Her references to her own situation of enslavement are restrained. Notwithstanding the prejudices against her race, social status, gender, and age, Wheatley became the first published woman of African descent in 1767. GradeSaver, 2 May 2006 Web. In this sense, her poems also fit into American Poetry. Their noble strains your equal genius shares In softer language, and diviner airs. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. On January 2 of that same year, she published An Elegy, Sacred to the Memory of that Great Divine, The Reverend and Learned Dr.
On the other hand, speaking on religious matters she seems to feel bold enough to elevate her own position to that of an authority figure, giving guidance and hope to those in need of it. From Notes on the State of Virginia. Wheatley openly defies the societal ideas of African Americans in her time. You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section. By 1772 Wheatley had written enough poems to enable her to try to capitalize on her growing transatlantic reputation by producing a book of previously published and new works. Wheatley does not hesitate in Poems to proclaim her African heritage.
This is evident in the double meaning of the word 'patron' -patron can mean 1. In the poem, Wheatley thanks her patron for supporting her writing. Transported as a slave from West Africa to America when just a child, Phillis Wheatley published in 1773 at the age of twenty her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. O could I rival thine and Virgil's page, Or claim the Muses with the Mantuan Sage; Soon the same beauties should my mind adorn, And the same ardors in my soul should burn: Then should my song in bolder notes arise, And all my numbers pleasingly surprise; But here I sit, and mourn a grov'ling mind, That fain would mount, and ride upon the wind. Certainly, her situation was used by later and Benjamin Rush in an anti-slavery essay written in her own lifetime to prove their case that education and training could prove useful, contrary to allegations of others.
She was educated and became deeply rooted in her faith: Christianity. In just eight lines, Wheatley describes her attitude towards her condition of enslavement -- both coming from Africa to America, and the culture that considers her color so negatively. Wheatley used her poetic voice to combat the ideas, expectations and values of the society in which she lived. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Aphra was a spy and playwright, who lived the middle class life and Phillis, was a slave who was taken from her homeland, brought to America, sold into slavery, then later freed. In 1773 Wheatley's son Nathaniel went to London on business. She was born in Senegal, Africa in 1753 and she was sold into slavery at the age of seven to John and Susannah Wheatley of Boston.
While many of her poems humble her own position, often it is indeed for a specific cause, usually to convey a point she could not have otherwise communicated without fear of chastisement. By using heroic couplets, Wheatley masterfully asserts her knowledge. Does not your soul possess the sacred flame? Mæcenas, you, beneath the myrtle shade, Read o'er what poets sung, and shepherds play'd. Phillis Wheatley passes the exam solidly. She was reduced to a condition too loathsome to describe.
Great Maro's strain in heav'nly numbers flows, The Nine inspire, and all the bosom glows. Wheatley used the education she was afforded and her new-found spirituality to fight against slavery through the use of words 751. In turning both to God, she reminds her audience that there is a force more powerful than they are -- a force that has acted directly in her life. Wheatley died on March 3, 1774. She was none of the above. In this poem she thanks and praises her unnamed patron, comparing him to Maecenas, the famed Roman patron of Virgil and Horace.
Following the poem from Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, 1773 , are some observations about its treatment of the theme of slavery: On being brought from Africa to America. Leonard, on the Death of Her Husband -- On the Death of Dr. Sponsored Links Mæcenas, you, beneath the myrtle shade, Read o'er what poets sung, and shepherds play'd. Wheatley was manumitted some three months before Mrs. Phillis was soon accepted as a member of the family, and was raised with the Wheatley's other two children. What felt those poets but you feel the same? I'm John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, where we're interested in the way inventive minds work.
This edition has been extensively revised in light of Wheatley scholarship since its publication. Their noble strains your equal genius shares In softer language, and diviner airs. In the published volume of her poems, there is that attestation of many prominent men that they are acquainted with her and her work. Great Maro's strain in heav'nly numbers flows, The Nine inspire, and all the bosom glows. Written By Herself: Literary Production by African American Women, 1746-1892. As with Poems on Various Subjects, however, the American populace would not support one of its most noted poets. Some commentators, black as well as white, questioned the literary quality of her writings, or the political and social significance of her life, in support of their own ideological positions on whether and how people of African descent should produce literature.