The New England Primer 85
If thou my counfel wilt embrace, And fhun the ways of truth and grace, And learn to lie, and curfe and fwear, And be as proud as any are; And with thy brothers wilt fall out, And fister with vile language flout; Yea, fight and fcratch, and alfo bite, Then in thee I will take delight.
Christ pleads with Youth to leave his folly, until at length Youth wavers; but he cannot make up his mind to yield. He is promising to reform at some time in the future, when to his surprise and dismay Death appears and says : —
Youth, I am come to fetch thy breath, And carry thee to th' fhades of death, No pity on thee can I fhow Thou haft thy God offended fo. Thy foul and body I'll divide, Thy body in the grave I'll hide, And thy dear foul in hell muft lie With Devils to eternity.
In minor matters the primers varied greatly, but you could usually depend on finding the Apostle's Creed, Dr. Watts's Cradle Hymn, and several prayers, including the Lord's Prayer and Now I lay me down to sleep ; and there was a page of " Inftructive §>uef-tions and Anfwers" beginning with " Who was the firft man? — Adam" and continuing in the same tenor with such items as —