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Analysis and comments on On The Death Of Dr. Samuel Marshall by Phillis Wheatley

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Comment 1 of 29, added on October 27th, 2005 at 1:51 PM.

On The Death Of Dr. Samuel Marshall

THROUGH thickest glooms look back, immortal
On that confusion which thy death has made:

She is telling the dead person to look back on his own life and see what
his death has done to others.

Or from Olympus' height look down, and see
A Town involv'd in grief bereft of thee.

Olympus is where the Greek gods live. It isn't where the human dead go in
Greek mythology but never mind that she is acting like that is what Olympus
is so lets go with it. So she is saying look down from heaven to the town
you are from and see the people there grieve for you.

Thy Lucy sees thee mingle with the dead,
And rends the graceful tresses from her head,

His wife Lucy sees that he is dead and is tearing her hair out in grief.

Wild in her woe, with grief unknown opprest
Sigh follows sigh deep heaving from her breast.

She is going nuts in her grief.

Too quickly fled, ah! whither art thou gone?

He died young and it wasn't expected.

Ah! lost for ever to thy wife and son!

He left a wife and son behind.

The hapless child, thine only hope and heir,
Clings round his mother's neck, and weeps his sorrows

His son is young and crying while hanging on to his mother.

The loss of thee on Tyler's soul returns,

I assume that his son's name is Tyler.

And Boston for her dear physician mourns.

He was a doctor in Boston and the town all misses him.

When sickness call'd for Marshall's healing hand,
With what compassion did his soul expand?

It seems he died because he was caring for the sick and caught what they
had and died from it. So he died because in an outbreak of disease he kept
treating the sick rather than running away from. When there were outbrakes
of plague, typhus, smallpox etc in the past before doctors knew what they
were doing and before vaccinations many would run rather than try to treat
the sick. Since trying to treat them would most likely mean their own

In him we found the father and the friend:

To his son he was a father to everyone else a good friend.

In life how lov'd! how honour'd in his end!

Everyone loved him and everyone now misses him.

And must not then our AEsculapius stay
To bring his ling'ring infant into day?

She is saying that he should have been allowed to live to raise his son as
he has earned that right as the towns healer. AEsculapius is the Greek
demi god of healing. AEsculapius was worshiped by the Greek and Roman
doctors. When AEsculapius died he was no longer a mortal and was elevated
to being one of the gods she is saying that this man as a doctor has earned
that right just as AEsculapius did because of his healing.

Hippocrates the Greek doctor was a follower of AEsculapius. You have heard
of the Hippocratic oath? All doctors take it even today. It says "first
do no harm". All the early Greek and Roman Doctors were followers of
AEsculapius. You learned to be a doctor at a Temple of AEsculapius and
such temples were hospitals as well. When the Roman empire became
Christian those temples were converted to being churches for various
healing saints. Most still stayed as functioning hospitals for a time as

Hippocrates wrote extensively on his methods as did the Roman Doctor Galen.
Galen could perform Brain surgery and remove cataracts and wrote about his
methods in detail. If you had a choice between being treated by Galen and
being treated by any doctor between the time of the fall of Rome until
before the American Civil war you would do well to choose Galen. Galen had
a clue doctors from the time of the fall of Rome until the American Civil
war were just guessing. Some still are just guessing if you ask me. For
centuries they followed what Galen did but only from bad fragmented
translations of his works. They didn't fully understand Galen because none
of them had a full translation of all his works and wrote hundreds of
books. He wrote more than many doctors do today. Those few doctors who
bother to read all his works realize immediately that Galen knew a hell of
a lot more than they all though he did. So that means that all the other
Greek and Roman doctors all followers of AEsculapius also knew a lot more
than people gave them credit for.

The symbol of medicine today is one or two winged snake(s) wound around on
a pole. That is called the Caduceus. The story is that Apollo a full
Greek god of healing, the sun, music and archery mated with a moral. The
child produced was Aesculapius (he lived as a mortal) who learned so much
about healing he could raise the dead. The gods struck him dead for it
because that went against nature and indeed against their edict to not do

But they then raised him up again to be one of them (on the condition that
he no longer raise the dead) and Apollo gave him the Caduceus the symbol of
healing. In the same way that Catholics today will pray to a patron saint
of this or that rather than to god the ancient Greeks and Romans would pray
to AEsculapius rather than Apollo for healing.

Many half god/half mortals were important heroes in ancient Greece and some
like AEsculapius and Hercules became full gods when they died. This is why
the Greeks and the Romans were so accepting of Jesus being the son of God
to them it was normal and they had many such people. And many of them did
things we would not call so heroic but ended up as gods when they died
anyway. Hercules once killed his wife and kids in a fit of rage brought on
by his step mother Hera (a goddess and wife of his father, king of the gods
Zeus she was pissed at Hercules for even existing because his existence
proved her husbands infidelity). To atone for it he had to do his 12
labors. When he finished them he earned the rite to become a god. So
Jesus's failings and shortcomings while they would offend a Jew who knew
about him they would not offend the Greeks and Romans who believed you
could atone for them and in the process become a god. Early Greek and
Roman burials for early Christians would have depictions of both that fish
symbol for Christianity and depictions of Hercules or AEsculapius as well.
They didn't make a bright line between the Greek and Roman gods and Jesus
like we do today. Not until centuries later. Trust me early Christians
were nothing like people think they were.

Many Roman Emperors claimed divine decent. Julius Cesar claimed to be
descendent of Venus. Cleopatra VII his lover claimed to be descended from
the Egyptian goddess Isis. Isis was a goddess of magic and healing since
she did raise her husband Osiris from the dead even putting his body back
together after crocodiles at him. This why the Egyptians accepted Jesus so
much coming back from the dead and the promise of an afterlife was already
important to their religion. This was exported all across the Roman empire
after Cleopatra VII died and Egypt became part of the Roman empire.
Temples to Isis were all over the empire including even England. The
incense churches use today is the same pine tree incense that the temples
of Isis used and planted all across the Roman empire.

She is calling this dead doctor the towns AEsculapius in other words the
towns healer. By the way old hospitals in Greek and Roman times were
temples to AEsculapius. Even the place called Bethesda in Jerusalem where
Jesus healed the sick was a temple to AEsculapius that the Romans built
there. It was a pool of water that supposedly had healing powers. Many
such temples were built near such waters. Today when we analyze such
waters many of them have high mineral contents. Some even have high levels
of Lithium. Lithium is used to treat bi polar disorder and it might have
actually helped people with that disorder in ancient times. Building a
temple to AEscuapius in Jerusalem on a spot that the Jews had been going to
and praying to god for healing for years of course really pissed off the
Jews since it was a pagan temple. Jesus going there to heal the sick who
were asking a pagan god for healing would also piss off the Jews. You
won't learn that from a Theology major only from a history major like me.
Even today's Jews have forgotten about the temple to AEscuapius at Bethesda
and act like the caduceus was their symbol first. It actually originated
with the Persians and their astrology and made its way to the Greeks. The
Jewish adoption of the zodiac signs is a pagan import that they forgot is a
pagan import. I even see it today on a Jewish synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
I asked Aunt Mary about it and she thinks it is an old Jewish symbol I know
it is not. Today the best military hospital in the USA in Washington D.C.
is called Bethesda. It is going to be closed soon because Bush is an

The babe unborn in the dark womb is tost,
And seems in anguish for its father lost.

Even worse than leaving his wife and son behind he has left a pregnant wife
and a already born son behind. She is saying that the unborn child is also
morning. That may be his mothers hormones could affect the unborn child.

Gone is Apollo from his house of earth,
But leaves the sweet memorials of his worth:

As I said Apollo is a full god and the main god of healing. So she is
saying that the doctor is dead and comparing him to Apollo saying Apollo is
gone. But that people remember this dead doctor because he was a good man
and a good doctor.

The common parent, whom we all deplore,
From yonder world unseen must come no more,

We are all subject to death and must answer to it even though we don't like

Yet 'midst our woes immortal hopes attend
The spouse, the sire, the universal friend.

Your hopes for immortality rest only on your children passing on your line
to the next generation. Pathetic to me but very real to most people.
Personally I think many people are such assholes that the best thing they
can do for humanity is not have children. Bush's father is one such person
to me since the entire world would be better off if he didn't have children
but it is too late for that.

Phillis Wheatley

Oh, one more thing. St. Luke an apostle of Jesus was a physician. That
means he spoke and could read and write Greek (Greek was the language of
the eastern half of the Roman Empire Latin the western half) possibly Latin
as well and had attended and learned at a temple of AEsculapius. Why does
that matter? Well, it makes St. Luke a bad Jew. In the same way St Thomas
who was a tax collector for the Romans was a bad Jew.

Today all Christian sects and even the Jews recognize that Jesus hung out
with bad Jews like St. Thomas, the sick, blind, deaf, lamb and prostitutes
that could not worship fully at the Jewish temple because illness was seen
as being punishment from God and thus not disease but a sin you committed
and collecting Taxes for the Romans made you a collaborator and of course
being a prostitute made you sinful. Jesus was saying that your sins no
matter what they were are forgiven. Every time he healed someone he was
slapping the High Priest and the Sanhedren in the face because he would say
"Your sins are forgiven" This was against the teachings of the established
High Priest and Rabbis of the time only they could forgive your sins at the
temple and since these sinners were not allowed to enter the temple they
could not gain forgiveness. So Jesus would walk among them and heal and
thus forgive them wherever they were. His going berserk in the temple and
turning over the money changers tables was very much a political act going
against the power of the temple in accepting money for who is forgiven and
who is not based on the arbitrary rules of what is or is not a sin. So
when I say that I disagree with what the Pope says I have standing based on
what Jesus did. In fact I find it hard to believe that you can be a good
Christian at all and follow the Pope the way people do like sheep and the
very corrupt way that Jews followed the High Priest (appointed by Rome not
by the Jews themselves) that Jesus was protesting against. Anyone with
half a brain will realize we are following our religious leaders in ways
that Jesus was against. It is the heart of his message to not do that.

In any event it is lost on non historians today that St. Luke was also
considered a bad Jew by the Jews of the time because to learn to be a
doctor he had to learn at a pagan temple. The Jews didn't like that but
many of them did that or went to temples of AEsculapius for healing since
the Roman doctors or Jews trained by the Romans actually knew what the hell
they were doing. If you went to a Rabbi he might pray for you but didn't
know what to do and if you stayed sick he could bar you from full
participation in Jewish religion because he would say you are a sinner and
being punished for your sins. Just as having St. Thomas as an apostle was
a slap in the face for the Jewish establishment having St. Luke as one was
a slap in the face as well. Today most common IDIOTs don't know that. And
the Christian Churches aren't going to tell you it nor are Jews since a lot
of them are doctors today. Most of them are of course also idiots and
don't even know this. But the fact is just to be a doctor and a Jew in the
first century meant you weren't a good Jew. The Jews today forget that and
act like that didn't happen but it did.

Think of it like if today and you are a biology teacher wanting to teach
evolution and some right wing Christian nut job wants you to teach
creationism or intelligent design. The Greek and Roman doctors were in the
same position starting to understand medicine and science but yet sounded
by idiots wanting to only pray to God for healing and not even do the most
basic medical care or learn about it.

Of course many temples of AEsculapius were converted to churches for St.
Luke when the Roman Empire became Christian. What Historians find so funny
about that is St. Luke had to learn at a temple of AEsculapius to begin
with. We think Jews always were the best doctors but in the ancient world
it was the Greco Roman doctors. Good Jews may have went to St. Luke for
healing but they wouldn't have advertised it and though they would have
paid him well they would not be having him over for seder supper or sitting
next to him in the synagogue. It's hard to believe today but St. Luke
would have been as disliked by pious Jews as a prostitute or a tax
collector. But they couldn't live without him and would go to him before
going to a fully pagan doctor. It shouldn't be lost on you by now that
many historians wonder if Jesus was actually an AEsculapius temple trained
doctor himself since so much of what he did was healing the sick.
Something he wasn't going to learn at rabbinical school not by a long shot.
Today Jews think a good Jew can be a doctor 2,000 years ago that wasn't
the case at all.

Boogieman from United States

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Information about On The Death Of Dr. Samuel Marshall

Poet: Phillis Wheatley
Poem: On The Death Of Dr. Samuel Marshall
Added: May 25 2005
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