« PreviousContinue »
Dismiss their cares, when they dismiss their flock,
635 To show him in an insect or a flow'r Such microscopick proof of skill and pow'r, As, hid from ages past, God now displays, To combat atheists with in modern days ; To spread the earth before him, and commend, 640 With designation of the fingers' end, Its various parts to his attentive note, Thus bringing home to him the most remote ; To teach his heart to glow with gen'rous flame, Caught from the deeds of men of ancient fame; 645 And, more than all, with commendation due, To set some living worthy in his view, Whose fair example may at once inspire A wish to copy what he must admire. Such knowledge gain'd betimes, and which appears Though solid, not too weighty for his years,
651 Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport, When health demands it, of athletick sort, Would make him-what some lovely boys have been, And more than one, perhaps, that I have seen- 655 An evidence and reprehension both Of the mere school-boy's lean and tardy growth.
Art thou a man professionally tied, With all thy faculties elsewhere applied, Too busy to intend a meaner care,
660 Than how t' enrich thyself, and next thine heir ;
Or art thou (as, though rich, perhaps thou art )
695 Great cause occurs, to save him from a band So sure to spoil him, and so near at hand; A point secur'd, if once he be supply'd With some such Mentor always at his side.
Are such men rare ? perhaps they would abound, 700
715 His lessons tire, his mild rebukes offend, And all th' instructions of thy son's best friend Are a stream chok’d, or trickling to no end. Doom him not then to solitary meals ; But recollect that he has sense, and feels ;
720 And that, possessor of a soul refin'd, An upright heart and cultivated mind, His post not mean, his talents not unknown, He deems it hard to vegetate alone. And, if admitted at thy board he sit, Account him no just mark for idle wit ; Offend not him, whom modesty restrains From repartee, with jokes that he disdains ; Much less transfix his feelings with an oath ; Nor frown, unless he vanish with the cloth. 730 And, trust me, his utility may reach To more than he is hir'd or bound to teach ; Much trash unutter'd, and some ills undone, Through rev'rence of the censor of thy son. But, if thy table be indeed unclean,
735 Foul with excess, and with discourse obscene,
And thou a wretch, whom, foll’wing her own plan
750 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 sob’rest mood, A trifler, vain and empty of all good; Though mercy for thyself thou canst have noue, 755 Hear Nature plead, show mercy to thy son. Sav'd 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 humble cot,
760 Where vile example, (yours I chiefly mean, The most seducing, and the oft'nest seen,) May never more be stamp'd upon his breast, Nor yet perhaps incurably impress’d. Where early rest makes early rising sure, 765 Disease or comes not, or finds easy cure Prevented much by diet neat and plain , Or, if it enter, soon starv'd out again : Where all th' attention of his faithful host, Discreetly limited to two at most,
770 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 inclin'd,
Not occupied in day-dreams, as at home,
795 No fow, that would seom wise, resemble her. But all are not alike. Thy warning voice May here and there prevent erroneous choice; And some perhaps, who, busy as they are, Yet make their progeny their dearest care,
800 (Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may
reach Their offspring, left upon so wild a beach,) Will need no stress of argument t' enforce Th' expedience of a less advent'rous course ; The rest will slight thy counsel or condemn ; 805 But they have human feelings-turn to them.
To you then, tenants of life's middle state, Securely plac'd between the small and great, Whose character, yet undebauch'd, retains Two thirds of all the virtue that remains,