Reproof a parent’s province
A sister’s discipline is this,
By studied kindness to effect
A little brother’s young respect.
What is a doll? a fragile toy.
What is its loss? if the dear boy,
Who half perceives he’s done amiss,
Retain impression of the kiss
That follow’d instant on his cheek;
If the kind loving words we speak
Of “Never mind it,” “We forgive,”
If these in his short memory live
Only perchance for half a day—
Who minds a doll—if that should lay
The first impression in his mind
That sisters are to brothers kind?
For thus the broken doll may prove
Foundation to fraternal love.
THE DUTY OF A BROTHER
Why on your sister do you look,
Octavius, with an eye of scorn,
As scarce her presence you could brook?—
Under one roof you both were born.
Why, when she gently proffers speech,
Do you ungently turn your head?
Since the same sire gave life to each;
With the same milk ye both were fed.
Such treatment to a female, though
A perfect stranger she might be,
From you would most unmanly show;
In you to her ’tis worse to see.
When any ill-bred boys offend her,
Showing their manhood by their sneers,
It is your business to defend her
’Gainst their united taunts and jeers.
And not to join the illiberal crew
In their contempt of female merit;
What’s bad enough in them, from you
Is want of goodness, want of spirit.
What if your rougher out-door sports
Her less robustious spirits daunt;
And if she join not the resorts,
Where you and your wild playmates haunt:
Her milder province is at home;
When your diversions have an end,
When over-toil’d from play you come,
You’ll find in her an in-doors friend.
Leave not your sister to another;
As long as both of you reside
In the same house, who but her brother
Should point her books, her studies guide?
If Nature, who allots our cup,
Than her has made you stronger, wiser;
It is that you, as you grow up,
Should be her champion, her adviser.
It is the law that Hand intends,
Which fram’d diversity of sex;
The man the woman still defends,
The manly boy the girl protects.
The wall-trees are laden with fruit;
The grape, and the plum, and the pear,
The peach, and the nect’rine, to suit
Ev’ry taste in abundance, are there.
Yet all are not welcome to taste
These kind bounties of nature; for one
From her open-spread table must haste,
To make room for a more favour’d son:
As that wasp will soon sadly perceive,
Who has feasted awhile on a plum;
And, his thirst thinking now to relieve,
For a sweet liquid draught he is come.