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Presents the prayer the Saviour deign’d 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 marr'd, and who has ransom'd man:
Points, which unless the Scripture made them plain,
The wisest heads might agitate in vain.
Oh thou, whom borne on fancy's eager wing
Back to the season of life's happy spring,
I 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 charm'd 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 impress'd
By kind tuition on his yielding breast,

1 1

The youth now bearded, and yet pert and raw,
Regards with scorn, though once received with awe,
And warp'd 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 proof
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-betray'd, and wilfully undone,
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 confess'd so lately on his knees.
But now, farewell all lengendary tales,
The shadows fly, philosophy prevails,
Prayer to the winds and caution to the waves,
Religion makes the free by nature slaves,

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I See Chron. xxvi. 19.

powers, and

Priests have invented, and the world admired
What knavish priests promulgate as inspired,
'Till reason, now no longer overawed,
Resumes her

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 enquirers after truth,
Whose only care, might truth presume to speak,
Is not to find what they profess to seek.
And thus well tutor’d only while we share
A mother's lectures and a nurse's care,
And taught at schools much mythologic stuff?,
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 finish'd 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, pawn'd or sold,

* 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.

That pedantry is all that schools impart,
But taverns teach the knowledge of the heart;
There waiter Dick 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,
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


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 accomplish’d, 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 ord’nances is shown, Or look'd 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 gambliug 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 establish'd 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 controul,


that when Gehazi stray'd
Went with him, and saw all the game he play'd ?
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 address'd
To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest.

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