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Allusion in To His Excellency General Washington

Allusion Examples in To His Excellency General Washington:

Text of the Poem

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"Fix’d are the eyes of the nations on the scales,..."   (Text of the Poem)

Wheatley’s speaker imagines the Revolutionary War as a spectacle put on for the world. The spectacle is conceptualized as the act of weighing the two warring sides on a set of scales. Literally speaking, while scales are a tool in economic dealings, they are also an ancient metaphor for justice. In classical mythology, the goddesses Justicia and Themis represented justice and were depicted holding a set of scales. The figure two lines later of Britannia “droop[ing] the pensive head” subtly conveys the weighty descent of one side of the scales.

"Eolus heaven’s fair face deforms,..."   (Text of the Poem)

Eolus, often written as “Aeolus,” is the ancient Greek god of the wind. Aeolus was characterized as a figure whose breath determined the course of the earth’s wind and weather, including “tempests and a night of storms.”

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