Imágenes de página
[ocr errors]

what a happy school would ours be! We ourselves would be much more comfortable; and our master would have a great deal less trouble and distress than he has on account of the idleness and inattention, of which too many of us are guilty.”

His books he is careful to preserve from every thing that might injure them. Having finished his lesson, he puts them in their proper place, and does not leave them to be tossed about, and, by that means, torn and dirtied. He never forgets to pray for the blessing of God on himself, on his school-fellows, and on his teacher; for he knows that the blessing of God is necessary to make his education truly useful to him, both in this life, and in that which is to come.

And, finally, it is his constant endeavour to behave well when he is out of school, as well as when he is in it. He remembers that the eye of God is ever upon him, and that he must at last give an account of himself to the great Judge of all. And, therefore, he studies to practise, at all times, the religious and moral lessons that he receives from his master, or that he reads in the Bible, or that he meets with in the other books that are given him to peruse; and to 16 walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless.”

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

THERE is scarce any profession in the commonwealth more necessary, which is so slightly performed, as that of a schoolmaster: the reasons whereof I conceive to be these. First, young scholars make this calling their refuge; yea, perchance, before they have taken any degree in the university, commence schoolmasters in the country, as if nothing else were required to set up this profession, but only a rod and a ferule.

Secondly, others, who are able, use it only as a passage to better preferment, to patch the rents in their present fortune, till they can provide a new one, and betake themselves to some more gainful calling.

Thirdly, they are disheartened from doing their best with the miserable reward which, in some places, they receive;




being masters to the children, and slaves to their parents. But see how well our schoolmaster behaves himself.

He studieth his scholars' natures as carefully as they their books, and ranks their dispositions into several forms. And, though it may seem difficult for him, in a great school, to descend to all particulars, yet experienced schoolmasters may quickly make a grammar of boys' natures, and reduce them all (saving some few exceptions) to these general sules:

1. Those that are ingenious and industrious. The conjuuction of two such planets in a youth prēsa'ges much good unto him. To sucho a lad a frown may be a whipping, and a whipping a death; yea, where his master whips him once, shame whips him all the week after. Such natures he useth with all gentleness.

2. Those that are ingenious and idle. These think, with the hare in the fable, that, running with snails, (so they count the rest of their school-fellows,) they shall come soon enough to the post; though sleeping a good while before their starting. O, a good rod would finely take them napping.

3. Those that be dull and diligent. Wines, the stronger they be, the more lees they have when they are new. Many boys are muddy-headed till they be clarified with age, and such afterwards prove the best. Bristol diamonds are both bright, and squared, and pointed, by nature, and yet are soft and worthless ; whereas orient ones in India are rough and rugged naturally. Hard, rugged, and dull natures of youth acquit themselves afterwards the jewels of the country; and therefore their dulness is at first to be borné with, if they be diligent. That schoolmaster deserves to be beaten himself, who beats nature in a boy for a fault.

4. Those that are invincibly dull, and negligent also. Correction

may reform the latter, not amend the former. All the whetting in the world can never set a razor's edge on that which hath no steel in it. Such boys he consigneth over to other professions.' Shipwrights and boatmakers will choose those crooked pieces of timber, which other carpenters refuse.

He is able, diligent, and methodical in his teaching, not leading them rather in a circle than forwards. He minces his precepts for children to swallow, hanging clogs on the nimbleness of his own soul, that his scholars may go along with him. He is moderate in inflicting even deserved corte rection,

Many a schoolmaster seemeth to understand, that schooling his pupils meaneth scolding and scoring them; and therefore, in bringing them forward, he useth the lash more than the leading string.

Such an Orbilius* mars more scholars than he makes. The týr'anny of such a man hath caused the tongues of many to stammer, which spake plainly by nature, and whose stuttering, at first, was nothing else but fears quavering on their speech at their master's presence.


Attention and Industry rewarded.-BERQUIN. A rich husbandman had two sons, the one exactly a year older than the other. The very day the second was born, he set, in the entrance of his orchard, two young apple-trées, of equal size, which he cultivated with the same care, and which grew so equally, that no person could perceive the least difference between them.

When his children were capable of handling garden tools, he took them, one fine morning in spring, to see these two trees, which he had planted for them, and called after their names; and, when they had sufficiently admired their growth, and the number of blossoms that covered them, he said, “My dear children, I give you these trees: you see they are in good condition. They will thrive as much by your care, as they will decline by your negligence; and their fruit will reward you in proportion to your labour.”

The youngest, named Edmund, was industrious" and attentive. He busied himself in clearing his tree of insects that would hurt it, and he propped up its stem, to prevent its taking a wrong bent. He loosened the earth about it, that the warmth of the sun, and the moisture of the dews, might cherish the roots. His mother had not tended him more carefully in his infancy, than he tended his young appletree.

His brother, Moses, did not imitate bis example. He spent a great deal of time on a mount that was near, throw

* Orbilius,-a grammarian of Beneventum, wbo was the first instructer of the poet Horace. He was naturally of a severe disposition, of which his pupils often felt the effects.

ing stones at the passengers in the road. He went among all the little dirty boys in the neighbourhood, to box with them; so that he was often seen with broken shins and black eyes, from the kicks and blows he received in his quarrels.

In short, he neglected his tree so far, that he never thought of it, till, one day in autumn, he, by chance, saw Edmund's tree so full of apples, streaked with purple and gold, that, had it not been for the props which supported its branches, the weight of its fruit must have bent it to the ground.

Struck with the sight of so fine a tree, he hastened to his own, hoping to find as large a crop upon it; but, to his great surprise, he saw scarcely any thing, except branches covered with moss, and a few yellow, withered leaves. Full of passion and jealousy, he ran to his father, and said, “Father, what sort of a tree is that which you have given me? It is as dry as a broomstick; and I shall not have ten apples on it. My brother you have used better : bid him, at least, share his apples fith me.”

“Share with you !” said his father : “so, the industrious must lose his labour to feed the idle! Be satisfied with your lot; it is the effect of your negligence; and do not think to accuse me of injustice, when you see your brother's rich crop.

“Your tree was as fruitful, and in as good order as his : it bore as many blossoms, and grew in the same soil : only it was not fostered with the same care. Edmund has kept his tree clear of hurtful insects;


have suffered them to eat up yours in its blossoms.

“As I do not choose to let any thing which God has given me, and for which I hold myself accountable to him, go to ruin, I shall take this tree from you, and call it no more by your name. It must pass through your brother's hands, before it can recover itself; and, from this moment, both it, and the fruit it may bear, are his property. You may,


you will, go into my nursery, and look for another, and rear it, to make amends for your fault; but, if you neglect it, that too shall be given to your brother for assisting me in my labour.”

Moses felt the justice of his father's sentence, and the wisdom of his design. He, therefore, went that moment into the nursery, and chose one of the most thriving appletrees he could find. Edmund assisted him, with his advice,

[ocr errors]

in rearing it; Moses embraced every occasion of paying attention to it.

He was now never out of humour with his comrades,* and still less with himself; for he applied cheerfully to work; and, in autumn, he had the pleasure of seeing his tree fully answer his hopes. Thus he had the double advantage of enriching himself with a splendid crop of fruit, and, at the same time, of subduing the vicious habits he had contracted.

His father was so well pleased with this change, that, the following year, he divided the produce of a small orchard between him and his brother.



I REALLY know nothing more criminal, more mean, and inore ridiculous, than lying. It is the production either of malice, cowardice, or vanity; and generally misses of its aim in every one of these views; for lies are always detected sooner or later. If I tell a malicious lie, in order to affect

any man's fortune or character, I may indeed injure him for some time; but I shall be sure to be the greatest sufferer at last: for, as soon as I am detected, (and detected I most certainly shall be,) I am blasted for the infamous attempt; and whatever is said afterwards to the disadvantage of that person, however true, passes for calumny.

If I lie, or equivocate, (for it is the same thing,) in order to excuse myself for something that I have said or done, and to avoid the danger or the shame that I apprehend from it, I discover, at once, my fear, as well as my falsehood; and only increase, instead of avoiding, the danger and the shame; I show myself to be the lowest and meanest of mankind, and am sure to be always treated as such, Fear, instead of avoiding, invites danger; for concealed cowards will insult known ones. If one has had the misfortune to be in the wrong, there is something noble in frankly owning it; it is the only way of atoning for it, and the only way of being forgiven.

Equivocating, evading; shuffling, in order to remove a present danger or inconveniency, is something so mean, and betrays so much fear, that whoever practises them always

* Pron. cum'-rådes.

« AnteriorContinuar »