Poem Hunter
January, 1795
(1758 - 1800 / England)

January, 1795

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.

User Rating: 3,2 / 5 ( 48 votes ) 8

Comments (8)

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.
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.
very nice and very long poem
220 years have passed - and so little has changed!
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.
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