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But strong for service still, and unimpair’d. 705
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
710 The head of modest and ingenuous worth That blush'd at its own praise, and press
the youth Close to his side that pleased him. Learning grew Beneath his care, a thriving vigorous plant ; The mind was well inform’d, the passions held 715 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;
720 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 favour back again, and closed the breach. But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
725 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. 730 So colleges and halls neglected much Their good old friend, and Discipline at length O'erlook'd and unemploy'd, fell sick and died. Then study languish'd, emulation slept, 27 In every gesture dignity and love.
Pur. Lost, viü. 489.
And virtue fled. The schools became a scene 735
Of solemn farce, where ignorance in stilts,
His 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 muleish mouth
Of headstrong youth were broken ; bars and bolts 745
Grew rusty by disuse, and massy gates
Forgot their office, opening with a touch ;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade ;
The tassell’d cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mockery of the world. What need of these 750
For gamesters, jockies, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts and booted sportsmen, oftener seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty ? What was learn'd,
If aught was learn'd in childhood, is forgot, 755
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 sits a stigma on his father's house,
760 And cleaves through life inseparably close To him that wears it. What can after-games Of riper joys, and commerce with the world, The lewd vain world that must receive him soon, Add to such erudition thus acquired
765 Where science and where virtue are profess'd ?
They may confirm his habits, rivet fast
His folly 28, but to spoil him is a task
That bids defiance to the united powers
Of fashion, dissipation, taverns, stews.
Now blame we most the nurselings or the nurse?
The children crook'd and twisted and deform'd
Through want of care, or her whose winking eye
And slumbering oscitancy mars the brood ?
The nurse no doubt. Regardless of her charge
She needs herself correction; needs to learn
That 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 29 in which order yet
Was sacred, and was honour'd loved and wept 30
By more than one, themselves conspicuous there.
Some minds are temper'd happily, and mixt
With such ingredients of good sense and taste
Of what is excellent in man, they thirst
28 The sensual and the dark rebel in vain
Slaves by their own compulsion. Coleridge. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.—Burke. Answer to Objections, &c. 69.
29 Ben'et College, Cambridge.
30 Praised, wept, and honour'd by the Muse he loved.
Pope on Craggs.
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 thein, 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 800
Exposed their inexperience to the snare,
And left them to an undirected choice.
See then! the quiver broken and decay'd
In which are kept our arrows.
In wild disorder and unfit for use,
What wonder if discharged into the world
They shame their shooters with a random flight,
Their points obtuse, and feathers drunk with wine.
unsuccessful war With such artillery arm’d. Vice parries wide 810 The undreaded volley with a sword of straw, And stands an impudent and fearless mark.
Have we not track'd the felon home, and found His birthplace and his dam ? the country mourns, Mourns, because every plague that can infest 815 Society, and that saps and worms the base Of the edifice that policy has raised, Swarms in all quarters; meets the eye,
ear, And suffocates the breath at every turn. Profusion breeds them. And the cause itself 820 Of that calamitous mischief has been found: Found too where most offensive, in the skirts
Of the robed pedagogue. Else, let the arraign'd
Stand up unconscious and refute the charge.
So when the Jewish Leader stretch'd his arm 825
And waved his rod divine, a race obscene
Spawn'd in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth
Polluting Egypt. Gardens, fields, and plains
Were cover'd with the pest. The streets were fill’d;
The croaking nuisance lurk’d in every nook, 830
Nor palaces nor even chambers 'scaped,
And the land stank, so numerous was the fry.