« ForrigeFortsett »
Now basket up the family of plagues
In colleges and halls, in ancient days,
The limits of control, his gentle eye
Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke;
His frown was full of terror, and his voice
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe
As left him not: till pemtence had won
Lost favour back again, and closed the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Declmed at length into the vale of years;
A palsy struck his arm, his sparkling eye
Was quenched in rheums of age, his voice unstrung
Grew tremulous, and moved derision more
Than reverence, in perverse rebellious youth,
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend, and Discipline at length
O'erlooked and unemployed, fell sick and died.
Then study languished, emulation slept,
And virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where ignorance in stilts,
His cap well lined with logic not his own,
With parrot tongue performed the scholar's part,
Proceeding soon" a graduated dunce.
Then compromise had place, and scrutiny
Became stone-blind, precedence went in truck,
And he was competent whose purse was so.
A dissolution of all bonds ensued,
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
Of headstrong youth were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse, and massy gates
Forgot their office, opening with a touch;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade;
The tasselled cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mockery of the world. What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts and booted sportsmen, oftener seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty? What was learned,
If aught was learned in childhood, is forgot,
And such expense as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is squandered in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name
That sits a stigma on his father's house,
And cleaves through life inseparably close
To him that wears it. What can after-games
Of riper joys, and commerce with the world,
The lewd vain world that must receive him soon,
Add to such erudition thus acquired
Where science and where virtue are professed?
They may confirm his habits, rivet fast
His folly, but to spoil him is a task
That bids defiance to the united powers
Of fashion, dissipation, taverns, stews.
Now blame we most the nurselings or the nurse?
All are not such. I had a brother once,—
See then! the quiver broken and decayed In which are kept our arrows. Rusting there In wild disorder and unfit for use, What wonder if discharged into the world They shame their shooters with a random flight, Their points obtuse, and feathers drunk with wine. Well may the Church wage unsuccessful war With such artillery armed. Vice parries wide The undreaded volley with a sword of straw, And stands an impudent and fearless mark.
Have we not tracked the felon home, and found His birthplace and his dam? the country mourns, Mourns, because every plague that can infest Society, and that saps and worms the base Of the edifice that policy has raised, Swarms in all quarters; meets the eye, the ear, And suffocates the breath at every turn. Profusion breeds them. And the cause itself Of that calamitous mischief has been found; 1 Bcn'et College, Cambridge.