Upon the Disobedient Child

Original Text: 
J. B., A Book for Boys and Girls: or, Country Rhimes for Children (London: N. P., 1686): 71-73. PR 3329 D1 1686a Robarts Library.
LXVI. Upon the Disobedient Child.
1Children become, while little, our delights,
2When they grow bigger, they begin to fright's.
3Their sinful Nature prompts them to rebel,
4And to delight in Paths that lead to Hell.
5Their Parents Love, and Care, they overlook,
6As if Relation had them quite forsook.
7They take the Counsels of the Wanton's rather,
8Then the most grave Instructions of a Father.
9They reckon Parents ought to do for them,
10Tho they the Fifth Commandement contemn.
11They snap, and snarl, if Parents them controul,
13They reckon they are Masters, and that we,
14Who Parents are, should to them Subject be!
15If Parents fain would have a hand in chusing,
16The Children have a heart will in refusing.
17They'l by wrong doings, under Parents, gather
18And say, it is no Sin to rob a Father,
19They'l jostle Parents out of place and Pow'r,
20They'l make themselves the Head, and them devour.
21How many Children, by becoming Head,
22Have brought their Parents to a peice of Bread!
23Thus they who at the first were Parents Joy,
24Turn that to Bitterness, themselves destroy.
25     But Wretched Child, how canst thou thus requite
26Thy Aged Parents, for that great delight
27They took in thee, when thou, as helpless lay
28In their Indulgent Bosoms day by day?
29Thy Mother, long before she brought thee forth,
30Took care thou should'st want, neither Food, nor Cloth.
31Thy Father glad was at his very heart,
32Had he, to thee, a Portion to impart.
33Comfort they promised themselves in thee,
34But thou, it seems, to them a Grief wil't be.
35How oft! How willingly brake they their Sleep,
37Their Love to thee was such, they could have giv'n,
38That thou might'st live, almost, their part of Heav'n.
39     But now, behold, how they rewarded are!
40For their Indulgent Love, and tender Care,
41All is forgot, this Love he doth despise,
42They brought this Bird up to pick out their Eyes.


12] Tho: then.
the Fifth Commandement: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you" (Exodus 19:12). Back to Line
36] Bantling: brat, kid. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1999.