Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

[Review of Caroline Norton, The Child of the Islands, and
John Critchley Prince, Hours with the Muses]

The Hon. Mrs. Norton and Prince, “a reed-maker for weavers,”1 meet upon a common theme—the existing miseries and possible relief of that most wretched body, England's Poor: most wretched of the world's sufferers in being worse mocked by pretensions of freedom and glory, most wretched in having minds more awakened to feel their wretchedness.

Mrs. Norton and Prince meet on the same ground, but in strongly contrasted garb and expression, as might be expected from the opposite quarters from which they come. Prince takes this truly noble motto:

“Knowledge and Truth and Virtue were his theme, And lofty hopes of Liberty divine.”—Shelley.2

Mrs. Norton prefaces a poem on a subject of such sorrowful earnestness, and in which she calls the future sovereign of a groaning land to thought upon his duties, with this weak wish couched in the verse of Moore:

“As half in shade, and half in sun, This world along its course advances, May that side the sun's upon Be all that shall ever meet thy glances.”3

Thus unconsciously showing her state of mind. It is a very different wish that a good friend, ‘let alone’ a good angel, would proffer to the Prince of Wales at this moment. Shame indeed will it be for him if he does wish to stand in the sun, while the millions that he ought to spend all his blood to benefit are shivering in the cold and dark. The position of the heirs of fortune in that coun

____________________
1
Prince was the son of a reed-maker.
2
“Alastor,” ll. 158–59, by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), English Romantic poet.
3
“Peace be around thee,” ll. 13–16, by Thomas Moore.

-173-

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