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The Dream, and Other Poems . Norton, Caroline Sheridan, 1808–1877.
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DEDICATED TO HER GRACE THE DUCHESS OF SUTHERLAND. “We have one human heart,— All mortal thoughts confess a common home.” Shelley.



LONDON: Printed by WILLIAM CLOWES and SONS, Stamford Street.

page: iii




* This, and several of the preceding pieces, have appeared in print, in the Annuals, &c.

page: v


  • ONCE more, my harp! once more, although I thought
  • Never to wake thy silent strings again,
  • A wandering dream thy gentle chords have wrought,
  • And my sad heart, which long hath dwelt in pain,
  • Soars, like a wild bird from a cypress bough,
  • Into the poet's Heaven, and leaves dull grief below!
  • And unto Thee—the beautiful and pure—
  • Whose lot is cast amid that busy world
  • Where only sluggish Dulness dwells secure,
  • And Fancy's generous wing is faintly furl'd;
  • To thee—whose friendship kept its equal truth
  • Through the most dreary hour of my embitter'd youth—
page: viii
  • I dedicate the lay. Ah! never bard,
  • In days when Poverty was twin with song;
  • Nor wandering harper, lonely and ill-starr'd;
  • Cheer'd by some castle's chief, and harboured long;
  • Not Scott's “Last Minstrel,” in his trembling lays,
  • Woke with a warmer heart the earnest meed of praise!
  • For easy are the alms the rich man spares
  • To sons of Genius, by misfortune bent,
  • But thou gav'st me, what woman seldom dares,
  • Belief—in spite of may a cold dissent—
  • When slandered and maligned, I stood apart,
  • From those whose bounded power, hath wrung, not crushed, my heart.
  • Then, then, when cowards lied away my name,
  • And scoff'd to see me feebly stem the tide;
  • When some were kind on whom I had no claim,
  • And some forsook on whom my love relied,
  • And some, who might have battled for my sake,
  • Stood off in doubt to see what turn “the world” would take—
page: ix
  • Thou gavest me that the poor do give the poor,
  • Kind words, and holy wishes, and true tears;
  • The loved, the near of kin, could do no more,
  • 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
  • Their own hearts weak to unresisted sin;
  • Mem'ry, not judgment, prompts the thoughts which steal
  • 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,—
  • So Thou, with queenly grace and gentle pride,
  • Along the world's dark waves in purity dost glide;
page: x
  • Thy pale and pearly cheek was never made
  • To crimson with a faint false-hearted shame;
  • Thou didst not shrink,—of bitter tongues afraid,
  • Who hunt in packs the object of their blame;
  • To Thee the sad denial still held true,
  • For from thine own good thoughts thy heart its mercy drew.
  • And, though my faint and tributary rhymes
  • Add nothing to the glory of thy day,
  • Yet every Poet hopes that after-times
  • Shall set some value on his votive lay,—
  • And I would fain one gentle deed record
  • Among the many such with which thy life is stored.
  • So, when these lines, made in a mournful hour,
  • Are idly open'd to the Stranger's eye,
  • A dream of THEE, aroused by Fancy's power,
  • Shall be the first to wander floating by;
  • And they who never saw thy lovely face,
  • Shall pause,—to conjure up a vision of its grace!
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