Phillis Wheatley’s Christian upbringing played a key role in her success as a writer. By using religion as the main force in her poetry she was able to build a bridge between herself, an African slave, and her white audience. Her work shows life and society in a pious colonial America. Phillis’ work was strongly influenced by the promise of life after death, which made her poetry stand out. Twenty of her fifty five surviving poems are elegies written to comfort relatives with eternal life in heaven.

Wheatley also wrote about current political events such as the Stamp Act and was a supporter of the American independence. She wrote a poem to George Washington “To His Excellency, George Washington” in which she praises him for his heroism.

Main Works

“An Elegiac Poem On the Death of that celebrated Divine, and eminent Servant of Jesus Christ, the Reverend and Learned Mr. George Whitefield”

Hail, happy Saint, on thy immortal throne!
To thee complaints of grievance are unknown (Continue reading)

“An Address to the Atheist”

Muse! where shall I begin the spacious feild
To tell what curses unbeleif doth yeild?
Thou who dost daily feel his hand, and rod (Continue reading)

“An Address to the Deist”

Must Ethiopians be employ’d for you?
Much I rejoice if any good I do.
I ask O unbeleiver, Satan’s child  (Continue reading)


Where now shall I begin this Spacious field
To tell what curses unbelief both yield
Thou that dost daily feel his hand and rod—(Continue reading)

“On Messrs Hussey and Coffin”

Did Fear and Danger so perplex your Mind,
As made you fearful of the Whistling Wind?
Was it not Boreas knit his angry Brow (Continue reading)

“To His Excellency, General Washington”

Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light,
Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write.
While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms,(Continue reading)

“To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty”

Your subjects hope, dread Sire– The crown upon your brows may flourish long, And that your arm may in your God be strong!  (Continue reading)

“On The Death of Mr. Snider Murder’d By Richardson”

In heavens eternal court it was decreed
How the first martyr for the cause should bleed
To clear the country of the hated brood  (Continue reading)


New England first a wilderness was found
Till for a continent ’twas destin’d round
From feild to feild the savage monsters run  (Continue reading)

“To The Honble Commodore Hood on His Pardoning a Deserter”

It was thy noble soul and high desert
That caus’d these breathings of my grateful heart
You sav’d a soul from Pluto’s dreary shore  (Continue reading)

“To Mrs. Leonard on The Death of Her Husband”

GRIM Monarch! see depriv’d of vital breath,
A young Physician in the dust of death!
Dost thou go on incessant to destroy:  (Continue reading)

“On Friendship”

Let amicitia in her ample reign
Extend her notes to a Celestial strain
Benevolent far more divinely Bright


“Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral”

All 39 poems

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