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Poem by Phillis Wheatley


On the Death of the Rev. Dr. Sewell, 1769


  ERE yet the morn its lovely blushes spread,
  See Sewell numberd with the happy dead.
  Hail, holy man, arrivd 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 wingd his raptrous way
  To the blest mansions in eternal day.
  Then begging for the Spirit of our God,
  And panting eager for the same abode,
  Come, let us all with the same vigour rise,
  And take a prospect of the blissful skies;
  While on our minds Christs image is imprest,
  And the dear Saviour glows in evry breast.
  Thrice happy saint! to find thy heavn at last,
  What compensation for the evils past!
     Great God, incomprehensible, unknown
  By sense, we bow at thine exalted throne.
  O, while we beg thine excellence to feel,
  Thy sacred Spirit to our hearts reveal,
  And give us of that mercy to partake,
  Which thou hast promisd for the Saviours sake!
     Sewell is dead.  Swift-piniond Fame thus cryd.
  Is Sewell dead, my trembling tongue replyd,
  O what a blessing in his flight denyd!
  How oft for us the holy prophet prayd!
  How oft to us the Word of Life conveyd!
  By duty urgd my mournful verse to close,
  I for his tomb this epitaph compose.
     Lo, here a man, redeemd by Jesuss blood,
  A sinner once, but now a saint with God;
  Behold ye rich, ye poor, ye fools, ye wise,
  Not let his monument your heart surprise;
  Twill tell you what this holy man has done,
  Which gives him brighter lustre than the sun.
  Listen, ye happy, from your seats above.
  I speak sincerely, while I speak and love,
  He sought the paths of piety and truth,
  By these made happy from his early youth;
  In blooming years that grace divine he felt,
  Which rescues sinners from the chains of guilt.
  Mourn him, ye indigent, whom he has fed,
  And henceforth seek, like him, for living bread;
  Evn Christ, the bread descending from above,
  And ask an intrest in his saving love.
  Mourn him, ye youth, to whom he oft has told
  Gods gracious wonders from the times of old.
  I too have cause this mighty loss to mourn,
  For he my monitor will not return.
  O when shall we to his blest state arrive?
  When the same graces in our bosoms thrive.



Phillis Wheatley


Phillis Wheatley's other poems:
  1. To the Kings Most Excellent Majesty. 1768
  2. On Virtue
  3. To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth
  4. On the Death of a Young Lady of Five Years of Age
  5. To a Lady and Her Children


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