A(gnes) Mary F(rances) Robinson (1857-1944)

"There have been few instances of any young writer so rapidly coming into wide and strongly interested notice as that of Miss Mary Robinson. Her first little volume, A Handful of Honeysuckle, was plainly to a large extent derivative, but at the same time it showed so much native sweetness, so much delicacy of touch and occasional strength, that great things began to be prophesied of the youg poetess. In due time appeared The Crowned Hippolytus: and other Poems, and Miss Robinson's position was confirmed, the volume exhibiting very marked increase of strength, though it was not without some markedly tentative efforts. Personally, I do not think this volume of verse has yet been done full justice to. In 1884 was published The New Arcadia, a book that deservedly attracted very considerable attention; though some of Miss Robinson's most discriminating friends doubted the advisability of her attempting the reform of the condition of the agricultural classes by means of poetic special pleading. There are, unfortunately, too many examples of the ruin of poetic and artistic genius through the tendency (so rapidly growing into unconscious or uncontrolled habit) to "preach." Since this anthology was first published, another volume of verse by Miss Robinson has appeared, under the title An Italian Garden. This writer has a very sweet and true lyric voice: if she will be but loyal to herself, she may yet take a very high place indeed..." (Sharp)

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Lover's Silence

When she whose love is even my air of life
Enters, delay being past, to bless my home,
And ousts her phantom from its place, being come
Herself to fill it; when the importunate strife
Of absence with desire is stilled, and rife
With heaven is earth; why am I stricken dumb,
Abashed, confounded, awed of heart and numb,
Waking to no triumph of song, no welcoming fife?

Be thine own answer, soul, who long ago
Did'st see the awful light of Beauty shine,
Silent; and silently rememberest yet
That glory which no spirit may forget,
Nor utter save in love a thought too fine
For souls to ignore, or mortal sense to know.

(Text from Sonnets of This Century.)