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Of Academus, is this false or true ?
Is Christ the abler teacher, or the schools ?
If Christ, then why resort at ev'ry turn
To Athens or to Rome, for wisdom short
Of man's occasions, when in him reside
Grace, knowledge, comfort, an unfathom'd store?
How oft, when Paul has serv'd us with a text,
Has Epictetus, Plato, Tully preach'd !
Men that, if now alive, would fit content
And humble learners of a Saviour's worth,
Preach it who might. Such was their love of truth,
Their thirst of knowledge, and their candour too.
And thus it is. The paítor, either vain
By nature, or by flatt’ry made so, taught
To gaze at his own splendor, and t'exalt
Absurdly, not his office, bụt himself ;
Or unenlighten’d, and too proud to learn,
Or vicious, and not therefore apt to teach,
Perverting often by the stress of lewd
And loose example, whom he should instruct,
Exposes and holds up to broad disgrace
The nobleft function, and discredits much
The brightest truths that man has ever seen.
For ghostly counsel, if it either fall
Below.the exigence; or be not back'd
With fhow of love, at least with hopeful proof
Of fome sincerity on the giver's part ;
Or be dishonor'd in th' exterior form
And mode of its conveyance, by such tricks
As move derifion, or by foppih airs
And histrionic mumm’ry, that let down
The pulpit to the level of the stage,
Drops from the lips a disregarded thing.
The weak perhaps are moved, but are not taught;
While prejudice in men of stronger minds
Takes deeper root, confirm'd by what they fee.
A relaxation of religion's hold
Upon the roving and untutor'd heart
Soon follows, and the curb of conscience snapt,
The laity run wild.—But do they now?
Note their extravagance, and be convinc'd.
As nations, ignorant of God, contrive
A wooden one, so we, no longer taught .
By monitors that mother church supplies,
Now make our own. Pofterity will alk
(If e’er posterity see verse of mine)
Some fifty or an hundred lustrums hence,
What was a monitor in George's days?
My very gentle reader, yet unborn,
Of whom I needs must augur better things,
Since heav'n would sure grow weary of a world
Productive only of a race like ours,
A monitor is wood. Plank shaven thin.
We wear it at our backs. There closely brac'd
And neatly fitted, it compresses hard
The prominent and most unsightly bones,
And binds the shoulders flat. We prove its use
Sov'reign and most effectual to secure
A form not now gymnastic as of yore,
From rickets and distortion, else, our lot.
But thus admonish'd we can walk erect,
One proof at least of manhood; while the friend
Sticks close, a Mentor worthy of his charge.
Our habits costlier than Lucullus wore,
And by caprice as multiplied as his,
Just please us while the fashion is at full,
But change with ev'ry moon. The sycophant
Who waits to dress us, arbitrates their date,
Surveys his fair reversion with keen eye ;
Finds one ill made, another obsolete,
This fits not nicely, that is ill conceiv'd,
And making prize of all that he condemns,
With our expenditure defrays his own.
Variety's the very spice of life,
That gives it all its flavor. We have run
Through ev'ry change that fancy at the loom
Exhausted, has had genius to supply,
And studious of mutation still, discard
A real elegance, a little used;
For monstrous novelty and strange disguise.
We sacrifice to dress, till houshold joys
And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry,
And keeps our larder lean; puts out our fires,
And introduces hunger, frost, and woe,
Where peace and hospitality might reign.
What man that lives, and that knows how to live,
Would fail t'exhibit at the public shows
A form as splendid as the proudest there,
Though appetite raise outcries at the cost ?
A man o'th' town dines late, but soon enough,
With reasonable forecast and dispatch,
T' insure a side-box station at half price.
You think, perhaps, so delicate his dress,
His daily fare as delicate. Alas !
He picks clean teeth, and, busy as he seems
With an old tavern quill, is hungry yet.
The rout is folly's circle, which she draws,
With magic wand. So potent is the spell,