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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

On the Death of C. E., an Infant of Twelve Months

By Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784)

[From Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, by Phillis Wheatley, Negro Servant to Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston, in New England.—London, 1773.]

THROUGH airy roads he wings his instant flight

To purer regions of celestial light;

Enlarged he sees unnumbered systems roll,

Beneath him sees the universal whole,

Planets on planets run their destined round

And circling wonders fill the vast profound.

The ethereal now, and now the empyreal skies

With growing splendors strike his wondering eyes:

The angels view him with delight unknown,

Press his soft hand, and seat him on his throne;

Then smiling thus: “To this divine abode,

The seat of saints, of seraphs, and of God,

Thrice welcome thou.” The raptured babe replies,

“Thanks to my God, who snatched me to the skies,

E’er vice triumphant had possessed my heart,

E’er yet the tempter had beguiled 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 arrived at my celestial goal,

Full glories rush on my expanding soul.”

Joyful he spoke: exulting cherubs round

Clapped their glad wings; the heavenly vaults resound.