Mary Darby Robinson

(1758 - 1800 / England)

January, 1795 - Poem by Mary Darby Robinson

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

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

Wives who laugh at passive spouses ;
Theatres, and meeting-houses ;
Balls, where simp'ring 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 diff'rent roads.

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

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

Comments about January, 1795 by Mary Darby Robinson

  • Kim Barney (1/3/2016 4:08:00 PM)

    She really knew how to point out the contrasts, and do it in rhyme!
    Pavement slipp'ry, people sneezing,
    Lords in ermine, beggars freezing;
    Titled gluttons dainties carving,
    Genius in a garret starving.

    That first verse is also one of the best.
    (Report) Reply

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  • Susan Williams (1/3/2016 2:58:00 PM)

    Two hundred years have passed since she penned this and really nothing has changed, has it? Why? Is the human race inherently selfish? Cruel? Dumb? Sinful? Avarice? I don't want to think that. But there are good people in the world. Hence Mary Darby Robinson who can write penetrating poem about the things she sees and abhors. And this lady could write? Smooth as silk those passages ran. We would have had so much more of her through her poems but she died so young- 42. (Report) Reply

  • (1/3/2016 2:09:00 PM)

    very nice and very long poem (Report) Reply

  • Wolfgang Steinmann (1/3/2016 11:38:00 AM)

    220 years have passed - and so little has changed! (Report) Reply

  • (1/3/2016 4:20:00 AM)

    Wonderful narration of social system prevailing in UK in eighteenth century under a monarchy and it's impact in different walks of life and on people of different vocations. Informativr and educative too. Ten points. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (1/3/2016 1:11:00 AM)

    Honest men who can't get places,
    Knaves who shew unblushing faces;
    Ruin hasten'd, peace retarded;
    Candour spurn'd, and art rewarded.
    (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (1/3/2016 12:49:00 AM)

    Nice! January,2016!

    January of New Year 2016 has surprise...!
    Yes! Three Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays!
    Once in a Blue Moon such a thing happens
    In the World Calendar we all love to follow!

    Another thing is this 2016 is a leap year too
    With one more day added to February plus
    Many festivals and national holidays come
    Attached to Saturdays and Sundays long...!

    To balance these holidays some important
    National and festival holidays come on....
    Sundays disappointing some and for others
    Giving thoughts of that holidays on Mondays!

    Work and play seem to have been balanced
    With more holidays and compensations sure!
    (Report) Reply

  • Spock The Vegan (12/29/2015 7:52:00 PM)

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

    This poem shows that human nature never changes.
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: school, january, truth, peace, people, night, wedding, soldier, work, girl

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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