Written between Dover and Calais, in July, 1792

    BOUNDING Billow, cease thy motion;
       Bear me not so swiftly o'er!
    Cease thy roaring, foamy Ocean!
       I will tempt thy rage no more.

    Ah! within my bosom beating,
       Varying passions wildly reign!
    Love, with proud Resentment meeting;
       Throbs by turns of joy and pain!

    Joy, that far from foes I wander,
       Where their arts can reach no more;
    Pain, that woman's heart grows fonder,
       When the dream of bliss is o'er!

    Love, by fickle fancy banished,
       Spurned by Hope, indignant flies!
    Yet, when love and hope are vanished,
       Restless Memory never dies!

    Far I go, where Fate shall lead me,
       Far across the troubled deep!
    Where no stranger's ear shall heed me;
       Where no eye for me shall weep.

    Proud has been my fatal passion!
       Proud my injured heart shall be!
    While each thought and inclination
       Proves that heart was formed for thee!

    Not one sigh shall tell my story;
       Not one tear my cheek shall stain!
    Silent grief shall be my glory,
       Grief that stoops not to complain!

    Let the bosom, prone to ranging,
       Still, by ranging, seek a cure!
    Mine disdains the thought of changing,
       Proudly destined to endure!

    Yet ere far from all I treasured,
       --! ere I bid adieu,
    Ere my days of pain are measured,
       Take the song that's still thy due!

    Yet believe no servile passions
       Seek to charm the wandering mind;
    Well I know thy inclinations,
       Wavering as the passing wind!

    I have loved thee, dearly loved thee,
       Through an age of worldly woe!
    How ungrateful I have proved thee,
       Let my mournful exile show!

    Ten long years of anxious sorrow,
       Hour by hour I counted o'er;
    Looking forward till tomorrow,
       Every day I loved thee more!

    Power and Splendour could not charm me;
       I no joy in Wealth could see;
    Nor could threats or fears alarm me --
       Save the fear of losing thee!

    When the storms of fortune pressed thee,
       I have sighed to hear thee sigh!
    Or when sorrows dire distressed thee,
       I have bid those sorrows fly!

    Often hast thou smiling told me
       Wealth and Power were trifling things,
    While Love, smiling to behold me,
       Mocked cold Time's destructive wings.

    When with thee, what ills could harm me?
       Thou could'st every pang assuage!
    Now, alas! what Hope shall charm me?
       Every moment seems an age!

    Fare thee well, ungrateful rover!
       Welcome Gallia's hostile shore;
    Now the breezes waft me over;
       Now we part -- to meet no more!

    Mary Robinson (1758-1800)

Well written, honest; composed with vitality and a touching force, Stanzas, Written between Dover and Calais is from Poems (1793). Mary Robinson possessed a full life and a grand passion for a soldier, Colonel Banastre Tarleton. They resided together off and on over a fifteen year period. After a particularly bitter break up she took her daughter and joined her mother on a ship to France. It was while they were at sea that she composed these stanzas. Tralten had been a soldier of fame but very little fortune for his military service in the Americas. His mother's death in 1797 catalyzed him to end their relationship.

Mary Robinson's notoriety may have helped to sell her writing during her lifetime. At the age of 13 she had her first suitor for marriage, she performed her first play by 14 and was married by the age of 16. At 17 she was residing in a debtors prison with her husband and later became the mistress of the Prince of Wales (George IV) at 21.

More lucrative than Mary Robinson's poetry, was her prose. The money helped to support herself, her mother and daughter, and often Banastre Tarleton. Novels such as Vancenza (1792), The Widow (1794), Angelina (1796), and Walsingham (1797) went through many editions and were frequently translated into French and German. They owed part of their popularity since many characters and scenes could be related to the experiences of their author.

She was influential in the revival of English poetry at the end of the 18th century. Very critical in her social criticism, entitled A Letter to the Women of England, on the Injustice of Mental Subordination (1799). It was first published under the name of Anne Frances Randall and reflected the thinking of her friends Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. Mary argued for the choice of a wife to leave her husband as she had done earlier in her life. From the Regency to the Victorian age the attitudes limited her success because of her reputation. Bob Blair of The Poet's Corner explains that "her best work was written in the last decade of her life, after most of her lovers (there were several after the Prince) had deserted her (or she them). Many were best sellers and she was one of the first people to whom Samuel Taylor Coleridge showed his newly written poem Kubla Khan". Lastly he notes "that her last volume of poetry, Lyrical Tales shows the influence of Coleridge and Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads".


Blair, Bob:

Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800):

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

CST Approved.

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