The Cry Of The Children

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“The Cry Of The Children” and The Art of Incitation Veering from the egocentric poems of the Romantic era, Victorian poets began to write poetry not only to express the feelings of an “I,” but also to inspire change in the collective “we.” Being from a historical period with a dramatic class divide, Victorian poets wrote with the intention of crafting beautiful lasting poetry as well as articulating a need for cultural reform in their now. One of the most renowned Victorian poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning possessed the expert skill of integrating not only imagery and precise rhyme scheme into her poetry, but afflicting her readers with a sense of pity so paramount they had no choice but to make a change. After having read a government report exposing the heinous working conditions of child laborers in mines and factories, Browing began an impassioned campaign of awareness using her best medium of expression: the written word (Norton 421). Utilizing an uncomfortable and confrontational rhythm never before used by either her Romantic predecessors or Victorian contemporaries, Browning creates a vehement emotional plea in “The Cry of The Children” so powerful that it is credited with pushing the British parliament to pass new laws regulating child labor. The speaker in the poem does not hold accusations back for even a moment igniting the thirteen-stanza imploration with the lines, “Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers, / Ere the sorrow comes with years?” (1-2).
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