(1753 – 5 December 1784 / Gambia)

A Rebus


A bird delicious to the taste,
On which an army once did feast,
Sent by an hand unseen;
A creature of the horned race,
Which Britain's royal standards grace;
A gem of vivid green;


A town of gaiety and sport,
Where beaux and beauteous nymphs resort,
And gallantry doth reign;
A Dardan hero fam'd of old
For youth and beauty, as we're told,
And by a monarch slain;


A peer of popular applause,
Who doth our violated laws,
And grievances proclaim.
Th' initials show a vanquish'd town,
That adds fresh glory and renown
To old Britannia's fame.

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Comments (11)

I am like this poem thank sharing this poem
thanks you I guess.. I need it for a project
adds fresh glory and renown To old Britanias fame. Thanks for sharing it here.
It is highly dubious that Phillis Wheatley wrote this poem. It is generally recognized that James Bowdoin, politician, statesman and scholar, wrote it as a friendly poke to test Wheatley's knowledge. Her response, proving her knowledge, is below: An Answer To The Rebus, By The Author Of These Poems (Phillis Wheatley) The poet asks, and Phillis can’t refuse To show th’ obedience of the Infant muse. She knows the Quail of most inviting taste Fed Israel’s army in the dreary waste; And what’s on Britain’s royal standard borne, But the tall, graceful, rampant Unicorn? The Emerald with a vivid verdure glows Among the gems which regal crowns compose; Boston’s a town, polite and debonair, To which the beaux and beauteous nymphs repair, Each Helen strikes the mind with sweet surprise, While living lightning flashes from her eyes, See young Euphorbus of the Dardan line By Manelaus’ hand to death resign: The well known peer of popular applause Is C—-m zealous to support our laws. Quebec now vanquish’d must obey, She too much annual tribute pay To Britain of immortal fame. And add new glory to her name.
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