The poet takes us through a journey. Like we can see a world we have never been to. Her poems, though insightful and meaningful, have some dark thought behind them, which I don not mind that much. I hope Ms.Wheatley knew how exquisite her poems were.
Some think this poem 'On Imagination' has an underlying meaning concerning the abilities of slaves to learn and excel in creative subjects just as well as the white race. Maybe so. It certainly can be read in that vein. Like Imagination! Who can sing thy force? could be asking who cannot be inspired to create? There is a force in this poem called Winter that discourages imagination. Winter could be seen as the white man who rips the ability to read out of black hands as well as the ability to write which pretty much freezes imagination to the ephemeral oral transmission of thoughts.
‘Tithonus is based on a classical fable.
Aurora, the goddess of Dawn, fell in
love with a handsome youth, Tithonus
by name. At the request of the
goddess, Zeus allowed the gift of
immortality on Tithonus. The goddess,
however, forgot to ask for the
perpetuation of her lover’s youth and
beauty. With the passage of time
Tithonus grew frightfully old and
enfeebled, so much so that his goddess
take back her gift and let him die, but
Aurora was helpless, as even, “gods
themselves can not recall their gifts”
Enthusiastically a brilliant and lovely write. During the age of slavery She was having such divine and profound thoughts. Filled my heart with cascading pleasures.
MY HEAD BOWS BEFORE THE DIVINE GESTURE.
The poem, On Imagination by Phillis Wheatley, is testament to the patronage and support of the ‘Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and helped encourage her poetry.’ A higher education is evident in every line. Phillis displays knowledge of subjects including philosophy, biology ‘Fair Flora’, astronomy ‘the rolling universe behind: From star to star the mental optics rove, Measure the skies, ’ and especially classical literature. ‘From Helicon's refulgent heights attend’ begins the plea to ‘Ye sacred choir, and my attempts befriend: To tell her glories with a faithful tongue’; is Phillis proclaiming her ardent desire to get her facts and the song of her poem right. ‘Sylvanus’ ‘in Roman religion (was) an ancient pastoral deity, protector of uncultivated lands.’ This is exactly the context within which Phillis references him. The names ‘Tithon’ and ‘Aurora’ are also pure classical imagery and probably also alludes to Tennyson’s poem ‘Tithon’. To quote directly from 'Literature is the source of Human real trace' in an attempt to prove Phillis Wheatley’s exact meaning.
‘Tithonus is based on a classical fable. Aurora, the goddess of Dawn, fell in love with a handsome youth, Tithonus by name. At the request of the goddess, Zeus allowed the gift of immortality on Tithonus. The goddess, however, forgot to ask for the perpetuation of her lover’s youth and beauty. With the passage of time Tithonus grew frightfully old and enfeebled, so much so that his goddess take back her gift and let him die, but Aurora was helpless, as even, “gods themselves can not recall their gifts”
Tithonus is immortal but as he is rapidly growing old he laments over his fate. All other objects ripen, decay and fall. But he is to hover for ever like a shadow over the Eastern Horizen in the hands of his ‘lover’ Aurora.
Wheatley wrote ‘From Tithon's bed now might Aurora rise, Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies, ' seems to mean exactly what the fable states, the shadow of Tithonus’ within the dawn of Aurora at the start of each day. Wheatley has written an exceptionally beautiful and complexly detailed poem.
The depiction of the fancy of imagination is endless in scope in this poem! Indeed the force and course cannot be measured by any means! The flight of fancy reveals the full power of imagination and can be realised well by those indulging in imagination!
Phillis Wheatley is one of the most remarkable figures in literature. Reading this poem you might imagine her to have been a well-educated European lady. She was in fact an almost entirely self-educated American black slave, though she was freed following the death of her mistress, Mrs Wheatley. Her life is as interesting as her work and she became something of a celebrity, even traveling to England, though it ended in tragic circumstances at an early age.Her writing is in faultless, classical style but it is fascinating to consider what she might have produced had she lived to read the works of the Romantic revolution.
I wish that Phillis Wheatley had lived to a ripe old age, and that she could have had an opportunity to examine and write more about her early life, slavery, and her experiences in life. What a wonderful mind and imagination she must certainly have had.