First published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in 1843, and then in Poems (1844).
This poem helped fuel the indignation felt by the educated public over the revelation of children's working conditions in the Parliamentary Reports (such as that by her friend R.H. Horne), that eventually led to the 1847 Factory Act. It is one of the best known social protest poems of the Victorian period.
Child Labor on the Victorian Web
As you read the poem, consider the following: