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“Improve your privileges while they stay . . .”

November 12, 2009

Improve your privileges while they stay,
Ye pupils, and each hour redeem, that bears
Or good or bad report of you to heav’n.
Let sin, that baneful evil to the soul,
By you be shunn’d, nor once remit your guard;
Suppress the deadly serpent in its egg.
Ye blooming plants of human race divine,
An Ethiop tells you ’tis your greatest foe;
Its transient sweetness turns to endless pain,
And in immense perdition sinks the soul.

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley, 1773.  From University of South Carolina University Libraries.  Original image here.

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