A Celebration of Women Writers

"January 1795." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)

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January 1795

Pavement slippery, people sneezing,
Lords in ermine, beggars freezing;
Titled gluttons dainties carving,
Genius in a garret starving.

Lofty mansions, warm and spacious;
Courtiers cringing and voracious;
Misers scarce and wretched heeding;
Gallant soldiers fightin, bleeding.

Wives who laugh at passive spouses;
Theatres, and meeting-houses;
Balls, where simpering 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.

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

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 different roads.

Gallant souls with empty purses;
Generals only fit for nurses;
School-boys, smit with martial spirit,
Taking place of veteran merit.

Honest men who can't get places,
Knaves who show unblushing faces:
Ruin hasten'd, peace retarded;
Candour spurn'd, and art rewarded.

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