THE CHILD OF THE ISLANDS. A Poem.BY THE
HON. MRS. NORTON.“As half in shade, and half in sun, This world along its course advances, May that side the Sun's upon Be all that shall ever meet thy glance!” MOORE. SECOND EDITION.
CHAPMAN AND HALL,
LORD JOHN RUSSELL, at the close of the Session of 1844.
Speech of the HON. SIDNEY HERBERT, at the Salisbury Diocesan Church Meeting, Nov. 17, 1842.
Times Newspaper, Nov. 13, 1844.
Past and Present, by THOMAS CARLYLE.
- “Pallida mors æequo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas
- Regumque turres.”
HORACE, Ode iv.
- “Æqua tellus
- Pauperi recluditur
- Regumque Pueris;”--
HORACE, Ode xviii.
TO MY BROTHER,
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN,
This Poem is dedicated
IN THE HOPE AND BELIEF THAT WE THINK ALIKE
ON ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT TOPICS TO WHICH IT REFERS;
IN MEMORY OF MANY EARNEST CONVERSATIONS
HELD WITH HIM ON THOSE SUBJECTS;
AND IN TOKEN OF SYMPATHY WITH HIS UNWEARIED EFFORTS
TO AMELIORATE THE CONDITION
AND PROMOTE THE HAPPINESS
OF ALL WHO ARE IN ANY WAY DEPENDENT UPON HIM.
IT is, perhaps, scarcely necessary to inform my readers that the title of this Poem (“The Child of the Islands”) has reference to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Had I been able to carry out my original plan, the volume now published would have appeared on the 9th of November, 1842, being the first anniversary of the birth of His Royal Highness. The recurrence of domestic affliction, in two consecutive autumns, compelled me to relinquish the literary tasks in which I was engaged; and I abandoned all thoughts of publishing at that particular time.
I hope and believe that this enforced delay page: x has been favourable to the work, by enabling me to correct much that seemed crude and imperfect in the treatment of my subject. To the subject itself, the date is of little importance. The Child of the Islands was chosen, not as the theme of a Birthday Ode, or Address of Congratulation, but as the most complete existing type of a peculiar class--a class born into a world of very various destinies, with all the certainty human prospects can give, of enjoying the blessings of this life, without incurring any of its privations. I desired to contrast that brightness with the shadow that lies beyond and around. In the brief space of time since this poem was commenced, there has been great evidence of increasing attention to the sufferings, and to the endurance, of the lower classes. Much has been said--and something hass been done. Inquiries have been instituted; measures of relief have page: xi been passed; voice after voice, and spirit after spirit, among the noble-hearted and influential, have risen to support the cause of the helpless; till the reign of Victoria bids fair to claim a more hallowed glory than that which encircled the “Golden Age” of Elizabeth. The Feeble are calling (not vainly) on the Strong; the hoarse wail of the shipwrecked is answered by a cheer of promise from the shore; men's hearts have been roused, and are listening as to the sound of a rallying cry.
- “As half in shade, and half in sun,
- This world along its course advances,
- May that side the Sun's upon
- Be all that shall ever meet thy glances!”
Nor will the presence of this good-will weaken the contrast or destroy the argument. It is, on the contrary, a gleam of that union and kindliness of feeling between the Higher and Lower Classes, which it is the main object of the writer of these pages (and of far better, wiser, and more powerful writers,) to inculcate; a gleam which may fade into darkness or brighten into sunshine, page: xiii but which no one who attentively observes the present circumstances of this country, can believe will remain unaltered.
- “It came from mine own heart,--so, to my head,
- And thence into my fingers tricklëd;
- Then, to my pen,”--
- THE WELCOME GIVEN, AND REJOICING OVER, THE BIRTH OF A CHILD--A DEGREE OF WELCOME FOR ALL, HOWEVER POOR OR UNFORTUNATE, ON THEIR FIRST ENTRANCE INTO LIFE--THE EXCEPTIONS UNNATURAL--INFANTICIDE A MADNESS--THE PECULIAR WELCOME OF “THE CHILD OF THE ISLANDS,” WITH GLADNESS, THANKSGIVING, AND PRAYER--EVEN THE EARTH APPEARS TO WELCOME HIM.
- THE DELIGHTS OF SPRING--ITS VALUE TO THOSE WHO SELDOM TASTE ITS PLEASURES--THE SEMPSTRESS--THE TRAPPER IN THE MINES--THE WEAVER AT HIS LOOM--THE LADY OP FASHION--HYDE PARK AT INTERVALS--THE SERPENTINE--SUICIDE--TYBURN GATE AND GALLOWS--THE SLEEP OF THE HOMELESS WANDERER IN THE LOUNGE OF IDLERS--“THE CHILD OF THE ISLANDS”--HIS SHARE OF WHAT SPRING CAN GIVE--THE INVENTIONS OF GENIUS--INVENTION THE SPRING OF INTELLECT--ARTIST-LIFE--THE DUTY OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO GENIUS IN OBSCURITY.
- ITS PLEASURES AND TOILS--THE WOODLANDS--MOONLIGHT BY LAND AND SEA--GIPSEY GIRL IN PRISON--THOUGHTS ON THE EDUCATION OF THE POOR--THE CHILD'S PRISON AT PARKHURST, IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT--THE IGNORANT THE WORST OFFENDERS--TRIAL OF A FELON--POWER OF LEADING THE MINDS OF OTHERS A TALENT ENTRUSTED TO US, FOR WHICH WE SHALL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE--FATHER MATHEW--“THE CHILD OF THE ISLANDS”--HIS GUIDANCE AND EDUCATION A SUBJECT OF UNREMITTING CARE--THE CLAIM OF THE POOR AND IGNORANT ON HIS COMPASSION AND ASSISTANCE--THE OAKS OF WINDSOR--ENGLAND'S GLORY--THE SHIP--VICISSITUDES OF A SEA-LIFE.