On the Death of a Young Gentleman


On the Death of a Young Gentleman is featured in Wheatley's collection, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), published while she was still a slave. Wheatley was emancipated three years later.
WHO taught thee conflict with the pow'rs of night,
  To vanquish satan in the fields of light?
  Who strung thy feeble arms with might unknown,
  How great thy conquest, and how bright thy crown!
  War with each princedom, throne, and pow'r is o'er,
  The scene is ended to return no more.
  O could my muse thy seat on high behold,
  How deckt with laurel, how enrich'd with gold!
  O could she hear what praise thine harp employs,
  How sweet thine anthems, how divine thy joys!
  What heav'nly grandeur should exalt her strain!
  What holy raptures in her numbers reign!
  To sooth the troubles of the mind to peace,
  To still the tumult of life's tossing seas,
  To ease the anguish of the parents heart,
  What shall my sympathizing verse impart?
  Where is the balm to heal so deep a wound?
  Where shall a sov'reign remedy be found?
  Look, gracious Spirit, from thine heav'nly bow'r,
  And thy full joys into their bosoms pour;
  The raging tempest of their grief control,
  And spread the dawn of glory through the soul,
  To eye the path the saint departed trod,
  And trace him to the bosom of his God.


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