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Harmless, and safe, and nat'ral, as they are;
A disappointment waits him even there :
Arriv'd, he feels an unexpected change ;
He blushes, hangs his head, is shy and strange,
No longer takes, as once, with fearless ease,
His fav'rite stand between his father's knees,
But seeks the corner of fome distant feat,
And eyes the door, and watches a retreat,
And, least familiar where he should be most,
Feels all his happiest privileges loft.
Alas, poor boy !--the natural effect
Of love by absence chill'd into respect.
Say, what accomplishments, at school acquir'd,
Brings he, to sweeten fruits so undesir’d?
Thou well deserv'st an alienated son,
Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge-none;
None that, in thy domestic snug recefs,
He had not made his own with more address,
Though some perhaps that shock thy feeling mind,
And better never learn'd, or left behind.
Add too, that, thus estrang'd, thou can'ft obtain
By no kind arts his confidence again;
That here begins with most that long complaint
Of filial frankness loft, and love grown faint,
Which, oft neglected, in life's waning years
A parent pours into regardless ears.
Like caterpillars, dangling under trees
By sender threads, and swinging in the breeze,
Which filthily bewray and fore disgrace
The boughs in which are bred th’ unseemly race';
While ev'ry worm industriously weaves
And winds his web about the rivell'd leaves ;
So num'rous are the follies that
The mind and heart of every sprightly boý;
Imaginations noxious and perverse,
Which admonition can alone disperse.
Th’'encroaching nuisance asks a faithful hand,
Patient, affectionate, of high command,
To check the procreation of a breed
Sure to exhaust the plant on which they feed.
'Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page,
At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage;
Ev’n in his pastimes he requires a friend
To warn, and teach him safely to unbend,
O’er all his pleasures gently to preside,
Watch his emotions, and control their tide;
And, levying thus, and with an easy sway,
A tax of profit from his very play,
T'impress a value, not to be eras'd,
On moments squander'd else, and running all to waste,
And seems it nothing in a father's eye
That unimprov'd those many moments fly?
And is he well content his son should find
No nourishment to feed his growing mind
But conjugated verbs and nouns declin'd ?
For such is all the mental food purvey'd
By public hacknies in the schooling trade ;
Who feed a pupil's intellect with store
Of syntax, truly, but with little more ;
Dismiss their cares when they dismiss their flock-
Machines themselves, and govern'd by a clock.
Perhaps a father, blest with any brains,
Would deem it no abuse, or waste of pains,
T'improve this diet, at no great expense,
With fav'ry truth and wholesome common sense;
To lead his son, for prospects of delight,
To some not steep, though philosophic, height,
Thence to exhibit to his wond'ring eyes
Yon circling worlds, their distance, and their size,
The moons of Jove, and Saturn's belted ball,
And the harmonious order of them all;
To show him, in an insect or a flow'r,
Such microscopic proof of skill and pow'r,
As, hid from ages paft, God now displays
To combat atheists with in modern days ;
To spread the earth before him, and commend,
With designation of the finger's end,
Its various parts to his attentive note,
Thus bringing home to him the most remote ;
To teach his heart to glow with gen'rous fame,
Caught from the deeds of men of ancient fame;
And, more than all, with commendation due
To set some living worthy in his view,
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
Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport,
When health demands it, of achletic sort,
Would make him-what some lovely boys have been,
And more than one, perhaps, that I have seen
An evidence and reprehenfion both
Of the mere fchool-boy's lean and tardy growth.
Art thou a man professionally tied, With all thy faculties elsewhere applied,