FOR ALL AGES

17 Phillis Wheatley Quotes From The First African-American To Publish Poems

Phillis Wheatley quotes to open up the mind

With her original birthplace in West Africa, Phillis Wheatley is acclaimed to be the first African-American woman writer who raised her voice against the evils of slavery and bondage.

At the tender age of seven, Phillis was sold off to the family of Wheatley where, unlike most of the slaves who were treated with contempt and hostility, she was taught to read and write. This marked the beginning of her literary exuberance.

Not only was Phillis Wheatley taught to read and write, but she was also encouraged to pursue the path of poetry. She lived with the family in Boston and excelled in her field with each passing day, earning praise for her poetry from eminent personalities. After her poetry got published, her hard work paid off with her emancipation. Nevertheless, despite fighting all the odds, the African-American poet ended up in destitution and ultimately died at the very young age of 31. Although the poet lived for a short span, what little of her poetry that was published outlived her and generated a widespread impact throughout the world. Check out these Phillis Wheatley famous quotes, quotes about work Phillis Wheatley, Phillis Wheatley quotes on spirituality and religious beliefs, and other such enlightening quotations.

If you like these Phillis Wheatley quotes then don't miss out Emily Dickinson quotes and Elizabeth Barrett quotes.

Best Phillis Wheatley Quotes

Famous for being the first African-American female writer to having her poetry published in the land of enslavement, she set great examples for the future female writers living in colonies. Here are some of the best quotations extracted from some published writings of the great African-American poet.

1. "The world is a severe schoolmaster, for its frowns are less dangerous than its smiles and flatteries, and it is a difficult task to keep in the path of wisdom."

― Phillis Wheatley.

2. “On Virtue

O thou bright jewel in my aim I strive

To comprehend thee.”

― Phillis Wheatley, ‘On Virtue’.

3. "While blooming wreaths around thy temples spread,

I'll snatch a laurel from thine honour'd head,

While you indulgent smile upon the deed."

- Phillis Wheatley, 'To Mæcenas'.

4. “Through thickest gloom look back, immortal shade,

On that confusion which thy death has made.”

― Phillis Wheatley, 'Complete Writings'.

5. "Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr’s wing,

Exhales the incense of the blooming spring."

- Phillis Wheatley, 'An Hymn to the Evening'.

6. "Imagination! who can sing thy force?

Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?"

- Phillis Wheatley, 'On Imagination'.

7. "For nobler themes demand a nobler strain,

And purer language on th’ ethereal plain."

- Phillis Wheatley, 'To S. M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing His Works'.

8. "Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side Thy every action let the goddess guide."

― Phillis Wheatley, ‘His Excellency General Washington’.

Phillis Wheatley Quotes On Slavery

Phillis Wheatley quotes are all about breaking away from enslavement.

Although Phillis Wheatley was the first one to start the tradition of writing poetry, she has continued to be a major source of inspiration since her time. Her first publication brought her fame and acknowledgment. Here are some of the musings from the poet who taught the masses about the ills of slavery.

9. "By her unveil'd each horrid crime appears, Her awful hand a cup of wormwood bears. Days, years mispent, O what a hell of woe! Hers the worst tortures that our souls can know.”

- Phillis Wheatley, 'On Recollection'.

10. "'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,

Taught my benighted soul to understand

That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too."

- Phillis Wheatley, 'On Being Brought from Africa to America'.

11. "No longer shall thou dread the iron chain,

Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand

Had made, and with it meant t’enslave the land."

- Phillis Wheatley.

12. "Freed from a world of sin, and snares, and pain,

Why would you wish your daughter back again?"

- Phillis Wheatley, 'On the Death of a Young Lady of Five Years of Age'.

13. "Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.

Some view our sable race with scornful eye,

'Their colour is a diabolic die.'"

- Phillis Wheatley, 'On Being Brought from Africa to America'.

14. "I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate

Was snatch’d from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat."

- Phillis Wheatley, 'To the Right Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth'.

15. "Her soul with grief opprest

But let no sighs, no groans for me

Steal from her pensive breast."

- Phillis Wheatley, 'A Farewell to America'.

16. "Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,

May be refin'd and join th' angelic train."

― Phillis Wheatley, 'On Being Brought from Africa to America'.

17. "Hold in bondage Afric: blameless race

Let virtue reign and then accord our prayers

Be victory ours and generous freedom theirs.”

- Phillis Wheatley.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Phillis Wheatley quotes then why not take a look at Langston Hughes quotes, or Rupi Kaur quotes.

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