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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

September 30

On the Death of The Rev. George Whitefield

By Phillis Wheatley (1753–1784)

  • An English clergyman, one of the founders of Methodism. He made several visits to America, during one of which he died, on Sept. 30, 1770. This poem is interesting chiefly on account of its author, Phillis Wheatley, who was a slave in the family of Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston, by whom she was bought on her arrival in that place from Africa. She was taught to read and write, which she learned very quickly and composed several poems which compare favorably with much of the verse of that day. See full text.

  • HAIL, happy saint, on thine immortal throne,

    Possest of glory, life, and bliss unknown.

    We hear no more the music of thy tongue,

    Thy wonted auditories cease to throng.

    Thy sermons in unequalled accents flowed,

    And every bosom with devotion glowed;

    Thou didst, in strains of eloquence refined

    Inflame the heart, and captivate the mind.

    Unhappy, we the setting sun deplore,

    So glorious once, but ah! it shines no more.


    But tho’ arrested by the hand of death,

    Whitefield no more exerts his laboring breath;

    Yet let us view him in th’ eternal skies,

    Let every heart to this bright vision rise;

    While the tomb safe retains its sacred trust,

    Till life divine re-animates his dust.