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About this Poem 

“An Hymn to the Evening” was published in The Poems of Phillis Wheatley (R. R. and C. C. Wright, 1909).

An Hymn to the Evening

Soon as the sun forsook the eastern main
The pealing thunder shook the heav’nly plain;
Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr’s wing,
Exhales the incense of the blooming spring,
Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes,
And through the air their mingled music floats.
   Through all the heav’ns what beauteous dies are spread!
But the west glories in the deepest red:
So may our breasts with every virtue glow,
The living temples of our God below!
   Fill’d with the praise of him who gives the light,
And draws the sable curtains of the night,
Let placid slumbers soothe each weary mind,
At morn to wake more heav’nly, more refin’d;
So shall the labors of the day begin
More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.
   Night’s leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes,
Then cease, my song, till fair Aurora rise.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 2, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 2, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley

Born around 1753, Phillis Wheatley was the first black poet in America to publish a book.

by this poet

poem

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

poem
              I.

Adieu, New-England's smiling meads,
   Adieu, th' flow'ry plain:
I leave thine op'ning charms, O spring,
   And tempt the roaring main.

              II.

In vain for me the flow'rets rise,
   And boast their gaudy pride,
While here beneath the northern skies
   I mourn for health deny'd
poem

To show the lab’ring bosom’s deep intent,
And thought in living characters to paint,
When first thy pencil did those beauties give,
And breathing figures learnt from thee to live,
How did those prospects give my soul delight,
A new creation rushing on my sight?
Still, wond’rous youth!