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        Mary Robinson (1758-1800)

                  JANUARY, 1795.


    PAVEMENT slip'ry; People sneezing ;
    Lords in ermine, beggars freezing ;
    Nobles, scarce the Wretched heeding ;
    Gallant Soldiers—fighting !—bleeding !


    Lofty Mansions, warm and spacious ;
    Courtiers, cringing and voracious :
    Titled Gluttons, dainties carving ;
    Genius, in a garret, starving !


    Wives, who laugh at passive Spouses ;
    Theatres, and Meeting-houses ;
    Balls, where simpring Misses languish ;
    Hospitals, and groans of anguish.


    Arts and Sciences bewailing ;
    Commerce drooping, Credit failing !
    Placemen, mocking subjects loyal ;
    Separations ; Weddings Royal !


    Authors, who can't earn a dinner ;
    Many a subtle rogue, a winner !
    Fugitives, for shelter seeking ;
    Misers hoarding, Tradesmen breaking !


    Ladies gambling, night and morning ;
    Fools, the works of Genius scorning !
    Ancient Dames for Girls mistaken,
    Youthful Damsels—quite forsaken !


    Some in luxury delighting ;
    More in talking than in fighting ;
    Lovers old, and Beaux decrepid ;
    Lordlings, empty and insipid.


    Poets, Painters, and Musicians ;
    Lawyers, Doctors, Politicians ;
    Pamphlets, Newspapers, and Odes,
    Seeking Fame, by diff'rent roads.


    Taste and Talents quite deserted ;
    All the laws of Truth perverted ;
    Arrogance o'er Merit soaring !
    Merit, silently deploring !


    Gallant Souls with empty purses ;
    Gen'rals, only fit for Nurses !
    Schoolboys, smit with Martial spirit,
    Taking place of vet'ran merit !


    Honest men who can't get place ;
    Knaves, who shew unblushing faces ;
    Ruin hasten'd, Peace retarded ;
    Candour spurn'd, and Art rewarded !



The above poem appeared pseudonymously on page 3 of the Thursday, January 29, 1795 issue of The Morning Post and Fashionable World of London. It was later collected with some changes in The Poetical Works of the Late Mrs. Mary Robinson in 1806.

The above version can be found in:

  • Robinson, Mary. Mary Robinson: Selected Poems. Judith Pascoe, ed. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2000.

    The later version can be found in:

  • Ricks, Christopher, ed. The Oxford Book of English Verse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.