A Voice From The Factories Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


WHEN fallen man from Paradise was drivenA
Forth to a world of labour death and careB
Still of his native Eden bounteous HeavenA
Resolved one brief memorial to spareB
And gave his offspring an imperfect shareB
Of that lost happiness amid decayC
Making their first approach to life seem fairB
And giving for the Eden past awayC
CHILDHOOD the weary life's long happy holydayD
Sacred to heavenly peace those years remainF
And when with clouds their dawn is overcastD
Unnatural seem the sorrow and the painF
Which rosy joy flies forth to banish fastD
Because that season's sadness may not lastD
Light is their grief a word of fondness cheersG
The unhaunted heart the shadow glideth pastD
Unknown to them the weight of boding fearsG
And soft as dew on flowers their bright ungrieving tearsH
See the Stage Wonder taught to earn its breadD
By the exertion of an infant skillI
Forsake the wholesome slumbers of its bedD
And mime obedient to the public willI
Where is the heart so cold that does not thrillI
With a vexatious sympathy to seeJ
That child prepare to play its part and stillI
With simulated airs of gaietyD
Rise to the dangerous rope and bend the supple kneeJ
Painted and spangled trembling there it standsL
Glances below for friend or father's faceM
Then lifts its small round arms and feeble handsL
With the taught movements of an artist's graceM
Leaves its uncertain gilded resting placeM
Springs lightly as the elastic cord gives wayC
And runs along with scarce perceptible paceM
Like a bright bird upon a waving sprayC
Fluttering and sinking still whene'er the branches playC
Now watch a joyless and distorted smileN
Its innocent lips assume the dancer's leerC
Conquering its terror for a little whileN
Then lets the TRUTH OF INFANCY appearC
And with a stare of numbed and childish fearC
Looks sadly towards the audience come to gazeO
On the unwonted skill which costs so dearC
While still the applauding crowd with pleased amazeO
Ring through its dizzy ears unwelcome shouts of praiseO
What is it makes us feel relieved to seeK
That hapless little dancer reach the groundD
With its whole spirit's elasticityK
Thrown into one glad safe triumphant boundD
Why are we sad when as it gazes roundD
At that wide sea of paint and gauze and plumesP
Once more awake to sense and sight and soundD
The nature of its age it re assumesP
And one spontaneous smile at length its face illumesP
Because we feel for Childhood's years and strengthQ
Unnatural and hard the task hath beenR
Because our sickened souls revolt at lengthQ
And ask what infant innocence may meanS
Thus toiling through the artificial sceneS
Because at that word CHILDHOOD start to birthT
All dreams of hope and happiness sereneS
All thoughts of innocent joy that visit earthT
Prayer slumber fondness smiles and hours of rosy mirthT
And therefore when we hear the shrill faint criesP
Which mark the wanderings of the little sweepU
Or when with glittering teeth and sunny eyesP
The boy Italian's voice so soft and deepU
Asks alms for his poor marmoset asleepU
They fill our hearts with pitying regretD
Those little vagrants doomed so soon to weepU
As though a term of joy for all was setD
And that their share of Life's long suffering was not yetD
Ever a toiling child doth make us sadD
'T is an unnatural and mournful sightD
Because we feel their smiles should be so gladD
Because we know their eyes should be so brightD
What is it then when tasked beyond their mightD
They labour all day long for others' gainF
Nay trespass on the still and pleasant nightD
While uncompleted hours of toil remainF
Poor little FACTORY SLAVES for You these lines complainF
Beyond all sorrow which the wanderer knowsP
Is that these little pent up wretches feelV
Where the air thick and close and stagnant growsP
And the low whirring of the incessant wheelV
Dizzies the head and makes the senses reelV
There shut for ever from the gladdening skyK
Vice premature and Care's corroding sealV
Stamp on each sallow cheek their hateful dieK
Line the smooth open brow and sink the saddened eyeK
For them the fervid summer only bringsP
A double curse of stifling withering heatD
For them no flowers spring up no wild bird singsP
No moss grown walks refresh their weary feetD
No river's murmuring sound no wood walk sweetD
With many a flower the learned slight and passP
Nor meadow with pale cowslips thickly setD
Amid the soft leaves of its tufted grassP
Lure them a childish stock of treasures to amassP
Have we forgotten our own infancyP
That joys so simple are to them deniedD
Our boyhood's hopes our wanderings far and freeP
Where yellow gorse bush left the common wideD
And open to the breeze The active prideD
Which made each obstacle a pleasure seemX
When rashly glad all danger we defiedD
Dashed through the brook by twilight's fading gleamX
Or scorned the tottering plank and leapt the narrow streamX
In lieu of this from short and bitter nightD
Sullen and sad the infant labourer creepsP
He joys not in the glow of morning's lightD
But with an idle yearning stands and weepsP
Envying the babe that in its cradle sleepsP
And ever as he slowly journeys onY
His listless tongue unbidden silence keepsP
His fellow labourers playmates hath he noneA
Walk by as sad as he nor hail the morning sunA
Mark the result Unnaturally debarredD
All nature's fresh and innocent delightsP
While yet each germing energy strives hardD
And pristine good with pristine evil fightsP
When every passing dream the heart excitesP
And makes even guarded virtue insecureC
Untaught unchecked they yield as vice invitesP
With all around them cramped confined impureC
Fast spreads the moral plague which nothing new shall cureC
Yes this reproach is added infamousP
In realms which own a Christian monarch's swayC
Not suffering only is their portion thusP
Compelled to toil their youthful lives awayC
Excessive labour works the SOUL'S decayC
Quenches the intellectual light withinR
Crushes with iron weight the mind's free playC
Steals from us LEISURE purer thoughts to winR
And leaves us sunk and lost in dull and native sinR
Yet in the British Senate men rise upZ
The freeborn and the fathers of our landD
And while these drink the dregs of Sorrow's cupZ
Deny the sufferings of the pining bandD
With nice drawn calculations at commandD
They prove rebut explain and reason longA2
Proud of each shallow argument they standD
And prostitute their utmost powers of tongueB2
Feebly to justify this great and glaring wrongA2
So rose with such a plausible defenceP
Of the unalienable RIGHT OF GAINF
Those who against Truth's brightest eloquenceP
Upheld the cause of torture and of painF
And fear of Property's Decrease made vainF
For years the hope of Christian CharityD
To lift the curse from SLAVERY'S dark domainF
And send across the wide Atlantic seaD
The watchword of brave men the thrilling shout 'BE FREE '-
What is to be a slave Is't not to spendD
A life bowed down beneath a grinding illI
To labour on to serve another's endD
To give up leisure health and strength and skillI
And give up each of these against your willI
Hark to the angry answer 'Theirs is notD
A life of slavery if they labour stillI
We pay their toil Free service is their lotD
And what their labour yields by us is fairly got '-
Oh Men blaspheme not Freedom Are they freeD
Who toil until the body's strength gives wayC
Who may not set a term for LibertyD
Who have no time for food or rest or playC
But struggle through the long unwelcome dayC
Without the leisure to be good or gladD
Such is their service call it what you mayC
Poor little creatures overtasked and sadD
Your Slavery hath no name yet is its Curse as badD
Again an anC2

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton


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