How is Romanticism defined in "The Mouse’s Petition" by Anna Laetitia Barbauld?

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Barbauld's "The Mouse's Petition" reflects Romantic concerns in a number of ways; her poem also exhibits some key traits of Romanticism from the very beginning, given that it opens with a quotation from Virgil, in line with the tendency of Romantic literature to allude to the Classics as a basis for their philosophy. Barbauld wrote this poem and addresses it to her friend Dr. Joseph Priestley. On a surface level, then, it reflects Romantic concerns about the advancement of science leading to the exclusion of humanity and kindness in that it is, on the face of it, a petition against the use of animals in scientific experiments. The speaker in the poem, the mouse who has been caught in a trap, defines itself as "a pensive captive," and prevails upon the doctor not to use its "guiltless blood" as a "tyrant" might. The mouse here can be read as representative of nature and the world's animals and natural world in general, appealing to the doctor's "philosophic mind" as it begs for its life...

(The entire section contains 516 words.)

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