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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

To the Right Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth

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.]

HAIL, happy day, when, smiling like the morn,

Fair Freedom rose New England to adorn!

The northern clime beneath her genial ray,

Dartmouth, congratulates thy blissful sway:

Elate with hope her race no longer mourns,

Each soul expands, each grateful bosom burns,

While in thine hand with pleasure we behold

The silken reins, and Freedom’s charms unfold.

Long lost to realms beneath the northern skies

She shines supreme, while hated Faction dies.

Soon as appeared the Goddess long desired,

Sick at the view, she languished and expired;

Thus from the splendors of the morning light

The owl in sadness seeks the caves of night.

No more, America, in mournful strain,

Of wrongs, and grievance unredressed complain;

No longer shall thou dread the iron chain,

Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand

Had made, and with it meant to enslave the land.

Should you, my lord, while you peruse my song,

Wonder from whence my love of Freedom sprung,

Whence flow these wishes for the common good,

By feeling hearts alone best understood,

I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate

Was snatched from Afric’s fancied happy seat:

What pangs excruciating must molest,

What sorrows labor in my parents’ breast!

Steeled was that soul and by no misery moved

That from a father seized his babe beloved:

Such, such my case. And can I then but pray

Others may never feel tyrannic sway?