Imágenes de página

But all are not alike. Thy warning voice
May here and there prevent erroneous choice;
And some perhaps, who, busy as they are,
Yet make their progeny their dearest care,
(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may


Their offspring, left upon so wild a beach)
Will need no stress of argument t' enforce
Th' expedience of a less advent'rous 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 plac'd 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 fall’n on human kind;

See wealth abus'd, and dignities misplac'd,
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgrac'd,
Long lines of ancestry, renown'd of old,
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold;
See Bedlam's closetted and hand-cuffod 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 em-

ploy Is odious, and their wages all their joy, Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves With gospel lore, turn infidels themselves; See womanhood despis’d, and manhood sham'd With infamy too nauseous to be nam'd, Fops at all corners, lady-like in mien, Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen, Else coarse and rude in manners, and their

tongue On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung,

Now flush'd with drunk'ness, 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-made fools; All these, and more like these, were bred at


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
Seryes 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 polish'd cheek of purest red,
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen head,
And say—My boy, th' 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


And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose; Though much depends on what thy choice shall


Is all chance medley, and unknown to me.-
Can’st thou, the tear jụst 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'st 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,

[ocr errors]


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 nat'ral pity, send him not to school.
No-guard him better. Is he not thine own,
Thyself in miniature, thy flesh, 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 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 in thine, its key is in thine hand.
If thou desert thy charge, and throw it wide,
Nor heed what guests there enter and abide,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »