Page images

Else sure notorious fact and proof so plain
Would turn our steps into a wiser train.
I blame not those, who with what care they can
O’erwatch the numerous and unruly clan;
Or, if I blame, 'tis only that they dare
Promise a work, of which they must despair.
Have ye, ye fage intendants of the whole,
An ubiquarian presence and controul,
Elisha's eye, that when Gehazi ftrayed,
Went with him, and saw all the game he played ?
Yes—ye are conscious; and on all the shelves
Your pupils ftrike upon, have ftruck yourselves.
Or if by nature sober, ye had then,
Boys as ye were, the gravity of men;
Ye knew at least, by constant proofs addressed
To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest.
But ye connive at what ye cannot cure,
And evils, not to be endured, endure,
Left power exerted, but without success,
Should make the little ye retain ftill less.
Ye once were justly famed for bringing forth
Undoubted scholarship and genuine worth;
And in the firmament of fame ftill shines
A glory, bright as that of all the signs,
Of poets raised by you, and statesmen, and divines.
Peace to them all! those brilliant times are fled,
And no such lights are kindling in their stead.
Our striplings shine indeed, but with such rays,
As set the midnight riot in a blaze;
And seem, if judged by their expressive looks,
Deeper in none than in their surgeons' books.

Say muse, (for education made the song,
No muse can hesitate or linger long)
What causes move us, knowing as we must,
That these Menageries all fail their truft,
To send our fons to scout and scamper there,
While colts and puppies coft us so much care?

Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise, We love the play-place of our early days; The scene is touching, and the heart is stone, That feels not at that fight, and feels at none. The wall on which we tried our graving skill, The very name we carved fubfifting still; The bench on which we sat while deep employed, Though mangled, hacked,and hewed, not yet destroyed: The little ones, unbuttoned, glowing hot, Playing our games, and on the very spot; As happy as we once, to kneel and draw The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw;

To pitch the ball into the grounded hat,
Or drive it devious with a dexterous pat;
The pleasing spectacle at once excites
Such recollection of our own delights,
That viewing it, we seem almost to obtain
Our innocent sweet fimple years again.
This fond attachment to the well-known place,
Whence first we started into life's long race,
Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway,
We feel it ev’n in age, and at our latest day.
Hark! how the fire of chits, whose future share
Of claffic food begins to be his care,
With his own likeness placed on either knee,
Indulges all a father's heart-felt glee;
And tells them, as he strokes their filver locks,
That they must soon learn Latin, and to box;
Then turning he regales his listening wife
With all the adventures of his early life ;
His skill in coachmanship, or in driving chaise,
In bilking tavern bills, and spouting plays;
What shifts he used, detected in a fcrape,
How he was flogged, or had the luck to escape ;
What fums he loft at play, and how he fold
Watch, seals, and all-till all his pranks are told.
Retracing thus his frolics, ('tis a name
That palliates deeds of folly and of Mame)

He gives the local bias all its fway;
Resolves that were he played his sons shall play,
And defines their bright genius to be shown
Just in the scene, where he displayed his own.
The meek and bashful boy will foon be taught
To be as bold and forward as he ought;
The rude will scuffle through with ease enough,
Great schools fuit best the sturdy and the rough.
Ah happy designation, prudent choice,
The event is fure; expect it; and rejoice!
Soon see your wish fulfilled in either child,
The pert made perter, and the tame made wild.

The great indeed, by titles, riches, birth, Excused the incumbrance of more solid wortli, Are best disposed of where with most success They may acquire that confident address, Those habits of profuse and lewd expense, That scorn of all delights but those of sense, Which, though in plain plebeians we condemı, With so much reason all expect from them. But families of less illustrious fame, Whose chief distinction is their spotless name, Whofe heirs, their honours none, their income small, Muft Mine by true desert, or not at all,

What dream they of, that with so little care
They risk their hopes, their dearest treafure, there?
They dream of little Charles or William graced
With wig prolix, down flowing to his waist ;
They see the attentive crowds his talents draw,
They hear him fpeak-the oracle of law.
The father, who designs his babe a priest,
Dreams him episcopally such at least;
And, while the playful jockey scours the room
Briskly, aftride upon the parlour broom,
In fancy sees him more superbly ride
In coach with purple lined and mitres on its side.
Events improbable and strange as these,
Which only a parental eye foresees,
A public school shall bring to pass with ease.
But how? resides such virtue in that air,
As must create an appetite for prayer ?
And will it breathe into him all the zeal,
That candidates for such a prize should feel,
To take the lead and be the foremost still
In all true worth and literary skill?
" Ah blind to bright futurity, untaught
“ The knowledge of the world, and dull of thought!
“ Church-ladders are not always mounted best
“ By learned clerks and Latinifts profeffed.


« PreviousContinue »