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See wealth abus'd, and dignities misplac'd,
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgrac’d,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold;
See Bedlam's closetted and hand-cuft'd charge
Surpass'd in frenzy by the mad at large;
See great commanders making war a trade,
Great lawyers, lawyers without study made;
Churchmen, in whose esteem their blest employ
Is odious, and their wages all their joy,
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves
With gospel lore, turn infidels themselves;
See womanhood despis’d, and manhood sham'd
With infamy too nauseous to be nam’d,
Fops at all corners, lady-like in mien,
Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen,
Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung,
Now flush'd with drunk’ness, now with whoredom pale,
Their breath a sample of last night's regale ;
See volunteers in all the vilest arts,
Men well endow'd, of honourable parts,
Design'd by nature wife, but felf-made fools ;--
All these, and more like these, were bred at schools !
And, if it chance, as sometimes chance it will,
That, though school-bred, the boy be virtuous ftill;
Such rare exceptions, thining in the dark,
Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark :
As here and there a twinkling star descried
Serves but to show how black is all befide.
Now look on him, whose very voice in tone
Juft echoes thine, whose features are thine own,
And stroke his polith'd cheek of puret red,
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head,
And say—My boy, th' unwelcome hour is come,
When thou, transplanted from thy genial home,
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger's care;
What character, what turn thou wilt assume
From constant converse 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 shall be,
Is all chance-medly, and unknown to me.-
Canst thou, the tear just trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful risk foreseen forbids;
Free, too, and under no constraining force,
Unless the fway of custom warp thy course;
Lay such 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,
Thou would'st not, deaf to nature's tend'rest plea,
Turn him adrift upon a rolling sea,
Nor say, Go thither, conscious that there lay
A brood of asps, or quicksands in his way;
Then, only govern'd by the self-fame rule
Of nat'ral pity, send him not to school.
No-guard him better. Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy flesh, thy bone?
And hop'st thou not ('tis ev'ry father's hope)
That, since thy strength must with thy years elope,
And thou wilt need fome comfort to assuage
Health's last farewell, a staff of thine old age,
That then, in recompense of all thy cares,
Thy child shall show respect 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 compass that good end, forecast the means.
His heart, now passive, yields to thy command;
Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand.
If thou desert 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 usurp thy place.
But, if thou guard its sacred chambers sure
From vicious inmates and delights impure,
Either his gratitude shall hold him fast,
And keep him warm and filial to the last;
Or, if he prove unkind (as who can say,
But, being man, and therefore frail, he may?)
yet shall cheer thine aged heartHowe'er he flight thee, thou hast done thy part.
Oh barb'rous ! would'st thou with a Gothic hand Pull down the schools—what!--all schools i' th' land; Or throw them up to liv'ry.nags and grooms, Or turn them into shops and auction rooms ? A captious question, Sir, (and yours is one) Deserves an answer similar, or none. Would'st thou, poffeffor of a flock, employ (Appriz'd that he is such) a careless boy, And feed him well, and give him handsome pay, Merely to sleep, and let them run aftray? Survey our schools and colleges, and see A light not much unlike
From education, as the leading cause,
The public character its colour draws;
Thence the prevailing manners take their cast,
Extravagant or sober, loose or chaste.
And, though I would not advertise them yet,
Nor write on each--This building to be Let,
Unless the world were all prepar'd t'embrace
A plan well worthy to supply their place;
Yet, backward as they are, and long have been,
To cultivate and keep the MORALS clean,
(Forgive the crime) I wish them, I confefs,
Or better manag'd, or encourag'd less.