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Poem by Mary Robinson


Female Fashions for 1799


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

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

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

Long petticoats to hide the feet,
Silk hose with clocks of scarlet ;
A load of perfume, sickning sweet,
Bought of PARISIAN VARLET.

A bush of hair, the brow to shade,
Sometimes the eyes to cover ;
A necklace that might be displayd
By OTAHEITEAN lover !

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

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

Red elbows, gauzy gloves, that add
An icy covring merely ;
A wadded coat, the shape to pad,
Like Dutch-women -- or nearly.

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



Mary Robinson


Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 24. O Thou! Meek Orb
  2. Stanzas Written under an Oak in Windsor Forest
  3. The Widows Home
  4. To Cesario
  5. Sonnet 44. Here Droops the Muse


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