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Have you no touch of pity, that the poor
Pleasure admitted in undue degree
The breach, tho'small at first, soon op'ning wide, In rushes folly with a full-moon tide,
So sophistry cleaves close to and protects
The sacred implement I now employ
Ye writers of what none with safety reads,
would mend, Sniv'lling and driv'lling folly without end; Whose corresponding misses fill the ream With sentimental frippery and dream, Caught in a delicate, soft, silken net By some lewd earl, or rakehell baronet: Ye pimps, who, under virtue's fair pretence, Steal to the closet of young innocence, And teach her, inexperienced yet and green, To scribble as you scribblid at fifteen; Who, kindling a combustion of desire, With some cold moral think to quench the fire; Though all your engineering proves in vain, The dribbling stream ne'er puts it out again : 0, that a verse had power, and could command Far, far away these flesh-flies of the land;
Who fasten without mercy on the fair,
But the muse, eagle-pinion'd, has in view
Petronius! all the Muses weep for thee;
purge and skim away the filth of vice,
it on the morals of thy son; To taint his heart, was worthy of thine own! Now, while the poison all high life pervades, Write, if thou canst, one letter from the shades, One, and one only, charg'd with deep regret, That thy worse part, thy principles, live yet: One sad epistle thence may cure mankind Of the plague spread by bundles left behind. "Tis granted, and no plainer truth appears, Our most important are our earliest years ; The Mind, impressible and soft, with ease Imbibes and copies what she hears and sees, And through life's labyrinth hol's fast the clew That Education gives her, false or true. Plants rais'd with tenderness are seldom strong; Man's coltish disposition asks the thong; And without discipline, the fav’rite child, Like a neglected forester, runs wild.
But we, as if good qualities would grow
From school to Cam or Isis, and thence home;
Ere long, some bowing, smirking, smart Abbé Remarks two loit'rers, that have lost their way; And being always prim'd with politesse For men of their appearance and address, With much compassion undertakes the task, To tell them more than they have wit to ask; Points to inscriptions whereso’er they tread, Such when legible, were never read, But, being canker'd now and half worn out, Craze antiquarian brains with endless doubt; Some heedless hero, or some Cæsar shows Defective only in his Roman nose; Exhibits elevations, drawings, plans, Models of Herculean pots and pans; And sells them medals, which, if neither rare Nor ancient, will be so, preserv’d with care.
Strange the recital ! from whatever cause His great improvement and new light he draws, The squire, once hashful, is shamefac'd no more, But teems with powers he never felt before; Whether increasd momentum, and the force, With which from clime to clime he sped his course (As axles sometimes kindle as they go), Chaf'd him, and brought dull nature to a glow; Or whether clearer skies and softer air, That make Italian flowers so sweet and fair, Fresh’ning his lazy spirits as he ran, Unfolded genially and spread the man; Returning he proclaims by many a grace, By shrugs and strange contortions of his face, How much a dunce, that has been sent to roam, Excels a dunce, that has heen kept at home.
Accomplishments have taken virtue's place, And wisdom falls before exterior grace; We slight the precious kernel of the stone, And toil to polish its rough coat alone. A just deportment, manners grac'd with ease, Elegant phrase, and figure form’d to please, Are qualities, that seem to comprehend Whatever parents, guardians, schools intend, Hence an unfurnish'd and a listless mind, Though busy, trilling; empty, though relin'd; Hence all that interferes, and dares to clash With indolence and luxury, is trash: While learning, once the man's exclusive pride, Seems verging fast towards the female side. Learning itself, receiv'd into a mind By nature weak, or viciously inclind, Serves but to lead philosophers astray, Where children would with ease discern the way. And of all arts sagacious dupes invent, To cheat themselves and gain the world's assent, The worst is---Scripture warp'd from its intent.