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By forgery, by subterfuge of law,
By tricks and lies as num'rous and as keen
As the necessities their authors feel :
Then cast them, closely bundled, ev'ry brat
At the right door. Profusion is the sire.
Profusion unrestrain'd with all that's base
In character, has litter'd all the land,
And bred, within the mem'ry of no few,
A priesthood, such as Baal's was of old,
A people, such as never was till now.
It is a hungry vice :-it eats up all
That gives society its beauty, strength,
Convenience, security, and use :
Makes men mere vermin, worthy to be trapp'd
And gibbeted, as fast as catchpole claws
Can seize the slippery prey: unties the knot
Of union, and converts the sacred band
That holds mankind together, to a scourge.
Profusion deluging a state with lusts
Of grossest nature and of worst effects.
Prepares it for its ruin : hardens, blinds,
And warps, the consciences of publick men,
Till they can laugh at Virtue; mock the fools
That trust them; and in th' end disclose a face,
That would have shock'd Credulity herself.
Unmask'd, vouchsafing this their sole excuse-
Since all alike are selfish, why not they ?
This does Profusion, and th' accursed cause
Of such deep mischief has itself a cause.
In colleges and halls in ancient days,
When learning, virtue, piety and truth,
Were precious and inculcated with care,
There dwelt a sage call's Discipline. His head,
Not yet by time completely silver'd o'er,
Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth
But strong for service still, and unimpair'd.
His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile
Play'd on his lips ; and in his speech was heard
Paternal sweetness, dignity, and love.
The occupation dearest to his heart
Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke
The head of modest and ingenuous worth.
That blush'd at his own praise : and press the
youth Close to his side that pleas'd him. Learning
grew Beneath his care, a thriving vig'rous plant; The mind was well informed, the passions held Subordinate, and diligence was choice. If e'er it chanc'd, as sometimes chance it must That one among so many overleap'd
The limits of control, his gentle eye
| Grew stern, and darted a severe rebuke;
His frown was full of terrour, and his voice
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe,
As left him not, till penitence had won
Lost favour back again, and clos'd the breach.
But Discipline, a faithful servant long,
Declin'd at length into the vale of years.
A palsy struck his arm ; his sparkling eye
Was qiienched in rheums of age ; his voice un.
Grew tremulous, and moy'd derision more
Than rev'rence, in perverse rebellious youth.
So colleges and halls neglected much
Their good old friend ; and Discipline at length,
O'erlook'd and unemploy'd, fell sick and died.
Then Study languished, Emulation slept,
And Virtue fled. The schools became a scene
Of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stilts,
His cap well lin’d with logick not his own,
With parrot tongue perform'd the scholar's part,
Proceeding soon a graduated dunce.
Then compromise had place, and scrutiny
Became stone blind; precedence went in truck,
And he was competent whose purse was so.
A dissolution of all bonds ensued ;
The curbs invented for the mulish mouth
Of headstrong youth were broken ; bars and
Grew rusty by disuse; and massy gates
Forgot their office, op'ning with a touch ;
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade,
The tassel'd cap and the spruce band a jest,
A mock'ry of the World! What need of these
For gamesters, jockeys, brothelers impure,
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oft'ner seen
With belted waist and pointers at their heels,
Than in the bounds of duty ? What was learn'd,
If aught was learn'd in childhood, is forgot :
And such expense, as pinches parents blue,
And mortifies the lib'ral hand of love,
Is squander'd 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 th' united powers Of fashion, dissipation, taverns, stews. Now blame we most the nurselings or the nurse? The children crook’d, and twisted, and deform'd, Through want of care; or her, whose winking eye And slumb'ring oscitancy mars the brood ? The nurse, no doubt. Regardless of her charge, She needs herself correction; needs to learn That it is dang’rous 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 oncePeace 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 grac'd a college,* in which order yet Was sacred; and was honour'd, lov'd, and wept By more than one, themselves conspicuous there. Some minds are temper'd happily, and mix'd With such ingredients of good sense, and taste Of what is excellent in man, they thrist
* Bene't Coll. Cambridge.
With such a zeal to be what they approve,
That no restraints can circumscribe them more
Than they themselves by choice, for wisdom's
Nor can example hurt them; what they see
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 or
sloth Expos'd their inexperience to the snare, And left them to an undirected choice.
See then the quiver broken and decay'd In which are kept our arrows! Rusting there In wild disorder, and unfit for use, What wonder, if discharg'd 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 artil'ry arm’d. Vice parries wide Th' undreaded volley with a sword of straw, And stands an impudent and fearless mark. Have we not track'd the felon home, and
found His birthplace and his dam? The country
mourns, Mourns because ev'ry plague that can infest Society, and that saps and worms the base