« PreviousContinue »
And some perhaps who, busy as they are, Yet make their progeny their dearest care (Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may
reach Their offspring, left upon so wild a beach), Will need no stress of argument to' enforce The' expedience of a less adventurous course : The rest will slight thy counsel, or condemn; But they have human feelings-turn to them.
To you then, tenant's of life's middle state, Securely placed between the small and great, Whose character, yet undebauch’d, retains Two-thirds of all the virtue that remains, Who,wise yourselves, desire your son should learn Your wisdom and your ways—to you I turn. Look round you on a world perversely blind: See what contempt is fallen on humankind; See wealth abused, and dignities misplaced, Great titles, offices, and trusts disgraced, Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old, Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold; See Bedlam's closeted and handcuff'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 best employ Is odious, and their wages all their joy, Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves With Gospel lore, turn infidels themselves; See womanhood despised, and manhood shamed With infamy too nauseous to be named, Fops at all corners, ladylike 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 drunkenness, now with whore
dom pale, Their breath a sample of last night's regale: See volunteers in all the vilest arts, Man well endow'd, of honourable parts, Design’d by Nature wise, but self-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 own, And stroke his polish'd cheek of purest red, And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head, And say, My boy, the’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 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. Canst thou, the tear just trembling on thy lids, And while the dreadful risk foreseen forbids;
Free too, and under no constraining force,
· 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 slight thee, thou hast done thy part.
O barbarous ! wouldst thou with a gothic hand Pull down the schools-what!-all the schools
in the land; Or throw them up to livery nags and grooms, Or turn them into shops and auction rooms? A captious question, sir (and yours is one), Deserves an answer similar, or none. Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ (Apprised that he is such) a careless boy, And feed him well, and give him handsome pay, Merely to sleep, and let them run astray ?
Survey our schools and colleges, and see · A sight not much unlike my simile. 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, Unless the world were all prepared to 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 managed, or encouraged less.
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY
My right there is none to dispute;
I am lord of the fowl and the brute. O Solitude! where are the charms,
That sages have seen in thy face? Better dwell in the midst of alarms
Than reign in this horrible place. I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech;
I start at the sound of my own. The beasts that roam over the plain,
My form with indifference see; They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me. Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestow'd upon man, 0, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth, Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And he cheer'd by the sallies of youth. Religion ! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word! More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford.