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For my Son upon his Master's FirstRod by Mary Barber
Our master, in a fatal hour,
Brought in this Rod, to shew his pow'r.
O dreadful birch ! O baleful tree !
Thou instrument of tyranny !
Thou deadly damp to youthful joys !
The sight of thee our peace destroys.
Not Damocles, with greater dread,
Beheld the weapon o'er his head.
That sage was surely more discerning,
Who taught to play us into learning,
By graving letters on the dice :
May heav'n reward the kind device,
And crown him with immortal fame,
Who taught at once to read and game !
Take my advice ; pursue that rule ;
You'll make a fortune by your school.
You'll soon have all the elder brothers,
And be the darling of the mothers.
O may I live to hail the day,
When boys shall go to school to play !
To grammar rules we'll bid defiance ;
For play will then become a science.