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Ye nurs'ries of our boys, we owe to you :
Though from ourselves the mischief more proceeds,
For publick schools 'tis publick 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 wiser train.

260 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 ai what ye cannot cure,

275 And evils, not to be endurd, 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 ; 280 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 divines. Peace to them all! those brilliant times are fled, And no such lights are kindling in their stead.

285

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 sons to scout and scamper there,
While colts and puppies cost us so much cako? 295

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 keep employ'd, 'Tho' mangled, hack'd, and hew'd, not yet destroy'd ; The little ones, unbotton'd, glowing hot, Playing our games, and on the very spot ;

305 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 dext'rous pat ; The pleasing spectacle ai once excites 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, 315 Maintains its hold with suck 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 knee, 320 Indulges all a father's heart-felt glee ; And tells them, as he strokes their silver locks, That they must soon learn Latin, and to box;

310

Then turning, he regales his list’ning wife
With all the adventures of his early life ;

325
His skill in coachmanship, or driving chaise,
In bilking tavern bills, and spouting plays;
What shifts he us'd, detected in a scrape,
How he was flogg'd or had the luck t'escape ;
What sums he lost at play, and how he sold

330 Watch, seals, and all-till all his pranks are told. Retracing thus his frolicks, ('tis a name That palliates deeds of folly and of shame,) He gives the local bias all its sway ; Resolves that where he play'd his sons shall play, 335 And destines their bright genius to be shown Just in the scene where he display'd his own. The meek and bashful boy will soon be taught, To be as bold and forward as he ought; The rude will scuffle through with ease enough, 340 Great schools suit best the sturdy and the rough. Ah happy designation, prudent choice, Th’ event is sure ; expect it, and rejoice ! Soon see your wish fulfill'd in either child The pert made perter, and the tame made wild. 345

The great, indeed, by titles, riches, birth, Excus'd th’ encumbrance of more solid worth, Are best dispos’d of where with most success They may acquire that confident address, Those habits of profuse and lewd expense, 350 That scorn of all delights but those of sense, Which, though in plain plebeians we condemn, With so much reason all expect from them. But families of less illustrious fame, Whose chief distinction is their spotless name, 353 Whose heirs, their honours none, their income small, Must shine by true desert, or not at all, What dream they of, that with so little care They risk their hopes, their dearest treasure there? They dream of little Charles or William grac'd 360 With wig prolix, down flowing to his waist :

They see th' attentive crowds his talents draw :
They hear him speak—the oracle of law.
The father, who designs his babe a priest,
Dreams him episcopally such at least ;

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And while the playful jockey scours the room
Briskly, astride upon the parlour broom,
In fancy sees him more superbly ride
In coach with purple lin'd, and mitres on its side.
Events improbable and strange as these,

370 Which only a parental eye foresees, A publick school shall bring to pass with ease. But how! Resides such virtue in that air, As must create an appetite for pray’r ? And will it breathe into him all the zeal,

375 That candidates for such a prize should feel, To take the lead and be the foremost still In all true worth and literary skill ? “ Ah, blind to bright futurity, untaught The knowledge of the world, and dull of thought ? Church-ladders are not always mounted best 381 By learned clerks, and Latinists profess'd. Th' exalted prize demands an upward look, Not to be found by poring on a book. Small skill in Latin, and still less in Greek, 385 Is more than adequate to all I seek. Let erudition grace him or not grace, I give the bauble but the second place ; His wealth, fame, honours, all that I intend, Subsist and centre in one point-a friend. 390 A friend, whate'er he studies or neglects, Shall give him consequence, heal all defects. His intercourse with peers and sons of peers, There dawns the splendour of his future years : In that bright quarter his propitious skies 395 Shall blush betimes, and there his glory rise. Your Lordship and Your Gruce! what school can teach A rhet’rick equal to those parts of speech ! What need of Homer's verse, or Tully's prose,

Sweet interjections ! if he learn but those ? 400
Let rev'rend churls his ignorance rebuke,
Who starv'd upon a dog's-ear’d Pentateuch,
The parson knows enough, who knows a duke.”
Egregious purpose! worthily begun
In barb'rous prestitution of your son ;

405
Pressid on his part by means that would disgrace
A scriv'ner's clerk, or foolman out of place,
And ending, if at last its end be gaind,
In sacrilege, in God's own house profan'd !
It may succeed ; and, if his sins should call 410
For more than common punishment, it shall;
The wretch shall rise, and be the thing on earth
Least qualified in honour, learning, worth,
To occupy a sacred awful post,
In which the best and worthiest tremble most. 415
The royal letters are a thing of course,
A king, that would, might recommend his horse ;
And deans, no doubt, and chapters with one voice,
As bound in duty, would confirm the choice.
Behold your bishop; well he plays his part, 420
Christian in name, and infidel in heart,
Ghostly in office, earthly in his plan,
A slave at court, elsewhere a lady's man.
Dumb as a senator, and as a priest
A piece of mere church furniture at best ; 425
To live estrang'd from God his total scope,
And his end sure, without one glimpse of hope.
But fair although and feasible it seem,
Depend not much upon your golden dream :
For Providence, that seems concern'd t'exempt 430
The hallow'd bench from absolute contempt,
In spite of all the wrigglers into place,
Stili keeps a seat or two for worth and grace;
And therefore 'tis that though the sight be rare,
We sometimes see a Lowth or Bagot there. 435
Besides, school-friendships are not always found,
Though fair in promiso, permanent and sound ;

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