My Heart I Give …

100 Years Later – Pippa Still Passes

1 Comment


by Jeanne Jacoby Smith

“God’s in His Heaven …
All’s right with the world!” 
Trilled the girl child Pippa
On the one day per diem
She was frees from her slavery.

A century past Pippa,
Child labor hidden,
Justice confounding,
Children not whole.
Browning’s red-hot brand
sears our conscience
– and soul!

NOTE: Robert Browning, a celebrated Victorian poet, penned a poem called “Pippa Passes.” His poem deals with a girl child who worked in a sweatshop, day in and day out, year after year.  Each year, Pippa had one day off from work  – New Year’s Day.  Other than those few blessed hours, the only world this girl child knew was one of modern-day slavery.  She had no other reality.
The irony here is that in Browning’s poem, on New Year’s Day, her only day off that year, in her innocence she was singing, “God’s in His Heaven…

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One thought on “100 Years Later – Pippa Still Passes

  1. Tragically, little Pippa, who sang a song of innocence in Robert Browning’s poem, “Pippa Passes” back in the 1800s, is still very much alive today. Child labor is rampart around the world, particularly in developing countries. Sad to say, we in developed countries, more than we know, are very responsible for it. Every time we make purchases and insist on cheapest prices, we relegate someone in Bangladesh, India, China, Sri Lanka, or elsewhere to the status of a child laborer … little Pippa. Vendors bargain for lowest priced countries to manufacture their wares, and more often than not, their workers endure conditions that we outlawed back in the 1800s.
    Because we do NOT allow those kinds of working conditions in the U.S., some of our businesses (WalMart, etc.) manufacture their wares in developing countries where they can get them dirt cheap.

    If you have seen “Death by China,” the film gives the impression that China is stealing our business when, in fact, our companies have chosen to give our business to them. Their working conditions require 12-15 or more hours per day and no concern for workers’ families. It really upset me that the movie made it appear that China is the guilty party when, in fact, US businesses CHOOSE to go there because we can get slave labor. The American public must take into account the real costs of all our purchases, worldwide, and act accordingly, and morally.
    Is Browning right? At the expense of human life?
    Yes, Little Pippa still passes.

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