Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MILKMAID, by JEFFREYS TAYLOR



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THE MILKMAID, by            
First Line: A milkmaid, who poised a full pail on her head
Last Line: "hatched."
Subject(s): Milk; Milkmen; Milkmaids


A MILKMAID, who poised a full pail on her head,
Thus mused on her prospects in life, it is said:
"Let me see, -- I should think that this milk will
procure
One hundred good eggs, or fourscore, to be sure.

"Well then, -- stop a bit, it must not be for-
gotten,
Some of these may be broken, and some may be
rotten;
But if twenty for accident should be detached,
It will leave me just sixty sound eggs to be
hatched.

"Well, sixty sound eggs. -- no, sound chickens, I
mean:
Of these some may die, -- we'll suppose seventeen,
Seventeen! not so many -- say ten at most,
Which will leave fifty chickens to boil or to roast.
"But then there's their barley: how much will
they need?
Why, they take but one grain at a time when they
feed, --
So that's a mere trifle; now then, let us see,
At a fair market price how much money there'll
be.

"Six shillings a pair -- five -- four -- three - and-
six.
To prevent all mistakes, that low price I will fix;
Now what will that make? fifty chickens, I said, --
Fifty times three-and-sixpence -- I'll ask Brother
Ned.

"O, but stop, -- three-and-sixpence a pair I must
sell 'em;
Well, a pair is a couple, -- now then let us tell
'em;
A couple in fifty will go (my poor brain!)
Why, just a score times and five pair will remain.

"Twenty-five pair of fowls -- now how tiresome
it is
That I can't reckon up so much money as this!
Well, there's no use in trying, so let's give a
guess, --
I'll say twenty pounds, and it can't be no less.

"Twenty pounds, I am certain. will buy me a cow,
Thirty geese and two turkeys, -- eight pigs and a
sow;
Now if these turn out well, at the end of a year,
I shall fill both my pockets with guineas, 't is
clear."

Forgetting her burden, when this she had said,
The maid superciliously tossed up her head;
When, alas for her prospects! her milk-pail de-
scended,
And so all her schemes for the future were ended.

This moral, I think, may be safely attached, --
"Reckon not on your chickens before they are
hatched."




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