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Who there will court thy friendship, with what views,
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt chuse ;
Though much depends on what thy choice shall be,
Is all chance-medley, and unknown to me.
Can'st thou, the tear just trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful risque foreseen, forbids,
Free too, and under no constraining force,
Unless the sway of custom warp thy course,
Lay such a stake upon the losing side,
Merely to gratify so blind a guide ?
Thou can'ît not ! Nature, pulling at thine heart,
Condemns th' unfatherly, th' imprudent part.
Thou would'st not, deaf to Nature's tend'rest plea,
Turn him adrift upon a rolling sea,
Nor fay, go thither, conscious that there lay
A brood of asps, or quicksands in his way;
Then, only govern'd by the self-fame rule
Of nat’ral pity, send him not to school.
No-guard him better : Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy fesh, thy bone?
And hop'st thou not ('tis ev'ry father's hope) That since thy strength must with thy years elope, And thou wilt need some comfort, to assuage Health's last farewell, a staff of thine old age, That then, in recompense of all thy cares, Thy child shall show respect to thy grey hairs, Befriend thee, of all other friends bereft, And give thy life its only cordial left ? Aware then how much danger intervenes, To compass that good end, forecast the meanse His heart, now paslive, yields to thy command ; Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand. If thou desert thy charge, and throw it wide, Nor heed what guests there enter and abide, Complain not if attachments lewd and base Supplant thee in it, and usurp thy place. But if thou guard its facred chambers sure From vicious inmates and delights impure, Either his gratitude shall hold him fast, And keep him warm and filial to the last;
Or if he prove unkind (as who can say
But, being man, and therefore frail, he may ?)
One comfort yet shall cheer thine aged heart,
Howe'er he sight thee, thou hast done thy part.
Oh barb'rous ! would'ft thou with a Gothic hand
Pulldown the schools-what!-all the schools i'th'land;
Or throw them up to liv'ry-nags and grooms,
Or turn them into shops and auction rooms?
A captious question, fir (and your's is one)
Deferves an answer similar, or none.
Would'st thou, poffeffor of a flock, employ
(Appriz'd that he is such) a careless boy,
And feed him well, and give him handsome pay,
Merely to sleep, and let them run aftray ?
Survey our schools and colleges, and see
A sight not much unlike my fimile.
From education, as the leading cause,
The public character its colour draws,
Thence the prevailing manners take their caft,
Extravagant or fober, loose or chaste.
And though I would not advertise them yet,
Nor write on each-This Building to be Let,
Unless the world were all prepar'd t' embrace
A plan well worthy to supply their place,
Yet, backward as they are, and long have been,
To cultivate and keep the MORALS clean,
(Forgive the crime) I wish them, I confefs,
Or better manag'd, or encourag'd less.