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My mother taught my infant tongue
A tear was in her eye-
The name of the Most High.
To go to heaven, and smiled ;-
She taught me when a child. The approving smiles of his father and mother were given to his earliest attempts at literary composition, which was not without an influence on his future progress.
The first rudiments of education were received at a village school. At the age of five he left home for a boarding establishment. In a brief autobiographical sketch he left behind him, he thus refers to this period of his life. school was in the small village of Boarcote, about a mile from Bromsgrove. Tradition says the name was given to the place on account of a huge wild boar that hid himself in the woods there, ravaging the country around. How this may be, I know not; the wildest boar that I ever saw in the place was my schoolmaster, a man of uncultivated mind and ungovernable temper. I am doing no injustice to his memory in representing him as one of little knowledge, strong prejudices, and unreasonable severity ; so
strangely, on one occasion, did his violence operate on my mind, that, smarting with the indignity of being smitten with his fist, I ran away from school,-a course of conduct which I afterwards bitterly lamented. Yet, regarding my old master through the softening influence of years, I have some affection for him in
heart. My schoolmistress, whose tender, gentle, and persuasive voice even now gratefully returns on my memory, used to give us kind and Christian counsel, though she herself had received even less education than her austere husband." In another paper, his reminiscences of the master are referred to. “ The celestial and terrestrial globes are of necessity associated in my thoughts with a frowning face, an angry voice, and a clenched fist; and the Latin grammar long-lashed hunting-whip are inseparably interwoven in my remembrance. He who has no other assistance in perfecting himself in his amo, amas, than that of a hunting-whip, may possibly retain the little he learns; but he is not likely greatly to love his Latin, or greatly to reverence the memory of his master.” It is hoped that this schoolmaster is now only to be regarded as a specimen of an extinct genus, and that the days of the clenched fist and the riding-whip have departed for ever.
In contrast with the severity of the principal, was the gentleness of a tutor in the school, towards whom the susceptible boy felt the strongest attachment, and of whom he thus writes : “His frame was so delicately strung, that any violent emotion made him tremble from head to foot. He was learned, pious, and kind; but neither his piety, his kindness, nor his learning, could defend him when excited from a high state of
Hardly would a fit of the palsy have affected him more visibly than any
altercation with another. I remember him with much affection, for the many acts of kindness he performed towards me. We used to pun on his name by saying, 'Mark Noble, go where he may, will always be worth a pound.””
The affection of young George Mogridge for one of his schoolfellows was almost romantic. This youth was the son of a merchant, highspirited, of good abilities, and very daring. They read together books of adventure, became heroes in many boyish enterprises, and exerted a mutual influence on each other's conduct. This early associate afterwards resided for some time in Surinam, and then in Newfoundland. The vessel in which he set sail from the latter place for England not being seaworthy, was never heard of after she left the port. Mr Mogridge,
when in the decline of life, remarked that though he was able distinctly to call to memory the names, persons, and dispositions of more than threescore of his schoolfellows, he was not aware that one of them had reached his own age : then, with his characteristic piety, he added : “Had I no other monitor to remind me of the longsuffering of my heavenly Father, surely this would put the words into my mouth, 'Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?”
At the age of fourteen, he was placed as an apprentice to the business of a japanner. He well remembered his father encouraging him before he went to the employment, by telling him that it was a kind of work in which he might engage with white ruffles on his wrists, without rumpling them, or soiling his fingers : a state of things, it is hardly necessary to say, he did not realize.
The thoughts and aspirations of the youth soon soared above the ordinary engagements of trade. His father being a subscriber to the Birmingham General Library, the son had the opportunity of gratifying his eager desire after knowledge; and a natural taste for poetry became confirmed by the perusal of some of the best English poets. Chaucer and the illus
trious Spenser were especial favourites ; and his brother was wont playfully to charge him with wearing out his copy of the “Faerie Queene,” from its being carried in his pocket. His early fondness for old ballads and tales of chivalry, is described in some lines which he penned in after life :
And did the magic of romantic lays
and oft these transitory toys
During the term of his apprenticeship, young Mogridge employed his brief intervals of leisure