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A book (to please us at a tender age

'Tis called a book, though but a single page)

Presents the prayer the Saviour deigned to teach,

Which children use, and parsons—when they preach.

Lisping our syllables, we scramble next,

Through moral narrative, or sacred text,

And learn with wonder how this world began,

Who made, who marred, and who has ransomed man;

Points, which unless the Scripture made them plain,

The wisest heads might agitate in vain.

0 thou, whom borne on fancy's eager wing
Back to the season of life's happy spring,

1 pleased remember, and while memory yet
Holds fast her office here, can ne'er forget,
Ingenious dreamer, in whose well-told tale
Sweet fiction and sweet truth alike prevail,

Whose humorous vein, strong sense, and simple style,

May teach the gayest, make the gravest smile,

Witty, and well employed, and like thy Lord

Speaking in parables his slighted word,—

I name thee not, lest so despised a name

Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame,

Yet even in transitory life's late day

That mingles all my brown with sober gray,

Revere the man, whose Pilgrim marks the road

And guides the Progress of the soul to God.

'Twere well with most, if books that could engage

Their childhood, pleased them at a riper age;

The man approving what had charmed the boy,

Would die at last in comfort, peace, and joy,

And not with curses on his art who stole

The gem of truth from his unguarded soul.

The stamp of artless piety impressed

By kind tuition on his yielding breast,

The youth now bearded, and yet pert and raw,

Regards with scorn, though once received with awe.

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 proof1

Rise in his forehead, and seem rank enough;

Point to the cure, describe a Saviour's cross

As God's expedient to retrieve his loss,

The young apostate sickens at the view,

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,
1 See Chron. xxvi. 19.

She longs to yield, no sooner wooed than won.

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 fly, 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,1

But sound religion sparingly enough,

Our early notices of truth disgraced

Soon lose their credit, and are all effaced.

Would you your son should be a sot or dunce, Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at once, 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 boys, Childish in mischief only and in noise, Else of a mannish growth, and five in ten In infidelity and lewdness, men. There shall he 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 Uick with Bacchanalian lays Shall win his heart and have his drunken praise, His counsellor and bosom friend shall prove, And some street-pacing harlot his first love. Schools, unless discipline were doubly strong,

1 The author begs leave to explain ; sensible that without such knowledge, neither the ancient poets nor historians can be tasted or indeed understood, he does not mean to censure the pains that are taken to instruct a school-boy in the religion of the heathen, but merely that neglect of Christian culture which leaves him shamefully ignorant of his own.

Detain their adolescent charge too long.

The management of Tiro's 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.

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 schemes,

Transport them and are made their favourite themes.

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 insure 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 strumpet's charms nor drinking-bout,

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-horse constancy we keep the road

Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dells,

True to the jingling of our leader's bells.

To follow foolish precedents, and wink

With both our eyes, is easier than to think,

And such an age as ours baulks no expense

Except of caution and of common sense;

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 control,

Elisha's eye, that when Gehazi strayed

Went with him, and saw all the game he played?

Yes, ye 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 divines.

Peace to them all, those brilliant times are fled,

And no such lights are kindling in their stead.

Our striplings shine indeed, but with such rays

As set the midnight riot in a blaze,

And seem, if judged by their expressive looks,

Deeper in none than in their surgeon's books.

Say, Muse, (for education made the song,
No Muse can hesitate or linger long),
tVhat causes move us, knowing as we must
That these Menageries all fail their trust,
To send our sons to scout and scamper there,
While colts and puppies cost us so much care?

Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise,
We love the play-place of our early days.
The scene is touching, and the heart is stone
That feels not at that sight, and feels at none.
The wall on which we tried our graving skill,
The very name we carved subsisting still,
The bench on which we sat while deep employed,
Though mangled, hacked and hewed, not yet destroyed;
The little ones unbuttoned, glowing hot,
Playing our games, and on the very spot,
As happy as we once, to kneel and draw
The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw,
To pitch the ball into the grounded hat,
Or drive it devious with a dexterous pat;
The pleasing spectacle at once excites
Such recollection of our own delights,
That viewing it, we seem almost to obtain
Our innocent sweet simple years again.
This fond attachment to the well-known place
Whence first we started into life's long race,
Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway,
We feel it even in age, and at our latest day.
Hark! how the sire of chits, whose future share
Of classic food begins to be his care,
With his own likeness placed on either knee,
Indulges all a father's heart-felt glee,
And tells them, as he strokes their sdver locks,

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That they must soon leam Latin, and to box;
Then turning, he regales his listening wife
With all the adventures of his early life,
His skill in coachmanship or driving chaise,
In bilking tavern bills and spouting plays,
What shifts he used detected in a scrape,
How he was flogged, or had the luck to escape,
What sums he lost at play, and how he sold
Watch, seals , and all, till all his pranks are told.
Retracing thus his frolics, ('tis a name
That palliates deeds of folly and of shame),
He gives the local bias all its sway,
Resolves that where he played his sons shall play,
And destines their bright genius to be shown
Just in the scene where he displayed his own.
The meek and bashful boy will soon be taught
To be as bold and forward as he ought;
The rude will scuffle through with ease enough,
Great schools suit best the sturdy and the rough.
Ah, happy designation, prudent choice
The event is sure, expect it and rejoice!
Soon see your wish fulfilled in either child,
The pert made perter, and the tame made wild.

The great indeed, by titles, riches, birth,
Excused the encumbrance of more solid worth,
Are best disposed of, where with most success
They may acquire that confident address,
Those habits of profuse and lewd expense,
That scorn of all delights but those of sense,
Which though in plain plebeians we condemn,
With so much reason all expect from them.
But families of less illustrious fame,
Whose chief distinction is their spotless name,
Whose heirs, their honours none, their income small,
Must shine by true desert, or not at all,
What dream they of, that with so little care
They risk their hopes, their dearest treasure there?
They dream of little Charles or William graced
With wig prolix, down-flowing to his waist,
They see the attentive crowds his talents draw,
They hear him speak—the oracle of law.
The father who designs his babe a priest,
Dreams him episcopally such at least,
And while the playful jockey scours the room
Briskly astride, upon the parlour broom,
In fancy sees him more superbly ride
In coach with purple lined, and mitres on its side.
Events improbable and strange as these,
Which only a parental eye foresees,
A public school shall bring to pass with ease.
But how? resides such virtue in that air
As must create an appetite for prayer?

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