On Education

By Elizabeth Bentley 1767–1839 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.

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Poet Elizabeth Bentley 1767–1839

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Living, School & Learning, Parenthood, Activities

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Biography

Poet Elizabeth Bentley was born in Norwich, England, and taught to read and write by her father, a journeyman shoemaker. Bentley worked as a teacher to support her mother. She began writing poetry two years later, and was one of a handful of working-class women to publish poetry in the Romantic era. Bentley published her first collection of poetry, Genuine Poetical Compositions, on Various Subjects (1791), through a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, School & Learning, Parenthood, Activities

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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