Mary Darby Robinson

(1758 - 1800 / England)

Ode On Adversity - Poem by Mary Darby Robinson

WHERE o'er my head, the deaf'ning Tempest blew,
And Night's cold lamp cast forth a feeble ray;
Where o'er the woodlands, vivid light'nings flew,
Cleft the strong oak, and scorch'd the blossom'd spray;
At morn's approach, I mark the sun's warm glow
O'er the grey hill a crimson radiance throw;
I mark the silv'ry fragrant dew,
Give lustre to the vi'let's hue;
The shallow rivers o'er their pebbly way,
In slow meanders murmuring play;
Day spreads her beams, the lofty forest tree,
Shakes from its moisten'd head the pearly show'r,
All nature, feels the renovating hour,
All, but the sorrowing child of cold ADVERSITY;
For her, the linnet's downy throat
Breathes harmony in vain;
Unmov'd, she hears the warbling note
In all the melody of song complain;
By her unmark'd the flowret's bloom,
In vain the landscape sheds perfume;
Her languid form, on earth's damp bed,
In coarse and tatter'd garb reclines;
In silent agony she pines;
Or, if she hears some stranger's tread,
To a dark nook, ashamed she flies,
And with her scanty robe, o'er-shades her weeping eyes.

Her hair, dishevel'd, wildly plays
With every freezing gale;
While down her cold cheek, deadly pale,
The tear of pensive sorrow strays;
She shuns, the PITY of the proud,
Her mind, still triumphs, unsubdu'd
Nor stoops, its misery to obtrude,
Upon the vulgar croud.

Unheeded, and unknown,
To some bleak wilderness she flies;
And seated on a moss-clad stone,
Unwholesome vapours round her rise,
And hang their mischiefs on her brow;
The ruffian winds, her limbs expose;
Still, still, her heart disdains to bow,
She cherishes her woes.

NOW FAMINE spreads her sable wings;
INGRATITUDE insults her pangs;
While from a thousand eager fangs,
Madd'ning she flies;­The recreant crew
With taunting smiles her steps pursue;
While on her burning, bleeding heart,
Fresh wounded by Affliction's dart,
NEGLECT, her icy poison flings;
From HOPE's celestial bosom hurl'd,
She seeks oblivion's gloom,
Now, now, she mocks the barb'rous world,

Comments about Ode On Adversity by Mary Darby Robinson

  • Veteran Poet - 1,460 Points Panmelys Panmelys (8/17/2015 7:20:00 AM)

    Agree with Savita about the sad shame of so many souls suffering the same poverty and starvation, even in the midst of such affluence of our day. Wonderfully described and somehow elevates in its greatness even the sadness of poverty, saved by the pride and determination of the young person's largeness of soul. Panmelys (Report) Reply

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  • Gold Star - 4,941 Points John Richter (8/17/2015 7:09:00 AM)

    Breath taking! What incredible vision and ability to describe things so beautifully. Adversity is rarely acknowledged or applauded during its own lifetime. The line about flying away in a scant robe was entirely sexy and blasts of non-conformity. The first thing that came to mind while reading this poem was Emily Dickinson, who was shunned by her own contemporary poetic society for not conforming yet in death triumphed by becoming one of America's most beloved poets ever. If Mrs. Robinson's life had not ended before Emily's began I would have thought she was writing directly about her. I am so glad to have found her poem here, which is the greatest thing about Poemhunter. She will now reside in my heart alongside Emily and so many other great classical poets forever.... (Report) Reply

    Gold Star - 26,491 Points Kim Barney (8/17/2015 7:35:00 AM)

    Outstanding analysis, John.

  • Freshman - 638 Points Alpeshkumar Natubhai Makwana (8/17/2015 6:26:00 AM)

    The unbending heart of great people never gives in, no matter what the sorrows are! something like this, is described in the poem. the sorrowing child, in the first part of poem, is teased by every single feature of nature. but she is stubborn enough to stand high. at last she reaches back her domain where she is untouchable by anything. thus she proves supreme (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 10,742 Points Savita Tyagi (8/17/2015 6:19:00 AM)

    It is heartbreaking to think that what this poem describes so beautifully is faced by so many. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 13,361 Points Ramesh T A (8/17/2015 1:17:00 AM)

    The descriptive beauty of the poem is wonderful to note and the tragedy of an innocent lady is quite moving to feel and feel very sad about this worst world where there is no peace except in tomb according to this poet! (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sorrow, nature, ode, tree, child, hair, song, hope, dark, sun, wind, children, river, rose, smile

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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