Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Songs and Ballads.
VI. Crippled Jane
By Caroline Elizabeth Sarah (Sheridan) Norton (1808–1877)
 
THEY said she might recover, if we sent her down to the sea,
But that is for rich men’s children, and we knew it could not be:
So she lived at home in the Lincolnshire Fens, and we saw her, day by day,
Grow pale, and stunted, and crooked; till her last chance died away.
And now I’m dying; and often, when you thought that I moaned with pain,        5
I was moaning a prayer to Heaven, and thinking of Crippled Jane.
Folks will be kind to Johnny; his temper is merry and light;
With so much love in his honest eyes, and a sturdy sense of right.
And no one could quarrel with Susan; so pious, and meek, and mild,
And nearly as wise as a woman, for all that she looks such a child!        10
But Jane will be weird and wayward; fierce, and cunning, and hard;
She won’t believe she’s a burden, be thankful, nor win regard.—
God have mercy upon her! God be her guard and guide;
How will strangers bear with her, when, at times, even I felt tried?
When the ugly smile of pleasure goes over her sallow face,        15
And the feeling of health, for an hour, quickens her languid pace;
When with dwarfish strength she rises, and plucks, with a selfish hand,
The busiest person near her, to lead her out on the land;
Or when she sits in some corner, no one’s companion or care,
Huddled up in some darksome passage, or crouched on a step of the stair;        20
While far off the children are playing, and the birds singing loud in the sky,
And she looks through the cloud of her headache, to scowl at the passers-by
I die—God have pity upon her!—how happy rich men must be!—
For they said she might have recovered—if we sent her down to the sea.
 
 
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