Phillis Wheatley

(1753 – 5 December 1784 / Gambia)

To A Lady On The Death Of Three Relations - Poem by Phillis Wheatley

We trace the pow'r of Death from tomb to tomb,
And his are all the ages yet to come.
'Tis his to call the planets from on high,
To blacken Phoebus, and dissolve the sky;
His too, when all in his dark realms are hurl'd,
From its firm base to shake the solid world;
His fatal sceptre rules the spacious whole,
And trembling nature rocks from pole to pole.
Awful he moves, and wide his wings are spread:

Behold thy brother number'd with the dead!
From bondage freed, the exulting spirit flies
Beyond Olympus, and these starry skies.
Lost in our woe for thee, blest shade, we mourn
In vain; to earth thou never must return.
Thy sisters too, fair mourner, feel the dart
Of Death, and with fresh torture rend thine heart.
Weep not for them, and leave the world behind.

As a young plant by hurricanes up torn,
So near its parent lies the newly born--
But 'midst the bright ethereal train behold
It shines superior on a throne of gold:
Then, mourner, cease; let hope thy tears restrain,
Smile on the tomb, and sooth the raging pain.
On yon blest regions fix thy longing view,
Mindless of sublunary scenes below;
Ascend the sacred mount, in thought arise,
And seek substantial and immortal joys;
Where hope receives, where faith to vision springs,
And raptur'd seraphs tune th' immortal strings
To strains ecstatic. Thou the chorus join,
And to thy father tune the praise divine.


Comments about To A Lady On The Death Of Three Relations by Phillis Wheatley

  • Gold Star - 13,409 Points Terry Craddock (6/6/2015 7:12:00 PM)

    We trace the pow'r of Death from tomb to tomb,
    And his are all the ages yet to come.
    'Tis his to call the planets from on high,
    To blacken Phoebus, and dissolve the sky;
    His too, when all in his dark realms are hurl'd,
    From its firm base to shake the solid world;
    His fatal sceptre rules the spacious whole,
    And trembling nature rocks from pole to pole.
    Awful he moves, and wide his wings are spread:

    I loved the first line lure 'We trace the pow'r of Death from tomb to tomb, ' which hooked me into noticing that this first stanza is more than mere death individualistic but verges on a hint of an apocalyptic scope. This poem is beautifully written, crafted in a traditional style by a superior poetess of the time.
    The theme tone and rendering of death was particularly interesting, because I wrote a sonnet on death yesterday and the spirit of this age and period of stylistic belief is so different from what I had written yesterday, which thus made me stop think and read the poem several times.
    The title 'To A Lady On The Death Of Three Relations' I think would be handled with more raw hurt and felt passion by many poets today because the title has such an impact on me and would wipe out my immediate family, so for any suffering recent or enduring loss at present, my wish and prayer is for your future health happiness and blessings of enjoyed wonderful days to come. (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: brother, hope, faith, death, father, nature, smile, world, lost, pain, dark, sky, sister, spring



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



[Hata Bildir]