Page images
PDF
EPUB

If e'er it chanced, as sometimes chance it muft,
That one among so many overleaped
The limits of controul, his gentle eye
Grew ftern, 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
Loft favour back again, and closed the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Declined at length into the vale of years :
A palsy struck his arm; his sparkling eye
Was quenched in rheums of age; his voice unftrung
Grew tremulous, and moved derision more
Than reverence in perverse rebellious youth.
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend; and Discipline at length
O'erlooked and unemployed fell fick and died.
Then study languished, emulation Nept,
And virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of folemn farce, where Ignorance in ftilts,
His cap well lined with logic not his own,
With parrot tongue performed the scholar's part,
Proceeding soon a graduated dunce.
Then compromise had place, and scrutiny
Became ftone blind; precedence went in truck,
And he was competent whose purse was fo.

A diffolution of all bonds ensued;
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
Of head-ftrong youth were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and maffy gates
Forgot their office, opening with a touch ;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The taffeled cap and the spruce band a jeft,
A mockery of the world! What need of these
For gamefters, jockeys, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oftener seen
With belted waift and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty ? What was learned,
If aught was learned in childhood, is forgot ;
And such expence, as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is squandered in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name,
That fits a ftigma on his father's house,
And cleaves through life inseparably close
To him, that wears it. What can after-games
Of riper joys, and commerce with the world,
The lewd vain world, that must receive him soon,
Add to such erudition, thus acquired,
Where science and where virtue are professed ?
They may confirm his habits, rivet faft
His folly, but to spoil him is a talk,

That bids defiance to the united powers
Of fashion, diffipation, taverns, ftews.
Now blame we most the nurslings or the nurse?
The children crooked, and twisted, and deformed,
Through want of care ; or her, whose winking eye
And Numbering ofcitancy mars the brood?
The nurse no doubt. Regardless of her charge
She needs herself correction ; needs to learn,
That it is dangerous sporting with the world,
With things so sacred as a nation's trust,
The nurture of her youth, her deareft pledge.

All are not fuch, I had a brother oncePeace to the memory of a man of worth, A man of letters, and of manners too! Of manners sweet as virtue always wears, When gay good-nature dreffes her in smiles. He graced a college *, in which order yet Was sacred; and was honoureil, loved, and wept, By more than one, themselves conspicuous there. Some minds are tempered happily, and mixt With such ingredients of good sense, and taste Of what is excellent in man, they thirst With such a zeal to be what they approve,

* Ben'et Coll Cambridge.

That no restraints can circumscribe them more
Than they themselves by choice, for wisdom's fake;
Nor can example hurt them: what they see
Of vice in others but enhancing more
The charms of virtue in their juft esteem.
If such escape contagion, and emerge
Pure from fo foul a pool to shine abroad,
And give the world their talents and themselves,
Small thanks to those, whose negligence or Noth
Exposed their inexperience to the snare,
And left them to an undirected choice.

See then the quiver broken and decayed, In which are kept our arrows! Rufting there In wild disorder, and unfit for use, What wonder if, discharged into the world, They shame their shooters with a random flight, Their points obtuse, and feathers drunk with wine! Well may the church wage unsuccessful war With such artillery armed. Vice parries wide The undreaded volley with a fword of straw, And stands an impudent and fearless mark.

Have we not tracked the felon home, and found His birth-place and his dam » The country mourns, Mourns because every plague, that can infeft

Society, and that saps and worms the base
Of the edifice, that policy has raised,
Swarms in all quarters : meets the eye, the ear,
And suffocates the breath at every turn.
Profusion breeds them; and the cause itself
Of that calamitous mischief has been found :
Found too where most offensive, in the skirts
Of the robed pedagogue! Else let the arraigned
Stand up unconscious, and refute the charge.
So, when the Jewish leader stretched his arm,
And waved his rod divine, a race obscene,
Spawned in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth,
Polluting Ægypt: gardens, fields, and plains,
Were covered with the peft; the streets were filled;
The croaking nuisance lurked in every nook ;
Nor palaces, nor even chambers, 'scaped;
And the land ftank so numerous was the fry.

« PreviousContinue »