Phillis Wheatley ( )

Thoughts on the Works of Providence

  A R I S E, my soul, on wings enrapturd, rise
  To praise the monarch of the earth and skies,
  Whose goodness and benificence appear
  As round its centre moves the rolling year,
  Or when the morning glows with rosy charms,
  Or the sun slumbers in the oceans arms:
  Of light divine be a rich portion lent
  To guide my soul, and favour my intend.
  Celestial muse, my arduous flight sustain
  And raise my mind to a seraphic strain!
    Adord for ever be the God unseen,
  Which round the sun revolves this vast machine,
  Though to his eye its mass a point appears:
  Adord the God that whirls surrounding spheres,
  Which first ordaind that mighty Sol should reign
  The peerless monarch of th ethereal train:
  Of miles twice forty millions is his height,
  And yet his radiance dazzles mortal sight
  So far beneathfrom him th extended earth
  Vigour derives, and evry flowry birth:
  Vast through her orb she moves with easy grace
  Around her Phoebus in unbounded space;
  True to her course th impetuous storm derides,
  Triumphant oer the winds, and surging tides.
    Almighty, in these wondrous works of thine,
  What Powr, what Wisdom, and what Goodness shine!
  And are thy wonders, Lord, by men explord,
  And yet creating glory unadord!
    Creation smiles in various beauty gay,
  While day to night, and night succeeds to day:
  That Wisdom, which attends Jehovahs ways,
  Shines most conspicuous in the solar rays:
  Without them, destitute of heat and light,
  This world would be the reign of endless night:
  In their excess how would our race complain,
  Abhorring life! how hate its lengthned chain!
  From air adust what numrous ills would rise?
  What dire contagion taint the burning skies?
  What pestilential vapours, fraught with death,
  Would rise, and overspread the lands beneath?
    Hail, smiling morn, that from the orient main
  Ascending dost adorn the heavnly plain!
  So rich, so various are thy beauteous dies,
  That spread through all the circuit of the skies,
  That, full of thee, my soul in rapture soars,
  And thy great God, the cause of all adores.
    Oer beings infinite his love extends,
  His Wisdom rules them, and his Powr defends.
  When tasks diurnal tire the human frame,
  The spirits faint, and dim the vital flame,
  Then too that ever active bounty shines,
  Which not infinity of space confines.
  The sable veil, that Night in silence draws,
  Conceals effects, but shows th Almighty Cause,
  Night seals in sleep the wide creation fair,
  And all is peaceful but the brow of care.
  Again, gay Phoebus, as the day before,
  Wakes evry eye, but what shall wake no more;
  Again the face of nature is renewd,
  Which still appears harmonious, fair, and good.
  May grateful strains salute the smiling morn,
  Before its beams the eastern hills adorn!
    Shall day to day, and night to night conspire
  To show the goodness of the Almighty Sire?
  This mental voice shall man regardless hear,
  And never, never raise the filial prayr?
  To-day, O hearken, nor your folly mourn
  For time mispent, that never will return.
       But see the sons of vegetation rise,
  And spread their leafy banners to the skies.
  All-wise Almighty Providence we trace
  In trees, and plants, and all the flowry race;
  As clear as in the nobler frame of man,
  All lovely copies of the Makers plan.
  The powr the same that forms a ray of light,
  That call d creation from eternal night.
  Let there be light, he said: from his profound
  Old Chaos heard, and trembled at the sound:
  Swift as the word, inspird by powr divine,
  Behold the light around its Maker shine,
  The first fair product of th omnific God,
  And now through all his works diffusd abroad.
       As reasons powrs by day our God disclose,
  So we may trace him in the nights repose:
  Say what is sleep? and dreams how passing strange!
  When action ceases, and ideas range
  Licentious and unbounded oer the plains,
  Where Fancys queen in giddy triumph reigns.
  Hear in soft strains the dreaming lover sigh
  To a kind fair, or rave in jealousy;
  On pleasure now, and now on vengeance bent,
  The labring passions struggle for a vent.
  What powr, O man! thy reason then restores,
  So long suspended in nocturnal hours?
  What secret hand returns the mental train,
  And gives improvd thine active powrs again?
  From thee, O man, what gratitude should rise!
  And, when from balmy sleep thou opst thine eyes,
  Let thy first thoughts be praises to the skies.
  How merciful our God who thus imparts
  Oerflowing tides of joy to human hearts,
  When wants and woes might be our righteous lot,
  Our God forgetting, by our God forgot!
    Among the mental powrs a question rose,
  What most the image of th Eternal shows?
   When thus to Reason (so let Fancy rove)
  Her great companion spoke immortal Love.
    Say, mighty powr, how long shall strife prevail,
  And with its murmurs load the whispring gale?
  Refer the cause to Recollections shrine,
  Who loud proclaims my origin divine,
  The cause whence heavn and earth began to be,
  And is not man immortalizd by me?
  Reason let this most causeless strife subside.
   Thus Love pronouncd, and Reason thus replyd.
    Thy birth, coelestial queen! tis mine to own,
  In thee resplendent is the Godhead shown;
  Thy words persuade, my soul enrapturd feels
  Resistless beauty which thy smile reveals.
   Ardent she spoke, and, kindling at her charms,
  She claspd the blooming goddess in her arms.
    Infinite Love whereer we turn our eyes
  Appears: this evry creatures wants supplies;
  This most is heard in Natures constant voice,
  This makes the morn, and this the eve rejoice;
  This bids the fostring rains and dews descend
  To nourish all, to serve one genral end,
  The good of man: yet man ungrateful pays
  But little homage, and but little praise.
  To him, whose works arryd with mercy shine,
  What songs should rise, how constant, how divine!

Phillis Wheatley's other poems:
  1. A Funeral Poem on the Death of C. E. an Infant of Twelve Months
  2. On the Death of a Young Gentleman
  3. A Hymn to the Evening
  4. On Virtue
  5. Goliath of Gath

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