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Who, wise yourselves, desire your son should learn
Your wisdom and your ways—to you I turn.
Look round you on a world perversely blind :
See what contempt is fall’n on human kind;
See wealth abus'd, and dignities misplac'd, 815
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgrac'd,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quenchd and cold ;
See Bedlam's closeted and hand-cuff d charge
Surpass'd in frenzy by the mad at large ;
See great commanders making war a trade;
Great lawyers lawyers without study made :
Churchmen, in whose esteem their best employ
Is odious, and their wages all their joy ;
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves
825 With gospel lore, turn infidels themselves ; See womanhood despis'd, and manhood sham'd With infamy too nauseous to be nam’d; Fops at all corners, lady-like in mien, Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen,
830 Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung, Now flush'd with drunk’nness, now with whoredom
pale, Their breath a sample of last night's regale ; See volunteers in all the vilest arts
835 Man well endow'd, of honourable parts, Design’d by Nature wise, but self-made fools, All these, and more like these, were bred at schools, And if it chance, as sometimes chance it will, That though school-bred the boy be virtuous still ; 840 Such rare exceptions, shining in the dark Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark : As here and there a twinkling star descried, Serves but to show how black is all beside. Now look on him, whose very voice in tone 845 Just echoes thine, whose features are thine own,
And stroke his polish'd cheek of purest red,
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head,
And say, My boy, th' unwelcome hour is come,
When thou, transplanted from thy genial home, 850
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger's care ;
What character, what turn thou wilt assume
From constant converse with I know not whom ;
Who there will court thy friendship, with what views,
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose ; 856
Though much depends on what thy choice shall be,
Is all chanca-medley, and unknown to me.
Canst thou, the tear just trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful risk foreseen forbids;
Free too, and under no constraining force,
Unless the sway of custom warp thy course ;
Lay such a stake upon the losing side
Merely to gratify so blind a guide ?
Thou canst not! Nature, pulling at thine heart, 865
Condemns th' unfatherly, th' imprudent part.
Thou wouldst not, deaf to Nature's tend'rest plea,
Tum him adrift upon a rolling sea,
Nor say, Go thither, conscious that there lay
A brood of asps or quicksands in his way ; 870
Then, only govern’d by the self-same rule
Of nat'ral pity, send him not to school.
No-guard him better. Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy flesh, thy bone ?
And hop'st thou not, ('tis ev'ry father's hope,) 875
That since thy strength must with thy years elope,
And thou wilt need some comfort to assuage
Health's last farewell, a staff in thine old age,
That then, in recompense of all thy cares,
Thy child shall show respect to thy gray hairs, 880
Befriend thee, of all other friends bereft,
And give thy life its only cordial left!
Aware then how much danger intervenes,
To compass that good end forecast the moans,
His heart, now passive, yields to thy command ; 885
Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand.
If thou desert thy charge, and throw it wide,
Nor heed what guest there enter and abide,
Complain not if attachments lewd and base
Supplant thee in it, and usurp thy place
But, if thou guard its sacred chambers sure
From vicious inmates and delights impure,
Either his gratitude shall hold him fast,
And keep him warm and filial to the last;
Or, if he prove unkind, (as who can say
895 But, being man, and therefore frail, he may ?) One comfort yet shall cheer thine aged heart, Howe’or he slight thee, thou hast done thy part.
O barb'rous! wouldst thou with a Gothick hand Pull down the schools—what !--all th’ schools i'th' land;
900 Or throw them up to liv'ry nags and grooms, Or turn them into shops and auction rooms ? A captious question, sir, (and yours is one) Deserves an answer similar or none. Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ, 905 (Appris'd that he is such,) a careless boy, And feed him well, and give him handsome pay, Merely to sleep, and let them run astray ? Survey our schools and colleges, and see A sight not much unlike my simile.
From education, as the leading cause,
The publick character its colour draws;
Thence the prevailing manners take their cast,
Extravagant or sober, loose or chaste.
And, though I would not advertise them yet, 915
Nor write on each—This building to be let,
Unless the world were all prepar'd t'embrace
A plan well worthy to supply their place;
Yet, backward as they are, and long have been,
To cultivate and keep the morals clean,
920 (Forgive the crime,) I wish them, I confess, Or better manag'd, or encourag'd loss.
AN INVITATION INTO THE COUNTRY.
THE swallows in their torpid state
Compose their useless wing,
And bees in hives as idly wait
The call of early Spring.
The keenest frost that binds the stream,
The wildest wind that blows,
Are neither felt nor fear'd by them,
Secure of their repose.
But man, all feeling and awake,
The gloomy scene surveys !
With present ills his heart must ache,
And pant for brighter days.
Old Winter, halting o'er the mead,
Bids me and Mary mourn;
But lovely Spring peeps o'er his head,
And whispers your return.
Then April with her sister May,
Shall chase him from the bow'rs, :
And weave fresh garlands ev'ry day,
To crown the smiling hours.
And if a tear, that speaks regret,
Of happier times, appear,
A glimpse of joy, that we have met,
Shall shine and dry the tear.
On the receipt of my Mother's Picture out of Nor.
folk, the gift of my cousin Ann Bodham
O THAT those lips had language! Life has pass’d With me but roughly since I heard the last. Those lips are thine--thy own sweet smile I see,
that oft in childhood solac'd me; Voice only fails, else how distinct they say, “ Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!” The meek intelligence of those dear eyes, (Bless'd be the art that can immortalize, The art that baffles Time's tyrannick claim To quench it,) here shines on me still the same.
Faithful remembrancer of ono so dear,
O welcome guest, though unexpected here !
Who bidd'st ma honour with an artless song,
Affectionate, a mother lost so long.
I will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own :
And, while that face renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief,
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,
A momentary dream, that thou art she.
My mother ! when I learn'd that thou wast dead, Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed ? Hovor'd thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing, son, Wretch even then, life's journey just begun? Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unfolt, a kiss, Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss-Ah, that maternal smile! it answers
S-Yos. I hoard the bell toll'd on thy burial day, VOL. II.