332 LIGHT AND TRUTH.
were (as we verily believe) written by Phillis, a young
African girl, who was, but a few years since, brought an
uncultivated barbarian from Africa, and has ever since
been, and now is, under the disadvantage of serving as
a slave in a family in this town. She has been examined
by the best judges, and is thought qualified to write
them." This certificate was signed by the existing
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts,
and bv all the most distinguished civilians and clergy of
Boston. Among the names is that of John Hancock, the
president ofthe first American Congress.
As the little volume of poems here referred to is, at
the present time, rarely to be met with, a few extracts
from it may be interesting to our readers, and will be
honorable to African genius.
Phillis evinces that her reading had been considerably-
extensive, for she often alludes to the classic writers of
antiquityr in a way which shows that she was not ignorant
of their works. The following allusion to the writings
of Homer is found in one of her poems:
While Homer paints, lo ! circumfused in air
Celestial gods in mortal forms appear;
Swift as they move hear each recess rebound,
Heav'n quakes, earth trembles, and the shores resound.
Great sire of verse, before my mortal eyes,
The lightning? blaze across the vaulted skies,
And as the thunder shakes the heavenly plains,
A deep-felt horror thrills through all my veins.
When gentle strains demand thy graceful song,
The length'ning line moves languishing alone
When great Pat.roclus courts Achilles" aid,
The grateful tribute of my tears is paid;
Prone on the shores he feels the pangs of love,
And stern Pdides' tend'rest passions move.
Though Phillis had doubtless read with satisfaction
Pope's translation of Homer, a work which is exceed¬
ingly rich in poetic imagery, yet the mythology and ex¬
ploits of the heathen were not the subjects on which she
delighted most to dwell. The following is the commence¬
ment of a poem on the death ofthe Rev Georo-e White-
field, written in 1770, when she was about fifteen years