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[Apostrophe to Futurity.]
Ye rocks! ye elements! thou shoreless main,
Thoughts that with terror and with sorrow wring
A Poet's Prayer.
Almighty Father! let thy lowly child,
The family of Sheridan has been prolific of genius, and MRS NORTON, granddaughter of Richard Brinsley, has well sustained the family honours. Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Sheridan was, at the age of nineteen, married to the Honourable George Chapple Norton, brother to Lord Grantley, and himself a police magistrate in London. This union was dissolved in 1840, after Mrs Norton had been the object of suspicion and persecution of the most painful description. In her seventeenth year, this lady had composed her poem, The Sorrows of Rosalie, a pathetic story of village life. Her next work was a poem founded on the ancient legend of the Wandering Jew, which she termed The Undying One. A third volume appeared from her pen in 1840, entitled The Dream, and other Poems. This lady,' says a writer in the Quarterly Review, is the Byron of our modern poetesses. She has very much of that intense personal passion by which Byron's poetry is distinguished from the larger grasp and deeper communion with man and nature of Wordsworth. She has also Byron's beautiful intervals of tenderness, his strong practical thought, and his forceful expression. It is not an artificial imitation, but a natural parallel.' The truth of this remark, both as to poetical and personal similarity of feeling, will be seen from the following impassioned verses, addressed by Mrs Norton to the Duchess of Sutherland, to whom she has dedicated her poems. The
Who changed not with the gloom of varying years, But clung the closer when I stood forlorn, And blunted Slander's dart with their indignant scorn. For they who credit crime, are they who feel
Memory, not judgment, prompts the thoughts which Their own hearts weak to unresisted sin;
O'er minds like these, an easy faith to win; And tales of broken truth are still believed Most readily by those who have themselves deceived. But like a white swan down a troubled stream, Whose ruffling pinion hath the power to fling Aside the turbid drops which darkly gleam
And mar the freshness of her snowy wing-
Thou didst not shrink-of bitter tongues afraid,
To thee the sad denial still held true,
For from thine own good thoughts thy heart its mercy
So when these lines, made in a mournful hour,
Shall be the first to wander floating by;
And when at length he laid his dying head
He found (though few or none around him came
[Picture of Twilight.]
Oh, twilight! Spirit that dost render birth
Dear art thou to the lover, thou sweet light,
The Mother's Heart.
When first thou camest, gentle, shy, and fond,
All that it yet had felt of earthly pleasure;
Yet patient of rebuke when justly given—
And meekly cheerful-such wert thou, my child.
Haunting my walks, while summer-day was dying; || Nor leaving in thy turn; but pleased to glide
Through the dark room, where I was sadly lying;
O boy! of such as thou are oftenest made
No strength in all thy freshness-prone to fade-
Under the bough, or by the firelight dancing,
Didst come as restless as a bird's wing glancing, Full of a wild and irrepressible mirth, Like a young sunbeam to the gladdened earth! Thine was the shout! the song! the burst of joy!
Which sweet from childhood's rosy lip resoundeth; Thine was the eager spirit nought could cloy
And the glad heart from which all grief reboundeth; And many a mirthful jest and mock reply Lurked in the laughter of thy dark-blue eye! And thine was many an art to win and bless,
The cold and stern to joy and fondness warming; The coaxing smile-the frequent soft caress——
The earnest, tearful prayer all wrath disarming! Again my heart a new affection found, But thought that love with thee had reached its bound. At length thou camest-thou, the last and least, Nicknamed 'the emperor' by thy laughing brothers, Because a haughty spirit swelled thy breast,
And thou didst seek to rule and sway the others; Mingling with every playful infant wile A mimic majesty that made us smile.
With sadness that is calm, not gloom,
On God, whose heaven hath won him.
Where breath and bird could find him; And wrought within his shattered brain Such quick poetic senses,
As hills have language for, and stars
The pulse of dew upon the grass
His own did calmly number; And silent shadow from the trees Fell o'er him like a slumber.
The very world, by God's constraint, From falsehood's chill removing, Its women and its men became
Beside him true and loving!
And timid hares were drawn from woods
But while in darkness he remained,
This lady, the wife of William Howitt, an industrious miscellaneous writer, is distinguished for her happy imitations of the ancient ballad manner. In 1823 she and her husband published a volume of poems with their united names, and made the following statement in the preface: The history of our poetical bias is simply what we believe, in reality, to be that of many others. Poetry has been our youthful amusement, and our increasing daily enjoyment in happy, and our solace in sorrowful hours. Amidst the vast and delicious treasures of our national literature, we have revelled with growing and unsatiated delight; and, at the same time, living chiefly in the quietness of the country, we have watched the changing features of nature; we have felt the secret charm of those sweet but unostentatious images which she is perpetually presenting, and given full scope to those workings of the imagination and of the heart, which natural beauty and solitude prompt and promote. The natural result was the transcription of those images and scenes.'
A poem in this volume serves to complete a happy picture of studies pursued by a married pair in
nated,' she says, 'in a strong impression of the immense value of the human soul, and of all the varied modes of its trials, according to its own infinitely varied modifications, as existing in different individuals. We see the awful mass of sorrow and of crime in the world, but we know only in part-in a very small degree, the fearful weight of solicitations and impulses of passion, and the vast constraint of circumstances, that are brought into play against suffering humanity. In the luminous words of my motto,
What's done we partly may compute, But know not what's resisted.
Thus, without sufficient reflection, we are furnished with data on which to condemn our fellow-creatures, but without sufficient grounds for their palliation and commiseration. It is necessary, for the acquisition of that charity which is the soul of Christianity, for us to descend into the depths of our own nature; to put ourselves into many imaginary and untried situations, that we may enable ourselves to form some tolerable notion how we might be affected by them; how far we might be tempted-how far deceived-how far we might have occasion to lament the evil power of circumstances, to weep over our own weakness, and pray for the pardon of our crimes; that, having raised up this vivid perception of what we might do, suffer, and become, we may apply the rule to our fellows, and cease to be astonished, in some degree, at the shapes of atrocity into which some of them are transformed; and learn to bear with others as brethren, who have been tried tenfold beyond our own experience, or perhaps our strength.'
Ye sit upon the earth
Twining its flowers, and shouting full of glee;
And a pure mighty influence, 'mid your mirth, Moulds your unconscious spirits silently.