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39 Works of Phillis Wheatley

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An Answer To The Rebus, By The Author Of These Poems THE poet asks, and Phillis can’t refuse To show th’ obedience of the Infant muse. She knows the Quail of most inviting taste Fed Israel’s army in the dreary waste; And what’s on Britain’s royal standard borne, But the tall, graceful, rampant Unicorn? The […]

A Rebus, By I. B.

Story type: Poetry

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I. A BIRD delicious to the taste, On which an army once did feast, Sent by an hand unseen; A creature of the horned race, Which Britain’s royal standards grace; A gem of vivid green; II. A town of gaiety and sport, Where beaux and beauteous nymphs resort, And gallantry doth reign; A Dardan hero […]

ALL-Conquering Death! by thy resistless pow’r, Hope’s tow’ring plumage falls to rise no more! Of scenes terrestrial how the glories fly, Forget their splendors, and submit to die! Who ere escap’d thee, but the saint * of old Beyond the flood in sacred annals told, And the great sage, + whom fiery coursers drew To […]

To Mrs. S. W I. ADIEU, New-England’s smiling meads, Adieu, the flow’ry plain: I leave thine op’ning charms, O spring, And tempt the roaring main. II. In vain for me the flow’rets rise, And boast their gaudy pride, While here beneath the northern skies I mourn for health deny’d. III. Celestial maid of rosy hue, […]

TO show the lab’ring bosom’s deep intent, And thought in living characters to paint, When first thy pencil did those beauties give, And breathing figures learnt from thee to live, How did those prospects give my soul delight, A new creation rushing on my sight? Still, wond’rous youth! each noble path pursue, On deathless glories […]

WHILE deep you mourn beneath the cypress-shade The hand of Death, and your dear daughter laid In dust, whose absence gives your tears to flow, And racks your bosom with incessant woe, Let Recollection take a tender part, Assuage the raging tortures of your heart, Still the wild tempest of tumultuous grief, And pour the […]

Niobe in Distress for Her Children Slain By APOLLO, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Bood VI, and from a view of the Painting of Mr. Richard Wilson APOLLO’s wrath to man the dreadful spring Of ills innum’rous, tuneful goddess, sing! Thou who did’st first th’ ideal pencil give, And taught’st the painter in his works to live, […]

NO more the flow’ry scenes of pleasure rife, Nor charming prospects greet the mental eyes, No more with joy we view that lovely face Smiling, disportive, flush’d with ev’ry grace. The tear of sorrow flows from ev’ry eye, Groans answer groans, and sighs to sighs reply; What sudden pangs shot thro’ each aching heart, When, […]

To S. P. G. Esq; I. LO! for this dark terrestrial ball Forsakes his azure-paved hall A prince of heav’nly birth! Divine Humanity behold, What wonders rise, what charms unfold At his descent to earth! II. The bosoms of the great and good With wonder and delight he view’d, And fix’d his empire there: Him, […]

To the Rev. Dr. Thomas Amory on reading his Sermons on Daily Devotion, in which that Duty is recommended and assisted TO cultivate in ev’ry noble mind Habitual grace, and sentiments refin’d, Thus while you strive to mend the human heart, Thus while the heav’nly precepts you impart, O may each bosom catch the sacred […]

WHILE others chant of gay Elysian scenes, Of balmy zephyrs, and of flow’ry plains, My song more happy speaks a greater name, Feels higher motives and a nobler flame. For thee, O R—–, the muse attunes her strings, And mounts sublime above inferior things. I sing not now of green embow’ring woods, I sing not […]

THROUGH thickest glooms look back, immortal shade, On that confusion which thy death has made: Or from Olympus’ height look down, and see A Town involv’d in grief bereft of thee. Thy Lucy sees thee mingle with the dead, And rends the graceful tresses from her head, Wild in her woe, with grief unknown opprest […]

To a Gentleman and Lady On the Death of the Lady’s Brother and Sister, and a Child of the Name of Avis, aged one Year ON Death’s domain intent I fix my eyes, Where human nature in vast ruin lies: With pensive mind I search the drear abode, Where the great conqu’ror has his spoils […]

O’ERWHELMING sorrow now demands my song: From death the overwhelming sorrow sprung. What flowing tears? What hearts with grief opprest? What sighs on sighs heave the fond parent’s breast? The brother weeps, the hapless sisters join Th’ increasing woe, and swell the crystal brine; The poor, who once his gen’rous bounty fed, Droop, and bewail […]

THOUGH thou did’st hear the tempest from afar, And felt’st the horrors of the wat’ry war, To me unknown, yet on this peaceful shore Methinks I hear the storm tumultuous roar, And how stern Boreas with impetuous hand Compell’d the Nereids to usurp the land. Reluctant rose the daughters of the main, And slow ascending […]

To a Lady On Her Coming to North-america with her Son, for the Recovery of her Health INDULGENT muse! my grov’ling mind inspire, And fill my bosom with celestial fire. See from Jamaica’s fervid shore she moves, Like the fair mother of the blooming loves, When from above the Goddess with her hand Fans the […]

Ode To Neptune

Story type: Poetry

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On Mrs. W—–‘s Voyage to England. I. WHILE raging tempests shake the shore, While AElus’ thunders round us roar, And sweep impetuous o’er the plain Be still, O tyrant of the main; Nor let thy brow contracted frowns betray, While my Susanna skims the wat’ry way. II. The Pow’r propitious hears the lay, The blue-ey’d […]

Earl of DARTMOUTH His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for North-America, etc. HAIL, happy day, when, smiling like the morn, Fair Freedom rose New-England to adorn: The northern clime beneath her genial ray, Dartmouth, congratulates thy blissful sway: Elate with hope her race no longer mourns, Each soul expands, each grateful bosom burns, While in […]

SAY, muse divine, can hostile scenes delight The warrior’s bosom in the fields of fight? Lo! here the christian and the hero join With mutual grace to form the man divine. In H—–D see with pleasure and surprise, Where valour kindles, and where virtue lies: Go, hero brave, still grace the post of fame, And […]

THROUGH airy roads he wings his instant flight To purer regions of celestial light; Enlarg’d he sees unnumber’d systems roll, Beneath him sees the universal whole, Planets on planets run their destin’d round, And circling wonders fill the vast profound. Th’ ethereal now, and now th’ empyreal skies With growing splendors strike his wond’ring eyes: […]

On Recollection

Story type: Poetry

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MNEME begin. Inspire, ye sacred nine, Your vent’rous Afric in her great design. Mneme, immortal pow’r, I trace thy spring: Assist my strains, while I thy glories sing: The acts of long departed years, by thee Recover’d, in due order rang’d we see: Thy pow’r the long-forgotten calls from night, That sweetly plays before the […]

On Imagination

Story type: Poetry

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THY various works, imperial queen, we see, How bright their forms! how deck’d with pomp by thee! Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order stand, And all attest how potent is thine hand. From Helicon’s refulgent heights attend, Ye sacred choir, and my attempts befriend: To tell her glories with a faithful tongue, Ye blooming graces, […]

SAY, heav’nly muse, what king or mighty God, That moves sublime from Idumea’s road? In Bosrah’s dies, with martial glories join’d, His purple vesture waves upon the wind. Why thus enrob’d delights he to appear In the dread image of the Pow’r of war? Compres’d in wrath the swelling wine-press groan’d, It bled, and pour’d […]

SOON as the sun forsook the eastern main The pealing thunder shook the heav’nly plain; Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr’s wing, Exhales the incense of the blooming spring. Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes, And through the air their mingled music floats. Through all the heav’ns what beauteous dies are spread! But […]

ATTEND my lays, ye ever honour’d nine, Assist my labours, and my strains refine; In smoothest numbers pour the notes along, For bright Aurora now demands my song. Aurora hail, and all the thousand dies, Which deck thy progress through the vaulted skies: The morn awakes, and wide extends her rays, On ev’ry leaf the […]

WE trace the pow’r of Death from tomb to tomb, And his are all the ages yet to come. ‘Tis his to call the planets from on high, To blacken Phoebus, and dissolve the sky; His too, when all in his dark realms are hurl’d, From its firm base to shake the solid world; His […]

WHERE contemplation finds her sacred spring, Where heav’nly music makes the arches ring, Where virtue reigns unsully’d and divine, Where wisdom thron’d, and all the graces shine, There sits thy spouse amidst the radiant throng, While praise eternal warbles from her tongue; There choirs angelic shout her welcome round, With perfect bliss, and peerless glory […]

A R I S E, my soul, on wings enraptur’d, rise To praise the monarch of the earth and skies, Whose goodness and benificence appear As round its centre moves the rolling year, Or when the morning glows with rosy charms, Or the sun slumbers in the ocean’s arms: Of light divine be a rich […]

GRIM monarch! see, depriv’d of vital breath, A young physician in the dust of death: Dost thou go on incessant to destroy, Our griefs to double, and lay waste our joy? Enough thou never yet wast known to say, Though millions die, the vassals of thy sway: Nor youth, nor science, not the ties of […]

Goliath Of Gath

Story type: Poetry

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1 SAMUEL, Chap. xvii. YE martial pow’rs, and all ye tuneful nine, Inspire my song, and aid my high design. The dreadful scenes and toils of war I write, The ardent warriors, and the fields of fight: You best remember, and you best can sing The acts of heroes to the vocal string: Resume the […]

WHO taught thee conflict with the pow’rs of night, To vanquish satan in the fields of light? Who strung thy feeble arms with might unknown, How great thy conquest, and how bright thy crown! War with each princedom, throne, and pow’r is o’er, The scene is ended to return no more. O could my muse […]

FROM dark abodes to fair etherial light Th’ enraptur’d innocent has wing’d her flight; On the kind bosom of eternal love She finds unknown beatitude above. This known, ye parents, nor her loss deplore, She feels the iron hand of pain no more; The dispensations of unerring grace, Should turn your sorrows into grateful praise; […]

HAIL, happy saint, on thine immortal throne, Possest of glory, life, and bliss unknown; We hear no more the music of thy tongue, Thy wonted auditories cease to throng. Thy sermons in unequall’d accents flow’d, And ev’ry bosom with devotion glow’d; Thou didst in strains of eloquence refin’d Inflame the heart, and captivate the mind. […]

ERE yet the morn its lovely blushes spread, See Sewell number’d with the happy dead. Hail, holy man, arriv’d th’ immortal shore, Though we shall hear thy warning voice no more. Come, let us all behold with wishful eyes The saint ascending to his native skies; From hence the prophet wing’d his rapt’rous way To […]

‘TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land, Taught my benighted soul to understand That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too: Once I redemption neither fought now knew, Some view our sable race with scornful eye, “Their colour is a diabolic die.” Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain, May be refin’d, and join […]

YOUR subjects hope, dread Sire– The crown upon your brows may flourish long, And that your arm may in your God be strong! O may your sceptre num’rous nations sway, And all with love and readiness obey! But how shall we the British king reward! Rule thou in peace, our father, and our lord! Midst […]

WHILE an intrinsic ardor prompts to write, The muses promise to assist my pen; ‘Twas not long since I left my native shore The land of errors, and Egyptain gloom: Father of mercy, ’twas thy gracious hand Brought me in safety from those dark abodes. Students, to you ’tis giv’n to scan the heights Above, […]

On Virtue

Story type: Poetry

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O Thou bright jewel in my aim I strive To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach. I cease to wonder, and no more attempt Thine height t’ explore, or fathom thy profound. But, O my soul, sink not into despair, Virtue is near thee, and with gentle […]

To Maecenas

Story type: Poetry

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MAECENAS, you, beneath the myrtle shade, Read o’er what poets sung, and shepherds play’d. What felt those poets but you feel the same? Does not your soul possess the sacred flame? Their noble strains your equal genius shares In softer language, and diviner airs. While Homer paints, lo! circumfus’d in air, Celestial Gods in mortal […]