Historical Historical Connections
Answer the following questions based on the poem by Phillis Wheatley
300 words 2 references
Influenced by the events and feelings of an era, writers often document history through their works in subtle ways. The stories and poems we read can act as a filter or a mouthpiece in which to view the history of a nation.
Choose a reading to analyze this week for historical relevance, then answer the following questions: On the Death of a young Lady of Five Years of Age
· What was happening around the time in which this piece was written? (Additional research will be necessary—an “American History Timeline” web search will be most helpful.)
· Provide information about a historical event that may have influenced this piece.
· What specific connections can be made between the piece and the event?
· What is the author’s attitude toward the event? Feel free to speculate (based on other evidence), if necessary.
· What values of the time period are being expressed and/or challenged in this piece?
Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784). Poems on Various Subjects. 1773.
On the Death of a young Lady of Five Years of Age
FROM dark abodes to fair etherial light
Th’ enraptur’d innocent has wing’d her flight;
On the kind bosom of eternal love
She finds unknown beatitude above.
This know, ye parents, nor her loss deplore,
She feels the iron hand of pain no more;
The dispensations of unerring grace,
Should turn your sorrows into grateful praise;
Let then no tears for her henceforward flow,
No more distress’d in our dark vale below.
Her morning sun, which rose divinely bright,
Was quickly mantled with the gloom of night;
But hear in heav’n’s blest bow’rs your Nancy fair,
And learn to imitate her language there.
“Thou, Lord, whom I behold with glory crown’d,
By what sweet name, and in what tuneful sound
Wilt thou be prais’d? Seraphic pow’rs are faint
Infinite love and majesty to paint.
To thee let all their graceful voices raise,
And saints and angels join their songs of praise.”
Perfect in bliss she from her heav’nly home
Looks down, and smiling beckons you to come;
Why then, fond parents, why these fruitless groans?
Restrain your tears, and cease your plaintive moans.
Freed from a world of sin, and snares, and pain,
Why would you wish your daughter back again?
No—bow resign’d. Let hope your grief control,
And check the rising tumult of the soul.
Calm in the prosperous, and adverse day,
Adore the God who gives and takes away;
Eye him in all, his holy name revere,
Upright your actions, and your hearts sincere,
Till having sail’d through life’s tempestuous sea,
And from its rocks, and boist’rous billows free,
Yourselves, safe landed on the blissful shore,
Shall join your happy babe to part no more.