“The drunkard shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”
Proverbs, chap. xxiii. verse 21.
“The hand of the diligent maketh rich.”
Proverbs, chap. x. verse 4.
The first print presents us with a noble and striking contrast in two apprentices at the looms of their master, a silk-weaver of Spitalfields: in the one we observe a serene and open countenance, the distinguishing mark of innocence; and in the other a sullen, down-cast look, the index of a corrupt mind and vicious heart. The industrious youth is diligently employed at his work, and his thoughts taken up with the business he is upon. His book, called the “‘Prentice’s Guide,” supposed to be given him for instruction, lies open beside him, as if perused with care and attention. The employment of the day seems his constant study; and the interest of his master his continual regard. We are given to understand, also, by the ballads of the London ‘Prentice, Whittingham the Mayor, &c. that hang behind him, that he lays out his pence on things that may improve his mind, and enlighten his understanding. On the contrary, his fellow-‘prentice, with worn-out coat and uncombed hair, overpowered with beer, indicated by the half-gallon pot before him, is fallen asleep; and from the shuttle becoming the plaything of the wanton kitten, we learn how he slumbers on, inattentive alike to his own and his master’s interest. The ballad of Moll Flanders, on the wall behind him, shows that the bent of his mind is towards that which is bad; and his book of instructions lying torn and defaced upon the ground, manifests how regardless he is of any thing tending to his future welfare.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09