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Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The tassled cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mockery of the world! What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothellers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oftener seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty? What was learned,
If aught was learned in childhood, is forgot;
And such expence, as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is squandered in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasures; buys the boy a name,
That sits 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 him soon,
Add to such erudition, thus acquired,
Where science and where virtue are professed?
They may confirm his habits, rivet fast
His folly, but to spoil him is a task,
That bids defiance to the united powers
Of fashion, dissipation, taverns, stews.
Now blame we most the nurslings or the nurse?
'The children crooked, and twisted, and deformed,
Through want of care; or her, whose winking eye.
And slumbering oscitancy mars the brood?
The nurse no doubt. Regardless of her charge
She needs herself correction; needs to learn,
That it is dangerous sporting with the world,
With things so sacred as a nation's trust,
The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge.
All are not such. I had a brother once-
Peace to the memory 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 graced a college *, in which order yet
Was sacred; and was honoured, loved, and wept,
By more than one, themselves conspicuous there.
Some minds are tempered happily, and mixt
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 sake;
Nor can example hurt them: what they sec
Of vice in others but enhancing more
The charms of virtue in their just esteem.
If such 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 of sloth
Exposed their inexperience to the snare,
And left them to an undirected choice.
See then the quiver broken and decayed,
In which are kept our arrows! Rusting there
In wild disorder, and unfit for use,
What wonder if, discharged into the world, They shame their shooters with a random flight, Their points obtuse, and feathers drunk with wine! Well may the church wage unsuccessful war With such artillery armed. Vice parries wide The undreaded volley with a sword of straw, And stands an impudent and fearless mark..
Have we not tracked the felon home, and found" His birth-place and his dam? The country mourns, Mourns because every plague, that can infest Society, and that saps and worms the base Of the edifice, that policy has raised,
Swarms in all quarters: meets the eye, the ear,
And suffocates the breath, at every turn.
Profusion breeds them; and the cause itself
Of that calamitous mischief has been found:
Found too where most-offensive, in the skirts
Of the robed pedagogue! Else let the arraigned
Stand up unconscious; and refute the charge.
So, when the Jewish leader stretched his arm,
And waved his rod divine, a race obscene,
Spawned in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth,
Polluting Egypt: gardens, fields, and plains,
Were covered with the pest; the streets were filled;
The croaking nuisance lurked in every nook;
Nor palaces, nor even chambers, 'scaped;
And the land stauk-so numerous was the fry.
Self recollection and reproof.—Address to domestic happiness. Some account of myself.-The vanity of many of their pursuits who are reputed wise.-Justification of my censures. Divine illumination necessary to the most expert philosopher. The question, What is truth? answered by other questions.-Domestic happiness addressed again. -Few lovers of the country.-My tame hare.-Occupations of a retired gentleman in his garden.-Pruning.-Framing. -Greenhouse.-Sowing of flower-seeds.-The country. preferable to the town, even in the winter.-Reasons why it is deserted at that season.-Ruinous effects of gaming. and of expensive improvement.-Book concludes with an apostrophe to the metropolis.
As one, who long in thickets and in brakes
Entangled winds now this way and now that
His devious course uncertain, seeking home;
Or, having long in miry ways been foiled
And sore discomfited, from slough to slough
Plunging and half despairing of escape;
If chance at length he find a greensward smooth
And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise,
He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed,
And winds his way with pleasure and with ease;
So I, designing other themes, and called
To adorn the Sofa with eulogium due,
To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams,
Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat
Of academic fame (howe'er deserved),
Long held, and scarcely disengaged at last.
But now with pleasant pace a cleanlier road
I mean to tread. I feel myself at large,
Courageous and refreshed for future toil,
If toil await me, or if dangers new.
Since pulpits fail, and sounding boards reflect
Most part an empty ineffectual sound,
What chance that I, to fame so little known,
Nor conversant with men or manners much,
Should speak to purpose, or with better hope-
Crack the satiric thong? "Twere wiser far
For me, enamoured of sequestered scenes,
And charmed with rural beauty, to repose,
Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine,
My languid limbs, when summer sears the plains;
Or, when rough winter rages, on the soft
And sheltered Sofa, while the nitrous air
Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth;
There, undisturbed by folly, and apprized
How great the danger of disturbing her,
To muse in silence, or at least confine