A Funeral Poem On The Death Of C. E. An Infant Of Twelve Months

Through airy roads he wings his instant flight
To purer regions of celestial light;
Enlarg'd he sees unnumber'd systems roll,
Beneath him sees the universal whole,
Planets on planets run their destin'd round,
And circling wonders fill the vast profound.
Th' ethereal now, and now th' empyreal skies
With growing splendors strike his wond'ring eyes:
The angels view him with delight unknown,
Press his soft hand, and seat him on his throne;
Then smilling thus: 'To this divine abode,
'The seat of saints, of seraphs, and of God,
'Thrice welcome thou.' The raptur'd babe replies,
'Thanks to my God, who snatch'd me to the skies,
'E'er vice triumphant had possess'd my heart,
'E'er yet the tempter had beguil d my heart,
'E'er yet on sin's base actions I was bent,
'E'er yet I knew temptation's dire intent;
'E'er yet the lash for horrid crimes I felt,
'E'er vanity had led my way to guilt,
'But, soon arriv'd at my celestial goal,
'Full glories rush on my expanding soul.'
Joyful he spoke: exulting cherubs round
Clapt their glad wings, the heav'nly vaults resound.
Say, parents, why this unavailing moan?
Why heave your pensive bosoms with the groan?
To Charles, the happy subject of my song,
A brighter world, and nobler strains belong.
Say would you tear him from the realms above
By thoughtless wishes, and prepost'rous love?
Doth his felicity increase your pain?
Or could you welcome to this world again
The heir of bliss? with a superior air
Methinks he answers with a smile severe,
'Thrones and dominions cannot tempt me there.'
But still you cry, 'Can we the sigh borbear,
'And still and still must we not pour the tear?
'Our only hope, more dear than vital breath,
'Twelve moons revolv'd, becomes the prey of death;
'Delightful infant, nightly visions give
'Thee to our arms, and we with joy receive,
'We fain would clasp the Phantom to our breast,
'The Phantom flies, and leaves the soul unblest.'
To yon bright regions let your faith ascend,
Prepare to join your dearest infant friend
In pleasures without measure, without end.

by Phillis Wheatley

Comments (14)

Beautifully written so soulfully sad and profound..
Lorina, your idea rhyms with what is in my mind, as a poet we focus things with a very different ideas and our thoughts contrast the first hand reality. to critize it i darely see the need to mourn.try to analyse my poem stay away from my grave...it will tell you of hypocrisy which befalls the beneficiaries. As a poet, i disagree with the fact that one should be buried on an expensive coffin, while those left go starving. Kevin you can also have a look at it
This poem encouraged me a lot. It comes my way the right time as mum has just transited. great poem
WONDERFUL! Have an inner strength!
What utter balderdash! This is sheer fantasy - there is not the tiniest bit of evidence of any of it. The idea that parents should not weep because of the death of their child is baloney. We all know in our heart of hearts that when someone dies that is the end of them, that is why we mourn. If we really believed in Wheatley's silly myth then we would indeed be wrong in mourning. Contrast this with the recent Catullus poem. Who is right Wheatley or Catullus?
See More