« PreviousContinue »
Till they can laugh at virtue ; mock the fools
In colleges and halls, in ancient days, When learning, virtue, piety, and truth, Were precious, and inculcated with care, There dwelt a fage call's Discipline. His head, Not yet by time completely filver'd o'er, Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth, But strong for service still, and unimpair’d. His eye
was meek and gentle, and a smile Play'd on his lips; and in his speech was heard Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love. The occupation dearest to his heart Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke The head of modeft and ingenuous worth, That blush'd at its own praise; and press the youth Close to his side that pleas'd him. Learning grew, Beneath his care, a thriving vig'rous plant; The mind was well inform’d, the passions held Subordinate, and diligence was choice.
If e'er it chanc'd, as sometimes chance it must, That one among so many overleap'd The limits of controul, 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 net, till penitence had won Lost favour back again, and clos'd the breach. But Discipline, a faithful fervant long, Declin’d at length into the vale of years : A pally struck his arm; his sparkling eye Was quench'd in rheums of age; his voice, unstrung, Grew tremulous, and mor'd derision more Than rev'rence in perverse rebellious youth, So colleges and halls neglected much Their good old friend; and Discipline at length, O'erlook'd and unemploy'd, fell fick and died. Then study languish’d, emulation sept, And virtue fled. The schools became a scene Of folemn farce, where Ignorance in ftilts, His cap well lin’d with logic not his own, With parrot tongue perform'd 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;
That bids defiance to tli united pow'rs
All are not fuch. I had a brother once Peace to the meni’ry of a man of worth, A man of letters, and of manners too! Of manners sweet as virtue always wears, When gay good-nature dresses her in files. He grac'd a college*, in which order yet Was sacred; and was honour'd, lov'd, and wept, By more than one, themselves confpicuous there. Some minds are temper'd happily, and mix'd With such ingredients of good sense and taste Of what is excellent in man, they thirst With such a zeal to be what they approve,
* Ben’et Colle Cambridge
That no restraints can circumscribe them more
See, then, the quiver broken and decay'd, In which are kept our arrows! Rusting there la wild disorder, and unfit for use, What wonder if, discharg'd 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 artillry arm’d. Vice parries wide Th’undreaded volley with a sword of straw, And stands an impudent and fearless mark.
Have we not track'd the felon home, and found His birth-place and his dam? The country mournsMourns, because ev'ry plague that can infest