1780 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Robinson

Roscius, "On Mrs. Robinson's quitting the Stage" Morning Post and Daily Advertiser (28 September 1780).



Oh! where shall love-sick Romeo find
So fair a form — so sweet a mind?
Who with such softness can prevail
In sad Ophelia's tender tale?
Who can with so much justice prove
Cordelia's woes, or filial love?
Whene'er in manly robes attir'd
Thy form, each panting bosom fir'd;
When in the softer sex you smil'd,
Each look, each step the soul beguil'd;
The gentle strokes of comic art,
With softest pity, touch'd the heart;
But when the bolder coxcomb came,
Your merit claim'd immortal fame.
Who could the gay Sir Harry view,
Nor own the lively picture true?
When Rosalind, with native wit,
Rehears'd, what wond'rous Shakespear writ;
When hopeless Viola reveals,
But half her woe, — and half conceals.
When in the solemn pomp of grief,
She smiling sits, nor courts relief;
Ah! who can paint with such sweet art,
The graceful weakness of the heart?—
Who can Palmira's woes rehearse,
(In all the pomp of Tragic verse)
With so much feeling, so much truth,
The laws of nations — charms of youth?
Ah! then return like Beauty's Queen,
To grace once more the mimic scene,
Once more with beauty to impart
All that can charm the gazer's heart,
With sense and judgment to controul
Each ruder passion of the soul,
That every grateful heart may own,
The power to charm, is thine alone!
Mount Parnassus,
Sept 1780.