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Priests have invented, and the world admit'd
What knavish priefts promulgate as inspir’d;
'Till reason, now no longer overaw'd,
Resumes her pow'rs, and spurns the clumsy fraud,
And, common-fenfe diffusing real day,
• The meteor of the gospel dies away.
Such rhapsodies our fhrewd 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;
• The author begs leave to explain :- Senfible 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,
Our early notices of truth, disgrac'd;
Soon lose their credit, and are all effac'd.
Would you your son should be a fot or dunce,
Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at once;
That, in good time, the stripling's finish'd taste
For loose expence, 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,
Elle 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;
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 Tiroes 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 ape all his tricks.
His pride, that scorns t'obey or to submit,
With them is courage, his effrontery wit,
His wild excursions, window-breaking feats,
Robb’ry of gardens, quarrels in the streets,
His hair-breadth 'scapes, and all his daring schemes,
Transport them, and are made their fav’rite themes.
In little bosoms such atchievements strike
Ą kindred spark, they burn to do the like,
Thus, half-accomplish'd ere he yet begin
To show the peeping down upon
And, as maturity of years comes on,
Made just th' adept that you design’d your son,
T' insure the perseverance of his course,
And give your monstrous project all its force,
Send him to college. If he there be tam’d,
Or in one article of vice reclaim'd,
Where no regard of ord’nances is shown
Or look'd for now, the fault must be his own.
Some sneaking virtue lurks in hím, no doubt,
Where neither strumpets charms, nor drinking-bout,
Nor gambling practices, can find it out.
Such youths of fpirit, and that spirit too,
Ye nurs’ries 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 leaders bells.
To follow foolish precedents, and wink
With both our eyes, is easier than to think;
And such an age as ours baulks no expence,
Except of caution and of common-sense,
Else sure, notorious fact and proof fo plain
Would turn our steps into a wiser train.
I blame not those who with what care they can
O'erwatch the num'rous and unruly clan,
Or if I blame, 'tis only that they dare
Promise a work of which they must despair.
Have ye, ye fage 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. But ye connive at what ye cannot cure, And eyils not to be endur'd, endure,