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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Parental Influence

By Juvenal (c. 55–127)

From the Fourteenth Satire

LET naught which modest eyes or ears would shun

Approach the precincts that protect thy son!

Far be the revel from thy halls away,

And of carousing guests the wanton lay:

His child’s unsullied purity demands

The deepest reverence at a parent’s hands!

Quit for his sake thy pleasant vice in time,

Nor plunge thy offspring in the lore of crime;

For if the laws defied at length requite

His guilty course, and angry censors smite,

Thy moral likeness if the world shall see,

And sins made worse by practice, taught by thee,—

Then shalt thou sharply, in thy wrath, declare

Thy canceled will, and him no longer heir!

What! dost assume the grave parental face,

Thou, whom persistive vices still disgrace?

Thou, from whose head, where endless follies reign,

The void cucurbit were a needful drain?

Expects thy dwelling soon a stranger guest?

Behold! not one of all thy menials rest;

Down comes the spider, struggling in his loom,

O’er walls and pavements moves the active broom;

This brings the pail, to that the brush assigned,

While storms the master with his whip behind!

Wretch! art thou troubled lest thy friend descry

Some unswept corner with too curious eye?

Lest marks unseemly at thy porch be seen,

Which sawdust and a slave may quickly clean?—

And is it nothing, nothing, that thy child

Should see thy house with vices undefiled,

From moral stains immaculate and free,

The home of righteousness and sanctity?

Yes! if thou rear’st thy son to till the soil,

To bear the patriot’s or the statesman’s toil,

Then from thy grateful country claim thy meed,

A good and useful citizen indeed!

But ere she thank thee, let that country know

From early care of thine what virtues flow!