Phillis Wheatley ( )

On Recollection

  MNEME begin. Inspire, ye sacred nine,
  Your ventrous Afric in her great design.
  Mneme, immortal powr, I trace thy spring:
  Assist my strains, while I thy glories sing:
  The acts of long departed years, by thee
  Recoverd, in due order rangd we see:
  Thy powr the long-forgotten calls from night,
  That sweetly plays before the fancys sight.
  Mneme in our nocturnal visions pours
  The ample treasure of her secret stores;
  Swift from above the wings her silent flight
  Through Phoebes realms, fair regent of the night;
  And, in her pomp of images displayd,
  To the high-rapturd poet gives her aid,
  Through the unbounded regions of the mind,
  Diffusing light celestial and refind.
  The heavnly phantom paints the actions done
  By evry tribe beneath the rolling sun.
    Mneme, enthrond within the human breast,
  Has vice condemnd, and evry virtue blest.
  How sweet the sound when we her plaudit hear?
  Sweeter than music to the ravishd ear,
  Sweeter than Maros entertaining strains
  Resounding through the groves, and hills, and plains.
  But how is Mneme dreaded by the race,
  Who scorn her warnings and despise her grace?
  By her unveild each horrid crime appears,
  Her awful hand a cup of wormwood bears.
  Days, years mispent, O what a hell of woe!
  Hers the worst tortures that our souls can know.
    Now eighteen years their destind course have run,
  In fast succession round the central sun.
  How did the follies of that period pass
  Unnoticd, but behold them writ in brass!
  In Recollection see them fresh return,
  And sure tis mine to be ashamd, and mourn.
    O Virtue, smiling in immortal green,
  Do thou exert thy powr, and change the scene;
  Be thine employ to guide my future days,
  And mine to pay the tribute of my praise.
    Of Recollection such the powr enthrond
  In evry breast, and thus her powr is ownd.
  The wretch, who dard the vengeance of the skies,
  At last awakes in horror and surprise,
  By her alarmd, he sees impending fate,
  He howls in anguish, and repents too late.
  But O! what peace, what joys are hers t impart
  To evry holy, evry upright heart!
  Thrice blest the man, who, in her sacred shrine,
  Feels himself shelterd from the wrath 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. To a Lady on the Death of Three Relations
  5. Goliath of Gath

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