CHURCH REVIEW 423
nations. Let us discover our own poets instead of wait-
ing for other men to recognize them.
Again, by encouraging the muse of poetry we shall
confer all inestimable blessing upon the rising genera-
tion, for the life of any nation is moulded largely by its
literature. Thus the Israelites were inspired by the
song of Miriam to give gladsome praise to Jehovah, and
the ancient Greeks by Homer, to those deedsof valor
that have won them fame that will never die. Thus
was Scotland thrilled by the passionate lays of Burns,
"The Ploughman Poet," England by Shakespeare and
Tennyson, Italy by Dante, and America by that brave
galaxy known and revered wherever civilized man is
found--Whittier, Longfellow, Lowell, Bryant and
Holmes. It is my purpose to notice briefly the Afro-
American men and women who have written verses that
may truthfully be designated as poetry.
The first to break the silence of African bondage was
the gifted slave poetess, Phyllis Wheatley, who was,
contrary to the custom of the times, well educated by
her mistress, receiving more training in the classics than
did Whittier, New England's bard. Phyllis wrote a
book of poems that attracted attention both in the Old
World and the New. One of her poems addressed to
General George Washington elicited that great man's
warm approval. A specimen of this poet's style may
be seen in a poem entitled "A Hymn to Morning."
"Attend my lays, ye ever honored nine,
Assist my labors and my strains refine;
In smoothest numbers pour the notes along,
For bright Aurora now demands my song.
Aurora, hail! And all the thousand dyes
Which deck thy progress through the vaulted skies!
The morn awakes and wide extends her rays;
On every leaf the gentle zephyr plays,