About the Poem
About the poet
Mary Robinson was a gifted musician, champion of the rights of women, novelist, poet and actress...
Female Fashions For 1799
A FORM, as any taper, fine;
A head like half-pint bason;
Where golden cords, and bands entwine,
As rich as fleece of JASON.
A pair of shoulders strong and wide,
Like country clown enlisting;
Bare arms long dangling by the side,
And shoes of ragged listing!
Cravats like towels, thick and broad,
Long tippets made of bear-skin,
Muffs that a RUSSIAN might applaud,
And rouge to spoil a fair skin.
Long petticoats to hide the feet,
Silk hose with clocks of scarlet;
A load of perfume, sick'ning sweet,
Bought of PARISIAN VARLET.
A bush of hair, the brow to shade,
Sometimes the eyes to cover;
A necklace that might be display'd
By OTAHEITEAN lover !
A bowl of straw to deck the head,
Like porringer unmeaning;
A bunch of POPPIES flaming red,
With motly ribands streaming.
Bare ears on either side the head,
Like wood-wild savage SATYR ;
Tinted with deep vermilion red,
To shame the blush of nature.
Red elbows, gauzy gloves, that add
An icy cov'ring merely;
A wadded coat, the shape to pad,
Like Dutch-women — or nearly.
Such is CAPRICE ! but, lovely kind!
Oh ! let each mental feature
Proclaim the labour of the mind,
And leave your charms to NATURE.
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