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If anxious only, that their boys may learn,
530 Such vicious habits as disgrace his name, Threaten his health, his fortune, and his famo; Though want of due restraint alone have bred The symptoms, that you see with so much dread; Unenvied there, he may sustain alone
535 The whole reproach, the fault was all his own.
O'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; 540 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, 545 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; 550
Then why resign into a stranger's hand
555 For one, whose tend'rest thoughts all hover round your
own? 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, 560 Bears witness, long ere his dismission come, With what intense desire he wants his home. But though the joys he hopes beneath your roof Bid fair enough to answer in the proof, Harmless, and safe, and nat'ral, as they are
565 A disappointment waits him even there: Arriv’d, 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, 570 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
575 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;
580 None that, in thy domestick 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 585 By no kind arts his confidence again;
That here begins with most that long complaint
590 A parent pours into regardless ears.
Like caterpillars dangling under trees
600 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,
605 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; 610 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, Ou moments squander'd else, and running all to waste And seems it nothing in a father's eye,
615 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
620 By publick hacknies 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,
635 To show him in an insect or a flow'r Such microscopick 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, 640 With designation of the fingers' 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; 645 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, 651 Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport, When health demands it, of athletick sort; Would make him—what some lovely boys have been, And more than one, perhaps, that I have seen- 665 An evidence and reprehension both Of the school-boy's lean and tardy growth.
Art thou a man professionally tied, With all thy faculties elsewhere applied, Too busy to intend a meaner care,
660 Than how t enrich thyself, and next thine heir:
Or art thou (as though rich perhaps thou art)
675 In him thy well-appointed proxy see, Arm'd for a work too difficult for thee; Prepard by taste, by learning, and true worth, To form thy son, to strike his genius forth; Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye to prove
680 The force of discipline when back'd by love; To double all thy pleasure in thy child, His mind inform’d, his morals undefild. Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show No spots contracted among grooms below,
685 Nor taint his speech with meannesses design'd By footman Tom for witty and refin'd. There, in his commerce with the liv'ried herd, Lurks the contagion chiefly to be fear’d; For since, (so fashion dictates,) all who claim 690 A higher than a mere plebian fame, Find it expedient; come what mischief may, ,To entertain a thief or two in pay, (And they that can afford th’ expense of more, Some half a dozen, and some half a score,)
695 Great cause occurs, to save him from a band So sựre to spoil him, and so near at hand; A point secur'd, if once he be supply'd With some such Mentor always at his side.