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ODE

ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF CLAPHAM

ACADEMY.*

Au me! those old familiar bounds!
That classic house, those classic grounds

My pensive thought recalls !
What tender urchins now confine,
What little captives now repine,

Within yon irksome walls !

Aye, that's the very house! I know
Its ugly windows, ten a-row !

Its chimneys in the rear!
And there's the iron rod so high,
That drew the thunder from the sky

And turn’d our table-beer!

.

There I was birch'd! there I was bred!
There like a little Adam fed

From Learning's woful tree!
The weary tasks I used to con! --
The hopeless leaves I wept upon !-
Most fruitless leaves to me !

* No connection with any other Ode.

The summon'd class !—the awful bow !-
I wonder who is master now

And wholesome anguish sheds !
How many ushers now employs,
How many maids to see the boys

Have nothing in their heads !

And Mrs. S*** ?-Doth she abet (Like Pallas in the parlour) yet

Some favour'd two or three,The little Crichtons of the hour, Her muffin-medals that devour,

And swill her prize—bohea ?

Aye, there's the playground! there's the lime,
Beneath whose shade in summer's prime '

So wildly I have read !
Who sits there now, and skims the cream
Of young Romance, and weaves a dream

Of Love and Cottage-bread ?

Who struts the Randall of the walk ?
Who models tiny heads in chalk ?

Who scoops the light canoe ?
What early genius buds apace ?
Where's Poynter ? Harris ? Bowers ? Chase ?

Hal Baylis ? blithe Carew ?

Alack! they're gone-a thousand ways !
And some are serving in “the Greys,”

And some have perish'd young — Jack Harris weds his second wife ; Hal Baylis drives the wayne of life;

And blithe Carew-is hung!

Grave Bowers teaches A B C
To Savages at Owhyee;

Poor Chase is with the worms !
All, all are gone—the olden breed !-
New crops of mushroom boys succeed,

“ And push us from our forms !

Lo! where they scramble forth, and shout,
And leap, and skip, and mob about,

At play where we have play'd !
Some hop, some run, (some fall), some twine
Their crony arms; some in the shine,

And some are in the shade!

Lo there what mix'd conditions run !
The orphan lad; the widow's son;

And Fortune's favour'd care-
The wealthy born, for whom she hath
Mac-Adamised the future path-

The Nabob's pamper'd heir!

Some brightly starr'd—some evil born,
For honour some, and some for scorn,–

For fair or foul renown!
Good, bad, indiff'rent_none may lack !
VOL. II.

22

Look, here's a White, and there's a Black !

And there's a Creole brown!

Some laugh and sing, some mope and weep,
And wish their frugal sires would keep

Their only sons at home ;-
Some tease the future tense, and plan
The full-grown doings of the man,

And pant for years to come!

A foolish wish! There's one at hoop;
And four at fives ! and five who stoop

The marble taw to speed !
And one that curvets in and out,
Reining his fellow Cob about,

Would I were in his steed!

Yet he would gladly halt and drop
That boyish harness off, to swop

With this world's heavy van-
To toil, to tug. O little fool!
While thou canst be a horse at school

To wish to be a man !

Perchance-thou deem 'st it were a thing
To wear a crown,—to be a king!

And sleep on regal down!
Alas! thou know'st not kingly cares ;
Far lappier is thy head that wears

That hat without a crown!

And dost thou think that years acquire
New added joys ? Dost think thy sire

More happy than his son ?
That manhood’s mirth ?-Oh, go thy ways
To Drury-lane when plays,

And see how forced our fun !

Thy taws are brave !—thy tops are rare !— Our tops are spun with coils of care,

Our dumps are no delight ! The Elgin marbles are but tame, And 'tis at best a sorry game

To fly the Muse's kite!

Our hearts are dough, our heels are lead,
Our topmost joys fall dull and dead

Like balls with no rebound !
And often with a faded eye
We look behind, and send a sigh

Towards that merry ground !

Then be contented. Thou hast got
The most of heaven in thy young lot;

There's sky-blue in thy cup!
Thou 'lt find thy Manhood all too fast-
Soon come, soon gone! and Age at last

A sorry breaking up!

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