Phillis Wheatley ( )


To a Gentleman on his Voyage to Great-Britain for the Recovery of his Health


WHILE others chant of gay Elysian scenes,
Of balmy zephyrs, and of flowry 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 embowring woods,
I sing not now the daughters of the floods,
I sing not of the storms oer ocean drivn,
And how they howld along the waste of heavn,
But I to R would paint the British shore,
And vast Atlantic, not untryd before:
Thy life impaird commands thee to arise,
Leave these bleak regions, and inclement skies,
Where chilling winds return the winter past,
And nature shudders at the furious blast.
 
  O thou stupendous, earth-enclosing main
Exert thy wonders to the world again!
If ere thy powr prolongd the fleeting breath,
Turnd back the shafts, and mockd the gates of death,
If ere thine air dispensd an healing powr,
Or snatchd the victim from the fatal hour,
This equal case demands thine equal care,
And equal wonders may this patient share.
But unavailing, frantic is the dream
To hope thine aid without the aid of him
Who gave thee birth, and taught thee where to flow,
And in thy waves his various blessings show.
 
  May R return to view his native shore
Replete with vigour not his own before,
Then shall we see with pleasure and surprize,
And own thy work, great Ruler of the skies!



Phillis Wheatley's other poems:
  1. To the University of Cambridge, in New-England
  2. To S.M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing His Works
  3. To a Lady and Her Children
  4. To Maecenas
  5. Ode to Neptune


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