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And thrice in every winter throngs thine own
With half the chariots and sedans in town,
Thyself meanwhile e'en shifting as thou mayst;
Not very sober though, nor very chaste ;
Or is thine house, though less superb thy rank,
If not a scene of pleasure, a mere blank,
And thou at best, and in thy soberest mood,
A trifler vain, and empty of all good ;-
Though mercy for thyself thou canst have none,
Hear Nature plead, show mercy to thy son.
Saved from his home, where every day brings forth
Some mischief fatal to his future worth,
Find him a better in a distant spot,
Within some pious pastor's hamble cot,
Where vile example (yours I chiefly mean,
The most seducing, and the oftenest seen)
May never more be stamp'd upon his breast,
Not yet perhaps incurably impress'il.
Where early rest makes early rising sure,
Disease or comes not, or finds easy cure,
Prevented much by diet neat and plain ;
Or, if it enter, soon starved out again :
Where all the attention of his faithful host,
Discreetly limited to two at most,
May raise such fruits as shall reward his care,
And not at last evaporate in air:
Where, stillness aiding study, and his mind
Serene, and to his duties much inclined,
Not occupied in day dream, as at home,
Of pleasures past, or follies yet to come,
His virtuous loil may terminate at last
In settled habit and decided taste.-
But whom do I advise ? the fashion-led,
The incorrigibly wrong. the deal, the dead !
Whom care and cool deliberation suit ,
Not better much than spectacles a brute;
Who, if their sons some slight tuition share,
Deem it of no great moment whose, or where;
Too proud to adopt the thoughts of one unknown,
And much too gay to have any of their own.
But courage, man! methought the Muse repliea,
Mankind are various, and the world is wide:
The ostrich, silliest of the seather'd kind,
And form'd of God without a parent's mind,
Commits her eggs, incautious, to the dust,
Forgetful that the foot may crush the trust ;
And, while on public nurseries they rely,
Not knowing, and too oft not caring, why,
Irrational in what they thus prefer,
No few, that would seem wise, resemble her.
But all are not alike. Thy warning voice
May here and there prevent erroneons choice;
And some, perhaps, who, busy as they are,
Yet make their progeny their dearest care,
(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may reach
Their offspring, left apon so wild a beach,)
Will need no stress of argument to ensorce
The expedience of a less adventurous course :
The rest will slight thy counsel, or condemn;
But they have human feeling
turn to them.
To you, then, tenants of life's middle state,
Securely placed between the small and great,
Whose character, yet undebauch'd, retains
Two-thirds of all the virtue that remains,
Who, wise yourselves, desire your sons should learn
Your wisdom and your ways-to you I turn.
Look round you on a world perversely blind;
See what contempt is fallen on human kind;
See wealth abused, and dignities misplaced,
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgraced,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'u of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold;
See Bedlam's closeted and handcuff'd charge
Surpass'd in frenzy by the mad at large ;
See great commanders making war a trade,
Great lawyers, lawyers without study made ;
Churchmen, in whose esteem their best employ
Is odious, and their wages all their joy,
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves
With gospel lore, turn infidels themselves ;
See womanhood despised, and manhood shamed
With infamy tvo nauseous to be named,
Fops at all corners, ladylike in mien,
Civeled fellows, spelt ere they are seen,
Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung,
Now flushed with drunkenness, now with whoredom pale,
Their breath a sample of last night's regule
See volunteers in all the vilest arts,
Men well endow'd of honourable parts,
Design'd by Nature wise, but self-inade fools;
All these, and more like these, were bred at schools.
And if it chance, as sometimes chance it will,
That though school-bred the boy be virtuous still;
Such rare exceptions, shining in the dark,
Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark :
As here and there a twinkling star descried
Serves but to show how black is all beside.
Now look on him, whose very voice in tone
Just echoes thine, whose features are thine own,
And stroke bis polished cheek of purest red,
And lay thine hand upon his Anxen head,
And say, My boy, the unwelcome hour is come,
When thou, transplanted from thy genial home,
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety lo a stranger's care ;
Wha! character, what turn thou wilt assume
From constant converse with I know not whom;
Who there will court thy friendship, with what views,
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose;
Though much depends on what thy choice shall be,
Is all chance-medley, and unknown to me.
Canst thoo, the tear just trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful risk foreseen forbids ;
Free too, and under o constraining force,
Unless the sway of custom warp thy course;
Lay such a stake upon the lasing side,
Merely to gratisy so blind a gaide ?
Thou canst not! Nature, pulling at tbine heart,
Condemns the unfatherly, the imprudent part.
Tbou wouldst not, deaf to Nature's tenderest plea,
Turn him adrift opon a rolling sea,
Go thither, conscious that there lay
A brood of asps, or quicksands in his way;
Then, only govern'd by the self-same rule
of natural pity, send him not to school.
No-guard him better. Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy flesh, thy bone ?
And hopest thou not, ('lis every father's hope,)
That, since thy strength must with thy years elope,
And thou wilt need some comfort to assuage
Health's last farewell, a staff of thine old age,
That then, in recompense of all thy cares,
Thy child shall show respect to thy gray hairs,
Befriend thee, of all other friends berest,
And give thy life its only cordial lest ?
Aware tben how much danger intervenes,
To coinpass that good end, forecast the means.
His heart, now passive, yields to thy command ;
Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand;
If thou desert tby charge, and throw it wide,
Nor heed what guests there enter and abide,
Complain nou if attachments lewd and base
Supplant thee in it, and usurp thy place.
But if thou guard its sacred chambers sure
From vicious inmates and delights impure,
Either his gratitude shall hold bim sast,
And keep him warm and filial to the last ;
Or, if he prove unkind, (as who can say
But, being man, and therefore srail, he may ?)
One coinfort yet shall cheer thine aged heart,
Howe'er he slight thee, thou hast done thy part.
Oh, barbarous ! wouldst thou with a Gothic hand
Pull down the schools—what!-all the schools i'th' land;
Or throw them np to livery nags and grooms,
Or turn them into shops and auction-rooms?
A captious question, sir, (and yours is one,)
Deserves an answer similar, or none.
Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ
(Apprised that he is such) a careless boy,
And feed him well, and give him handsome pay,
Merely to sleep, and let them run astray ?
Survey our schools and colleges, and see
A sight not inuch unlike my simile.
From education, as the leading cause,
The public character its colour draws;
Thence the prevailing manners lake their cast,
Extravagant or sober, loose or chaste.
And, though I would not advertise them yet,
Nor write on each— This Building to be Let,
Unless the world were all prepared to embrace
A plan well worthy to supply their place :
Yet, backward as they are, and long have been,
To cultivate and keep the MORALS clean,
(Forgive the crime,) I wish them, I confess,
Or belter managed, or encouraged less.
From the Task. Boor IL. The Time-Piece
In colleges and halls, in ancient days, When learning, virtue, piety, and truth Were precious and inculcated with care, There dwelt a suge called Discipline. His head, Not yet by time completely silver'd o'er, Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth, But strong for service still, and unimpair'd. His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile Play'd on his lips; and in his speech was heard Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love. The occupation dearest to his heart Was to encournge goodness. He would stroke The hend of modest and ingenuous worth, That blush'd at its own praise; and press the youth Close to bis side that plensed him. Learning grew Beneath his care a thriving vigorous plant ; The mind was well infurmid, the pussions held Subordinate, and diligence was choice. If e'er it chanced, as sometimes chance it musta That one among so many overleap'd The limits of control, his gentle eye Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke His frown was full of terror, and his voice Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe As left him not, till penitence had won Lost favor back again, and closed the breach. But Discipline, a fuithful servant long, Declined at length into the vale of years : A palsy struck his arı; his sparkling eye Was quench'd in rheums of age; his voice, unstrung, Grew tremulous, and moved derision more Than reverence is perverse rebellious youth. So colleges and balls neglected much Their good old friend ; and Discipline at length, O'er look'd and unemployd, fell sick, and died. Then Study languish'd, Emulation slept, And Virtue Ned. The schools became a scene of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stifts, His cap well lined with logic not his own, With parrot tongue perform'd the scholar's part, Proceeding soon a graduated dunce. Then compromise had place, and scrutiny Became stone blind; precedence went in truck, And he was competent whose purse was so
A dissolution of all bonds ensued;
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
Of headstrong youth were broken ; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, opening with a touch ;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The lassel'd cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mockery of the world! What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothelers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmens oftener seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels
Than in the bounds of duty ? What was learn'd
If anght was earn'd in childhood, is forgot ;
And such expense as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is sounder'd in pursuit of idle sports
And vicje is pleasures; buys the boy a name
That sits # stigma on his father's house,
Anu clenves through life inseparably close
To him that wears it. What can after-game
of river joys, and commerce with the world,
The end vain world, that must receive bim soon,
AdJ tu yuch erudition, thus acquired,
Wierc science and where virtue are professid ?
They ruy confirın his habits, rivet fast
Ilis fely, but to spoil him is a task
laat vids defiance to the united powers
Of lushion, Jissipation, taverns, stews.
Novi blame we most the nurslings or the nurse
Tin children, crook'd, and twisted, and deformid,
Through want of care; or her, whose winking eye
Aud slumbering oscilancy mars the brood ?
'I he nurse, no doubt. Regardless of her charge,
she needs herself correction ; needs to learn
'T'hat it is dangerous sporting with the world,
With things so sacred as a nation's trust,
The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge.