Surely I heard a voice

Although Caroline Norton was born into a fairly eminent family, being the granddaughter of the playwright Sheridan, she and her widowed mother and six siblings, lived in poverty; she felt obliged to marry George Norton in an attempt to help her family, but he was a lazy, abusive bully and a brute, a wife beater, who persecuted her and made her life a misery long after they were no longer married. He took their children and kept her away from them, and treated her abominably. She used her writing to promote the rights of women and other to attack other social injustices.

Here is a more personal poem:


Surely I heard a voice-surely my name
Was breathed in tones familiar to my heart!
I listened-and the low wind stealing came,
In darkness and in silence to depart.

Surely I saw a form, a proud bright form,
Standing beside my couch! I raised mine eyes:
‘Twas but a dim cloud, herald of a storm,
That floated through the grey and twilight skies.

Surely the brightness of the summer hour
Hath suddenly burst upon the circling gloom!
I dream; ’twas but the perfume of a flower,
Which the breeze wafted through the silent room.

Surely a hand clasped mine with greetings fond!
A name is murmured by my lips with pain;
Woe for that sound-woe for love’s broken bond.
I start-I wake-I am alone again!

Here is a link to a more detailed biography of Caroline:

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