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A priesthood, such as Baal's was of old,'
A people, such as never was till now.
It is a hungry yice :---it eats up all,
That gives society its beauty, strength,
Convenience, and security, and use :
Makes men mere vermin, worthy to be trapped
And gibbeted, as fast as catchpole claws
Can seize the slippery prey : unties the knot
Of union, and converts the sacred band,
That holds mankind together, to a scourge.
Profusion, deluging a state with lusts
Of grossest nature and of worse effects,
Prepares it for its ruin : hardens, blinds,
And warps, the consciences of public men,
Till they can laugh at virtue; mock the fools
That trust them; and in the end disclose a face,
That would have shocked credulity herself,
Unmasked, vouchsafing this their sole excuse---
Since all alike are selfish, why not they?
This does profusion, and th' accursed cause
Of such deep mischief has itself a cause.

In colleges and halls, in ancient days,
When learning, virtue, piety and truth,
Were precious, and inculcated with care,
There dwelt a sage called Discipline. His head,
Not yet by time completely silvered o'er,
Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth,
But strong for service still, and unimpaired.
His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile
Played on his lips; and in his speech was heard
Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love.
The occupation dearest to his heart
Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke
The head of modest and ingenuous worth,
That blushed at its own praise, and press the youth
Close to his side that pleased him. Learning grew
Beneath his care a thriving, vigorous, plant;
The mind was well informed, the passions held
Subordinate, and diligence was choice.
If e'er it chanced, as sometimes chance it must,
That one among so many overleaped
The limits of controul, his gentle eye

Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke:
His frown was full of terror, and his voice
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe,
As left him not, till penitence had won
Lost favour back again, and closed the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Declined at length into the vale of years :
A palsy struck his arm; his sparkling eye
Was quenched in rheums of age : his voice unstrung
Grew tremulous, and moved derision more
Than reverence in perverse rebellious youth.
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend; and Discipline at length,
O’erlooked and unemployed, sell sick and died.
Then study lauguished, emulation slept,
And virtue fled; the schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where ignorance in stilts,
His cap well lined with logic not his own,
With parrot tongue performed the scholar's part,
Proceeding soon a graduated dunce.
Then compromise had place, and scrutiny
Became stone blind; precedence went in truck,
And he was competent whose purse was so.
A dissolution of all bonds ensued;
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
Of lead-strong youth were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, opening with a touch;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The tassled cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mockery of the world! What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts and booted sportsmen, oftener seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty ? What was learned,
If aught was learned in childhood, is forgot;
And such expense, as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is squandered in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name,
That sits a stigma on his father's house,
And cleaves through life inseparably close

To him that wears it. What can after-games
Of riper joys, and commerce with the world,
The lewd vain world, that must receive him soon,
Add to such erudition thus acquired,
Where science and where virtue are professed ?
They may confirm bis habits, rivet fast
His folly, but to spoil him is a task,
That bids defiance to th' united powers
Of fashion, dissipation, taverns, stews.
Now blame we must the nurslings or the nurse?
The children crooked, and twisted and deformed,
Through want of care; or her, whose winking eye
And slumbering oscitancy mars the brood ?
The nurse no doubt. Regardless of her charge,
She needs herself correction; needs to learn,
That it is dangerous sporting with the world,
With things so sacred as a nation's trust,
The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge.

All are not such. I had a brother once---
Peace to the memory of a man of worth,
A man of letters, and of manners too!
Of manners sweet as virtue always wears,
When gay good nature dresses her in smiles.
He graced a college *, in which order yet
Was sacred; and was honoured, loved, and wept,
By more than one, themselves conspicuous there.
Some minds are tempered happily, and mixt
With such ingredients of good sense and taste
Of what is excellent in man, they thirst
With such a zeal to be what they approve,
That uo restraints can circumscribe them more
Than they themselves by choice, for wisdom's sake;
Nor can example hurt them: what they see
Of vice in others, but enhancing more
The charms of virtue in their just esteem.
If such escape contagion, and emerge
Pure from so foul a pool to shine abroad,
And give the world their talents and themselves,
Small thanks to those, whose negligence or sloth
Exposed their inexperience to the snare,
And left them to an undirected choice.

• Ben'et Coll. Cambridge.

See then the quiver broken and decayed, In which are kept our arrows ! Rusting there In wild disorder, and unfit for use, What wonder if, discharged into the world, They shame their shooters with a random flight, Their points obtuse, and feathers drunk with wine! Well may the church wage unsuccessful war With such artillery armed. Vice parries wide Th’undreaded volley with a sword of straw, And stands an impudent and fearless mark.

Have we not tracked the felon home, and found His birth-place and his dam? The country mourns, Mourns because every plague that can infest Society, and that saps and worms the base Of the edifice, that policy has raised, Swarms in all quarters; meets the eye, the ear, And suffocates the breath at every turn. Profusion breeds them; and the cause itself Of that calamitous mischief has been found : Found too where most offensive, in the skirts Of the robed pedagogue! Else let th' arraigned Stand up unconscious, and refute the charge. So, when the Jewish leader stretched his arm, And waved his rod divine, a race obscene, Spawned in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth, Polluting Egypt: gardens, fields, aud plains, Were covered with the pest; the streets were filled ; The croaking nuisance lurked in every nook ; Nor palaces, nor even chambers, 'scaped ; And the land stank---so numerous was the fry,

THE TASK.

BOOK III.

THE GARDEN.

Argument.

Self-recollection and reproof.---Address to domestic hap

piness. --Some account of myself.--The vanity of many of their pursuits who are reputed wise.---Justification of my censures.-Divine illumination necessary to the most expert philosopher.---The question, What is truth? answered by other questions.---Domestic happiness addressed again.---Few lovers of the country.---My tame hare.--Occupations of a retired gentleman in his garden. ----Pruning.----Framing.---Greenhouse.----Sowing of flowerseeds.--The country preferable to the town, even in the winter.---Reasons why it is deserted at that season.--Ruinous effects of gaming and of expensive improvement.---Book concludes with an apostrophe to the metropolis.

AS one, who long in thickets and in brakes
Entangled winds now this way and now that
His devious course uncertain, seeking home;
Or, having long in miry ways been foiled
And sore discomfited, from slough to slough
Plunging, and half-despairing of escape;
If chance at length he finds a greensward smooth
And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise,
He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed,
And winds his way with pleasure and with ease;
So I, designing other themes, and called
T'adorn the Sofa with eulogium due,

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