange 
That bearing children made such a change; 

For Maud grew broad and red and stout, 
And the waist that his arm once clasped about 

Was more than he now could span: and he 
Sighed as he pondered, ruefully, 

How that which in Maud was native grace 
In Mrs. Jenkins was out of place; 

And thought of the twins, and wished that they 
Looked less like the men who raked the hay 

On Muller's farm, and dreamed with pain 
Of the day he wandered down the lane. 

And, looking down that dreary track, 
He half regretted that he came back; 

For, had he waited, he might have wed 
Some maiden fair and thoroughbred; 

For there be women fair as she, 
Whose verbs and nouns do more agree. 

Alas for maiden! alas for judge! 
Add the sentimental, -- that's one-half "fudge"; 

For Maud soon thought the Judge a bore, 
With all his learning and all his lore; 

And the Judge would have bartered Maud's fair face 
For more refinement and social grace. 

If, of all words of tongue and pen, 
The saddest are, "It might have been," 

More sad are these we daily see: 
"It is, but hadn't ought to be." 


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2007-05-01
Line count: 48
Word count: 342