« PreviousContinue »
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold;
See Bedlam's closetted and hand-cuff'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 blest employ
Is odious, and their wages all their joy,
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves
With gospel lore, turn infidels themselves;
See womanhood despis’d, and manhood sham'd
With infamy too nauseous to be nam'd,
Fops at all corners, lady-like in mien,
Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen,
Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curses and with nonsense hung,
Now flush'd with drunk’ness, now with whoredom
Their breath a sample of last night's regale ;
See volunteers in all the vileft arts,
Men well endow'd, of honourable parts,
Design'd by nature wise, but felf-made 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 owng,
And stroke his polish'd cheek of purest red,
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head, ,
And say, My boy, th’unwelcome hour is come,
When thou, transplanted from thy genial home,
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger's care ;
What character, what turn thou wilt assume
From constant converfe with.I know not whom ;
Who there will court thy friendship, with what
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt
Though much depends on what thy choice shall
be, Is all chance-medley, and unknown to me. Can'st thou, the tear just trembling on thy-lids, And while the dreadful risque foreseen, forbids, , Free too, and under no constraining force, Unless the sway of custom warp thy course, Lay such a stake upon the lofing fide, Merely to gratify so blind a guide ?
Thou can'st not ! Nature, pulling at thine heart,
Condemns th' unfatherly, th' imprudent part.
Thou would'st not, deaf to Nature's tend'rest
Turn him adrift upon a rolling sea,
Nor say, go thither, conscious that there lay
A brood of afps, or quicksands in his way;
Then, only govern'd by the self-fame rule
Of nat’ral pity, send him not to school.
No-guard him better : Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy flesh, thy bone-?:
And hop'st thou not ('tis ev'ry father's hope)
That since thy strength must with thy years
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 grey hairs,
Befriend thee, of all other friends bereft,
And give thy life its only cordial left ?.
Aware then how much danger intervenes,
To compass that good end, forecast the means.
His heart, now paffive, yields to thy command;
Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand.
If thou desert thy charge, and throw it wide,
Nor heed what guests there enter and abide,
Complain not if attachments lewd and base.
Supplant thee in it, and usurp thy place.
But if thou guard its facred chambers sure
From vicious inmates and delights impure,
Either his gratitude shall hold him fast,
And keep him warm and filial to the last;
Or if he prove unkind, as who can say
But, being man, and therefore frail he may,
One comfort yet shall cheer thine aged heart,
Howe'er he flight thee, thou hast done thy part.
Oh barb'rous! would'st thou with a Gothic
hand Pull down the schools-what?-all the schools i
th' land ?
Or throw them up to liv'ry-nags and grooms,
Or turn them into shops and auction-rooms?
A captious question, fir, (and your's is one)
Deserves an answer similar, or none.
Would'ft thou, poffeffor of a flock, employ
(Appriz'd that he is fuch) a careless boy,
And feed him well, and give him handsome
Merely to sleep, and let them run aftray?
Survey our schools and colleges, and fee
A fight not much unlike my fimile.
From education, as the leading cause,
The public character its colour draws,
Thence the prevailing manners take their cast,
Extravagant or sober, loose or chafte.
And though I would not advertise them yet,
Nor write on each-Ibis Building to be Let,
Unless the world were all prepar'd t'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 better manag'd, or encourag'd less.