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A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An Infant Of Twelve Months

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:
The angels view him with delight unknown,
Press his soft hand, and seat him on his throne;
Then smilling thus: 'To this divine abode,
'The seat of saints, of seraphs, and of God,
'Thrice welcome thou.' The raptur'd babe replies,
'Thanks to my God, who snatch'd me to the skies,
'E'er vice triumphant had possess'd my heart,
'E'er yet the tempter had beguil d my heart,
'E'er yet on sin's base actions I was bent,
'E'er yet I knew temptation's dire intent;
'E'er yet the lash for horrid crimes I felt,
'E'er vanity had led my way to guilt,
'But, soon arriv'd at my celestial goal,
'Full glories rush on my expanding soul.'
Joyful he spoke: exulting cherubs round
Clapt their glad wings, the heav'nly vaults resound.
  Say, parents, why this unavailing moan?
Why heave your pensive bosoms with the groan?
To Charles, the happy subject of my song,
A brighter world, and nobler strains belong.
Say would you tear him from the realms above
By thoughtless wishes, and prepost'rous love?
Doth his felicity increase your pain?
Or could you welcome to this world again
The heir of bliss? with a superior air
Methinks he answers with a smile severe,
'Thrones and dominions cannot tempt me there.'
  But still you cry, 'Can we the sigh borbear,
'And still and still must we not pour the tear?
'Our only hope, more dear than vital breath,
'Twelve moons revolv'd, becomes the prey of death;
'Delightful infant, nightly visions give
'Thee to our arms, and we with joy receive,
'We fain would clasp the Phantom to our breast,
'The Phantom flies, and leaves the soul unblest.'
  To yon bright regions let your faith ascend,
Prepare to join your dearest infant friend
In pleasures without measure, without end.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:51 min read
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Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley was both the second published African-American poet and first published African-American woman. Born in Senegambia, she was sold into slavery at the age of 7 and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent. The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral brought her fame both in England and the American colonies; figures such as George Washington praised her work. During Wheatley's visit to England with her master's son, the African-American poet Jupiter Hammon praised her work in his own poem. Wheatley was emancipated after the death of her master John Wheatley. She married soon after. Two of her children died as infants. After her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into poverty and died of illness, quickly followed by the death of her surviving infant son. more…

All Phillis Wheatley poems | Phillis Wheatley Books

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    "A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An Infant Of Twelve Months" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 20 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/29357/a-funeral-poem-on-the-death-of-c.-e.-an-infant-of-twelve-months>.

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