Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson

About Mary Robinson

Mary Darby Robinson (27 November 1757 – 26 December 1800) was an English poet, writer and feminist. She was also known for her role as Perdita as an actress in Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale in 1779 , gaining the attention of the Prince of Wales, later George IV, and becoming his mistress from 1781. Born in Bristol, she was married at the age of fifteen to a lawyer who left her. She then entered the theater and soon made a reputation there for her talent and her beauty. She thus became the titular mistress of the Prince of Wales whom she loved passionately until the end of her life, then later had an intimate affair with the Whig leader Charles James Fox who also exploited her shamelessly. She ended up devoting herself to letters, which earned her the nickname of English Sappho. She published her first volume of poetry: Poems by Mrs. Robinson, in 1791 by J. Bell in London, then in 1793 by T. Spilsbury, London and by C. Parker, in London in 1775. Her last poetry book London's Summer Morning, was published after her death in 1800. In 1792 Robinson published her most popular novel which was a Gothic novel titled, Vancenza or The Dangers of Credulity. The books were Sold Out on the first day and five more editions quickly followed, making it one of the top-selling novels in the latter part of the eighteenth century. In addition to eight collections of poems, Robinson wrote eight novels, three plays, feminist treatises, and an autobiographical manuscript that was incomplete at the time of her death.
She leaves posthumous memoirs put in order and edited by her daughter where she recounts her misfortunes and her unhappy love for the Prince of Wales. Like her contemporary Mary Wollstonecraft, she ardently supported the new ideas of the French Revolution, and defended the rights of women.
In 1800 she died after a long illness at her country house in Englefield Green, cared for by her daughter.

Browse all poems and texts published on Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson Poems

Syndicate content

Popular Poets of All Time

  • Robert Frost
    Robert Frost
    was an American poet.
  • Maya Angelou
    Maya Angelou
    was an African-American poet.
  • Pablo Neruda
    Pablo Neruda
    Nobel prize chilean poet.