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and profol the Youth Close to his side that pleaseo him. Learning grew Beneath hi care
That holds mankind together to a scourge.
Profusion, deluging a state with lusts
Of grossest nature and of worst effects,
Prepares it for its ruin: hardens, blinds,
And warps, the consciences of public men,
Till they can laugh at virtue; mock the fools
That trust them; and, in th' end, disclose a face
That would have shock'd credulity herself,
Unmask'd, vouchsafing this their sole excuse-
Since all alike are selfish, why not they?
This does profusion, and th' accursed cause
Of such deep mischief has itself a cause.
In colleges and halls, in ancient days, When learning, virtue, piety, and truth, Were precious, and inculcated with care, There dwelt a sage call's 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.
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 pleas'd him. Learning grew,
Beneath his care, a thriving vig'rous plant;
The mind was well inform'd, the passions held
Subordinate, and diligence was choice.
If e'er it chanc'd, as sometimes chance it must,
That one among so many overleap'd
The limits of controul, 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 favour back again, and clos'd the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Declin'd at length into the vale of years:
A palsy struck his arm; his sparkling eye
Was quench'd in rheums of age; his voice, un-
Grew tremulous, and mov'd derision more
Than rev’rence in perverse rebellious youth.
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,
And virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stilts,
well lin'd 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 head-strong youth, were broken; bars and bolts
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, op'ning with a touch;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
band a jest,
A mock'ry of the world! What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oft'ner 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;
And such expense as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the lib'ral 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,
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,