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Short poem

Mary Robinson (1758-1800)

January, 1795

              1PAVEMENT slipp'ry, people sneezing,
              2Lords in ermine, beggars freezing ;
              3Titled gluttons dainties carving,
              4Genius in a garret starving.

              5Lofty mansions, warm and spacious ;
              6Courtiers clinging and voracious ;
              7Misers scarce the wretched heeding ;
              8Gallant soldiers fighting, bleeding.

              9Wives who laugh at passive spouses ;
            10Theatres, and meeting-houses ;
            11Balls, where simp'ring misses languish ;
            12Hospitals, and groans of anguish.

            13Arts and sciences bewailing ;
            14Commerce drooping, credit failing ;
            15Placemen mocking subjects loyal ;
            16Separations, weddings royal.

            17Authors who can't earn a dinner ;
            18Many a subtle rogue a winner ;
            19Fugitives for shelter seeking ;
            20Misers hoarding, tradesmen breaking.

            21Taste and talents quite deserted ;
            22All the laws of truth perverted ;
            23Arrogance o'er merit soaring ;
            24Merit silently deploring.

            25Ladies gambling night and morning ;
            26Fools the works of genius scorning ;
            27Ancient dames for girls mistaken,
            28Youthful damsels quite forsaken.

            29Some in luxury delighting ;
            30More in talking than in fighting ;
            31Lovers old, and beaux decrepid ;
            32Lordlings empty and insipid.

            33Poets, painters, and musicians ;
            34Lawyers, doctors, politicians :
            35Pamphlets, newspapers, and odes,
            36Seeking fame by diff'rent roads.

            37Gallant souls with empty purses ;
            38Gen'rals only fit for nurses ;
            39School-boys, smit with martial spirit,
            40Taking place of vet'ran merit.

            41Honest men who can't get places,
            42Knaves who shew unblushing faces ;
            43Ruin hasten'd, peace retarded ;
            44Candour spurn'd, and art rewarded.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Mary Robinson, Poetical Works (London: R. Phillips, 1806), III: 274-76. PR 5233 R27 1806 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1806
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/13

Rhyme: aabb

Other poems by Mary Robinson