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(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may reach
Their offspring, left upon so wild a beach,)
Will need no stress of argument to enforce
The expedience of a less adventurous course:
The rest will slight thy counsel, or condemn;
But they have human feelings-turn to them.
To you, then, tenants of life's middle state,
Securely placed between the small and great,
Whose character, yet undebauch'd, retains
Two-thirds of all the virtue that remains,
Who, wise yourselves, desire your sons should learn
Your wisdom and your ways-to you I turn.
Look round you on a world perversely blind;
See what contempt is fallen on human kind;
See wealth abused, and dignities misplaced,
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgraced,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold;
See Bedlam's closeted and handcuff'd charge
Surpass'd in frenzy by the mad at large;
See great commanders making war a trade,
Great lawyers, lawyers without study made;
Churchmen, in whose esteem their best employ
Is odious, and their wages all their joy,
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves
With gospel lore, turn infidels themselves;
See womanhood despised, and manhood shamed
With infamy too nauseous to be named,
Fops at all corners, ladylike in mien,
Civeted fellows, sinelt ere they are seen,
Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue
On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung,
Now flushed with drunkenness, now with whoredom pale,
Their breath a sample of last night's regale
See volunteers in all the vilest arts,
Men well endow'd of honourable parts,
Design'd by Nature wise, but self-inade fools;
All these, and more like these, were bred at schools.
And if it chance, as sometimes chance it will,
That though school-bred the boy be virtuous still;
Such rare exceptions, shining in the dark,
Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark:
As here and there a twinkling star descried
Serves but to show how black is all beside.
Now look on him, whose very voice in tone
Just echoes thine, whose features are thine own,
And stroke his polished cheek of purest red,
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head,
And say, My boy, the unwelcome hour is come,
When thou, transplanted from thy genial home,
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air,
And trust for safety to a stranger's care;
What character, what turn thou wilt assume
From constant converse with I know not whom;
Who there will court thy friendship, with what views,
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose;
Though much depends on what thy choice shall be,
Is all chance-medley, and unknown to me.
Canst thou, the tear just trembling on thy lids,
And while the dreadful risk 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 canst not! Nature, pulling at thine heart,
Condemns the unfatherly, the imprudent part.
Thou wouldst not, deaf to Nature's tenderest plea,
Turn him adrift upon a rolling sea,
Nor say, Go thither, conscious that there lay
A brood of asps, or quicksands in his way ;
Then, only govern'd by the self-same rule
Of natural pity, send him not to school.
No-guard him better. Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy flesh, thy bone?
And hopest thou not, ('tis every 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 gray 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 means.
His heart, now passive, 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 sacred 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 slight thee, thou hast done thy part.
Oh, barbarous! wouldst thou with a Gothic hand
Pull down the schools-what!-all the schools i'th' land;
Or throw them up to livery nags and grooms,
Or turn them into shops and auction-rooms?
A captious question, sir, (and yours is one,)
Deserves an answer similar, or none.
Wouldst thou, possessor of a flock, employ
(Apprised that he is such) a careless boy,
And feed him well, and give him handsome pay,
Merely to sleep, and let them run astray?
Survey our schools and colleges, and see
A sight not much unlike my simile.
From education, as the leading cause,
The public character its colour draws;
Thence the prevailing manners take their cast,
Extravagant or sober, 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 prepared to 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 confess,
Or better managed, or encouraged less.
From the TASK. BOOK II. The Time-Piece.
In colleges and halls, in ancient days,
When learning, virtue, piety, and truth
Were precious and inculcated with care,
There dwelt a sage call'd Discipline. His head,
Not yet by time completely silver'd o'er,
Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth,
But strong for service still, and unimpair’d.
His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile
Play'd on his lips; and in his speech was heard
Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love.
The occupation dearest to his heart
Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke
The head of modest and ingenuous worth,
That blush'd at its own praise; and press the youth
Close to his side that plensed him. Learning grew
Beneath his care a thriving vigorous plant;
The mind was well inform'd, the passions held
Subordinate, and diligence was choice.
If e'er it chanced, as sometimes chance it must,
That one among so many overleap'd
The limits of control, his gentle eye
Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke
His frown was full of terror, and his voice
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe
As left him not, till penitence had won
Lost favor back again, and closed the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Declined at length into the vale of years:
A palsy struck his arm; his sparkling eye
Was quench'd in rheums of age; his voice, unstrung,
Grew tremulous, and moved derision more
Than reverence in perverse rebellious youth.
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend; and Discipline at length,
O'er look'd and unemploy'd, fell sick, and died.
Then Study languish'd, Emulation slept,
And Virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stilts,
cap well lined with logic not his own,
With parrot tongue perform'd the scholar's part,
Proceeding soon a graduated dunce.
Then compromise had place, and scrutiny
Became stone blind; precedence went in truck,
And he was competent whose purse was so
A dissolution of all bonds ensued;
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
Of headstrong youth were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, opening with a touch;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The tassel'd cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mockery of the world! What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothelers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmens oftener seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels
Than in the bounds of duty? What was learn'd
If aught was earn'd in childhood, is forgot;
And such expense as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is squander d in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name
That sit stigma on his father's house,
And cleaves through life inseparably close
To him that wears it. What can after-games
Of river joys, and commerce with the world,
The ewd vain world, that must receive him soon,
Add to such erudition, thus acquired,
Wherr science and where virtue are profess'd?
They may confirin his habits, rivet fast
His fly, but to spoil him is a task
Taat bids defiance to the united powers
Ofashion, dissipation, taverns, stews.
Now blame we most the nurslings or the nurse
Tchildren, crook'd, and twisted, and deform'd,
Through want of care; or her, whose winking eye
Aud slumbering oscitancy mars the brood?
The nurse, no doubt. Regardless of her charge,
She needs herself correction; needs to learn
't'hat it is dangerous sporting with the world,
With things so sacred as a nation's trust,
The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge.
All are not such. I had a brother once-
Peace to the memory of a man of worth,
A man of letters, and of manners too!
Of manners sweet as Virtue always wears,
When gay good-nature dresses her in smiles.
He graced a college,† in which order yet
Was sacred; and was honor'd, loved, and wept
By more than one, themselves conspicuous there.
Some minds are temper'd happily, and inix'd
With such ingredients of good sense and taste
Of what is excellent in man, they thirst
With such a zeal to be what they approve,
That no restraints can circumscribe them more
Than they themselves by choice, for wisdom's sake.
Nor can example hurt them; what they see
Of vice in others, but enhancing more
The charms of virtue in their just esteem
If such escape contagion, and emerge
Pure from so foul a pool to shine abroad,
And give the world their talents and themselves,
Small thanks to those, whose negligence or sloth
Exposed their inexperience to the snare,
And left them to an undirected choice.
THE SCHOOL AND TEACHER IN LITERATURE.
GEORGE CRABBE, 1754-1832.
GEORGE CRABBE was born at Oldborough, in Suffolk county, December 24, 1754,-and, with such early training as the Dame and the Latin school of the Borough afforded, was apprenticed to a surgeon and apothecary, at fourteen, and in due time essayed practice-but failing to obtain it, in 1775 went to London to try his fortune as a writer-was, in the hour of his utmost need, domesticated in the family of Edmund Burke, and encouraged by him in the publication of the Library,—in 1781, showing a strong partiality for the ministry, he was appointed chaplain to the Duke of Rutland, at Beloni Castle, and afterward a curate of his native village,-in 1783, appeared his poem, the Village,-in 1807, his Parish Register,-in 1810, the Boroughs,-in 1813, Tales in Verse, and in 1817 and '18, the Tales of the Hall. He died at Trowbridge, in February, 1832. His pictures of humble life-of the trials and sufferings of the poor-his tenderness and practical wisdom, will secure him a permanent place in English literature. He has not forgotten his early dame school and schoolmistress, nor the schools of the borough where he was born, whose characters and local history he thus reproduces.
SCHOOLS OF THE BOROUGH.
Schools of every Kind to be found in the Borough-The School for Infants-The School Preparatory: the sagacity of the Mistress in foreseeing Character-Day-Schools of the lower Kind-A Master with Talents adapted to such Pupils: one of superior Qualifications-Boarding-Schools; that for young ladies: one going first to the Governess, oue finally returning Home-School for Youth: Master and Teacher; various Dispositions and Capacities-The Miser Boy-The BoyBully-Sons of Farmers: how amused-What Study will effect, examined-A College Life: one sent from his College to a Benefice; one retained there in Dignity-The Advantages in either Case not considerable-Where, then, the Good of a literary Life-Answered-Conclusion.
To every class we have a School assign'd, (1.)
Rules for all ranks and food for every mind:
Yet one there is, that small regard to rule
Or study pays, and still is deem'd a School;
That where a deaf, poor, patient widow sits,
And awes some thirty infants as she knits;
Infants of humble, busy wives, who pay (2)
Some trifling price for freedom through the day.
At this good matron's hut the children meet,
Who thus becomes the mother of the street.
Her room is small, they can not widely stray,-
Her threshold high, they can not run away:
Though deaf, she sees the rebel-heroes shout,-