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Whose fair example may at once inspire
A wish to copy what he must admire.

Such knowledge gain'd betimes, and which appears,
Though solid, not too weighty for his years,
Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport,
When health demands it, of athletic sort,
Would make him-what some lovely boys have been,
And more than one perhaps, that I have seen-
An evidence and reprehension both

Of the mere school-boy's lean and tardy growth.
Art thou a man professionally tied,
With all thy faculties elsewhere applied,
Too busy to attend a meaner care,

Than how t' enrich thyself, and next thine heir;
Or art thou (as though rich, perhaps thou art)
But poor in knowledge, having none t' impart
Behold that figure, neat, though plainly clad;
His sprightly mingled with a shade of sad;
Not of a nimble tongue, though now and then
Heard to articulate like other men;

No jester, and yet lively in discourse,

His phrase well chosen, clear, and full of force;
And his address, if not quite French in ease,
Not English stiff, but frank, and form'd to please;
Low in the world, because he scorns its arts;
A man of letters, manners, morals, parts;
Unpatroniz'd, and therefore little known;
Wise for himself, and his few friends alone-
In him thy well-appointed proxy see,
Arm'd for a work too difficult for thee;
Prepar'd by taste, by learning, and true worth,
To form thy son, to strike his genius forth;
Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye, to prove
The force of discipline, when back'd by love;
To double all thy pleasure in thy child,
His mind inform'd, his morals undefil'd.
Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show
No spots contracted among grooms below,

Nor taint his speech with meannesses design'd
By footman Tom for witty and refin'd.
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
A higher than a mere plebeian fame,

Find it expedient, come what mischief may,
To entertain a thief or two in pay

(And they that can afford th' expense of more,
Some half a dozen, and some half a score),
Great cause occurs, to save him from a band
So sure to spoil him, and so near at hand;
A point secured, if once he be supplied
With some such Mentor always at his side.
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 wouldst th' advancement of thine

In all good faculties beneath thy care,
Respect, as is but rational and just,

A man deem'd worthy of so dear a trust.
Despis'd by thee, what more can he expect
From youthful folly than the same 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 chok'd, or trickling to no end.
Doom him not then to solitary meals;
But recollect that he has sense and feels
And that possessor of a soul 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, trust me, his utility may reach

To more than he is hir'd or bound to teach;
Much trash unmutter'd, and some ills undone,
Through rev'rence of the censor of thy son.
But, if thy table be indeed unclean,
Foul with excess, and with discourse obscene,
And thou a wretch, whom, foll'wing 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 hadst never grace enough to prove
That any thing but vice could win thy love;-
Or hast 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 own
With half the chariots and sedans in town,
Thyself meanwhile e'en shifting as thou may'st;
Not very sober though, nor very chaste;
Or is thine house, though less superb thy rank,
If not a scene of pleasure, a mere blank,
And thou at best, and in thy sob'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'nest seen)
May never more be stamp'd upon his breast,
Not yet, perhaps, incurably impress'd.
Where early rest makes early rising sure,
Disease it comes not, or finds easy cure,
Prevented much by diet neat and plain;
Or, if it enter, soon starv'd out again:
Where all th' attention of his faithful host,
Discreetly limited to two at most,

May raise such 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 young, the deaf, the dead,
Whom care and cool deliberation suit
Not better much than spectacles a brute;
Who, if their sons some slight tuition share,
Deem it of no great moment whose, or where ;
Too proud t'adopt the thoughts of one unknown,
And much too gay t' have any of their own.
But courage, man! methought the muse replied,
Mankind are various, and the world is wide:
The ostrich, silliest 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 crush 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 wise, 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 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 son 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 humankind;
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-cuff'd 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 employ
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, ladylike in mien,

Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen,

Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue Now flush'd with drunk'nness, now with whoredom


On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung,
Their breath a sample of last night's regale;

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