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British War Poetry in the Age of Romanticism 1793-1815, by Betty T. Bennet, Edited by Orianne Smith

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1802.1
The Camp
“Oberon" [1]
[Mary Robinson]
The Spirit of the Public Journals, V (1802), p. 234

(From the Morning Post)

Tents, marquees, and baggage waggons;
Suttling-houses, beer in flagons;
Drums and trumpets, singing, firing;
Girls seducing, beaux admiring;
Country lasses gay and smiling,
City lads their hearts beguiling;
Dusty roads, and horses frisky,
Many an Eton Boy in whisky;
Tax'd carts full of farmers' daughters;
Brutes condemn'd, and man who slaughters!
Public-houses, booths, and castles,
Belles of fashion, serving vassals;
Lordly gen'rals fiercely staring,
Weary soldiers, sighing, swearing!
Petit-maitres always dressing,
In the glass themselves caressing;
Perfum'd, painted, patch'd, and blooming
Ladies—manly airs assuming!
Dowagers of fifty, simp'ring,
Misses for their lovers whimp'ring;
Husbands drill'd to household tameness;
Dames heart sick of wedded sameness.
Princes setting girls a-madding,
Wives for ever fond of gadding;
Princesses with lovely faces,
Beauteous children of the Graces!
Britain's pride and virtue's treasure,
Fair and gracious beyond measure!
Aid-de-camps and youthful pages,
Prudes and vestals of all ages!
Old coquets and matrons surly,
Sounds of distant hurly-burly!
Mingled voices, uncouth singing,
Carts full laden, forage bringing;
Sociables and horses weary,
Houses warm, and dresses airy;
Loads of fatten'd poultry; pleasure
Serv'd (to nobles) without measure;
Doxies, who the waggons follow;
Beer, for thirsty hinds to swallow;
Washerwomen, fruit-girls cheerful,
Ancient ladies—chaste and fearful!!
Tradesmen, leaving shops, and seeming
More of war than profit dreaming;
Martial sounds and braying asses,
Noise, that ev'ry noise surpasses!
All confusion, din, and riot,
Nothing clean—and nothing quiet.


Notes

1. Mary Robinson (1758-1800) used this signature for her poems published in the Oracle and the Morning Post. On Aug. 31, 1800 she wrote to S. J. Pratt, "I continue my daily labours in the Post; all the Oberons, Tabithas, MR's and indeed most of the Poetry, you see there is mine." See Shelley and his Circle 1773-1822, ed. Kenneth Neill Cameron, I (Cambridge, Mass. 1961), 232. Andrew Ashfield (in Romantic Women Poets) identifies an earlier printing of this poem in the Morning Post, 1 August 1800.

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Published @ RC

September 2004