Robinson, Mary

(1758-1800)
   Mary Darby, of Irish descent, the daughter of a sea captain, was born at Bristol, and in 1774 she married Thomas Robinson. His promise of wealth was a fiction and the family spent ten months in debtors' prison. The poetry she wrote there gained her the patronage of the Duchess of Devonshire. From 1776 to 1780 she was on the stage and after her performance as Perdita in Shakespeare's Winter's Tale (1778) she became the mistress of the Prince of Wales (later George IV). He tired of her and she was left to support herself through an annuity granted by the Crown (in return for some letters written by the Prince). Thereafter she devoted herself to writing drama and poetry, some written under the pseudonyms of "Perdita" or "Horace Juvenal." She died, crippled and impoverished, in Surrey, and was buried in Old Windsor churchyard. Some of her publications: Poems, 1775. The Songs, Chorusses, &c, 1778. Modern Manners, 1793. The Poetical Works, 1806. Some of her poems: "Absence," "Horatian Ode," "Ode to the Nightingale," "The Haunted Beach," "The Progress of Liberty," "To the Muse of Poetry."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Poems: 1791 of Mary Robinson. Woodstock Books, 1994. Romantic Women Poets: An Anthology. Duncan Wu, ed. Blackwell Publishers, 1997. Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (http://library.stanford.edu). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The New Oxford Book of Romantic Period Verse. Jerome J. McGann. Oxford University Press, 1993. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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