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To check the procreation of a breed
Sure to exhaust the plant on which they feed.
'Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page,
At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage;
Ev’n in his pastimes he requires a friend
To warn, and teach him safely to unbend,
O'er all his pleasures gently to preside,
Watch his emotions, and control their tide;
And, levying thus, and with an easy sway,
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


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 themselves, and govern'd by a clock.
Perhaps a father, blest 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 some not steep, though philosophic, height,
Thence to exhibit to his wond'ring eyes
Yon circling worlds, their distance, and their size,
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'r,
As, hid from ages past, 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,

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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 sort,
Would make him-what some lovely boys have


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;
Or art thou (as, though rich, perhaps thou art)

poor in knowledge, having none t'impart;-
Behold that figure, neat, though plainly clad;
His sprightly mingled with a shade of sad;
Not of a nimble tongue, though now and then

Heard to articulate like other men;

No jester, and yet lively in discourse,
His phrase well chosen, clear, and full of force;
And his address, if not quite French in easė,
Not English stiff, but frank, and form’d to please;
Low in the world, because he scorns its arts;

A man of letters, manners, morals, parts;

Unpatroniz'd, and therefore little known;

Wise for himself and his few friends alone

In him thy well-appointed proxy see,

Arm'd for a work too difficult for thee;

Prepar'd by taste, by learning, and true worth, To form thy son, to strike his genius forth;

Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye, to prove
The force of discipline when back'd by love;
To double all thy pleasure in thy child,
His mind inform’d, his morals undefil'd.
Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show
No spots contracted among grooms below,
Nor taint his speech with meannesses, design'd
By footman Tom for witty and refin'd.
There, in his commerce with the liv’ried herd,
Lurks the contagion chiefly to be fear'd;
For, since (so fashion dictates) all, who claim
An higher than a mere plebeian fame,
Find it expedient, come what mischief

may, To entertain a thief or two in pay, (And they that can afford th' expense of more, Some half a dozen, and some half a score

Great cause occurs to save him from a band

So sure to spoil him, and so near at hand;
A point secur’d, if once he be supplied
With some such Mentor always at his side.

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