Female Fashions for 1799

Original Text: 
Mary Robinson, Poetical Works (London: R. Phillips, 1806), III: 299-300. PR 5233 R27 1806 Robarts Library
1A FORM, as any taper, fine ;
2    A head like half-pint bason ;
3Where golden cords, and bands entwine,
4    As rich as fleece of JASON.
5A pair of shoulders strong and wide,
6    Like country clown enlisting ;
7Bare arms long dangling by the side,
8    And shoes of ragged listing !
9Cravats like towels, thick and broad,
10    Long tippets made of bear-skin,
11Muffs that a RUSSIAN might applaud,
12    And rouge to spoil a fair skin.
13Long petticoats to hide the feet,
14    Silk hose with clocks of scarlet ;
15A load of perfume, sick'ning sweet,
16    Bought of PARISIAN VARLET.
17A bush of hair, the brow to shade,
18    Sometimes the eyes to cover ;
19A necklace that might be display'd
20    By OTAHEITEAN lover !
21A bowl of straw to deck the head,
22    Like porringer unmeaning ;
23A bunch of POPPIES flaming red,
24    With motly ribands streaming.
25Bare ears on either side the head,
26    Like wood-wild savage SATYR ;
27Tinted with deep vermilion red,
28    To shame the blush of nature.
29Red elbows, gauzy gloves, that add
30    An icy cov'ring merely ;
31A wadded coat, the shape to pad,
32    Like Dutch-women -- or nearly.
33Such is CAPRICE ! but, lovely kind !
34    Oh ! let each mental feature
35Proclaim the labour of the mind,
36    And leave your charms to NATURE.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1996-2000.