Page images
PDF
EPUB

Then ask not, Whether limited or large?
But, Watch they ftrialy, or neglect their charge?
If anxious only that their boys may learn,
While morals languish, a despised concern,
The great and small deserve one common blame,
Different in size, but in effect the same.
Much zeal in virtue's cause all teachers boaft,
'Though motives of mere lucre sway the most;
Therefore in towns and cities they abound,
For there the game they seek is easiest found;
Though there, in spite of all that care can do,
Traps to catch youth are most abundant too.
If Nirewd, and of a well-constructed brain,
Keen in pursuit, and vigorous to retain,
Your fon come forth a prodigy of skill;
As, wherefoever taught, so formed, he will;
The pedagogue, with self-complacent air,
Claims more than half the praise as his due share.
But if, with all his genius, he betray,
Not more intelligent than loose and gay,
Such vicious habits, as difgrace his name,
Threaten his health, his fortune, and his fame;
Though want of due restraint alone have bred
The symptoms, that you see with so much dread;
Unenvied there, he may sustain alone
The whole reproach, the fault was all his own.

1

Oh 'tis a sight to be with joy perused,
By all whom sentiment has not abufed ;
New-fangled sentiment, the boafted grace
Of those, who never feel in the right place ;
A fight furpassed by none that we can show,
'Though Veftris on one leg still shine below;
A father bleft with an ingenuous son,
Father, and friend, and tutor, all in one.
How !-turn again to tales long fince forgot,
Æfop, and Phædrus, and the rest?-Why not?
He will not blush that has a father's heart,
To take in childish plays a childish part;
But bends his sturdy back to any toy,
That youth takes pleasure in, to please his boy:
Then why resign into a stranger's hand
A task as much within your own command,
That God and nature, and your interest too,
Seem with one voice to delegate to you?
Why hire a lodging in a house unknown
For one, whose tenderest thoughts all hover round your

own?
This second weaning, needlefs as it is,
How does it lacerate both your heart and his !
The indented stick, that loses day by day
Notch after notch, till all are fmoothed away,
Bears witness, long ere his dismiffion come,
With what intense desire he wants his home.

But though the joys he hopes beneath your roof
Bid fair enough to answer in the proof,
Harmless, and fafe, and natural, as they are,
A disappointment waits him even there :
Arrived, he feels an unexpected change,
He blushes, hangs his head, is shy and strange,
No longer takes, as once, with fearless ease,
His favourite stand between his father's knees,
But seeks the corner of fome diftant feat,
And eyes the door, and watches a retreat,
And, leaft familiar where he should be moft,
Feels all his happieft privileges loft.
Alas, poor boy !-the natural effect
Of love by absence chilled into respect.
Say, what accomplishments, at school acquired,
Brings he, to fweeten fruits so undesired?
Thou well deserveft an alienated fon,
Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge-none;
None that, in thy domeftic snug recess,
He had not made his own with more address,
Though some perhaps that shock thy feeling mind,
And better never learned, or left behind.
Add too, that, thus estranged, thou canft obtain
By no kind arts his confidence again;
That here begins with moft that long complaint
Of filial frankness loft, and love grown faint,

Which, oft neglected, in life's waning years
A parent pours into regardless ears.

Like caterpillars, dangling under trees By sender threads, and swinging in the breeze, Which filthily bewray and fore difgrace The boughs, in which are bred the unseemly race; While every worm industriously weaves And winds his web about the rivelled leaves; So numerous are the follies, that annoy The mind and heart of every sprightly boy ; Imaginations noxious and perverse, Which admonition can alone disperse. The encroaching nuisance asks a faithful hand, Patient, affectionate, of high command, To check the procreation of a breed Sure to exhauft the plant, on which they feed. 'Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page, At ftated hours, his freakish thoughts engage; Ev’n in his pastimes he requires a friend To warn, and teach him safely to unbend, O’er all his pleasures gently to preside, Watch his emotions, and control their tide; And levying thus, and with an easy sway, A tax of profit from his very play,

[ocr errors]

To impress a value, not to be erased, us!!
On moments squandered elfe, and running all to waste.
And seems it nothing in a father's eye

7
That unimproved thofe many moments fly
And is he well content his son should find
No nourishment to feed his growing mind,
But conjugated verbs and nouns declined ?
For such is all the mental food purveyed
By public hacknies in the schooling trade;
Who feed a pupil's intellect with store
Of syntax, truly, but with little more;
Dismiss their cares when they dismiss their flock,
Machines themselves, and governed by a clock.
Perhaps a father, bleft with any brains,
Would deem it no abuse, or waste of pains,
To improve this diet, at no great expense,
With favory truth and wholesome common sense;
To lead his fon, for prospects of delight,
To some not steep, though philosophic, height,
Thence to exhibit to his wondering eyes
Yon circling worlds, their distance, and their fize,
The moons of Jove, and Saturn's belted ball,
And the harmonious order of them all;
To show him in an insect or a flower
Such microscopic proof of skill and power,

« PreviousContinue »