1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Caroline Norton

Anonymous, in Review of Norton, The Undying One; The Monthly Review S3 15 (September 1830) 29.



The ambition of this lady is to be original and effective in her productions. There is something about her of Lady Morgan's Wild Irish Girl, — a good deal of enthusiasm, a copious flow of diction, a strong feeling for poetry, but scarcely a gleam of true poetic feeling. In certain circles at the fashionable end of town she is looked upon as a genius. Nor can it be denied that she participates in the gift of talents which have been bestowed upon almost every member of the Sheridan family with such remarkable prodigality. But as yet we have seen nothing from her pen that indicates powers beyond the ordinary class of those which are busied in stuffing our circulating libraries with novels and fugitive verses. If any thing she is a shade or two belong Miss Landon, from whose muse she appears to have derived her inspiration. She rivals her in the love of balls, and lamp-lighted saloons, and diamonds and knights, and ladies fair. In her subjects she is by no means quite so select; for Mrs. Norton can tell, and a great deal too often does tell us of the misfortunes of the fallen of her sex, whose existence, and at all events whose agonies of mental pain, no woman of virtue ought to know. These engaging characters, nevertheless, seem to claim her peculiar attention; perhaps, and indeed we hope it is so, upon Mrs. Fry's principle, with the view of reclaiming them from the error of their ways. The misfortune is that they read the poems of the one with as much advantage as they hear the discourses of the other, and the world moves on just as corrupt as it was before.