« AnteriorContinuar »
For her the Fancy, roving unconfined,
But truths, on which depends our main concern, The present muse of every pensive mind, That 'tis our shame and misery not to learn, Works magic wonders; adds a brighter hue Shine by the side of every path we tread To Nature's scenes than Nature ever knew. With such a lustre, he that runs may read. At her command winds rise, and waters roar, | 'Tis true that, if to trifle life away Again she lays them slumbering on the shore; Down to the sunset of their latest day, With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies, Then perish on futurity's wide shore Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp to rise.
Like fleeting exhalations, found no more, For her the Judgment, umpire in the strife, Were all that Heaven required of human kind, That Grace and Nature have to wage through And all the plan their destiny designed, life,
What none could reverence all might justly blame, Quick-sighted arbiter of good and ill,
And man would breathe but for his Maker's Appointed sage preceptor to the Will,
shame, Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice But reason heard, and nature well perused, Guides the decision of a doubtful choice.
At once the dreaming mind is disabused. Why did the fiat of a God give birth
If all we find possessing earth, sea, air, To yon fair Sun, and his attendant Earth? Reflect his attributes, who placed them there, And, when descending, he resigns the skies, Fulfil the purpose, and appear designed Why takes the gentler Moon her turn to rise, Proofs of the wisdom of th' all-seeing mind, Whom Ocean feels through all his countless 'Tis plain the creature, whom he chose t'invest waves,
With kingship and dominion o'er the rest, And owns her power on every shore he laves ? Received his nobler nature, and was made Why do the seasons still enrich the year, Fit for the power in which he stands arrayed; Fruitful and young as in their first career ? That first, or last, hereafter, if not here, Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees, He too might make his author's wisdom clear, Rocked in the cradle of the western breeze; Praise him on earth, or, obstinately dumb, Summer in haste the thriving charge receives Suffer his justice in a world to come. Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves, This once believed, 'twere logic misapplied, Till Autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews To prove a consequence by none denied, Dye them at last in all their glowing hues.- That we are bound to cast the minds of youth 'Twere wild confusion all, and bootless waste, Betimes into the mould of heavenly' truth, Power misemployed, munificence misplaced, That taught of God they may indeed be'wise, Had not its author dignified the plan,
Nor ignorantly wandering miss the skies.
In early days the conscience has in most
Too careless often, as our years proceed,
And wisely store the nursery by degrees His crimes and follies with an aching eye; With wholesome learning, yet acquired with ease. With passions, just that he may prove, with pain, Neatly secured from being soiled or torn The force he spends against their fury vain; Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn, And if, soon after having burnt, by turns, A book (to please us at a tender age, With every lust, with which frail Nature burns, 'Tis called a book, though but a single page) His being end, where death dissolves the bond, Presents the prayer the Saviour deigned to teach, The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond; Which children use, and parsons-when they Then he, of all that Nature has brought forth, preach; Stands self-impeached the creature of least worth, Lisping our syllables, we scramble next And useless while he lives and when he dies, Through moral narrative, or sacred text; Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies. And learn with wonder how this world began, Truths, that the learned pursue with eager Who made, who marred, and who has ransomed
thought, Are not important always as dear-bought, Points, which, unless the Scripture made them Proving at last, though told in pompous strains, plain, A childish waste of philosophic pains;
The wisest heads might agitate in vain.
O thou, whom, borne on Fancy's eager wing | Priests have invented, and the world admired
Learn from expert inquirers after truth;
And thus, well-tutored only while we share I name thee not, lest so despised a name
A mother's lectures and a nurse's care; Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame; And taught at schools much mythologic stuff,* Yet e'en in transitory life's late day,
But sound religion sparingly enough; That mingles all my brown with sober gray, Our early notices of truth, disgraced, Revere the man, whose pilgrim marks the road, Soon lose their credit, and are all effaced. And guides the progress of the soul to God. Would you your son should be a sot or dunce, "Twere well with most, if books, that could engage Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at once; Their childhood, pleased them at a riper age; That in good time the stripling's finished taste The man, approving what had charmed the boy, For loose expense, and fashionable waste, Would die at last in comfort, peace, and joy; Should prove your ruin, and his own at last; And not with curses on his heart, who stole Train him in public with a mob of boys, The gem of truth from his unguarded soul. Childish in mischief only and in noise, The stamp of artless piety impressed
Else of a manish growth, and five in ten By kind tuition on his yielding breast,
In infidelity and lewdness men. The youth now bearded, and yet pert and raw, There shall he learn, ere sixteen winters old, Regards with scorn, though once received with That authors are most useful pawned or sold; awe;
That pedantry is all that schools impart, And, warped into the labyrinth of lies,
But taverns teach the knowledge of the heart, That babblers, called philosophers, devise, There waiter Dick, with Bacchanalian lays, Blasphemes his creed, as founded on a plan Shall win his heart, and have his drunken praise, Replete with dreams, unworthy of a man. His counsellor and bosom friend shall prove, Touch but his nature in its ailing part,
And some street-pacing harlot his first love. Assert the native evil of his heart,
Schools, unless discipline were doubly strong, His pride resents the charge, although the prooft Detain their adolescent charge too long; Rise in his forehead, and seem rank enough: The management of tyros of cighteen Point to the cure, describe a Saviour's cross
Is difficult; their punishment obscene. As God's expedient to retrieve his loss,
The stout tall captain, whose superior size The young apostate sickens at the view, The minor heroes view with envious eyes, And hates it with the malice of a Jew.
Becomes their pattern, upon whom they fix
Their whole attention, and ape all his tricks. How weak the barrier of mere nature proves,
His pride, that scorns t' obey or to submit, Opposed against the pleasures Nature loves!
With them is courage; his etfrontery wit. While self-betrayed, and wilfully undone,
His wild excursions, window-breaking feats,
Robbery of gardens, quarrels in the streets.
His hairbreadth 'scapes, and all his daring schemes
Transport them, and are made their favourite Time was, he closed as he began the day
themes. With decent duty, not ashamed to pray;
In little bosoms such achievements strike The practice was a bond upon his heart,
A kindred spark: they burn to do the like. A pledge he gave for a consistent part;
Thus, half-accomplished ere he yet begin
To show the pecping down upon his chin;
* The author begs leave to explain. -Sensible that, without Prayer to the winds, and caution to the waves;
such knowledge, neither the ancient poet nor historians can be Religion makes the free by nature slaves. lasted, or indeed understood, he does not mean to censure the
pains that are taken to instruct a schoolboy in the religion of
the Heathen, but merely that neglect of Christian cukurs * See 2 Chron. ch. xxvi. ver. 19..
which leaves him shamefully ignorant of his own
And, as maturity of years comes on,
To send our sons to scout and scamper there, Made just th' adept that you designed your son; While colts and puppies cost us so much care? T'ensure the perseverance of this course, Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise, And give your monstrous project all its force, We love the playplace of our early days; Send him to college. If he there be tamed, The scene is touching, and the heart is stone, Or in one article of vice reclaimed,
That feels not at the sight, and feels at none. Where no regard of ord'nances is shown The wall on which we tried our graving skill, Or looked for now, the fault must be his own. The very name we carved subsisting still ; Some sneaking virtue lurks in him, no doubt, The bench on which we sat while deep employed, Where neither strumpets' charms, nor drinking Tho' mangled, hacked, and hewed, not yet debout,
stroyed; Nor gambling practices, can find it out. The little ones, unbuttoned, glowing hot, Such youths of spirit, and that spirit too, Playing our games, and on the very spot; Ye nurseries of our boys, we owe to you: As happy as we once, to kneel and draw Though from ourselves the mischief more proceeds, The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw; For public schools 'tis public folly feeds. To pitch the ball into the grounded hat, The slaves of custom and established mode, Or drive it devious with a dexterous pat; With packhorse constancy we keep the road, The pleasing spectacle at once excites Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells, Such recollection of our own delights, True to the jingling of our leader's bells. That, viewing it, we seem almost t' obtain To follow. foolish precedents, and wink
Our innocent sweet simple years again. With both our eyes, is easier than to think: This fond attachment to the well-known place, And such an age as ours balks no expense,
Whence first we started into life's long race, Except of caution, and of common-sense;
Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway, Else sure notorious fact, and proof so plain, We feel it e'en in age, and at our latest day. Would turn our steps into a wiser train.
Hark! how the sire of chits, whose future share I blame not those, who with what care they can, óf classic food begins to be his care, O'erwatch the numerous and unruly clan; With his own likeness placed on either knee, Or, if I blame, 'tis only that they dare
Indulges all a father's heart-felt glee; Promise a work, of which they must despair. And tells them, as he strokes their silver locks, Have ye, ye sage intendants of the whole, That they must soon learn Latin, and to box; An ubiquarian presence and control,
Then turning he regales his listening wife Elisha's eye, that, when Gehazi strayed, With all th' adventures of his early life; Went with him, and saw all the game he played? His skill in coachmanship, or driving chaise, Yes-ye are conscious; and on all the shelves In bilking tavern bills, and spouting plays; Your pupils strike upon, have struck yourselves. What shifts he used, detected in a scrape, Or if, by nature sober, ye had then,
How he was flogged, or had the luck t escape, Boys as ye were, the gravity of men;
What sums he lost at play, and how he sold Ye knew at least, by constant proofs addressed Watch, seals, and all-till all his pranks are told. To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest.
Retracing thus his frolics, ('tis a name But ye connive at what ye can not cure, That palliates deeds of folly and of shame) And evils, not to be endured, endure,
He gives the local bias all its sway; Lest power exerted, but without success, Resolved that where he played his sons shall play, Should make the little ye retain still less. And destines their bright genius to be shown Ye once were justly famed for bringing forth Just in the scene where he displayed his own. Undoubted scholarship and genuine worth; The meek and bashful boy will soon be taught And in the firmament of fame still shines To be as bold and forward as he ought; A glory, bright as that of all the signs, The rude will scuffle through with ease enough, Of poets raised by you, and statesmen, and divines. Great schools suit best the sturdy and the rough. Peace to them all! those brilliant times are fled, Ah happy designation, prudent choice, And no such lights are kindling in their stead. Th' event is sure; expect it; and rejoice! Our striplings shine indeed, but with such rays, Soon see your wish fulfilled in either child, As set the midnight riot in a blaze;
The pert made perter, and the tame made wild. And seem,
if judged by their expressive looks, The great indeed, by titles, riches, birth, Deeper in none than in their surgeons' books. Excused th' encumbrance of more solid worth.
Say, muse, (for education made the song, Are best disposed of where with most success No muse can hesitate, or linger long)
They may acquire that confident address, What causes move us, knowing as we must, Those habits of profuse and lewd expense, That these ménageries all fail their trust, | That scorn of all delights but those of sense.
Which, though in plain plebeians we condemn, And ending, if at last its end be gained,
It may succeed; and, if his sins should call Whose chief distinction is their spotless name, For more than common punishment it shall; Whose heirs, their honours none, their income The wretch shall rise, and be the thing on earth small,
Least qualified in honour, learning, worth, Must shine by true desert, or not at all,
To occupy a sacred, awful post, What dream they of, that with so little care In which the best and worthiest tremble most. They risk their hopes, their dearest treasure, there? The royal letters are a thing of
Ghostly in office, earthly in his plan,
A piece of mere church-furniture at best;
But fair although and feasible it seem, A public school shall bring to pass with ease. Depend not much upon your golden dream; But how ? resides such virtue in that air, For Providence, that seems concerned t exempt As must create an appetite for prayer ?
The hallowed bench from absolute contempt, And will it breathe into him all the zeal, In spite of all the wrigglers into place, That candidates for such a prize should feel, Still keeps a seat or two for worth and grace, To take the lead and be the foremost still And therefore 'tis, that, though the sight be rare, In all true worth and literary skill?
We sometimes see a Lowth or Bagot there. " Ah blind to bright futurity, untaught
Besides, school-friendships are not always found, The knowledge of the world, and dull of thought! Though fair in promise, permanent and sound, Church ladders are not always mounted best The most disint'rested and virtuous minds, By learned clerks, and Latinists professed. In early years connected, time unbinds; Th’exalted prize demands an upward look, New situations give a different cast Not to be found by poring on a book.
Of habit, inclination, temper, taste; Small skill in Latin, and still less in Greek, And he, that seemed our counterpart at first, Is more than adequate to all I seek.
Soon shows the strong similitude reversed. Let erudition grace him, or not grace,
Young heads are giddy, and young hearts are I give the bauble but the second place:
warm, His wealth, fame, honours, all that I intend, And make mistakes for manhood to reform. Subsist and centre in one point-a friend. Boys are at best but pretty buds unblown, A friend, whate'er he studies or neglects, Whose scent and hues are rather guessed than Shall give him consequence, heal all defects.
known; His intercourse with peers and sons of peers- Each dreams that each is just what he appears, There dawns the splendour of his future years :
But learns his error in maturer years,
A boyish friendship may so soon decline,
To such base hopes; in many a sordid soul,
Owe their repute in part, but not the whole. Pressed on his part by means that would disgrace A principle, whose proud pretensions pass A scriv'ner's clerk, or footman out of place, Unquestioned, though the jewel be but glass
That with a world, not often over-nice,
If shrewd, and of a well-constructed brain, Ranks as a virtue, and is yet å vice;
Keen in pursuit, and vigorous to retain, Or rather a gross compound, justly tried, Your son come forth a prodigy of skill; Of envy, hatred, jealousy, and pride
As wheresoever taught, so formed, he will;. Contributes most perhaps t' enhance their fame, The pedagogue, with self-complacent air, And emulation is its specious name.
Claims more than half the praise as his due share. Boys, once on fire with that contentious zeal, But if, with all his genius, he betray, Feel all the rage, that female rivals feel;
Not more intelligent than loose and gay, The prize of beauty in a woman's eyes
Such vicious habits as disgrace his name, Not brighter than in theirs the scholar's prize. Threaten his health, his fortune, and his fame; The spirit of that competition burns
Though want of due restraint alone have bred With all varieties of ills by turns;
The symptoms, that you see with so much dread; Each vainly magnifies his own success,
Unenvied there, he may sustain alone Resents his fellow's, wishes it were less,
The whole reproach, the fault was all his own. Exults in his miscarriage, if he fail,
O 'tis a sight to be with joy perused, Deems his reward too great, if he prevail, By all whom sentiment has not abused; And labours to surpass him day and night, New-fangled sentiment, the boasted grace Less for improvement than to tickle spite. Of those who never feel in the right place; The spur is powerful, and I grant its force; A sight surpassed by none that we can show, It pricks the genius forward in its course, Though Vestris on one leg still shine below; Allows short time for play, and none for sloth; Ą father blest with an ingenious son, And, felt alike by each, advances both;
Father, and friend, and tutor, all in one.
He will not blush, that has a father's heart,
That youth takes pleasure in, to please his boy;
Connexion formed for interest, and endeared Seem with one voice to delegate to you? By selfish views, thus censured and cashiered; Why hire a lodging in a house unknown And emulation, as engendering hate,
For one whose tenderest thoughts all hover.round Doomed to a no less ignominious fate: The props of such proud seminaries fall, This second weaning, needless as it is, The Jachin and the Boaz of them all.
How does it lacerate both your heart and his! Great schools rejected then, as those that swell Th'indented stick, that loses day by day Beyond a size that can be managed well, Notch after notch, till all are smoothed away, Shall royal institutions miss the bays,
Bear witness, long ere his dismission come, And small academies win all the praise?
With what intense desire he wants his home. Force not my drift beyond its just intent, But though the joys he hopes beneath your roof I praise a school'as Pope a government; Bid fair enough to answer in the proof, So take my judgment in his language dressed, Harmless, and safe, and natural, as they are, " Whate'er is best administered is best.”
A disappointment waits him even there: Few boys are born with talents that excel, Arrived, he feels an unexpected change, But all are capable of living well;
He blushes, hangs his head, is shy and strange, Then ask not, whether limited or large? No longer takés, at once, with fearless ease, But, watch they strictly, or neglect their charge? His favourite stand between his father's knces, If anxious only, that their boys may learn, But seeks the corner of some distant seat, While morals languish, a despised concern, And eyes the door, and watches a retreat, The great and small deserve one common blame, And, least familiar where he should be most, Different in size, but in effect the same.
Feels all his happiest privileges lost. Much zeal in virtue's cause all teachers boast, Alas, poor boy!—the natural effect Though motives of mere lucre sway the most; Of love by absence chilled into respect, Therefore in towns and cities they abound, Say, what accomplishments, at school acquired, For there the game they seek is easiest found; Brings he, to sweeten fruits so undesired ? Though there in spite of all that care can do, Thou well deserv'st an alienated son, Traps to catch youth are most abundant too. Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge-none;