1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Robinson

Alexander Dyce, in Specimens of British Poetesses, selected and chronologically arranged (1827) 222.



A native of Bristol, where her father, whose name was Darby, carried on commercial concerns. At the age of fifteen she married Mr. Robinson, a young lawyer in London. He was profligate and extravagant; she was vain and imprudent; and they were soon involved in the greatest difficulties. She now appeared on the stage, (to which she had turned her thoughts before marriage,) and played several characters with much applause. Unfortunately, as she was performing the part of Perdita, her beauty attracted the attention of a very illustrious personage, for whose protection she quitted the boards. The connexion with her royal lover lasted only about two years; but her wanderings from the path of virtue did not terminate with it. Her poems and novels, which the notoriety of the authoress once rendered popular, shew that she possessed a good deal of fancy, and a very pleasing facility of composition.

Mrs. Robinson was a signal sufferer from the personalities of Mr. Gifford's too angry muse. — Della Crusca, Arno, Anna Matilda, and the rest of that fluttering, tinselled crew, were undoubtedly fit objects of satire, but not of the merciless sort which they were assailed. A whip would have been a sufficiently formidable weapon to have scared them from the fields of song, but Mr. Gifford pursued them with a drawn sword, cut them to pieces, and exulted over the slaughter.