Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s (1806-1861) original version of this anti-slavery poem appeared in The Liberty Bell (an annual abolitionist gift book) in 1848. It was her contribution to a fund-raising effort, promoting the abolitionist cause. Subsequently it was revised in Poems (1850). A black woman describes her servitude and her subjection to appalling abuse. Her lover was murdered; she was raped, and a ‘too white’ baby was the result of that violation. The slave commits infanticide, buries the corpse, then feels reconciled with the child. While she should find Pilgrim’s Point a place of sanctuary and liberation, instead she embraces death. The poet addresses issues of race, gender and class.
Usage terms Creative Commons Attribution licence
Held by © The Provost and Fellows of Eton College