An Inverted Sentence in Phillis Wheatley’s “On Imagination”

which rhyming couplet from phillis wheatley’s “on imagination” contains an inverted sentence?

Phillis Wheatley, the pioneering African-American poet, left an indelible mark on American literature with her eloquent and thought-provoking poetry. Among her notable works is “On Imagination,” a poem that celebrates the power of imagination. Within this poem, Wheatley employs various poetic techniques to convey her message, including the use of inverted sentences in a rhyming couplet. In this article, we will explore Wheatley’s remarkable use of inversion and its impact on the poem.

Understanding Phillis Wheatley’s “On Imagination”:

Phillis Wheatley’s “On Imagination” is a short, contemplative poem that explores the boundless creativity of the human mind. Written during a time when African-American voices were rarely heard in literature, Wheatley’s poem is a testament to her intellectual prowess and poetic skill. The poem consists of ten rhyming couplets, each containing two lines that rhyme, creating a musical and rhythmic quality to her verses.

Identifying the Inverted Sentence:

Inversion in literature occurs when the typical word order of a sentence is reversed for stylistic or rhetorical purposes. It can emphasize certain words or create a more poetic or dramatic effect. The inverted sentence in “On Imagination” is found in the ninth rhyming couplet:

Original Sentence: “But ceas’d the heavenly music of the spheres,”

Inverted Sentence: “Ceas’d the heavenly music of the spheres, but…”

Analysis of the Inverted Sentence:

By inverting the sentence structure in this couplet, Wheatley draws attention to the cessation of the “heavenly music of the spheres.” This inversion serves to emphasize the moment when the celestial music stops, as if time momentarily stands still. The choice to place “Ceas’d” at the beginning of the sentence gives it prominence and highlights the interruption of something divine and beautiful.

The celestial music of the spheres was a concept borrowed from ancient Greek and Roman cosmology, where each celestial body, including the planets, produced a unique, harmonious sound as they moved through the heavens. Wheatley’s use of inversion in this couplet underscores the significance of this celestial music and the awe it inspires in the reader.


Phillis Wheatley’s “On Imagination” is a testament to her poetic talent and her ability to use literary techniques effectively to convey her message. The use of inversion in the ninth rhyming couplet serves to emphasize the cessation of the “heavenly music of the spheres,” drawing attention to the moment when imagination, symbolized by the celestial music, is momentarily interrupted. It is through such poetic devices that Wheatley’s poetry continues to inspire and captivate readers, reminding us of her enduring contribution to American literature and her ability to craft profound and beautiful verses.

Chris Franco

Chris Frango is a highly accomplished owner and writer in the dynamic world of sports, gambling, and gaming. With an unwavering passion for these industries, Chris has carved out a niche for himself as a respected authority, delivering engaging content that captivates readers worldwide. As the owner of a popular news website, Chris has demonstrated exceptional leadership and entrepreneurial skills. His visionary approach has transformed his platform into a go-to destination for enthusiasts seeking comprehensive coverage, expert analysis, and insightful commentary on the latest developments in sports, gambling, and gaming. Chris's journey into the realm of sports, gambling, and gaming began at a young age when he discovered his insatiable curiosity for these captivating arenas. Fuelled by this passion, he embarked on an academic path that allowed him to acquire a deep understanding of the inner workings of these industries. Armed with extensive knowledge, Chris dived into the world of writing, channeling his expertise into engaging narratives that resonate with his readers. With a keen eye for emerging trends and a commitment to delivering accurate information, Chris has earned a reputation as a trusted source for industry updates and analysis. His articles offer invaluable insights into the ever-evolving landscape of sports, gambling, and gaming, catering to both casual enthusiasts and seasoned professionals alike. Beyond his exceptional writing skills, Chris's personable approach and commitment to authenticity set him apart. He recognizes the importance of fostering a genuine connection with his audience, and he continuously strives to build a community that shares his passion and values. In addition to his professional endeavors, Chris actively participates in industry events and conferences, where he engages with industry leaders and expands his network. This constant engagement ensures that he stays at the forefront of the latest developments, enabling him to deliver up-to-date and cutting-edge content to his readers. Chris Frango's dedication to his craft, combined with his entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering passion, has positioned him as a trailblazer in the world of sports, gambling, and gaming journalism. As he continues to lead his news website to new heights, he remains committed to providing his readers with compelling stories, insightful analysis, and a glimpse into the exciting future of these vibrant industries.

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