Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

The encroaching nuisance asks a faithful hand,
Patient, affectionate, of high command,
To check the procreation of a breed
Sure to exhaust the plant, on which they feed.
'Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page,
At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage;
Even in his pastimes he requires a friend
To warn and teach him safely to unbend,
O’er all his pleasures gently to preside,
Watch his emotions, and control their tide;
And levying thus, and with an easy sway,
A tax of profit from his very play,
To impress a value, not to be erased,
On moments squandered else, and running all to

waste.
And seems it nothing in a father's eye
That unimproved those many moments fly?
And is he well content his son should find
No nourishment to feed his growing mind,
But conjugated verbs and nouns declined ?
For such is all the mental food purveyed
By public hacknies in the schooling trade;
Who feed a pupil's intellect with store
Of syntax, truly, but with little more;
Dismiss their cares when they dismiss their flock,
Machines themselves, and governed by a clock.

VOL. III.

Perhaps a father, blest with any brains,
Would deem it no abuse, or waste of pains,

To improve this diet, at no great expense,
With savory truth and wholesome common sense ;
To lead his son, for prospects of delight,
To some not steep, though philosophic, height,
Thence to exhibit to his wondering eyes
Yon circling worlds, their distance, and their size,
The moons of Jove, and Saturn's belted ball,
And the harmonious order of them all;
To show him in an insect or a Power
Such microscopic proof of skill and power,
As, hid from ages past, God now displays
To combat atheists with in modern days;
To spread the earth before him, and commend,
With designation of the finger's end,
Its various parts to his attentive note,
Thus bringing home to him the most remote;
To teach his heart to glow with generous flame,
Caught from the deeds of men of ancient fame:
And, more than all, with commendation due
To set some living worthy in his view,
Whose fair example may at once inspire
A wish to copy what he must admire..
Such knowledge gained betimes, and which appears,
Though solid, not too weighty for his years,

Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport,
When health demands it, of athletic sort,
Would make him-what some lovely boys have been,
And more than one perhaps that I have seen
An evidence and reprehension both
Of the mere school-boy's lean and tardy growth.

Art thou a man professionally tied,
With all thy faculties elsewhere applied,
Too busy to intend a meaner care
Than how to enrich thyself, and next thine heir;
Or art thou (as though rich, perhaps thou art)
But poor in knowledge, having none to impart:-
Behold that figure, neat, though plainly clad;
His sprightly mingled with a shade of sad;
Not of a nimble tongue, though now and then
Heard to articulate like other men;
No jester, and yet lively in discourse,
His phrase well chosen, clear and full of force ;
And his address, if not quite French in ease,
Not English stiff, but frank, and formed to please ;
Low in the world, because he scorns its arts;
A man of letters, manners, morals, parts;
Unpatronized, and therefore little known;
Wise for himself and his few friends alone
In him thy well-appointed proxy see,
Armed for a work too difficult for thee;

Prepared by taste, by learning, and true worth, To form thy son, to strike his genius forth; Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye, to prove The force of discipline when backed by love; To double all thy pleasure in thy child, His mind informed, his morals undefiled. Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show No spots contracted among grooms below, Nor taint his speech with meannesses, designed By footman Tom for witty and refined. There, in his commerce with the liveried herd, Lurks the contagiop chiefly to be feared ; For since (so fashion dictates) áll, who claim An higher than a mere plebeian fame, Find it expedient, come what mischief may, To entertain a thief or two in pay. (And they that can afford the expense of more, Some half a dozen, and some half a score) Great cause occurs to save him from a band So sure to spoil him, and so near at hand; A point secured, if once he be supplied With some such Mentor always at his side. Are such men rare? perhaps they would abound." Were occupation easier to be found, Were education, else so sure to fail, Conducted on a manageable scale,

And schools that have out-lived all just esteem,
Exchanged for the secure domestic scheme.
But, having found him, be thou duke or earl,
Show thou hast sense enough to prize the pearl,
And, as thou wouldst the advancement of thine heir
In all good faculties beneath his care,
Respect, as is but rational and just,
A man deemed worthy of so dear a trust.
Despised by thee, what more can he expect
From youthful folly than the same neglect?
A flat and fatal negative obtains
That instant upon all his future pains;
His lessons tire, his mild rebukes offend,
And all the instructions of thy son's best friend
Are a stream choaked, or trickling to no end.
Doom him not then to solitary meals;
But recollect that he has sense, and feels;
And that, possessor of a soul refined,
An upright heart, and cultivated mind,
His post not mean, his talents not unknown,
He deems it hard to vegetate alone.
And, if admitted at thy board he sit,
Account him no just mark for idle wit;
Offend not him, whom modesty restrains
From repartee, with jokes that he disdains;

« ForrigeFortsett »