Notes on Phyllis Wheatley

“A Hymn to the Morning”

  • a precursor to – as opposed to being part of – the Romantic genre
    • strict rhyme, end caesura, pattern in stanza-length
    • call on the muses, specifically Calliope
  • strong female presence
    • the maternal, comforting dawn, the morning sun
    • Aurora – the dawn goddess
    • the afternoon/full sun feels intrusive and male “I feel his fervid beams too strong, / and scarce begun, concludes the abortive song.”
    • woman as soft, magical, warm
    • man as fast, intrusive, hot
  • mysticism/magic/the sublime (?)
    • seen in the shadows of dawn
    • “all the thousands die” – talking about the stars, the power of dawn
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