1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Robinson

Peter L. Courtier, in Lyre of Love (1806) 2:90-91.



Perhaps the period is not yet arrived, in which the character of Mrs. Robinson can be dispassionately appreciated. She undoubtedly possessed a genius both valuable and original; while her misfortunes entitled her to more consideration in other respects, than her adversaries have been willing to admit. Without minutely entering into the history of the following poems, selected from her multifarious productions, they were evidently dictated by the circumstances in which they profess to be written; and are the effusions of a heart deeply agitated with the tenderest but most poignant of human passions: they appeal to every bosom, and cannot flail to charm any one that is endued with the least portion of natural sensibility.

Mrs. Robinson was born on the 27th of November 1758, at the Minster-House in Bristol, the descendent of a good family, and daughter of reputable parents, of the name of Darby. At sixteen years of age, she became the wife of Mr. R., an event to which she has ascribed the long train of her subsequent calamities. After a series of extraordinary events, during which, being separated from her husband, she attracted the particular attentions of a very Illustrious Prince, Mrs. R. became attached to Colonel (now General) Tarleton; — a connection which appears to have been the first that really interested her feelings, and which subsisted nearly sixteen years, from the termination of the war in America.

Her chequered life was, at length, closed in a kind of stupor, often the precursor of immediate dissolution, on the evening of the 26th of December 1800. She died at a Cottage, near Windsor; and was buried, pursuant to her own directions, in Old Windsor Church-yard.—

When bleeding Nature droops to die,
And begs from Heaven the, eternal sleep;
Hard is the heart that cannot sigh
And curs'd the eye that scorns to weep!

How rich the tear by Pity shed!
How sweet her sighs for human woes!—
They pierce the mansions of the Dead!
And soothe the Spectre's pale repose!
WOLCOTT.