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· How weak the barrier of mere nature proves,
Oppos'd against the pleasures nature loves !
While, self-betray'd, and wilfully undone,
She longs to yield, no sooner woo'd than won.
Of modest truth for wit's eccentric range.
Time was, he clos'd, as he began, the day
With decent duty, not asham'd to pray ;
The practice was a bond upon his heart,
A pledge he gave for a consistent part ;
Nor could he dare presumptuously displease
A pow'r confess'd so lately on his knees.
But now farewel all legendary tales
The shadows fly, philosophy prevails !
Pray'r to the winds, and caution to the waves;
Religion makes the free by nature slaves !
Priests have invented, and the world admir'd
What knavish priests promulgate as inspir'd;
Till reason, now no longer overaw'd,
Resumes her pow'rs, and spurns the clumsy fraud ;
And, common-sense diffusing real day,
The meteor of the gospel dies away!
Such rhapsodies our shrewd discerning youth
Learn from expert inquirers after truth!
Whose only care, might truth presume to speak,
Is not to find what they profess to seek.
And thus, well-tutor'd only while we share
A mother's lectures and a nurse's care ;
And taught at schools much mythologic stuff, *
But sound religion sparingly enough ;
Our early notices of truth, disgrac'd,
Soon lose their credit, and are all effac'd.
Would you your son should be a sot or dunce,
Lascivious, headstrong; or all these at once ;
That, in good time, the stripling's finish'd taste
For loose expense and fashionable waste
Should prove your ruin and his own at last;
Train him in public with a mob of boys,
Childish in mischief only and in noise,
Else of a mannish growth, and five in ten
There shall he learn, ere sixteen winters old,
That authors are most useful pawn'd or sold ;
That pedantry is all that schools impart,
But taverns teach the knowledge of the heart ;
There waiter Dick, with Bacchanalian lays,
Shall win his heart, and have his drunken praise,
His counsellor and bosom-friend shall prove,
And some street-pacing harlot his first love.
Schools, unless discipline were doubly strong,
Detain their adolescent charge too long ;
* The author begs leave to explain. - Sensible, that without such knowledge, neither the ancient poets nor historians can be tasted, or indeed understood, he does not mean to censure the pains that are taken to instruct a school-boy in the religion. of the heathen, but merely that neglect of Christian culture which leaves him shamefully ignorant of his own.
The management of tiros of eighteen
Is difficult, their punishment obscene.
The stout tall captain, whose superior size
The minor heroes view with envious eyes,
Becomes their pattern, upon whom they fix
Their whole attention, and ape all his tricks.
His pride, that scorns t' obey or to submit,
With them is courage ; his effront’ry wit.
His wild excursions, window-breaking feats,
Robb’ry of gardens, quarrels in the streets,
His hair-breadth 'scapes, and all his daring schemes,
Transport them, and are made their fav’rite themes.
In little bosoms such achievements strike
A kindred spark; they burn to do the like.
Thus, half accomplish'd ere he yet begin
To show the peeping down upon his chin;
And, as maturity of years comes on,
Made just th' adept that you design'd your son ;
T'ensure the perseverance of his course,
And give your monstrous project all its force,
Send him to college. If he there be tam’d,
Or in one article of vice reclaim'd,
Where no regard of ord’nances is shown
Or look'd for now, the fault must be his own.
Some sneaking virtue lurks in him, no doubt, 2.
Where neither strumpets' charms, nor drinking. }
Nor gambling practices, can find it out. [bout,
Such youths of spirit, and that spirit too,
Ye nurs’ries of our boys, we owe to you !
Though from ourselves the mischief more proceeds,
For public schools 'tis public folly feeds.
The slaves of custom and establish'd mode,
With pack-horse constaney we keep the road,
True to the jingling of our leader's bells.
To follow foolish precedents, and wink
With both our eyes, is easier than to think :
And such an age as ours baulks no expense,
Except of caution and of common sense ;
Else, sure, notorious fact and proof so plain
Would turn our steps into a wiser train.
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,
An ubiquarian presence and control
Elisha's eye, that, when Gehazi stray'd,
Went with him, and saw all the game he play'd?
Your pupils strike upon, have struck yourselves.
Or, if by nature sober, ye had then,
Boys as ye were, the gravity of men ;
Ye knew at least, by constant proofs address!
To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest.
But ye connive at what ye cannot cure,
And evils, not to be endur'd, 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 ;
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.
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 surgeon's books.
Say, muse, (for education made the song,
No muse can hesitate or linger long)
What causes move us, knowing, as we must,
To send our sons to scout and scamper there,
While colts and puppies cost us so much care ?
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,
The very name we carv'd, subsisting still ;
The bench on which we sat while deep employ'd,
Though mangled, hack'd, and hew'd, not yet de.
The little ones, unbutton'd, glowing hot, [stroy'd :
Playing our games, and on the very spot ;
As happy as we once, to kneel and draw