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I name thee not, less so despis'd a name 6
Should move a sneer at the deserved fame;
Yet e'en in transitory life's late day,
That mingles all my brown with sober gray,
Revere the man, whose Pilgrim marks the road, 145
And guides the progress of the soul to God.
"Twere well with most, if books, that could engage
Their childhood, pleas'd them at a riper age;
The man approving what had charm'd the boy,
Would die at last in comfort, peace, and joy;
And not with curses on his heart, who stole
The gem of truth from his unguarded soul.
The stamp of artless piety impress'd
By kind tuition on his yielding breast,
The youth now bearded, and yet pert and raw, 155
Regards with scorn, though once receiv'd with awe;
And, warp'd into the labyrinth of lies,
That babblers, call’d philosophers, devise,
Blasphemes his creed, as founded on a plan
Replete with dreams, unworthy of a man * 160
Touch but his nature in its ailing part,
Assert the native evil of his heart,
His pride resents the charge, although the proof
Rise in his forehead:* and seem rank enough;
Point to the cure, describe a Saviour's cross

165
As God's expedient to retrieve his loss,
The young apostate sickens at the view,
And hates it with the malice of a Jew.

How weak the barrier of mere Nature proves, Oppos'd against the pleasures Nature loves!

170 While self-betray'd and wilfully undone, She longs to yield, no sooner woo'd than won. Try now the merits of this bless'd exchange, Of modest truth for wit's eccentrick range. Time was, he clos'd as he began the day

175 With decent duty, not asham’d to pray:

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The practice was a bond upon his heart,
A pledge he gave for a consistent part:
Nor could he dare presumptuously displease
A pow'r confess’d so lately on his knees.
But now farewell all legendary tales,
The shadows fly, philosophy prevails;
Pray’r to the winds, and caution to the waves;
Religion makes thee free by nature slaves!
Priests have invented, and the world admir'd
What knavish priests promulgate as inspir’d;
Till Reason, now no longer overaw'd,
Resumes her powers, and spurns the clumsy fraud;
And, common sense diffusing real day,
The meteor of the Gospel dies away

190
Such rhapsodies our shrewd discerning youth
Learn from expert inquirers after truth;
Whose only care, might truth presume to speak,
Is not to find what they profess to seek.
And thus, well-tutor’d only while we share 195
A mother's lectures and a nurse's care;
And taught at schools much mythologick stuff,*
But sound religion sparingly enough;
Our early notices of truth, disgrac'd,
Soon lose their credit, and are all effac’d.

200 Would you your son should be a sot or dunce, . Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at once; That in good time the stripling's finish'd taste For loose expense, and fashionable waste, Should prove your ruin and his own at last; 205 Train him in publick with a mob of boys, Childish in mischief only and in noise, Else of a mannish growth, and five in ten In infidelity and lewdness men.

*The author begs leave to explain. 'Sensible that without such knowledge noither the ancient poets nor historians can be tasted, or indeed understood, he does not mean to censure the pains that are taken to instruct a school boy in the religion of the Heathen, but merely that neglect of Christian culture, which leaves him shamefully ignorant of his own.

There shall he learn, ere sixteen winters old, 210
That authors are most useful, pawn’d or sold;
That pedantry is all that schools impart,
But taverns teach the knowledge of the heart;
There waiter Dick, with Bacchanalian lays,
Shall win his heart, and have his drunkeu praise; 215
His counsellor and bosom friend shall prove,
And some street-pacing harlot his first love.
Schools, unless discipline were doubly strong,
Detain their adolescent charge too long:
The management of tyroes of eighteen

220
Is difficult, their punishment obscene.
The stout tall captain, whose superiour size
The minor heroes view with envious eyes,
Becomes their pattern, upon whom they fix
Their whole attention, and ape all his tricks. 225
His pride, that scorns t obey or to submit,
With them is courage; his effront'ry, wit.
His wild excursions, window-breaking feats,
Robb’ry of gardens, quarrels in the streets, 229
His hairbreadth 'scapes, and all his daring schemes,
Transport them, and are made their fav’rite themes.
In little bosoms such achievements strike
A kindred spark: they burn to do the like:
Thus half accomplish'd ere he yet begin
To show the peeping down upon his chin; : 235
And, as maturity of years comes on,
Made just th' adept that you design'd your son;
T'ensure the perseverance of his course,
And give your monstrous project all its force,
Send him to college. If he there be tam'd,

240 Or in one article of vice reclaim'd, Where no regard of ord’nances is shown Or look'd for now, the fault must be his own, Some sneaking virtue lurks in him, no doubt, Where neither strumpets' charms nor drinking bout, Nor gambling practices can find it out, Such you of spirit, and that spirit too,

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260

Ye nurs’ries of our boys, we owe to you:
Though from ourselves the mischief more proceeds,
For public schools 'tis public folly feeds.

250
The slaves of custom and establish'd mode,
With packhorse constancy we keep the road,
Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells,
True to the jingling of our leader's bells.
To follow foolish precedents, and wink

255 With both our eyes, is easier than to think; . And such an age as ours balks no expense, Except of caution, and of common sense; Else sure notorious fact and proof so plain, Would turn our steps into a wiser train. I blame not those who, with what care they can, O’erwatch the num'rous and unruly clan; Or, if I blame, 'tis only that they dare Promise a work, of which they must despair. Have ye, ye sage intendants of the whole,

265 A ubiquarian presence and controlElisha's eye, that, when Gehazi stray'd, Went with him, and saw all the game he play'd? Yes—ye are conscious; and on all the shelves Your pupils strike upon, have struck yourselves, 270 Or if, by nature sober, ye had then, Boys as ye were, the gravity of men; Ye knew at least, by constant proofs address'd To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest. But ye connive at what ye cannot cure, . , 275 And evils, not to be endur'd, endure, Lest pow'r exerted, but without success, Should make the little ye retain still less. Ye once were justly fam'd for bringing forth Undoubted scholarship and genuine worth, And in the firmament of fame still shines A glory, bright as that of all the signs, Of poets rais'd by you, and statesmen, and divinos. Peace to them all! those brilliant times are fled, And no such lights are kindling in their stead. 285

295

Our striplings shine indeed, but with such rays,
As set the midnight riot in a blaze;
And seem, if judg'd by their expressive looks,
Deeper in none than in their surgeons' books.

Say, Muse, (for education made the song, 290
No muse can hesitate, or linger long,)
What causes move us, knowing as we must,
That these menageries all fail their trust,
To send our sous to scout and scamper there,
While colts and puppies cost us so much care?

Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise, We love the play-place of our early days; The scene is touching, and the heart is stone That feels not at that sight, and feels at none. The wall on which we tried our graving skill, 300 The very name we carv'd subsisting still; The bench on which we sat while deep employ'd, Tho' mangled, hack'd, and hew'd, not yet destroy'd; The little ones, unbetton'd, glowing hot, Lu Playing our games, and on the very spot;

306 As happy as we once, to kneel and draw The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw; To pitch the ball into the grounded hat, Or drive it devious with a dextrous pat; The pleasing spectacle at once excites

310 Such recollection of our own delights, That, viewing it, we seem almost t obtain Our innocent sweet simple years again. This fond attachment to the well-known place, Whence first we started into life's long race, 316 Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway, . We feel it e'en in age, and at our latest day, Hark! how the sire of chits, whose future share Of classick food begins to be his care, With his own likeness plac'd on either knoe, Indulges all a father's heart-felt glee; And tells them, as he strokes their silver looks, That they must soon learn Latin, and to box;

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