On Virtue


On Virtue 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.
 O Thou bright jewel in my aim I strive
  To comprehend thee. Thine own words declare
  Wisdom is higher than a fool can reach.
  I cease to wonder, and no more attempt
  Thine height t' explore, or fathom thy profound.
  But, O my soul, sink not into despair,
  Virtue is near thee, and with gentle hand
  Would now embrace thee, hovers o'er thine head.
  Fain would the heav'n-born soul with her converse,
  Then seek, then court her for her promis'd bliss.
       Auspicious queen, thine heav'nly pinions spread,
  And lead celestial Chastity along;
  Lo! now her sacred retinue descends,
  Array'd in glory from the orbs above.
  Attend me, Virtue, thro' my youthful years!
  O leave me not to the false joys of time!
  But guide my steps to endless life and bliss.
  Greatness, or Goodness, say what I shall call thee,
  To give me an higher appellation still,
  Teach me a better strain, a nobler lay,
  O thou, enthron'd with Cherubs in the realms of day.


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