Caroline Norton was a nineteenth-century poet, writer and political activist. Although extremely talented and well-connected, she led a life marked by disappointment, sorrow and scandal. These experiences fed into much of her writing, such as this poem, 'My Heart is Like a Withered Nut'.
Read the poem and then test your ability to analyse previously unseen poetry by trying the quiz.
My Heart is Like a Withered Nut
My heart is like a withered nut,
Rattling within its hollow shell;
You cannot ope my breast, and put
Any thing fresh with it to dwell.
The hopes and dreams that filled it when
Life's spring of glory met my view,
Are gone! and ne'er with joy or pain
That shrunken heart shall swell anew.
My heart is like a withered nut;
Once it was soft to every touch,
But now 'tis stern and closely shut;--
I would not have to plead with such.
Each light-toned voice once cleared my brow,
Each gentle breeze once shook the tree
Where hung the sun-lit fruit, which now
Lies cold, and stiff, and sad, like me!
My heart is like a withered nut--
It once was comely to the view;
But since misfortune's blast hath cut,
It hath a dark and mournful hue.
The freshness of its verdant youth
Nought to that fruit can now restore;
And my poor heart, I feel in truth,
Nor sun, nor smile shall light it more!
Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton