1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Caroline Norton

Epes Sargent, in Harper's Cyclopaedia of British and American Poetry (1882) 646.



Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Sheridan (1808-1877), daughter of Thomas Sheridan, son of the celebrated Richard Brinsley Sheridan, author of The Rivals, The School for Scandal, etc. was a native of London. She was one of three sisters; one became Lady Seymour, and the other Mrs. Blackwood (afterward Lady Dufferin). They all manifested a taste for poetry. Caroline began to write early; she had inherited the literary gift both from the paternal and the maternal side. In her nineteenth year she married Mr. Norton, son of Lord Grantley. This union was dissolved in 1840, after Mrs. Norton had been the object of suspicion and persecution of the most painful description. The Sorrows of Rosalie, The Undying One, The Dream, and other Poems, The Child of the Islands, are among her productions in verse. She also wrote novels, and entered into political discussions on reformatory questions. A year or two before her death she married Sir William Sterling Maxwell (1817-1879), author of the Cloister Life of Charles V. (1852), and other works. A critic in the Quarterly Review says of Mrs. Norton: "She has much of that intense personal passion by which Byron's poetry is distinguished from the larger grasp and deeper communion with nature of Wordsworth."