The following poem by my 3 x great uncle Rev. William Robb was published in the December, 1807, edition of The Anti-Jacobin Review:

VERSES ON EDUCATION

WRITTEN BY DESIRE OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE COUNTESS OF KELLY

Rude is the marble, in the block,

Taught by the artist’s hand to shine,

Incrusted with its native rock,

The finest diamond in the mine.

 

Rude, till illum’d by wisdom’s rays,

By culture polish’d, form’d, refin’d,

To emulate the noontide blaze,

That nobler gem, – th’ immortal mind.

 

“The parallel”, you own, “may hold

With genius of the highest order;

But, else, a metaphor so bold

Too much on the burlesque would border.”

 

Admitted – Is th’untutored mind

Enlighten’d by the lessons taught her,

Some more, some less, acute we find;

Some brilliants of the finest water.

 

These will reward the teacher’s pains;

But those too much allied to clay –

In other words, with muddy brains –

Will never emulate the day.

 

Be wife; – but that false wisdom fly,

The bane of truth and common sense;

Specious delusive sophistry,

As you would fly a pestilence.

 

That wisdom only claims our love

Which can from sin and error save;

Which guides us to the realms above,

And smooths our passage to the grave.

 

WILLIAM ROBB.

 

St. Andrews,

Nov. 16th, 1807

 

Commentary to follow another time. I’m still trying to discover who the Countess of Kelly was and what her relationship with Rev. William Robb  might have been. Was she related (married?) to his patron, Lord Elibank? The Kelly baronage was connected in some way with Haddo in Aberdeenshire and with the Gordon family.

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