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Than set your son to work at a vile trade
For wages so unlikely to be paid.
Our public hives of puerile resort,
That are of chief and most approv'd report,
To such base hopes, in many a sordid soul,
Owe their repute in part, but not the whole.
A principle, whose proud pretensions pass
Unquestion'd, though the jewel be but glass
That with a world, not often over-nice,
Ranks as a virtue, and is yet a vice ;
Or rather a gross compound, justly tried,
Of envy, hatred, jealousy, and pride-
Contributes most perhaps t enhance their fame;
And EMULATION is its specious name.
Boys, once on fire with that contentious zeal,
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,
Less for improvement than to tickle spite.
The spur is powerful, 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 :
But judge, where so much evil intervenes,
The end, though plausible, not worth the means.
Weigh, for a moment, classical desert
Against a heart deprar'd and temper hurt ;
Hurt, too, perhaps for life; for early wrong,
Done to the nobler part, affects it long :
And you are staunch indeed in learning's cause,
If you can crown a discipline, that draws
Such mischiefs after it, with much applause.
Connexion form'd for intrest, and endear'd
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.
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 beyond its just intent,
I praise a school as Pope a government ;
So take my judgment in his language dressid
6. Whate'er is best administer'd is best."
Few boys are born with talents that excel,
But all are capable of living well ;
Then ask not, Whether limited or large ?
But, Watch they strictly, or neglect their charge?
If anxious only that their boys may learn,
While morals languish, a despis'd concern,
The great and small deserve one common blame, Diff'rent in size but in effect the same.
Though motives of mere lucre sway the most ;
Therefore in towns and cities they abound,
For there the game they seek is easiest found;
Though there, in spite of all that care can do,
Traps to catch youth are most 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,
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;
The whole reproach-the fault was all his own!
Oh 'tis a sight to be with joy perus'd,
By whom all sentiment has not abus'd ;
New-fangled sentiment, the boasted grace
Of those who never feel in the right place ;
A sight surpass'd by none that we can show,
Though Vestris on one leg still shine below;
A father blest with an ingenuous son-
Father, and friend, and tutor, all in one.
How !-turn again to tales long since forgot,
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 ::.
Then why resign into a stranger's hand
A task as much within your own command,
That God and nature, and your intrest too,
Seem with one voice to delegate to you? .
Why hire a lodging in a house unknown
For one whose tend'rest thoughts all hover round your
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,
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,
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 ease,
His fav’rite stand between his father's knees,
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 he, to sweeten fruits so undesir'd ? Thou well deserv'st an alienated son, Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge-none ; None that, in thy domestic 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 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 And winds his web about the rivelld leaves ; So num'rous are the follies that annoy The mind and heart of every 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 breedini' Sure to exhaust the plant on which they feed. VOL. II.