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Religious Empathy By Blake And Cowper

998 words - 4 pages

In the 18th century, African Americans were mostly slaves. They were treated like the property of whites and had very few rights. However not all whites were for slavery. Two white English writers who created a Black persona to write poems supporting abolition were William Blake, in The Little Black Boy, and William Cowper, in The Negro’s Complaint. In 1788, William Cowper wrote The Negro’s Complaint in support of the ending of the trade in slaves. The poem is criticizes slavery how horrible slavery really was. William Blake's The Little Black Boy is from Songs of Innocence and was published in 1789. The poem is about a little Black boy’s struggle with his identity. At this time in ...view middle of the document...

This poem is an abolitionist poem. The poem basically says that all people are loved by God. It may even consider that black people are even closer to God because he is the sun and their skin can bare the heat. Blake writes, in the poem “When I from black and he from white cloud free, And round the tent of God like lambs we joy” the quote from the poem is saying that all people will eventually be free of their bodies and will go to heaven where we are all equals. During the time the poem was written, some Christians believed that black people would not go to heaven, so Blake is taking a stand on equality here by saying that everyone will go to heaven. In a way Blake makes the black man somewhat of a sacrifice for the white skin that cannot bare the sun’s rays. The poem definitely gives a moral understanding that slavery is bad.
The poem The Negro's Complaint was written in 1778 by William Cowper. Peoples view on this poem was very controversial back then. The poems main attention is on a slaves and how they were treated. Cowper’s black voice speaks about how they were forced from home in Africa and had to leave everything behind. Only to be given to a complete slave master. William Cowper's poem The Negro's Complaint raises ethical questions by showing the absurdity in enslaving a race with same feelings as the whites. It is ridiculous to exclude people because of their skin color. In the close of the poem the narrator asks his captors to look inside themselves and find their own feelings before questioning the slave’s emotions. Religion comes into play when the speaker asks; “is there, as ye sometimes tell us, is there One who reigns on high?...

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