Page images
[ocr errors]

Revere the man, whose PILGRIM marks the road,
And guides the PROGR25% of the soul to God..
- 'I'were well with most, if books that could engage
Their childhood, pleased them at a riper age;
The man, çapproving what had charmed the boy, !
Would die at last in comfort, peace and joy;
And not with curses on his heart, who stole
The gem of truth from his unguarded soul,
The stamp of artless piety impressed
By kind tuition on his yieldiog breast, '
The youth now bearded, and yet pert and raw,
Regards with scorn, though oncereceived with a we;
And, warped into the labyrinth of lies,
That babblers, called philosophers, devise,
Blasphemes his creed, as founded on a plan
Replete with dreams, unworthy of a man.
Touch but his nature in its ailing part,
Assert the native evil of his heart,
His pride resents the charge, although the proof
Rise in his forehead, and seem rank enbugh:
Point to thč cure, describe a Saviour's cross
As God's expedient to retrieve his loss,
The young apostate síckens at the view, 1.
And hates it with the malice of a Jew. :)

How weak the barrier of 'mere nature proves,
Opposed against the pleasures nature loves;
While self betrayed, and wilfully undone,
She longs to yield, no sooner wooed than wớn.

[ocr errors]

Try now the merits of this blest exchange
Of modest truth for wit's eccentric range.
Time was, he closed as he began the day
With decent duty, not ashamed 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 power, confessed so lately on his knees.
But now farewell all legendary tales,
The shadows Ay, philosophy prevails;
Prayer to the winds, and caution to the waves;
Religion makes the free by nature slaves.
Priests have invented, and the world admired
What knavish priests promulgate as inspired ;
Till reason, now no longer overawed,
Resumes her powers, 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-tutored 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;

* The author begs leave to explain. Sensible that, without such knowledge, neither the ancient poéts nor historians cas be tasted, or indeed understood, he does not mean to cen. ure VOL. II.


Our early notices of truth, disgraced,
Soon lose their credit, and are all effaced.

Would you your sou should be a sot or dunce,
Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at ence;
That in good time the stripling's finished taste
For loose expense, and fashionable waste,
Should prove your ruin, and his own at last;
Train him in public with a mob of buys,
Childish in mischief only and in poise, :
Else of a mannish growth, and five in ten
In infidelity and lewdness men.
There shall be learn, ere sixteen winters old,
That authors are most useful pawned 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,

street-pacing barlot his first loye. Schools, unless discipline were doubly strong, Detain their adolescent charge too long; 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. the pains that are taken ta instruct a school-boy in the religion of the heathen, but merely that neglect of Christian culture which leaves hin shamefully ignorant of his own.

And some

His pride, that scorns to obey or to submit,
With them is courage; his effrontery wit.
His wild excursions, window-breaking feats,
Robbery of gardens, quarrels in the streets,
His hair-breadth 'scapes, and all his daring schenies,
Transport them, and are made their favouritethemes.
In little bosoms such achievements strike
A kindred spark; they burn to do the like.
Thus, half-accomplished ere he yet begin
To show the peeping down upon his chin;
And, as maturity of years comes on,
Made just the adept that you designed your son;
To ensure the perseverance of his course,
And give your monstrous project all its force,
Send him to college. If he there be tamed,
Or in one article of vice reclaimed,
Where no regard of ordinances is shown
Or looked for now, the fault must be his own.
Some sneaking virtue lurks in him, no doubt,
Where neither strumpets' charms, not drinking-


Nor gambling practices, can find it out.
Such youths of spirit, and that spirit, too,
Ye nurseries 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 established mode,
With pack-liörse constancy we keep the road,
Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells,
True to the jingling of our leader's bclls.

To follow foolish precedents, and wink
With both our eyes, is easier than to think:
And such an age as our's baulks no expense,
Except of caution and of common-serse;
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 numerous 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 controul;
Elisha's eye, that when Gehazi strayed,
-Went with him, and saw all the game he played?
Yesye are conscious; and on all the shelves
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 addressed
To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest.
But ye connive at what ye cannot cure,
And evils, not to be endured, endure,
Lest power exerted, but without success,
Should make the little ye retain still less.
Ye once were justly famed 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 raised by you, and statesmen, and di-


« PreviousContinue »