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Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton

The Cold Change

In the cold change which time hath wrought on love
(The snowy winter of his summer prime),
Should a chance sigh or sudden tear-drop move
Thy heart to memory of the olden time;
Turn not to gaze on me with pitying eyes,
Nor mock me with a withered hope renewed;
But from the bower we both have loved, arise
And leave me to my barren solitude!
What boots it that a momentary flame
Shoots from the ashes of a dying fire?
We gaze upon the hearth from whence it came,
And know the exhausted embers must expire:
Therefore no pity, or my heart will break;
Be cold, be careless-for thy past love's sake!

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Sonnet XIV

OH! crystal eyes, in which my image lay
While I was near, as in a fountain's wave;
Let it not in like manner pass away
When I am gone; for I am Love's true slave,
And in my eyes thine image dwells enshrined,
Like one who dazzled hath beheld the sun,
So that to other beauty I am blind,
And scarce distinguish what I gaze upon:
Let it be thus with thee! By all our vows,--
By the true token-ring upon thy hand,--
Let such remembrance as my worth allows
Between thee and each bright temptation stand,--
That I, in those clear orbs, on my return,
As in the wave's green depth, my shadow may discern.

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Sonnet VI

WHERE the red wine-cup floweth, there art thou!
Where luxury curtains out the evening sky;--
Triumphant Mirth sits flush'd upon thy brow,
And ready laughter lurks within thine eye.
Where the long day declineth, lone I sit,
In idle thought, my listless hands entwined,
And, faintly smiling at remember'd wit,
Act the scene over to my musing mind.
In my lone dreams I hear thy eloquent voice,
I see the pleased attention of the throng,
And bid my spirit in thy joy rejoice,
Lest in love's selshness I do thee wrong.
Ah! midst that proud and mirthful company
Send'st thou no wandering thought to love and me?

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Sonnet VIII

TO MY BOOKS.

SILENT companions of the lonely hour,
Friends, who can never alter or forsake,
Who for inconstant roving have no power,
And all neglect, perforce, must calmly take,--
Let me return to YOU; this turmoil ending
Which worldly cares have in my spirit wrought,
And, o'er your old familiar pages bending,
Refresh my mind with many a tranquil thought:
Till, haply meeting there, from time to time,
Fancies, the audible echo of my own,
'Twill be like hearing in a foreign clime
My native language spoke in friendly tome,
And with a sort of welcome I shall dwell
On these, my unripe musings, told so well.

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Sonnet IV

BE frank with me, and I accept my lot;
But deal not with me as a grieving child,
Who for the loss of that which he hath not
Is by a show of kindness thus beguiled.
Raise not for me, from its enshrouded tomb,
The ghostly likeness of a hope deceased;
Nor think to cheat the darkness of my doom
By wavering doubts how far thou art released:
This dressing Pity in the garb of Love,--
This effort of the heart to seem the same,--
These sighs and lingerings, (which nothing prove
But that thou leav'st me with a kind of shame,)--
Remind me more, by their most vain deceit,
Of the dear loss of all which thou dost counterfeit.

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Sonnet VII

LIKE an enfranchised bird, who wildly springs,
With a keen sparkle in his glancing eye
And a strong effort in his quivering wings,
Up to the blue vault of the happy sky,--
So my enamour'd heart, so long thine own,
At length from Love's imprisonment set free.
Goes forth into the open world alone,
Glad and exulting in its liberty:
But like that helpless bird, (confined so long,
His weary wings have lost all power to soar,)
Who soon forgets to trill his joyous song,
And, feebly fluttering, sinks to earth once more,--
So, from its former bonds released in vain,
My heart still feels the weight of that remember'd chain.

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Sonnet XII

I STAND beside the waves,--the mournful waves,--
Where thou didst stand in silence and in fear,
For thou wert train'd by custom's haughty slaves,
And love, from such as I, disdain'd to hear;
Yet, with the murmur of the echoing sea,
And the monotonous billows, rolling on,
Were mingled sounds of weeping,--for in thee
All nature was not harden'd into stone:
And from the shore there came a distant chime
From the old village-clock;--ah! since that day,
Like a dull passing-bell each stroke of time
Falls on my heart; and in the ocean spray
A voice of lamentation seems to dwell,
As in that bitter hour of agonised farewell!

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Sonnet XVII

Nor wert thou only by thy kindred wept,--
Young mother! gentle daughter! cherish'd wife!
Deep in her memory France hath fondly kept
The records of thy unassuming life:
Oft shall the statue heroine bring to mind,--
As pale it gleams beneath the light of day,
In all the thoughtful grace by thee design'd,--
The worth and talent which have pass'd away!
Oft shall the old, who see thy child pass by,
Smiling and glad, despite his orphan'd lot,
Look on him with a blessing and a sigh;
As one who suffers loss, yet feels it not,
But lifting up his innocent eyes in prayer,
Vaguely imagines Heaven,-foretaught that thou art THERE!

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Sonnet V

BECAUSE I know that there is that in me
Of which thou shouldst be proud, and not ashamed,--
Because I feel one made thy choice should be
Not even by fools and slanderers rashly blamed,--
Because I fear, howe'er thy soul may strive
Against the weakness of that inward pain,
The falsehoods which my enemies contrive
Not always seek to wound thine ear in vain,--
Therefore I sometimes weep, when I should smile,
At all the vain frivolity and sin
Which those who know me not (yet me revile)--
My would-be judges--cast my actions in;
But else their malice hath nor sting nor smart--
For I appeal from them, Beloved, to thine own heart!

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Sonnet XVI

WHITE Rose of Bourbon's branch, so early faded!
When thou wert carried to thy silent rest,
And every brow with heavy gloom was shaded,
And every heart with fond regret oppress'd,--
Sweet was the thought thy brother gave to him
Who, far away on Ocean's restless wave,
Could not behold those fair eyes closed and dim,
Nor see thee laid in thy untimely grave!
And, pitying him who yet thy loss must hear,--
Whose absent breast a later pang must feel,--
Murmur'd, with touching sadness, by thy bier,
'Adieu for me! Adieu for Joinville!'
Sweet was the thought, and tender was the heart
Which thus remember'd all who in its love had part.

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