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About this poet

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton was born in London, England, on March 22, 1808. Her grandfather, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, was a distinguished dramatist, and her mother was a novelist. She attended boarding school in Surrey, and at age nineteen, she married George Chapple Norton, a barrister.

Unhappy in her marriage and in need of money, Norton began writing and publishing poetry. Her first book, The Sorrows of Rosalie: A Tale with Other Poems (John Ebors and Co., 1829), was published in 1829. This was followed by several other poetry collections, including The Lady of la Garaye (Macmillan, 1866), The Dream, and Other Poems (Henry Colburn, 1840), and A Voice From the Factories (John Murray, 1836). She also served as an editor of the magazine La Belle Assemblée.

While Norton is known for her poetry, she is also remembered for her involvement in a political scandal and her subsequent political influence. Accused by her husband of an adulterous affair with the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, she fell in social status and lost custody of her children. As a result, she became involved in women’s rights and helped influence the 1939 Infant Custody Bill and the Marriage and Divorce Act of 1857.

George Norton died in 1875, and Caroline went on to marry Sir William Stirling-Maxwell. She died on June 15, 1877.

Selected Bibliography

The Lady of la Garaye (Macmillan, 1866)
The Child of the Islands (Chapman and Hall, 1846)
The Dream, and Other Poems (Henry Colburn, 1840)
A Voice From the Factories (John Murray, 1836)
The Undying One and Other Poems (Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830)
The Sorrows of Rosalie: A Tale with Other Poems (John Ebors and Co., 1829)

Old Sir Douglas (Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1868)
Stuart of Dunleath: A Story of Modern Times (Colburn and Co., 1851)
Letters to the Mob (Thomas Bosworth, 1848)

I Do Not Love Thee

I do not love thee!—no! I do not love thee!
And yet when thou art absent I am sad;
   And envy even the bright blue sky above thee,
Whose quiet stars may see thee and be glad.

I do not love thee!—yet, I know not why,
Whate’er thou dost seems still well done, to me:
   And often in my solitude I sigh
That those I do love are not more like thee!

I do not love thee!—yet, when thou art gone,
I hate the sound (though those who speak be dear)
   Which breaks the lingering echo of the tone
Thy voice of music leaves upon my ear.

I do not love thee!—yet thy speaking eyes,
With their deep, bright, and most expressive blue,
   Between me and the midnight heaven arise,
Oftener than any eyes I ever knew.

I know I do not love thee! yet, alas!
Others will scarcely trust my candid heart;
   And oft I catch them smiling as they pass,
Because they see me gazing where thou art.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton, born in London in 1808, is the author of The Lady of la Garaye (Macmillan, 1866), The Sorrows of Rosalie: A Tale with Other Poems (John Ebors and Co., 1829), and several other poetry collections. She is also known for her political influence and involvement in women's rights.

by this poet

  Love not, love not! ye hapless sons of clay!  
Hope's gayest wreaths are made of earthly flowers—  
Things that are made to fade and fall away  
Ere they have blossom'd for a few short hours.  
        Love not!
Love not! the thing ye love may change:  
The rosy lip may cease to smile on you,  
The kindly-

Moonlight is o'er the dim and heaving sea,— 
    Moonlight is on the mountain's frowning brow, 
And by their silvery fountains merrily 
    The maids of Castaly are dancing now. 
Young hearts, bright eyes, and rosy lips are there, 
    And fairy steps, and light and laughing voices, 
Ringing like
We have been friends together,  
  In sunshine and in shade;  
Since first beneath the chestnut-trees  
  In infancy we played.  
But coldness dwells within thy heart,
  A cloud is on thy brow;  
We have been friends together—  
  Shall a light word part us now?  
We have been gay together;  
  We have laugh'