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.

Note to Poetry Out Loud students: This poem begins with an epigraph that must be recited. Omitting the epigraph will affect your accuracy score.

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"I learned just how much deeper your understanding of a poem is when you memorize it than when you just read it a couple of times, and how you understand it a little better every single time you recite it."
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2015 WA POL Champion