Tag Archives: education

Phillis Wheatley, “To the University of Cambridge, in New-England”

PHILLIS WHEATLEY

 “To the University of CAMBRIDGE, in NEW-ENGLAND.”

 

While an intrinsic ardor prompts to write,
The muses promise to assist my pen;
’Twas not long since I left my native shore,
The land of errors, and Egyptian gloom:
Father of mercy, twas thy gracious hand                                         5
Brought me to safety from those dark abodes.

Students, to you ‘tis giv’n to scan the heights
Above, to traverse the ethereal space,
And mark the systems of revolving worlds.
Still more, ye sons of science ye receive                                           10
The blissful news by messengers from heav’n,
How Jesus blood for your redemption flows.
See him with hands out-stretcht upon the cross;
Immense compassion in his bosom glows;
He hears revilers, nor resents their scorn:                                       15
What matchless mercy in the Son of God!
When the whole human race by sin had fall’n,
He deign’d to die, that they might rise again,
And share with him in the sublimest skies,
Life without death, and glory without end.                                        20

Improve your privileges while they stay,
Ye pupils, and each hour redeem, that bears
Or good or bad report of you to heav’n.
Let sin, that baneful evil to the soul,
By you be shunn’d, nor once remit your guard;                                 25
Suppress the deadly serpent in its egg.
Ye blooming plants of human race divine,
An Ethiop tells you ‘tis your greatest foe;
Its transient sweetness turns to endless pain,
And in immense perdition sinks the soul.                                            30

NOTES:

 Title   Harvard University, named after benefactor John Harvard (1607-1638), was established
in 1637 in Newetowne, MA, renamed “Cambridge” in 1638 (harvard.edu).

 1  ardor   “Enthusiasm or passion” (OED).

 2   muses   “The Nine Muses in Greek mythology, goddesses of the arts, literature and
science,” daughters of the Greek god Zeus and Titan goddess of memory, Mnemosyne
(OED).

18  deigned   “Beneath one’s dignity” (OED).

21  improve   “Profit from” (OED).

24  baneful   “Harmful, destructive” (OED).

26  deadly serpent  Alluding to the serpent in The Garden of Eden, from the book of
Genesis (Genesis 3:14, King James Bible).

28  Ethiop “ From Latin Aethiops, Ethiopian, negro” (OED).

30  perdition   Eternal damnation, hell (OED).

Source: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (London, 1773), pp. 15-16. [archive.org]

Edited by Vivian Barbulescu

Hannah More, “The Plum-Cakes; or The Farmer and His Three Sons”

HANNAH MORE

 “The Plum-Cakes; or The Farmer and His Three Sons”

 

A farmer who some wealth possessed,
With three fine boys was also blessed;
The lads were healthy, stout, and young,
And neither wanted sense nor tongue.
Tom, Will, and Jack, like other boys,                                                       5
Lov’d tops and marbles, sport and toys.
The father scouted that false plan,
That money only makes the man;
But, to the best of his discerning,
Was bent on giving them good learning.                                               10
He was a man of observation,
No scholar, yet had penetration;
So with due care a school he sought,
Where his young sons might well be taught.
Quoth he, “I know not which rehearses                                                 15
Most properly his themes or verses,
Yet I can do a father’s part,
And school the temper, mind, and heart;
The natural bent of each I’ll know,
And trifles best that bent may show.”                                                     20

‘Twas just before the closing year,
When Christmas holidays were near,
The farmer call’d to see his boys,
And ask how each his time employs.
Quoth Will, “There’s father, boys, without;                                             25
He’s brought us something good, no doubt.”
The father sees their merry faces,
With joy beholds them and embraces:
“Come, boys, of home you’ll have your fill.”
“Yes, Christmas now is near,” says Will;                                                  30
“‘Tis just twelve days – these notches see,
My notches with the days agree.”
“Well,” said the sire, “again I’ll come,
And gladly fetch my brave boys home;
You two the dappled mare shall ride,                                                    35
Jack mount the pony by my side.
Meantime, my lads, I’ve brought you here,
No provision of good cheer.”
Then from his pocket straight he takes
A vast profusion of plum-cakes;                                                              40
He counts them out a plenteous store,
No boy shall have or less or more:
Twelve cakes he gives to each dear son,
When each expected only one;
And then, with many a kind expression,                                               45
He leaves them to their own discretion:
Resolv’d to mark the use each made
Of what he to their hands convey’d.

The twelve days past, he comes once more,
And brings the horses to the door;                                                        50
The boys with rapture see appear
The pony and the dappled mare;
Each moment now an hour they count,
And crack their whips, and long to mount.
As with the boys his ride he takes,                                                          55
He asks the history of the cakes.
Says Will, “Dear father, life is short,
So I resolv’d to make quick sport;
The cakes were all so nice and sweet,
I thought I’d have one jolly treat.                                                            60
‘Why should I balk,’ said I, ‘my taste?
I’ll make at once a hearty feast.’
So, snugly by myself I fed,
When every boy was gone to bed;
I gorg’d them all, both paste and plum,                                                65
And did not waste a single crumb:
Indeed they made me, to my sorrow,
As sick as death upon the morrow;
This made me mourn my rich repast,
And wish I had not fed so fast.”                                                              70
Quoth Jack, “I was not such a dunce,
To eat my quantum up at once;
And though the boys all long’d to clutch ‘em,
I would not let a creature touch ‘em;
Nor, though the whole were in my power,                                           75
Would I myself one cake devour.
Thanks to the use of keys and locks,
They’re all now snug within my box;
The mischief is, by hoarding long,
They’re grown so mouldy and so strong,                                             80
I find they won’t be fit to eat,
And I have lost my father’s treat.”

“Well, Tom,” the anxious parent cries
“How did you manage?” Tom replies,
“I shunned each wide extreme to take,                                               85
To glut my maw, or hoard my cake;
I thought each day its wants would have,
And appetite again might crave.
Twelve school-days still my notches counted,
To twelve my father’s cakes amounted;                                               90
So every day I took out one,
But never ate my cake alone;
With every needy boy I shared,
And more than half I always spared.
One every day, ‘twixt self and friend,                                                   95
Has brought my dozen to an end.
My last remaining cake to-day
I would not touch, but gave away;
A boy was sick, and scarce could eat,
To him it proved a welcome treat.                                                       100
Jack called me spendthrift, not to save;
Will dubbed me fool, because I gave;
But when our last day came I smiled,
For Will’s were gone, and Jack’s were spoiled.
Not hoarding much, nor eating fast,                                                   105
I served a needy friend at last.”
These tales the father’s thoughts employ:
“By these,” said he, “I know each boy.
Yet Jack, who hoarded what he had,
The world will call a frugal lad;                                                              110
And selfish, gormandizing Will,
Will meet with friends and favorers still;
While moderate Tom, so wise and cool,
The mad and vain will deem a fool;
But I his sober plan approve,                                                                 115
And Tom has gained his father’s love.”

APPLICATION.

So when our day of life is past,
And all are fairly judged at last,
The miser and the sensual find                                                             120
How each misused the gifts assigned;
While he who wisely spends and gives,
To the true ends of living lives.
‘Tis self-denying moderation
Gains the great Father’s approbation.                                                  125

NOTES:

Title First published anonymously, under the same title, in 1796; “signed at the end: Z., i.e. Hannah More” (ESTC, T42504).

31 notches A groove or incision made into a wooden stick to track the passing of days.

40 plum-cake “A cake containing raisins, currants, and often orange peel and other candied fruits” (OED).

61 balk “To waste or throw away a good chance” (OED).

69 repast “Food, nourishment; supply of food” (OED).

71 dunce “One who shows no capacity for learning” (OED).

72 quantum “The actual amount or quantity of something present, available, etc.” (OED).

86 glut “To overload or surfeit with food” (OED).

86 maw “The mouth of a greedy person” (OED).

95 ‘twixt “Betwixt; archaic form of ‘between’” (OED).

101 spendthrift “One who spends profusely” (OED).

111 gormandize “To eat like a glutton; to feed voraciously” (OED).

125 father “God considered as a father in relation to Christ, or to Christians in general” (OED).

125 approbation “The action of expression oneself pleased or satisfied with anything” (OED).

Source: Cheap Repository Tracts: Entertaining, Moral, and Religious, vol. I (New York, 1840?) pp. 99-103.

Edited by Jessica M. Fuentes

John Gay, “Fable I: The Lion, the Tiger, and the Traveller”

JOHN GAY

“Fable I:  The Lion, the Tiger, and the Traveller

 

Accept, young PRINCE, the moral lay,
And in these tales mankind survey;
With early virtues plant your breast,
The specious arts of vice detest.
Princes, like Beauties, from their youth,                           5
Are strangers to the voice of truth:
Learn to contemn all praise betimes;
For flattery’s the nurse of crimes;
Friendship by sweet reproof is shewn,
(A virtue never near a throne;)                                           10
In courts such freedom must offend,
There none presumes to be a friend,
To those of your exalted station
Each courtier is a dedication;
Must I too flatter like the rest,                                              15
And turn my morals to a jest?
The muse disdains to steal from those,
Who thrive in courts by fulsome prose.
But shall I hide your real praise,
Or tell you what a nation says?                                             20
They in your infant bosom trace
The virtues of your Royal race,
In the fair dawning of your mind,
Discern you gen’rous, mild and kind,
They see you grieve and hear distress,                                 25
And pant already to redress.
Go on, the height of good attain,
Nor let a nation hope in vain.
For hence we justly may presage
The virtues of a riper age.                                                        30
True courage shall your bosom fire,
And future Actions own your Sire.
Cowards are cruel; but the brave
Love mercy, and delight to save.
A Tiger, roaming for his prey,                                                  35
Sprung on a Trav’ler in the way;
The prostrate game a Lion spies,
And on the greedy tyrant flies:
With mingle roar resounds the wood,
Their teeth, their claws distill with blood,                               40
Till, vanquish’d by the Lion’s strength,
The spotted foe extends his length.
The Man besought the shaggy lord,
And on his knees for life implor’d;
His life the gen’rous hero gave.                                                45
Together walking to his Cave,
The Lion thus bespoke his guest.

What hardy beast shall dare contest
My matchless strength? You saw the fight,
And must attest my pow’r and right.                                      50
Forc’d to forego their native home
My starving slaves at distance roam,
Within these woods I reign alone,
The boundless forest is my own;
Bears, wolves, and all the savage brood                                55
Have dy’d the regal den with blood;
These carcases on either hand,
Those bones that whiten all the land
My former deeds and triumphs tell,
Beneath these jaws what number fell.                                   60
True, says the Man, the strength I saw
Might well the brutal nation awe;
But shall a monarch, brave like you,
Place glory in so false a view?
Robbers invade their neighbor’s right.                                   65
Be lov’d. Let justice bound your might.
Mean are ambitious heroes boasts
Of wasted lands and slaughter’d hosts;
Pirates their power by murders gain,
Wise kings by love and mercy reign;                                      70
To me your clemency hath shewn
The virtue worthy of a throne;
Heav’n gives you power above the rest,
Like Heav’n to succour the distrest.
The case is plain, the Monarch said;                                      75
False glory hath my youth mis-led,
For beasts of prey, a servile train,
Have been the flatt’rers of my reign.
You reason well. Yet tell me, friend,
Did ever you in courts attend?                                                 80
For all my fawning rogues agree
That human heroes rule like me.

NOTES:

1 lay “The way, position, or direction in which something is laid or lies (esp. said of country); disposition or arrangement with respect to something” (OED).

4 specious “Apparent, as opposed to real” (OED); vice “Depravity or corruption of morals; evil, immoral, or wicked habits or conduct; indulgence in degrading pleasures or practices“ (OED); detest “To feel abhorrence of; to hate or dislike intensely; to abhor, abominate” (OED).

7 contemn “To treat as of small value, treat or view with contempt; to despise, disdain, scorn, slight” (OED).

9 reproof “A second or further proof (in various senses)” (OED).

13 exalted “Raised or set up on high; elevated” (OED).

17 muse One of the many goddesses of poetry, art, and philosophy that are depended on by humans for the creation of their work (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

18 fulsome “Offensive or objectionable owing to excess or lack of moderation; esp. excessively effusive or complimentary; too lavish, overdone” (OED).

29 presage “An indication or foreshadowing of a future event” (OED).

32 sire “One who exercises dominion or rule; a lord, master, or sovereign“ (OED).

37 prostrate “Of a person: lying with the face to the ground, in token of submission or humility, as in adoration, worship, or supplication” (OED).

50 attest “Evidence, testimony, witness” (OED).

71 clemency “Mercy, leniency” (OED).

74 succour “Aid, help, assistance” (OED).

77 servile “Of a person: that behaves like a slave” (OED).

81 rogue “Chiefly depreciative. A servant“ (OED).

Source: Fables, volume 1 (London, 1727), pp. 20-25. [Google Books]

Edited by Helen Moy