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Endu'd with reason only to descry
Points, which, unless the Scripture made them plair His crimes and follies with an aching eye; The wisest heads might agitaie in vain. With passions, just that he may prove, with pain, O thou, whom, borne on fancy's eager wing The force he spends against their fury vain; Back to the season of life's happy spring, And if, soon after having burnt, by turns,
I pleas'd remember, and, while Mem'ry yet
Truths, that the learn'd pursue with eager thought, I name thee not, lest so despis’d a name
That mingles all my brown with suber grey,
"T' were well with most, if books, that could engage With such a lustre, he that runs may read. Their childhood, pleas'd them at a riper age; "Tis true that, if to trifle lise away
The man, approving what had charm'd the boy, Down to the sun-set of their latest day,
Would die at last in comfort, peace, and joy; Then perish on futurity's wide shore
And not with curses on his heart, who stole
The gem of truth from his unguarded soul.
By kind tuition on his yielding breast,
And, warp'd into the labyrinth of lies, But reason heard, and Nature well perus'd, That babblers, call'd philosophers, devise, At once the dreaming mind is disabus d.
Blasphemes his creed, as founded on a plan, If all we find possessing earth, sea, air,
Replete with dreams, unworthy of a man. Reflect his attributes, who plac'd them there, Touch but his nature in its ailing part, Fulfil the purpose, and appear design'd
Assert the native evil of his heart, Proofs of the wisdom of th' all-seeing mind, His pride resents the charge, although the proof "Tis plain the creature, whom he chose t’invest Rise in his forehead, and seem rank enough: With kingship and dominion o'er the rest,
Point to the cure, describe a Savior's cross Received his nobler nature, and was made
As God's expedient to retrieve his loss, Fit for the power, in which he stands array'd; The young apostate sickens at the view, That first, or last, hereafier, if not here,
And hates it with the malice of a Jew. He, too, might make his author's wisdom clear, How weak the barrier of mere Nature proves, Praise him on Earth, or, obstinately dumb,
Oppos'd against the pleasures Nature loves !
While self-betray'd, and wilfully undone,
Try now the merits of this blest exchange
of modest truth for wit's eccentric range. Betimes into the mould of heav'nly truth,
Time was, he clos'd as he began the day,
The practice was a bond upon his heart,
Nor could he dare presumptuously displease
A pow'r, confessd so lately on his knees. Or, guilty, soon relenting into lears.
But now, farewell all legendary tales, Too careless ofien, as our years proceed,
The shadows sy, philosophy prevails; What friends we sort with, or what books we read, Pray'r to the winds, and caution to the waves; Our parents yet exert a prudent care,
Religion makes the free by nature slaves. To feed our infant minds with proper fare ;
Priests have invenied, and the World admir'd
What knavish priests promulgate as inspird ;
Resumes her pow'rs, and spurns the clumsy fraud Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn,
And, common-sense diffusing real day, A book (to please us al a tender age
The meieor of the Gospel dies away. "Tis call'd a book, though but a single page) Such rhapsodies our shrewd discerning youih Presents the pray'r the Savior deign'd to teach, Learn froin expert inquirers after truth; Which children use, and parsons when they Whose only care, might Truth presume to speal, preach.
Is not to find what they profess to seek. Lisping our syllables, we scramble next
And thus, well-tutor d only while we share
A mother's lectures and a nurse's care ;
Our early notices of truth, disgrac'd,
Elisha's eye, that, when Gehazi stray'd, Soon lose their credit, and are all effac'd.
Went with him, and saw all the game he play'd ? Would you your son should be a sot or dunce, Yes-ye are conscious; and on all the shelves Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at once ; Your pupils strike upon, have struck yourselves. That in good time the stripling's finish'd taste Or if, by nature sober, ye had then, For loose expense, and fashionable waste, Boys as ye were, the gravity of men; Should prove your ruin, and his own at last ; Ye knew at least, by constant proofs address'd Train him in public with a mob of boys,
To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest. Childish in mischief only and in noise,
But ye connive at what ye cannot cure, Else of a mannish growth, and five in ten
And evils, not to be endur'd, endure, In infidelity and lewdness men.
Lest pow'r exerted, but without success, There shall he learn, ere sixteen winters old, Should make the little ye retain still less. That authors are most useful pawn'd or sold; Ye once were justly fam'd for bringing forth That pedantry is all that schools impart,
Undoubted scholarship and genuine worth; But taverns teach the knowledge of the heart; And in the firmament of fame still shines There waiter Dick, with Bacchanalian lays, A glory, bright as that of all the signs, Shall win his heart, and have his drunken praise, of poets rais'd by you, and statesmen, and divines. His counsellor and bosom-friend shall prove, Peace to them all! those brilliant times are fled, And some street-pacing harlot his first love. And no such lights are kindling in their stead ; Schools, unless discipline were doubly strong, Our striplings shine indeed, but with such rays Detain their adolescent charge too long;
As set the midnight riot in a blaze; The management of tyroes of eighteen
And seem, if judg’d by their expressive looks, Is difficult, their punishment obscene.
Deeper in none than in their surgeons' books. The stout tall captain, whose superior size
Say, Muse, (for education made the song, The minor heroes view with envious eyes, No Muse can hesitate, or linger long.) Becomes their pattern, upon whom they fix What causes move us, knowing as we must, Their whole attention, and ape all his tricks. That these menageries all fail their trust, His pride, that scorns t'obey or to submit, To send our sons to scout and scamper there, With them is courage; his effrontry, wit.
While colts and puppies cost us so much care? His wild excursions, window-breaking feats,
Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise, Robb’ry of gardens, quarrels in the streets, We love the play-place of our early days; His hairbreadth 'scapes, and all his daring schemes, The scene is touching, and the heart is stone, Transport them, and are made their fav’rite themes. That feels not at that sight, and feels at none. In little bosoms such achievements strike The wall on which we tried our graving skill, A kindred spark: they burn to do the like. The very name we carv'd subsisting still; Thus, balf-accomplish'd ere he yet begin
The bench on which we sat while deep employ'd, To show the peeping down upon his chin; Though mangled, hack’d, and hew'd, not yet destroy'd And, as maturity of years comes on,
The little ones, unbutton'd, glowing hot,
As happy as we once, to kneel and draw
Or drive it devious with a dextrous pat;
The pleasing spectacle at once excites
This fond attachment to the well-known place Nor gambling practices, can find it out.
Whence first we started into life's long race, Such youths of spirit, and that spirit too, Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway, Ye nurs’ries of our boys, we owe to you:
We feel it ev'n in age, and at our latest day. Though from ourselves the mischief more proceeds, Hark! how the sire of chits, whose future share For public schools 'tis public folly feeds.
of classic food begins to be his care, The slaves of custom and establish'd mode, With his own likeness plac'd on either knee, With pack-horse constancy we keep the road, Indulges all a father's heart-felt glee; Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells, And tells them, as he strokes their silver locks, True to the jingling of our leader's bells.
That they must soon learn Latin, and to box; To follow foolish precedents, and wink
Then turning he regales his list'ning wife With both our eyes, is easier than to think : With all th' adventures of his early life: And such an age as ours balks no expense, His skill in coachmanship, or driving chaise, Except of caution, and of common sense; In bilking tavern-bills, and spouting plays; Else, sure, notorious fact, and proof so plain, What shifts he us'd, detected in a scrape, Would turn our steps into a wiser train.
How he was flogg'd, or had the luck i' escape;
Retracing thus his frolics, ('tis a name
Resolves that, where he play'd, his sons shall play,
And destines their bright genius to be shown Pressid on his part by means, that would disgrace
In sacrilege, in God's own house profan'd.
The wretch shall rise, and be the thing on Earth Th’event is sure; expect it, and rejoice!
Least qualified in honor, learning, worth, Soon see your wish fulfill'd in either child,
To occupy a sacred, awful post, The pert made perter, and the tame made wild. In which the best and worthiest tremble most.
The great, indeed, by titles, riches, birth, The royal letters are a thing of course,
As bound in duty, would confirm the choice.
A slave at court, elsewhere a lady's man;
Dumb as a senator, and as a priest
And his end sure, without one gliinpse of hope.
Still keeps a seat or two for worth and grace; The father, who designs his babe a priest,
And therefore 'tis, that, though the sight be rare, Dreams him episcopally such at least ;
We sometimes see a Lowth or Bagot there. And, while the playful jockey scours the room Besides, school-friendships are not always found, Briskly, astride upon the parlor broom,
Though fair in promise, permanent and sound; In fancy sees him more superbly ride
The most disint'rested and virtuous minds, In coach with purple lin'd, and mitres on its side. In early years connected, time unbinds; Events improbable and strange as these,
New situations give a diff'rent cast Which only a parental eye foresees,
Of habit, inclination, temper, taste; A public school shall bring to pass with ease.
And he, that seem'd our counterpart at first, But how? resides such virtue in that air,
Soon shows the strong similitude revers'd. As must create an appetite for pray'r ?
Young heads are giddy, and young hearts are warm And will it breathe into him all the zeal,
And make mistakes for manhood to reform. That candidates for such a prize should feel, Boys are at best but pretty buds unblown, To take the lead and be the foremost still
Whose scent and hues are rather guess'd than known In all true worth and literary skill ?
Each dreams that each is just what he appears, " Ah blind to bright futurity, untaught
But learns his error in maturer years,
If, therefore, ev'n when honest in design,
"Twere wiser, sure, t'inspire a little heart Small skill in Latin, and still less in Greek, With just abhorrence of so mean a part, Is more than adequate to all I seek.
Than set your son to work at a vile trade, Let erudition grace him, or not grace,
For wages so unlikely to be paid.
Our public hives of puerile resort,
Owe their repute in part, but not the whole.
Ranks as a virtue, and is yet a vice;
Contributes most, perhaps, t'enhance their fame
Feel all the rage, that female rivals feel; Who starve upon a dog's-ear'd Pentateuch, The prize of beauty in a woman's eyes The parson knows enough, who knows a duke." Not brighter than in theirs, the scholar's prize Egregious purpose! worthily begun
The spirit of that competition burns In barb'rous prostitution of your son;
With all varieties of ill by turns ;
Each vainly magnifies his own success,
How! turn again to tales long since forgot, Resents his fellow's, wishes it were less,
Æsop, and Phaedrus, and the rest ?—Why not! Exults in his miscarriage, if he fail,
He will not blush, that has a father's heart, Deems his reward too great, if he prevail, To take in childish plays a childish part; And labors to surpass him day and night,
But bends his sturdy back to any toy Less for improvement than to tickle spite. That youth takes pleasure in, to please his boy ; The spur is pow'rful, and I grant its force ; Then why resign into a stranger's hand It pricks the genius forward in its course,
A task as much within your own command, Allows short time for play, and none for sloth ; That God and Nature, and your int’rest too, And, felt alike by each, advances both :
Seem with one voice to delegate to you?
your own ?
Th’indented stick, that loses day by day
Connexions formd for intrest, and endear'd But though the joys he hopes beneath your roof
Harmless, and safe, and nat'ral as they are, Doom'd to a no less ignominious fate :
A disappointment waits him even there : The props of such proud seminaries fall,
Arriv'd, he feels an unexpected change, The Jachin and the Boaz of them all.
He blushes, hangs his head, is shy and strange, Great schools rejected then, as those that swell No longer takes, as once, with fearless ease, Beyond the size that can be manag'd well, His fav’rite stand between his father's knees, Shall royal institutions miss the bays,
But seeks the corner of some distant seat, And small academies win all the praise !
And eyes the door, and watches a retreat, Force not my drift beyond its just intent,
And, least familiar where he should be most, I praise a school as Pope a government;
Feels all his happiest privileges lost. So take my judgment in his language dress'd, Alas, poor boy! the natural effect “Whate'er is best administer'd is best.”
Of love by absence chill'd into respect. Few boys are born with talents that excel, Say, what accomplishments, at school acquir'd, But all are capable of living well;
Brings he, to sweeten fruits so undesir'd ? Then ask noi, Whether limited or large;
Thou well deserv'st an alienated son, But, Watch they strictly, or neglect their charge ? Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge--none; If anxious only, that their boys may learn, None that, in thy domestic snug recess, While morals languish, a despis'd concern, He had not made his own with more address, The great and small deserve one eommon blame, Though some, perhaps, that shock thy feeling mind Diff'rent in size, but in effect the same.
And Better never learn'd, or left behind. Much zeal in virtue's cause all teachers boast, Add too, that, thus estrang'd, thou canst obtain Though motives of mere lucre sway the most : By no kind arts his confidence again ; Therefore in towns and cities they abound, That here begins with most that long complaint For there the game they seek is easiest found; Of filial frankness lost, and love grown faint, Though there, in spite of all that care can do, Which, oft neglected, in life's waning years Traps to catch youth are most abundant too. A parent pours into regardless ears. If shrewd, and of a well-constructed brain,
Like caterpillars, dangling under trees Keen in pursuit, and vig'rous to retain,
By slender threads, and swinging in the breeze, Your son come forth a prodigy of skill,
Which filthily be wray and sore disgrace As, wheresoever taught, so form'd, he will ; The boughs, in which are bred th' unseemly race, The pedagogue, with self-complacent air, While ev'ry worm industriously weaves Claims more than half the praise as his due share. And winds his web about the riveld leaves ; But if, with all his genius, he betray,
So num'rous are the follies, that annoy
The mind and heart of ev'ry sprightly boy ;
To check the procreation of a breed
"Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page, By all whom sentiment has not abus'd;
At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage,
And levying thus, and with an easy sway,
A tax of profit from his very play,
T'impress a value, not to be eras'd,
To double all thy pleasure in thy child, On moments squander'd else, and running all to waste. His mind informd, his morals undefild. And seems it nothing a father's eye,
Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show That unimprov'd those many moments fly? No spots contracted among grooms below, And is he well content his son should find
Nor taint his speech with meannesses, design'd
Lurks the contagion chiefly to be fear'd;
A higher than a mere plebeian fame,
Find it expedient, come what mischief may, Dismiss their cares, when they dismiss their flock, To entertain a thief or two in pay, Machines themselves, and governd by a clock. (And they that can afford th' expense of more, Perhaps a father, blest with any brains,
Some half-a-dozen and some half-a-score,)
So sure to spoil him, and so near at hand ;
With some such Mentor always at his side.
Were occupation easier to be found, Yon circling worlds, their distance, and their size, Were education, else so sure to fail, The moons of Jove, and Saturn's belted ball, Conducted on a manageable scale, And the harmonious order of them all;
And schools, that have ouiliv'd all just esteem, To show him in an insect or a flow'r
Exchang'd for the secure domestic scheme. Such microscopic proof of skill and pow'r, But, having found him, be thou duke or earl, As, hid from ages past, God now displays, Show thou hast sense enough to prize the pearl, To combat atheists with in modern days ;
And, as thou wouldst th' advancement of thine heis To spread the Earth before him, and commend, In all good faculties beneath his care, With designation of the finger’s-end,
Respect, as is but rational and just,
A man deem'd worthy of so dear a trust.
His lessons tire, his mild rebukes offend,
And all th' instruction of thy son's best friend A wish to copy, what he must admire.
Are a stream chok’d, or trickling to no end. Such knowledge gain'd betimes, and which appears, Doom him not then to solitary meals ; Though solid, not too weighty for his years,
But recollect, that he has sense, and feels; Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport,
And that, possessor of a soul refin'd,
An upright heart, and cultivated mind,
And, if admitted at thy board he sit,
Offend not him, whom modesty restrains With all thy faculties elsewhere applied,
From repartee, with jokes that he disdains ; Too busy to intend a meaner care,
Much less transfix his feelings with an oath ; Than how t'enrich thyself, and next thine heir ? Nor frown, unless he vanish with the cloth.Or art though (as though rich, perhaps thou art) And, trust me, his utility may reach But poor in knowledge, having none t'impart ? - To more than he is hird or bound to teach ; Behold that figure, neat, though plainly clad ; Much trash unutter'd, and some ills undone, His sprightly mingled with a shade of sad; Through rev’rence of the censor of thy son. Not of a nimble tongue, though now and then But, if thy table be indeed unclean, Heard to articulate like other men:
Foul with excess, and with discourse obscene, No jester, and yet lively in discourse,
And thou a wretch, whom, foll'wing her old plan, His phrase well chosen, clear, and full of force ; The world accounts an honorable man, And his address, if not quite French in ease, Because forsooth thy courage has been tried, Not English stiff, but frank, and form'd to please ; And stood the test, perhaps on the wrong side! Low in the world, because he scorns its arts ; Though thou hadst never grace enough to prove, A man of letters, manners, morals, parts;
That any thing but vice could win thy love ;Unpatroniz'd, and therefore little known;
Or hast thou a polite, card-playing wife, Wise for himself and his few friends alone- Chain'd to the routs that she frequents for life ; In him thy well-appointed proxy see,
Who, just when industry begins to snore, Arm'd for a work too difficult for thee;
Flies, wing’d with joy, to some coach-crowded door Prepar'd by taste, by learning, and true worth, And thrice in ev'ry winter throngs thine own To form thy son, to strike his genius forth; With half the chariots and sedans in town, Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye, to prove Thyself, meanwhile, e'en shifting as thou may'st ; The force of discipline, when back'd by love; Not very sober though, nor very chaste ; 99
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