Jupiter to Phillis


An Address to Miss Phillis Wheatley

Jupiter Hammon  (1711-1805)

O come you pious youth! adore
The wisdom of thy God,
In bringing thee from distant shore,
To learn His holy word.

Thou mightst been left behind
Amidst a dark abode;
God’s tender mercy still combin’d
Thou hast the holy word.

Fair wisdom’s ways are paths of peace,
And they that walk therein,
Shall reap the joys that never cease
And Christ shall be their king.

God’s tender mercy brought thee here;
Tost o’er the raging main;
In Christian faith thou hast a share,
Worth all the gold of Spain.

While thousands tossed by the sea,
And others settled down,
God’s tender mercy set thee free,
From dangers that come down.

That thou a pattern still might be,
To youth of Boston town,
The blessed Jesus set thee free,
From every sinful wound.

The blessed Jesus, who came down,
Unvail’d his sacred face,
To cleanse the soul of every wound,
And give repenting grace.

That we poor sinners may obtain
The pardon of our sin;
Dear blessed Jesus now constrain
And bring us flocking in.

Come you, Phillis, now aspire,
And seek the living God,
So step by step thou mayst go higher,
Till perfect in the word.

While thousands mov’d to distant shore,
And others left behind,
The blessed Jesus still adore,
Implant this in thy mind.

Thou hast left the heathen shore;
Thro’ mercy of the Lord,
Among the heathen live no more,
Come magnify thy God.

I pray the living God may be,
The shepherd of thy soul;
His tender mercies still are free,
His mysteries to unfold.

Thou, Phillis, when thou hunger hast,
Or pantest for thy God;
Jesus Christ is thy relief,
Thou hast the holy word.

The bounteous mercies of the Lord
Are hid beyond the sky,
And holy souls that love His word,
Shall taste them when they die.

These bounteous mercies are from God,
The merits of His Son;
The humble soul that loves his word,
He chooses for His own.

Come, dear Phillis, be advis’d
To drink Samaria’s flood,
There’s nothing that shall suffice
But Christ’s redeeming blood.

While thousands muse with earthly toys;
and range about the street;
Dear Phillis, seek for heaven’s joys,
Where we do hope to meet.

When God shall send his summons down
And number saints together
Blest angels chant (Triumphant sound)
Come live with me forever.

The humble soul shall fly to God,
And leave the things of time.
Stand forth as ’twere at the first word,
To taste things more divine.

Behold! the soul shall waft away,
Whene’er we come to die,
And leave its cottage made of clay,
In twinkling of an eye.

Now glory be to the Most High,
United praises given
By all on earth, incessantly,
And all the hosts of heav’n



The Origin Of Evil: An Elegy

Royall Tyler (1757-1826)

Of man’s first disobedience and the Fruit
Of that FORBIDDEN TREE, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe:
Sing heavenly muse!
EVA.    Fructus ipse est pulcher sane visu:
           Nescio an sit ita dulcis gustatu;
          Veruntamen experiar. VAH. QUAM DULCIS EST!!!
Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay;
And if in death still lovely, lovelier there;
Far lovelier! Pity swells the tide of love,
And will not the severe excuse a sigh?
Scorn the proud man who is asham’d to weep.
                    YOUNG’S NIGHT THOUGHTS.


Ranting topers, midnight rovers,
Cease to roar your fleshy lays;
Melancholy, moping lovers,
No more your lapsed ladies praise.

Fix your thoughts on heavenly treasure,
Let Virtue now with Wit combine;
Purge your hearts from sensual pleasure,
With Religion mix your wine.

Let each lovely Miss and Madam,
Quit the dear joys of carnal sense,
Weep the fall of Eve and Adam,
From their first state of Innocence.


In the first stillness of the even,
When blushing day began to close,
In the blissful bowers of Eden,
Our chaste Grand Parents sought repose.

No pair to act love’s glowing passion,
So fit, in these late days, are seen;
Since girls’ shapes are spoil’d by fashion,
And man’s nerves unstrung by sin.

Eve, the fairest child of nature,
In naked beauty stood reveal’d,
Exposing every limb and feature,
Save those her jetty locks conceal’d.

Light and wanton curl’d her tresses
Where each sprouting lock should grow,
Her bosom, heaving for caresses,
Seem’d blushing berries cast on snow.

Adam, got by lusty nature,
Form’d to delight a woman’s eyes,
Stood confest in manly stature,
The first of men in shape and size!

As Eve cast her arms so slender,
His brawny chest to fondly stroke;
She seem’d an ivy tendril tender
Sporting round a sturdy oak.

Innocent of nuptial blisses,
Unknown to him the balm of life;
With unmeaning, wild caresses,
Adam teaz’d his virgin wife.

As her arm Eve held him hard in,
And toy’d him with her roving hand,
In the middle of Love’s Garden,
She saw the Tree of Knowledge stand.

Stately grew the tree forbidden,
Rich curling tendrils grac’d its root;
In its airy pods, half hidden,
Hung the luscious, tempting fruit.

With Love’s coyest leer she view’d it,
Then touched it with her glowing hand;
Did just touch, but not renew’d it,
Restrain’d by the divine command.

At her guilty touch the tree seem’d
Against the blue arch’d sky to knock;
With nervous vigour every branch beam’d,
And swell’d the sturdy solid stock.

Softly sigh’d the rib-form’d beauty,
‘How love does new desires produce?
This pendant fruit o’ercomes my duty,
I pant to suck its balmy juice.

‘Why was this tall tree forbidden,
So sweet and pleasant to my eyes,
Food so fit for hungry women,
Much desir’d to make me wise?’

With sweet blandishment so civil
She finger’d soft its velvet pods;
‘Let us now know good from evil,
Dear Adam, let us be like Gods.’

With burning cheeks and eyes of fire,
Raving and raging for the bliss,
Blushing and panting with desire,
She glu’d her glowing lips to his.

‘Threaten’d death will soon o’ertake me,
If this forbidden tree I pluck,
But life itself will soon forsake me,
Unless its cordial juice I suck.’

Her soft hand then half embrac’d it,
Her heaving breasts to his inclin’d,
She op’d her coral lips to taste it,
But first she peel’d its russet rind.

In her lips she scarcely put it,
And nibbl’d ’till its sweets she found,
Then like eager glutton took it,
And, gorg’d with bliss, sunk on the ground.

At that hour, through all creation,
Rode Love sublime in triumph then,
Earth, Sea, Air, gave gratulation,
And all their offspring joy’d like them.

Fish that sported in the Gihon,
Soaring Eagles, cooing Doves,
Leopard, Panther, Wolf and Lion,
Reptile and Insect joy’d their loves.

Love’s fierce fire seiz’d e’en the posies,
Which deck’d the gay enammell’d mead,
Amorous pinks and wanton roses,
Dissolv’d in love, all shed their seed!

Eve, transported beyond measure,
Stretch’d in every vital part;
Fainting with excess of pleasure,
For mighty knowledge rift her heart.

But when its nectar’d juice she tasted,
Dissolving Eve could only sigh;
‘I feel-I feel, my life is wasted,
This hour I eat, and now I die.’

But when she saw the tree so lofty,
Sapless and shrunk in size so small;
Pointing she whisper’d Adam softly:
‘See! there is DEATH! and there’s the FALL!


                                                     Oh Fruit divine!
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet THUS cropt.

Loose-Reined Careers of Poetry

selection: Elegy on the Death of Thomas Shepard
Urian Oakes (1631–1681)

OH! that I were a Poet now in grain!
How would I invocate the Muses all
To deign their presence, lend their flowing Vein,
And help to grace dear Shepard’s Funeral!
How would I paint our griefs, and succours borrow
From Art and Fancy, to limn out our sorrow!

Now could I wish (if wishing would obtain)
The sprightli’est Efforts of Poetick Rage,
To vent my Griefs, make others feel my pain,
For this loss of the Glory of our Age.
Here is a subject for the loftiest Verse
That ever waited on the bravest Hearse.

And could my Pen ingeniously distill
The purest Spirits of a sparkling wit
In rare conceits, the quintessence of skill
In Elegiack Strains; none like to it:
I should think all too little to condole
The fatal loss (to us) of such a Soul

Could I take highest Flights of Fancy, soar
Aloft; If Wits Monopoly were mine:
All would be much too low, too light, too poor,
To pay due tribute to this great Divine.
Ah! Wit avails not, when th’Heart’s like to break,
Great griefs are Tongue ti’ed, when the lesser speak.

Away loose rein’d Careers of Poetry,
The celebrated Sisters may be gone;
We need no Mourning Womens Elegy,
No forc’d, affected, artificial Tone.
Great and good Shepard’s Dead! Ah! this alone
Will set our eyes abroach, dissolve a stone.

Poetick Raptures are of no esteem,
Daring Hyperboles have here no place,
Luxuriant Wits on such a copious Theme,
Would shame themselves, and blush to shew their face
Here’s worth enough to overmatch the skill
Of the most stately Poet Laureat’s Quill.

Ancient Distastes: Poetry

Aristocracy naturally leads the human mind to the contemplation of the past and fixes it there. Democracy, on the contrary, gives men a sort of instinctive distaste for what is ancient. In this respect aristocracy is far more favorable to poetry; for things commonly grow larger and more obscure as they are more remote, and for this twofold reason they are better suited to the delineation of the ideal.

After having deprived poetry of the past, the principle of equality robs it in part of the present. Among aristocratic nations there is a certain number of privileged personages whose situation is, as it were, without and above the condition of man; to these, power, wealth, fame, wit, refinement, and distinction in all things appear peculiarly to belong. The crowd never sees them very closely or does not watch them in minute details, and little is needed to make the description of such men poetical. On the other hand, among the same people you will meet with classes so ignorant, low, and enslaved that they are no less fit objects for poetry, from the excess of their rudeness and wretchedness, than the former are from their greatness and refinement. Besides, as the different classes of which an aristocratic community is composed are widely separated and imperfectly acquainted with each other, the imagination may always represent them with some addition to, or some subtraction from, what they really are.

Of Some Sources of Poetry Among Democratic Nations

Alexis De Tocqueville: Democracy in America, published 1835–1840