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Till they can laugh at virtue ; mock the fools
That trust them; and, in th’'end, disclofe a face
That would have shock'd credulity herfelf,
Unmask'd, vouchsafing this their fole excuse
Since all alike are selfifh, why not they?
This does profufion, 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 fage callid Discipline. His head, Not yet by time completely filver'd o'er, Bespoke bim past the bounds of freakish youth, But strong for service still, and unimpair’d. His
eye was meek and gentle, and a smile Play'd on his lips; and in his fpeech was hea Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love. The occupation dearest to his heart Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke The head of modeft 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 paflions 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 fervant long,
Declin’d at length into the vale of years :
A palfy struck his arm; his fparkling eye
Was quench'd in rheums of age; his voice, unftrung,
Grew tremulous, and mor'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 Nept,
And virtue filed. 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 foon 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 rufty by disuse; and maffy gates
Forgot their office, op'ning with a touch ;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The tassel'd cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mock’ry of the world! What need of these
For gamefters, jockeys, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted fportsmen, 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 expence as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the lib'ral hand of love,
Is squanderd in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name,
That fits 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 hin soon,
Add to such erudition, thus acquir'd,
Where fcience and where virtue are profess’d?
They may confirm his habits, rivet falt
His folly, but to spoil him is a talk
That bids defiance to thi' united pow'rs
Of fashion, dissipation, taveros, stews.
Now, blame we most the nursings or the nurse?
The children, crook'd, and twisted, and deform’d,
Through want of care ; or her, whose winking eye
And lumb'ring ofcitancy mars the brood?
The nurse no doubt. Regardless of her charge,
She needs herself correction ; needs to learn,
That it is dang'rous sporting with the world,
With things fo facred as a nation's trust,
The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge.
All are not fuch. I had a brother once Peace to the meni’ry 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 grac'd a college*, in which order yet Was sacred; and was honour'd, lov’d, and wept, By more than one, themselves conspicuous there. Some minds are temper'd happily, and mix'd With such ingredients of good sense and taste Of what is excellent in man, they thirst With such a zeal to be what they approve,
That no restraints can circumscribe them more
Than they themselves by choice, for wisdom's fake;
Nor can example hurt them: what they see
Of vice in others but enhancing more
The charms of virtue in their just esteem.
If fach 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 floth
Expos'd their inexperience to the foare,
And left them to an undirected choice.
See, then, the quiver broken and decay'd, In which are kept our arrows! Rusting there la wild disorder, and unfit for use, What wonder if, discharg'd into the world, They shame their shooters with a random flight, Their points obtuse, and feathers drunk with wine! Well may the church
With such artillry arm’d. Vice parries wide
Th' 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 birth-place and his dam? The country mourns Mourns, because ev'ry plague that can infest