Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
Concerning Women
(From “Aurora Leigh”)

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(English poetess, 1806–1861; wife of Robert Browning, and an ardent champion of the liberties of the Italian people)
I CALL you hard
To general suffering. Here’s the world half blind
With intellectual light, half brutalized
With civilization, having caught the plague
In silks from Tarsus, shrieking east and west        5
Along a thousand railroads, mad with pain
And sin too!… does one woman of you all,
(You who weep easily) grow pale to see
This tiger shake his cage?—does one of you
Stand still from dancing, stop from stringing pearls,        10
And pine and die because of the great sum
Of universal anguish?—Show me a tear
Wet as Cordelia’s, in eyes bright as yours,
Because the world is mad. You cannot count,
That you should weep for this account, not you!        15
You weep for what you know. A red-haired child
Sick in a fever, if you touch him once,
Though but so little as with a finger-tip,
Will set you weeping; but a million sick—
You could as soon weep for the rule of three        20
Or compound fractions. Therefore, this same world,
Uncomprehended by you.—Women as you are,
Mere women, personal and passionate,
You give us doting mothers, and perfect wives,
Sublime Madonnas, and enduring saints!        25
We get no Christ from you,—and verily
We shall not get a poet, in my mind.

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