페이지 이미지

The most disint'rested and virtuous minds,
In early years connected, time unbinds,
New situations give a diff'rent cast

Of habit, inclination, temper, taste;
And he that seem'd our counterpart at first,
Soon shows the strong similitude revers’d.
Young heads are giddy, and young hearts are warm,
And make mistakes for manhood to reform. 445
Boys are at best but pretty buds unblown,
Whose scent and hues are rather guess'd than known;
Each dreams that each is just what he appears,
But learns his errour in maturer years,
When disposition, like a sail unfurld,

450 Shows all its rents and patches to the world: If, therefore, e'en when honest in design, A boyish friendship may so soon decline, "Twere wiser sure t’ inspire a little heart With just abhorrence of so mean a part,

455 Than set your son to work at a vile trade For wages so ursikely to be paid.

Our publick hives of puerile resort, That are of chief and most approv'd report, To such base hopes, in many a sordid soul, 460 Owe their repute in part, but not the whole. A principle, whose proud pretensions pass Unquestion'd, though the jewel be but glassThat with a world, not often over nice, Ranks as a virtue, and is yet a vice;

465 Or rather a gross compound, justly tried, Of envy, hatred, jealousy, and prideContributes most perhaps t' enhance their fame; And emulation is its specious rame. Boys, once on tire with that contentious zeal, 470 Feel all the rage that female rivals feel ; The prize of beauty in a woman's eyes Not brighter than in theirs the scholar's prize. The spirit of that competition burns With all varieties of ill by turns ;


Each vainly magnifies his own success,
Resents his fellow's, wishes it were less,
Exults in his miscarriage if he fail,
Deems his reward too great if he prevail,
And labours to surpass him day and night,

480 Less for improvement than to tickle spite. The spur

is pow'rful, and I grant its force ;
It pricks the genius forward in its course,
Allows short time for play, and none for sloth ;
And, felt alike by each, advances both :

485 But judge, where so much evil intervenes, I

The end, though plausible, not worth the means.
Weigh, for a moment, classical desert
Against a heart deprav’d and temper hurt;
Hurt, too, perhaps, for life ; for early wrong, 490
Done to the nobler part, affects it long ;
And you are stanch indeed in learning's cause,
If you can crown a discipline, that draws
Such mischiefs after it with much applause.

Connexion form'd for int’rest, and endear'd 495
By selfish views, thus censur'd and cashier'd :
And emulation, as engend’ring hate,
Doom'd to a no less ignominious fate :
The props of such proud seminaries fall,
The Jachin and the Boaz of them all.

500 Great schools rejected then, as those that swell Beyond a size that can be manag'd well, Shall royal institutions miss the bays, And small academies win all the praise ? Force not my drift beyound its just intent, 505 I praise a school as Pope a government ; So take my judgment in his language dress’d, “ Whate'er is best administer'd is best.” Few boys are born with talents that excel, But all are capable of living well;

510 Then ask not, Whether limited or large ? But, Watch they strictly, or neglect their charge?

If anxious only, that their boys may learn, r While morals languish, a despis'd concern,

The great and small deserve one common blame, 515
Diff'rent in size, but in effect the same.
Much zeal in virtue's cause all teachers boast,
Though motives of mere lucre sway the most;
Therefore in towns and cities they abound,
For there the game they seek is easiest found; 520
Though there, in spite of all that care can do,
Traps to catch youth are more abundant too.
If shrewd, and of a well-constructed brain,
Keen in pursuit, and vig'rous to retain,
Your son come forth a prodigy of skill;

As, wheresoever taught, so form’d he will ;
The pedagogue, with self-complacent air,
Claims more than half the praise as his due share.
But if, with all his genius, he betray,
Not more intelligent than loose and gay,

530 Such vicious habits as disgrace his name, Threaten his health, his fortune, and his fame; 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 whoin 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; 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 VOL. II.


Then why resign into a stranger's hand
A task as much within your own command,
That God and Nature, and your int’rest too,
Seem with one voice to delegate to you?
Why hire a lodging in a house unknown

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 case,
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

Of love by absence chill'd into respect.
Say, what accomplishments, at school acquir'd,
Brings le 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
Of filial frankness lost, and love grown faint ;
Which, oft neglected in life’s waning years
A parent pours into regardless ears.

Like caterpillars dangling under trees
By slender threads, and swinging in the breeze,
Which filthily bewray and sore disgrace
The boughs in which are bred th' unseemly race :
While ev'ry worm industriously weaves

595 And winds his web about the rivell’d leaves ; V So num'rous are the follies that annoy

The mind and heart of ev'ry sprightly boy ;
Imaginations noxious and perverse,
Which admonition can alone disperse,

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,
On 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 ;

« 이전계속 »