« PreviousContinue »
eplice Your wisdom and your ways-to you I turn.
Commits her eggs, incautious, to the dust,
Forgetful that the foot may crush the trust;
And, while on public nurs’ries they rely,
Not knowing, and too oft not caring, why,
Irrational in what they thus prefer,
No few, that would seem 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,
(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills
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 Night thy counsel, or condemn;
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,
Whofe character, yet undebauch’d, retains 2012. Two thirds of all the virtue that remains,
Who, wise yourselves, defire your fons should learů
Look round you on a world perversely blind;
See what contempt is fall’n on human kinds
See wealth abus'd, and dignities misplac’d,
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgrac'd,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold;
See Bedlam's cloíetted 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 Tham'd
With infamy too nauseous to be nam'd,
Fops at all corners, lady-like in mien,
Civetted fellows, smelt ere they are seen,
Elfe coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curfes, and with nonsense hung,
Now flush'd with drunk’ness, now with whoredom pale,
Their breath a sample of last night's regale ;
See volunteers in all the vilest 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 ftill;
Such rare exceptions, sining 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 own,
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 foil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger's care;
What character, what turn thou wilt assume
From constant converse with I know not whom ;
Who there will court thy friendship, with what views,
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose;
Though much depends on what thy choice shall be,
Is all chance-medley, and unknown to me.
Can'st chou, the tear juft trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful risque foreseen forbids;
Free, too, and under no conítraining 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'ft not! Nature, pulling at thine heart,
Condemns th' unfatherly, th' imprudent part.
Thou would'st not, deaf to Nature's tend'rest pleag
Turn him adrift upon a rolling sea,
Nor say, Go thither, conscious that there lay
A brood of asps, 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 elope,
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 gray 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 passive, 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 sacred chambers sure
From vicious inmates and delights impure,
Either bis gratitude shall hold him faft,
And keep him warm and filia Ito 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 fight thee, thou hast done thy part.
Oh barb'rous! would'lt thou with 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, lir, (and your's is one) Deserves an answer similar, or none. Would'st thou, poffeffor of a flock, employ (Appriz'd that he is such) a careless boy, And feed him well, and give him handsome pay, Merely to seep, and let them run astray ? Survey our schools and colleges, and see A fight not much unlike 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 chaste. And, though I would not advertise them yet, Nor write on each—This Building to be Let,