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Mary Robinson (1758-1800)

Female Fashions for 1799


              1A FORM, as any taper, fine ;
              2    A head like half-pint bason ;
              3Where golden cords, and bands entwine,
              4    As rich as fleece of JASON.

              5A pair of shoulders strong and wide,
              6    Like country clown enlisting ;
              7Bare arms long dangling by the side,
              8    And shoes of ragged listing !

              9Cravats like towels, thick and broad,
            10    Long tippets made of bear-skin,
            11Muffs that a RUSSIAN might applaud,
            12    And rouge to spoil a fair skin.

            13Long petticoats to hide the feet,
            14    Silk hose with clocks of scarlet ;
            15A load of perfume, sick'ning sweet,
            16    Bought of PARISIAN VARLET.

            17A bush of hair, the brow to shade,
            18    Sometimes the eyes to cover ;
            19A necklace that might be display'd
            20    By OTAHEITEAN lover !

            21A bowl of straw to deck the head,
            22    Like porringer unmeaning ;
            23A bunch of POPPIES flaming red,
            24    With motly ribands streaming.

            25Bare ears on either side the head,
            26    Like wood-wild savage SATYR ;
            27Tinted with deep vermilion red,
            28    To shame the blush of nature.

            29Red elbows, gauzy gloves, that add
            30    An icy cov'ring merely ;
            31A wadded coat, the shape to pad,
            32    Like Dutch-women -- or nearly.

            33Such is CAPRICE ! but, lovely kind !
            34    Oh ! let each mental feature
            35Proclaim the labour of the mind,
            36    And leave your charms to NATURE.


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: 299-300. 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