"On the Death of J. C. an Infant"
By Phillis Wheatley

Transcription, correction, editorial commentary, and markup by Students of Marymount University, James West, Amy Ridderhof
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Sources

London : Printed for A. Bell, 1773Page images are sourced from two copies of the first edition housed in the Library of Congress.Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative, 1999Online SGML text from the University of Michigan HTI. SGML markup edited to conform to LiC parameters, including changes to element and attribute case, ligatures, and other special html characters.

Editorial Statements

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Original spelling and capitalization is retained, though the long s has been silently modernized and ligatured forms are not encoded.

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Materials have been transcribed from and checked against first editions, where possible. See the Sources section.


Citation

Wheatley, Phillis. "On the Death of J. C. an Infant". Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, Printed for A. Bell, 1773 , pp 92-93 . Literature in Context: An Open Anthology. http://anthology.lib.virginia.edu/work/Wheatley/wheatley-death-infant. Accessed: 2024-04-18T00:09:38.696Z

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92 On the Death of J. C. an Infant. 1NO more the flow'ry scenes of pleasure rise, 2Nor charming prospects greet the mental eyes, 3No more with joy we view that lovely face 4Smiling, disportive, flush'd with ev'ry grace. 5The tear of sorrow flows from ev'ry eye, 6Groans answer groans, and sighs to sighs reply; 7What sudden pangs shot thro' each aching heart, 8When, Death, thy messenger dispatch'd his dart? 9Thy dread attendants, all-destroying Pow'r, 10Hurried the infant to his mortal hour. 11Could'st thou unpitying close those radiant eyes? 12Or fail'd his artless beauties to surprize? 13Could not his innocence thy stroke controul, 14Thy purpose shake, and soften all thy soul? 93 15The blooming babe, with shades of Death o'erspread, 16No more shall smile, no more shall raise its head, 17But, like a branch that from the tree is torn, 18Falls prostrate, wither'd, languid, and forlorn. 19"Where flies my James?" 'tis thus I seem to hear 20The parent ask, "Some angel tell me where 21"He wings his passage thro' the yielding air?" 22Methinks a cherub bending from the skies 23Observes the question, and serene replies, 24"In heav'ns high palaces your babe appears: 25"Prepare to meet him, and dismiss your tears." 26Shall not th' intelligence your grief restrain, 27And turn the mournful to the chearful strain? 28Cease your complaints, suspend each rising sigh, 29Cease to accuse the Ruler of the sky. 30Parents, no more indulge the falling tear: 31Let Faith to heav'n's refulgent domes repair, 32There see your infant, like a seraph glow: 33What charms celestial in his numbers flow 94 34Melodious, while the soul-enchanting strain 35Dwells on his tongue, and fills th' ethereal plain? 36Enough -- for ever cease your murm'ring breath; 37Not as a foe, but friend converse with Death, 38Since to the port of happiness unknown 39He brought that treasure which you call your own. 40The gift of heav'n intrusted to your hand 41Chearful resign at the divine command: 42Not at your bar must sov'reign Wisdom stand.

Footnotes