"On Education"

By Elizabeth Bentley

December 1789


When infant Reason first exerts her sway, 

And new-formed thoughts their earliest charms display; 

Then let the growing race employ your care 

Then guard their opening minds from Folly’s snare; 

Correct the rising passions of their youth, 

Teach them each serious, each important truth; 

Plant heavenly virtue in the tender breast, 

Destroy each vice that might its growth molest; 

Point out betimes the course they should pursue; 

Then with redoubled pleasure shall you view 

Their reason strengthen as their years increase, 

Their virtue ripen and their follies cease; 

Like corn sown early in the fertile soil, 

The richest harvest shall repay your toil.