'The Cry of the Children'

A two-volume anthology, Poems, by Elizabeth Barrett, later Barrett Browning (1806-1861) was published in 1844, to great critical acclaim. The most significant verse in the collection was a powerful sentimental work, ‘The Cry of the Children’, which had first appeared the previous year in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. Barrett believed that ‘ethical poetry is the highest of all poetry forms’. She had been shocked by a parliamentary report published by the Children’s Employment Commission in 1842, which recorded the appalling conditions endured by children working in mines and factories. Her condemnation helped to raise public awareness of the problem, and garnered support for Lord Shaftesbury’s Ten Hours Bill.

Creator:
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Published:
1842
Forms:
Poem
Genre:
Victorian literature
Literary period:
Victorian

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