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(1753 – 5 December 1784 / Gambia)

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One Being Brought From Africa To America

'TWAS mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
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Comments about this poem (On Imagination by Phillis Wheatley )

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  • Douglas Scotney (4/25/2013 8:25:00 PM)

    Does anyone think that fourth line is wrong?
    Is it '...neither sought nor knew', or 'Once I sought not redemption, now knew.'

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kyrgiakos P (4/25/2013 8:20:00 PM)

    A great poem! An even greater poet! What an incredible life, so hard to imagine! .. Reminds me of so many things that are taken for granted, Inspiring.

  • Is It Poetry (4/25/2013 12:49:00 PM)

    And no concept from them
    to what they had.
    And in you.
    and self taught,
    and pure the burning sun.
    No man
    can soon a queen forget.........ip

  • Okoye Charles Chukwudi (4/25/2012 4:47:00 AM)

    Very nice Wheatley, a religious one I must say. And based on this religious aspect, i believe that the theme is to inspire empaty from the religious aspect.
    ...Remember Christian, Negroes, Black as cain,
    Maybe refined and join the angelic train.
    As a christian, i think i understand this line perfectly, negroes can be good, good as the white man...good as anyone.

    But as an african, i would hv luv to ask Wheatley, why we Negroes should be refined? something wrong with us? Is being black a crime, a mortal sin or what? .
    Colonialism brought slavery, wars, racism and death. Africans were taught to abandon their gods, their pagan gods and ways. Segregation came in, catholics vs anglicians and so forth. We were thought our believes are quite inferior, leading to this last two verses of this poem...No, I dont think we need to be refined, I dont think we need to join any angelic train. For God created us equal, and he calls us in his own ways, be you a christian, a musilm, a jew, a buddist, a hundi, a pagan, black, white, yellow, indian etc. God created us equal, and anyone that tells you otherwise needs to be REFINED.
    I thank the missionary, who tried to improve the lives of Africans, I thank winterforce for his work in slave abolition and all other good-righteous white folks.
    But I think if any religion needs to be refined, it is my religion, 'Christianity'. I think if any race needs to be refined, it is surely the white race...and I am not a Rasist...nice poem again...perfect for religious sentiments and at that period of time....+

  • Juan Olivarez (4/26/2011 9:08:00 AM)

    Tough beans huh, Spanish surname, nice racist comment claudia. Obviously you can, t see the forrest for the trees. My beef is not wit Dick Prucnicki's comment on the poem, it is his attacks on other poets, just like you are doing now.

  • Claudia Krizay (4/25/2011 9:25:00 PM)

    Mr. Olivarez why don't YOU get a life- I agree with Mr. Pruchnicki- I don't see bitterness- just because he isn't keen on this poem doesn't make him 'bitter.' life isn't always a bowl of cherries- just because someone doesn't agree with you it doesn't make them 'bitter'
    You better get used to the fact in this life that not everybody is going to agree with you and/or like the same things you do. And if they don't- that's life, and tough beans! ! ! Everybody has their right to express their opinion even if it isn't the same as yours!

  • Juan Olivarez (4/25/2011 7:44:00 PM)

    I am simply stating what I believe the poet's meaning is Pruchnicki, why are you such a bitter person, did your wife leave you for a poet better than you, that would have been something real easy, or are you disappointed with your lot in life and must criticize others to get you mean fix. For Gods sake get a life.

  • Claudia Krizay (4/25/2011 4:36:00 PM)

    her writing may be praised by many others but ti is not my cup of tea. I think I have read enough of her writing- time to move on to bigger and better things- at least better things.

  • Claudia Krizay (4/25/2011 4:34:00 PM)

    I don't understand this poem but what I do understand of it which isn't much- I don't care for-

  • Michael Pruchnicki (4/25/2011 3:48:00 PM)

    How some of us do go overboard on lavishing praise on a poem (at least according to Mr Olivarez) that could have been written by a 'civil rights leader! ' No matter that George Washington (a founding father of this republic and a comtemporary who recognized her skill and talent) praised her in the halls of power the world over - read well, Mr Craddock! lest you strain yourself in your attempt to latch on to her glory! Please go ahead and ignore the Christian missionaries, both lay and clerical, who worked from dawn to dusk improving both the lot of native Africans on their own soil! Sometimes those of us in this century look down on our saintly forebears who spent lifetimes helping those in need the world over. For Christ's sake, do not buy into the socialist and heathen beliefs of those who would do away with the lowly native, no matter his color or religion or lack thereof!

    Are whites as good as blacks, Juan and Terence? Say you aye or nay? That's the level you've brought this young woman's plaint to! You should both read more of current history - ask Stalin or Pol Pot how they would handle folks like Wheatley who objected to their rule? A bullet to the head would be merciful compared to the starvation that took so many lives in the 20th century!

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