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Illustration by William Thomas Smedley, 1906
Banksy: Sweep at Hoxton, 2008

A maid or housemaid is a word that is used to refer to a female domestic worker, especially a housekeeper, but also to a "maiden" or young girl or woman in general, as well as to a virgin or unmarried woman.


  • MAIDEN, n. A young person of the unfair sex addicted to clewless conduct and views that madden to crime. The genus has a wide geographical distribution, being found wherever sought and deplored wherever found. The maiden is not altogether unpleasing to the eye, nor (without her piano and her views) insupportable to the ear, though in respect to comeliness distinctly inferior to the rainbow, and, with regard to the part of her that is audible, bleating out of the field by the canary -- which, also, is more portable.
  • Maid of Athens, ere we part,
    Give, oh give me back my heart!
    • Lord Byron, in "Maid of Athens, Ere We Part" (1810)
  • Though friendships differ endless in degree,
    The sorts, methinks, may be reduced to three.
    Acquaintance many, and Conquaintance few,
    But for Inquaintance I know only two —
    The friend I've wept and the maid I woo.
  • If Love the Virgin's Heart invade,
    How, like a Moth, the simple Maid
    Still plays about the Flame!
    • John Gay, in The Beggar's Opera (1728), Air IV
  • Yonder a maid and her wight
    Come whispering by:
    War's annals will cloud into night
    Ere their story die.
    • Thomas Hardy, in "In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'" (1917)
  • Should ever the fine-eyed maid to me be kind;
    Ah! surely it must be whenever I find;
    Some flowery spot, sequestered, wild, romantic;
    That often must have seen a poet frantic.
    • John Keats, "To George Felton Matthew" (November 1815)
  • Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
    Do noble things, not dream them, all day long;
    And so make Life, and Death, and that For-Ever,
    One grand sweet song
  • The heart of a man to the heart of a maid —
    Light of my tents, be fleet —
    Morning awaits at the end of the world,
    And the world is all at our feet.
  • How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams with its illusions, aspirations, dreams! Book of Beginnings, Story without End, Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!
  • Some times with secure delight
    The up-land Hamlets will invite,
    When the merry Bells ring round,
    And the jocund rebecks sound
    To many a youth, and many a maid,
    Dancing in the Chequer'd shade.
  • The great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed of all false feelings and reluctances, will seek each other not as opposites, but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will come together as human beings.
  • Men are April when they woo, December when they wed.
    Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.
  • He that would woo a maid must feign, lie and flatter,
    But he that woos a widow must down with his britches and at her.
    • Nathaniel Smith (c. 1669), quoted in Thesaurus of Epigrams (1943) by Edmund Fuller
  • If you can kiss the mistress, never kiss the maid.
    • Anonymous proverb, collected in A Hand-book of Proverbs : Comprising an Entire Republication of Ray's Collection of English Proverbs, with His Additions from Foreign Languages (1899) by John Ray, further edited by Henry George Bohn, p. 420
  • "Where are you going, my pretty maid?"
    "I am going a-milking sir," she said.
    "May I go with you, my pretty maid?"
    "You are kindly welcome sir," she said.
    "What is your father, my pretty maid?"
    "My father's a farmer, sir," she said.
    "What is your fortune, my pretty maid?"
    "My face is my fortune, sir," she said.
    "Then I can't marry you, my pretty maid?"
    "Nobody asked you sir," she said.
    • Anonymous nursery rhyme among those attributed to Mother Goose in various collections, including The First Book of Song and Story‎ (1903) edited by Cynthia May Westover Alden and Beatrice Stevens

External links[edit]

Encyclopedic article on maid on Wikipedia

The dictionary definition of maid on Wiktionary