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Oh 'tis a light to be with joy perus’d,
By all whom sentiment has not abus'd;
New-fangled sentiment, the boafted grace
Of those who never feel in the right place;
A fight furpass’d ty none that we can show,
Though Veftris on one leg still shine below;
A father bleft with an ingenuous son-
Father, and friend, and tutor, all in one.
How!-turn again to tales long since forgot,
Æsop, and Phædrus, and the rest?-Why not?
He will not bluíh that has a father's heart,
To take in childish plays a childish part;
But bends his iturdy back to any toy
That youth takes pleasure in, to please his boy:
Then why resign into a iiranger's hand
A talk as much within your own command,
That God and nature, and your int’rest too,
Seem with one voice to delegate to you?
Why hire a lodging in a house unknown
For one whose tend'reft thoughts all hover round your
This second weaning, needless as it is,
How does it lac'rate both your heart and his !
Th’indented stick, that loses day by day
Notch after notch, till all are smooth'd away,
Bears witness, long ere bis dismission come,
With what intense desire he wants his home.
But, though the joys he hopes beneath your roof
Bid fair enough to answer in the proof,
Harmless, and safe, and nat’ral, as they are,
A disappointment waits him even there :
Arriv’d, he feels an unexpected change;
He blushes, hangs his head, is shy and strange,
No longer takes, as once, with fearless ease,
His fav’rite stand between his father's knees,
But seeks the corner of some distant feat,
And eyes the door, and watches a retreat,
And, least familiar where he should be most,
Feels all his happiest privileges lost.
Alas, poor boy !-the natural effect
Of love by absence chill'd into respect.
Say, what accomplishments, at school acquir'd,
Brings he, to sweeten fruits so undesir'd ?
Thou well desery'st an alienated fon,
Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge-none;
None that, in thy domestic snug recess,
He had not made his own with more address,
Though some perhaps that shock thy feeling mind,
And better never learn'd, or left behind,
Add too, that, thus estrang'd, thou can'st obtain
By no kind arts his confidence again;
That here begins with most that long complaint
Of filial frankness loft, and love grown faint,
Which, oft neglected, in life's waning years
A parent pours into regardless ears.
Like caterpillars, dangling under trees By Nender threads, and swinging in the breeze, Which filthily bewray and fore disgrace The boughs in which are bred th' unfeemly race; While ev'ry worm industriously weaves. And winds his web about the rivellid leaves; So num'rous are the follies tħat annoy The mind and heart of every sprightly boy; Imaginations noxious and perverse, Which admonition can alone disperse. Th'encroaching nuisance asks a faithful hand, Patient, affectionate, of high command, To check the procreation of a breed Sure to exhaust the plant on which they feedi 'Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page, At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage; Evin in his pastimes he requires a friend To warn, and teach him safely to unbend, O'er all his pleasures gently to prelide, Watch his emotions, and control their tide; And, levying thus, and with an easy fway, A tax of profit from his very play,
T'impress a value, not to be eras'd,
On moments squander'd else, and running all to waste.
And seems it nothing in a father's eye
That unimprov'd those many moments fly?
And is he well content his son should find
No nourishment to feed his growing mind
But conjugated verbs and nouns declin'd !
For such is all the mental food purvey'd
By public hacknies in the schooling trade ;
Who feed a pupil's intellect with store
Of syntax, truly, but with little more ;
Dismiss their cares when they dismiss their flock-
Machines then selves, and govern’d by a clock.
Perhaps a father, bleft with any brains,
Would deem it no abuse, or waste of pains,
T'improve this diet, at no great expense,
With sav'ry truth and wholesome common sense;
To lead his son, for prospects of delight,
To fome not steep, though philosophic, height,
Thence to exhibit to his wond'ring eyes
Yon circling worlds, their distance, and their fize,
The moons of Jove, and Saturn's belted ball,
And the harmonious order of them all;
To show him, in an insect or a flow'r,
Such microscopic proof of skill and pow's,
As, hid from ages paft, God now displays
To combat atheists with in modern days;
To spread the earth before him, and commend,
With designation of the finger's end,
Its various parts to his attentive note,
Thus bringing home to him the most remote ;
To teach his heart to glow with gen'rous flame,
Caught from the deeds of men of ancient fame;
And, more than all, with commendation due
To set some living worthy in his view,
Whose fair example may at once inspire
A wish to copy what he must admire.
Such knowledge gain'd betimes, and which appears,
Though solid, not too weighty for his years,
Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport,
When health demands it, of athletic fort,
Would make him—what some lovely boys have been,
And more than one, perhaps, that I have seen
An evidence and reprehension both
Of the mere school-boy's lean and tardy growth.
Art thou a man professionally tied, With all thy faculties elsewhere applied, Too busy to intend a meaner care Than how t'enrich thyself, and next thine heir ;