Where early reft makes early rifing fure,
Disease or comes not, or finds eafy cure,
Prevented much by diet neat and plain;
Or, if it enter, foon starv'd out again :—
Where all th' attention of his faithful host,
Difcreetly limited to two at most,

May raife fuch fruits as fhall reward his care,
And not at last evaporate in air :—
Where, ftillnefs aiding ftudy, and his mind
Serene, and to his duties much inclin'd,
Not occupied in day-dreams, as at home,
Of pleasures past, or follies yet to come,
His virtuous toil may terminate at laft
In fettled habit and decided taste.-
But whom do I advife? the fashion-led,
Th' incorrigibly wrong, the deaf, the dead!
Whom care and cool diliberation fuit.
Not better much than fpectacles a brute;
Who, if their fons fome flight tuition share,
Deem it of no great moment, whose, or where;
Too proud t' adopt the thoughts of one unknown,
And much too gay t' have any of their own.
But, courage, man! methought the muse replied,
Mankind are various, and the world is wide :.
The oftrich, fillieft of the feather'd kind,
And form'd of God without a parent's mind,

[ocr errors]

Commits her eggs, incautious, to the dust,
Forgetful that the foot may crush the trust;
And, while on public nurs'ries they rely,
Not knowing, and too oft not caring, why,
Irrational in what they thus prefer,

No few, that would feem wife, refemble her.
But all are not alike. Thy warning voice
May here and there prevent erroneous choice;
And fome perhaps, who, bufy as they are,
Yet make their progeny their dearest care,
(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may reach
Their offspring, left upon fo wild a beach)
Will need no stress of argument t' enforce
Th' expedience of a lefs advent'rous courfe :
The reft will flight thy counfel, or condemn;
But they have human feelings-turn to them.

To you,
then, tenants of life's middle state,
Securely plac'd between the small and great,

Whose character, yet undebauch'd, retains
Two-thirds of all the virtue that remains,
Who, wife yourselves, defire your fons fhould learn
Your wisdom and your ways-to you I turn.
Look round you on a world perverfely blind;
See what contempt is fall'n on human kind;

[blocks in formation]

See wealth abus'd, and dignities misplac'd,
Great titles, offices, and trufts difgrac'd,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold;
See Bedlam's closetted and hand-cuff'd charge
Surpafs'd in frenzy by the mad at large;
See great commanders making war a trade,
Great lawyers, lawyers without ftudy made;
Churchmen, in whofe efteem their bleft employ
Is odious, and their wages all their joy,
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves
With gofpel lore, turn infidels themselves;
See womanhood despis'd, and manhood fham'd
With infamy too naufeous to be nam'd,
Fops at all corners, lady-like in mien,
Civeted fellows, fmelt ere they are seen,

Elfe coarfe and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curfes, and with nonfense hung,
Now flush'd with drunk'ness, now with whoredom pale,
Their breath a fample of last night's regale;

See volunteers in all the vileft arts,

Men well endow'd, of honourable parts,

Defign'd by nature wife, but felf-made fools;

All thefe, and more like thefe, were bred at schools!
And, if it chance, as fometimes chance it will,
That, though school-bred, the boy be virtuous ftill;

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Such rare exceptions, fhining in the dark,
Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark :
As here and there a twinkling ftar defcried
Serves but to fhow how black is all befide.
Now look on him, whofe very voice in tone
Juft echoes thine, whofe features are thine own,
And ftroke his polifh'd cheek of pureft red,
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head,
And fay-My boy, th' unwelcome hour is come,
When thou, tranfplanted from thy genial home,
Muft find a colder foil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger's care;

What character, what turn thou wilt affume
From conftant converfe with I know not whom ;
Who there will court thy friendship, with what views,
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose;
Though much depends on what thy choice fhall be,
Is all chance-medly, and unknown to me.-
Canft thou, the tear juft trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful rifk forefeen forbids;
Free, too, and under no conftraining force,
Unless the fway of custom warp thy course;
Lay fuch a stake upon the lofing fide,
Merely to gratify fo blind a guide?

Thou canst not! Nature, pulling at thine heart,
Condemns th' unfatherly, th' imprudent part,

'I hou would'st not, deaf to nature's tendʼreft plea, Turn him adrift upon a rolling fea,

Nor fay, Go thither, confcious that there lay
A brood of afps, or quickfands in his way;
Then, only govern'd by the felf-fame rule
Of natʼral pity, fend him not to school.
No-guard him better. Is he not thine own,
Thyfelf in miniature, thy flefh, thy bone?
And hop'st thou not ('tis ev'ry father's hope)
That, fince thy ftrength muft with thy years elope,
And thou wilt need fome comfort to affuage
Health's last farewell, a staff of thine old age,
That then, in recompenfe of all thy cares,
Thy child shall show refpect to thy gray hairs,
Befriend thee, of all other friends bereft,
And give thy life its only cordial left?
Aware then how much danger intervenes,

To compafs that good end, forecast the means.
His heart, now paffive, yields to thy command;-
Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand.

If thou defert thy charge, and throw it wide,
Nor heed what guests there enter and abide,
Complain not if attachments lewd and base
Supplant thee in it, and ufurp thy place.
But, if thou guard its facred chambers fure
From vicious inmates and delights impure,

« ForrigeFortsett »