The Pains of Education

From William A. Percy
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THE PAINS OF EDUCATION

Accursed the man, whom fate ordains, in spite,

And cruel parents teach, to read and write!

What need of letters? wherefore should we spell?

Why write our names? a mark will do as well.

Much are the precious hours of youth misspent

In climbing learning's rugged, steep ascent;

When to the top the bold adventurer's got,

He reigns, vain monarch o'er a barren spot,

Whilst in the vale of ignorance below

Folly and vice to rank luxuriance grow;

Honours and wealth pour in on every side,

And proud preferment rolls her golden tide.

O'er crabbed authors life's gay prime to waste,

To cramp wild genius in the chains of taste,

To bear the slavish drudgery of schools,

And tamely stoop to every pedant's rules;

For seven long years debarr'd of liberal ease,

To plod in college trammels to degrees;

Beneath the weight of solemn toys to groan,

Sleep over books, and leave mankind unknown;

To praise each senior blockhead's threadbare tale,

And laugh till reason blush, and spirits fail;

Manhood with vile submission to disgrace,

And cap the fool, whose merit is his place,

Vicè-Chancellors, whose knowledge is but small,

And Chancellors who nothing know at all.

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