Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s The Cry of the Children is a powerful and moving poem that condemns the exploitation of child labor in Victorian England. The poem was first published in 1843, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, when child labor was widespread and often brutal.
The Cry of Children Summary
In this poem E. Browning shows and criticises the sorrow of the children in those years how the exploitation was managed in coal mines and factories. In those days, children were working endlessly under deplorable conditions.
The children are tired and weary. They are fed up with the continuous work in the coal mines and iron factories. They have no joy of living. Their routine is always the same. They start their work early in the morning and finish it late in the evening. They don’t experience the sunlight in the dark undergrounds of the coal mines. They don’t have play time. They don’t have any happiness. They can’t run or jump. They want to sleep in the meadows. Their knees are trembling with their heavy work. Their eyelids are drooping with tiredness.
The speaker once again mentions the upturned faces of the crying children, but at the conclusion of the poem these faces are “dread to see” as they convict the reader: “for they mind you of their angels in high places, / With eyes turned on Deity”