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And mortifies the liberal hand of love,
Is squandered in pursuit of idle sports
And vicious pleasure; 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 nursling or the nurse?
The children crooked, 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 the 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 mixed 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.

* Bene't Coll. Cambridge.

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
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! Rustling 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
Th' 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 th' 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 th' 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 stank-so numerous was the fry.

THE TASK.

BOOK III.

THE GARDEN.

ARGUMENT.

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.-Green-house.-Sowing of flower-seeds. The country preferable to the town even in 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 cherups brisk his ear-erecting steed,
And winds his way with pleasure and with ease;
So I, designing other themes, and called
T' adorn the Sofa with euloginm 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 seers 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 apprised
How great the danger of disturbing her,
To muse in silence, or, at least, confine
Remarks that gall so many, to the few
My partners in retreat. Disgust concealed
Is ofttimes proof of wisdom, when the fault
Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach./
Domestic happiness, thou only bliss
Of Paradise, that has survived the fall!
Though few now taste thee unimpaired and pure,
Or tasting long enjoy thee! too infirm,
Or too incautious to preserve thy sweets
Unmixed with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup;
Thou art the nurse of Virtue, in thine arms
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heaven-born, and destined to the skies again.
Thou art not known where Pleasure is adored,
That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist
And wandering eyes, still leaning on the arm
Of Novelty, her fickle, frail support;
For thou art meek and constant, hating change
And finding in the calm of truth-tried love
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield.
Forsaking thee what shipwreck have we made
Of honour, dignity and fair renown!

Till prostitution elbows us aside

In all our crowded streets; and senates seem
Convened for purposes of empire, less

Than to release the adulteress from her bond.
Th' adulteress! what a theme for angry verse!
What provocation to the indignant heart,
That feels for injured love! but I disdain
The nauseous task to paint her as she is,
Cruel, abandoned, glorying in her shame!
No let her pass, and, charioted along
In guilty splendour, shake the public ways;
The frequency of crimes has washed them white.
And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch
Whom matrons now, of character unsmirched, ugh!
And chaste themselves, are not ashamed to own.
Virtue and vice had boundaries in old time,

Not to be passed: and she, that had renounced
Her sex's honour, was renounced herself
By all that prized it; not for prudery's sake,
But dignity's, resentful of the wrong.

ugh!

'Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif,
Desirous to return, and not received;
But 'twas a wholesome rigour in the main,
And taught th' unblemished to preserve with care
That purity, whose loss was loss of all.
Men too were nice in honour in those days,

And judged offenders well. Then he that sharped,
And pocketed a prize by fraud obtained,

Was marked and shunned as odious. He that sold
His country, or was slack when she required
His every nerve in action and at stretch,
Paid with the blood that he had basely spared,
The price of his default. But now-yes, now
We are become so candid and so fair,
So liberal in construction, and so rich
In Christian charity, (good natured age!)
That they are safe, sinners of either sex,
Transgress what laws they may. Well dressed, well

bred,

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