To the Poor

By Anna Lætitia Barbauld 1743–1825 Anna Laetitia Barbauld
Child of distress, who meet’st the bitter scorn
Of fellow-men to happier prospects born,
Doomed Art and Nature’s various stores to see
Flow in full cups of joy—and not for thee;
Who seest the rich, to heaven and fate resigned,
Bear thy afflictions with a patient mind;
Whose bursting heart disdains unjust control,
Who feel’st oppression’s iron in thy soul,
Who dragg’st the load of faint and feeble years,
Whose bread is anguish, and whose water tears;
Bear, bear thy wrongs—fulfill thy destined hour,
Bend thy meek neck beneath the foot of Power;
But when thou feel’st the great deliverer nigh,
And thy freed spirit mounting seeks the sky,
Let no vain fears thy parting hour molest,
No whispered terrors shake thy quiet breast:
Think not their threats can work thy future woe,
Nor deem the Lord above like lords below;—
Safe in the bosom of that love repose
By whom the sun gives light, the ocean flows;
Prepare to meet a Father undismayed,
Nor fear the God whom priests and kings have made.

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Poet Anna Lætitia Barbauld 1743–1825

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Class

Biography

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825) was educated at home by her mother in Leicestershire, England. She married Rochemont Barbauld in 1772 and with her husband managed the Palgrave School in Suffolk. Barbauld’s early poetry reflects her involvement with children and child rearing. Poems appeared in 1772, followed by Lessons for Children (1779) and Hymns in Prose for Children (1781). Her later work addressed social and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Religion, God & the Divine, Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Class

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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