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The props of such proud seminaries fall,
The Jachin and the Boaz of them all.
Great schools rejected then, as those that swell
Beyond a size that can be manag'd well,
Shall royal institutions miss the bays,
And small academies win all the praise ?
Force not my drift beyond its just intent,
I praise a school as Pope a government;
So take my judgment in his language dress’d,
Whate'er is best administer'd is best.”
Few boys are born with talents that excel,
But all are capable of living well ;
Then ask not, “Whether limited or large ?"
But, “Watch they strictly, or neglect their charge ?"
If anxious only, that their boys may learn,
While morals languish, a despis’d concern,
The great and small deserve one common blame,
Diff'rent in size, but in effect the same.
Much zeal in virtue's cause all teachers boast,
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 shrewd, and of a well constructed brain,
Keen in pursuit, and vig'rous to retain,
Your son come forth a prodigy of skill ;
As wheresoever taught, so form’d, 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 disgrace 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.
0, 'tis a sight to be with joy perus’d,
By all whom sentiment has not abus'd;
New-fangled sentiment, the boasted grace
Of those who never feel in the right place;
A sight surpass'd by none that we can show,
'Though Vestris on one leg still shine below;
A father blest with an ingenuous son,
Father, and friend, and tutor, all in one.
How !-turn again to tales long since forgot,
Æsop, 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 intrest too,
Seem with one voice to delegate to you?
Why, hire a lodging in a house unknown
For one whose tend'rest thoughts all hover round
This second weaning, needless as it is,
How does it lac’rate both your heart and his!:
Th’indented stick, that loses day by day
Notch after notch, till all are smooth'd away,
Bears witness, long ere his dismission come,
With what intense desire he wants his home.
But though the joys he hopes beneath your
Bid fair enough to answer in the proof,
Harmless, and safe, and nat'ral, as they are,
A disappointment wais him even there :
Arrivd, he feels an unexpected change,
He blushes, hangs his head, is shy and strange,
No longer takes, as once, with fearless ease,
His fav’rite stand between his father's knees,
But seeks the corner of some distant seat,
And eyes the door, and watches a retreat,
And, least familiar where he should be most,
Feels all his happiest privileges lost.
Alas, poor boy !--the natural effect
Of love by absence chill'd into respect.
Say, what accomplishments, at school acquir'd,
Brings he, to sweeten fruits so undesir'd?
Thou well deserv'st an alienated son,
Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge--none ;
None that, in thy domestic, snug recess,
He had not made his own with more address,
Though some perhaps, that shock thy feeling mind,
And better never learn’d, or left behind.
Add too, that, thus estrang'd, thou canst obtain
By no kind arts his confidence again;
That here begins with most that long complaint
Of filial frankness lost, and love grown faint,
Which, oft neglected, in life's waning years
A parent pours into regardless ears.
Like caterpillars, dangling under trees
By slender threads, and swinging in the breeze,
Which filthily bewray and sore disgrace
The boughs in which are bred th' unseemly race;
While ev'ry worm industriously weaves
And winds his web about the rivell’d leaves ;
So num'rous are the follies, that annoy
The mind and heart of ev'ry sprightly boy ;
Imaginations noxious and
Which admonition can alone disperse.
Th' encroaching nuisance asks a faithful hand,
Patient, affectionate, of high command,
To check the procreation of a breed
Sure to exhaust the plant on which they feed.
Tis not enough, that Greek or Roman page,
At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage;
E'en 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,
T'impress a value, not to be eras'd,
Onmoments squander'd else, and running allto waste.
And seems it nothing in a father's
That unimprov'd those many moments fly?
And is he well content his son should find
No nourishment to feed his growing mind
But conjugated verbs, and nouns declin’d?
For such is all the mental food purvey'd
By public hackneys 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 govern'd by a clock.
Perhaps a father, blest with any brains,
Would deem it no abuse, or waste of pains,
To improve this diet, at no great expense,
With 'sav'ry truth, and wholesome common sense;
To lead his son, for prospects of delight,
To some not steep, though philosophic, height,
Thence to exhibit to his wond'ring eyes
Yon circling worlds, their distance, and their size;
The moons of Jove, and Saturn's belted ball,
And the harmonious order of them all ;
To shew him in an insect, or a flow'r,
Such microscopic 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,
With designation of the finger's 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 :
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,
Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport,
When health demands it, of athletic sort,
Would make him—what some lovely boys have been,
And more than one perhaps, that I have seen-
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 attend a meaner care,
Than how t' enrich thyself, and next thine heir;
Or art thou (as though rich, perhaps thou art)
But poor in knowledge, having none ť impart :-
Behold that figure, neat, though plainly clad;
His sprightly mingled with a shade of sad;
Not of a nimble tongue, though now and then
Heard to articulate like other men;
No jester, and yet lively in discourse,
His phrase well chosen, clear, and full of force ;
And his address, if not quite French in ease,
Not English stiff, but frank, and form’d to please ;
Low in the world, because he scorns its arts;
A man of letters, manners, morals, parts ;
Unpatroniz'd, and therefore little known;
Wise for himself, and his few friends alone-
In him thy well-appointed proxy see,
Arm'd for a work too difficult for thee;
Prepar’d by taste, by learning, and true worth,
To form thy son, to strike his genius forth;
Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye, to prove
The force of discipline, when back'd by love;
To double all thy pleasure in thy child,
His mind inform’d, his morals undefil'd.
Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show
No spots contracted among grooms below,