« AnteriorContinuar »
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
To entertain a thief or two in pay,
(And they that can afford th' expence of more,
Some half a dozen, and fome 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 fide.
Are such men rare? perhaps they would abound
Were occupation easier to be found,
Were education, else so sure to fail,
Conducted on a manageable scale,
And schools, that have outliv'd all just esteem,
Exchang'd for the secure domestic scheme.
But, having found him, be thou duke or earl,
Show thou hast sense enough to prize the pearl,
And, as thou would'It th' advancement of thine heir
In all good faculties beneath his care,
Respect, as is but rational and juft,
A man deem'd worthy of so dear a trust.
Despis’d by thee, what more can he expect
From youthful folly than the fame neglect?
A flat and fatal negative obtains,
That instant, upon all his future pains ;
His lessons tire, his mild rebukes offend,
And all th’ instructions of thy son's best friend
Are a stream choak'd, or trickling to an end.
Doom him not then to folitary meals;
But recollect that he has sense, and feels;
And that, poffeffor of a foul refin'd,
An upright heart, and cultivated mind,
His post not mean, his talents not unknown,
He deems it hard to vegetate alone.
And, if admitted at thy board he sit,
Account him no just mark for idle wit ;
Offend not him, whom modesty restrains
From repartee, with jokes that he disdains ;
Much less transfix his feelings with an oath ;
Nor frown, unless he vanish with the cloth.
And, trast me, his utility may reach
To more than he is hir'd or bound to teach ;
Much trash unutter'd, and some ills undone,
Through rev'rence of the cenfor of thy son.
But, if thy table be indeed unclean, Foul with excess, and with discourse obscene, And thou a wretch, whom, following her old plan, The world accounts an honourable man,
Because forsooth thy courage has been tried And stood the test, perhaps on the wrong side ; Though thou hadft never grace enough to prove That any thing but vice could win thy love; Or halt thou a polite, card-playing wife, Chain'd to the routs that she frequents for life ; Who, just when industry begins to snore, Flies, wing'd with joy, to some coach-crowded door ; And thrice in ev'ry winter throngs thine owa With half the chariots and sedans in town, Thyself meanwhile e'en shifting as thou may'ft; Not very sober though, nor very chaste; Or is thine house, though less suberb thy rank, If not a scene of pleasure, a mere blank, And thou at best, and in thy fob'rest mood, A trifler vain, and empty of all good ;
Though mercy for thyself thou canst have none, - Hear nature plead, show mercy to thy son.
Sav'd from his home, where ev'ry day brings forth
Some mischief fatal to his future worth,
Find him a better in a distant spot,
Within some pious pastor's humble cot,
Where vile example (yours I chiefly mean,
The most seducing and the oft'neft seen)
May never more be stamp'd upon his breast,
Not yet perhaps incurably impress’d;-
Where early rest makes early rising sure,
Disease or comes not, or finds eafy cure,
Prevented mich by diet neat and plain ;
Or, if it enter, soop starv'd out again :-
Where all th' attention of his faithful hoft,
Discreetly limited to two at moft,
May raise fuch fruits as shall reward his care,
And not at last evaporate in air :-
Where, stillness aiding study, and his mind
Serene, and to his duties much inclin'd,
Not occupied in day-dreams, as at home,
Of pleasures past, or follies yet to come,
His virtuous toil may terminate at last
In settled habit and decided taste.-
But whom do I advise ? the fashion-led,
Th' incorrigibly wrong, the deaf, the dead!
Whom care and cool diliberation suit.
Not better much than spectacles a brute;
Who, if their sons some slight tuition share,
Deem it of no great moment, whofe, or where;
Too proud t'adopt the thoughts of one unknown,
And much too gay
ť have any
of their own. But, courage, man! methought the muse replied, Mankind are various, and the world is wide :. The ostrich, filliest of the feather'd kind, And form'd of God without a parent's mind,
Commits her eggs, incautious, to the dust,
Forgetful that the foot may cruh the trust;
And, while on public nurs’ries they rely,
Not knowing, and too oft not caring, why,
Irrational in what they thus prefer,
No few, that would seem wife, resemble her.
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
their dearest care, (Whose hearts will ache, once told what ills may reach 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 flight 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, de fire your fons should learn Your wisdom and your ways to you Look round you on a world perversely blind; See what contempt is fall’n on human kind; TOL. 11.