I was searching for usages of the verb prescribe, in conjunction with the preposition upon, thinking the two of them might serve as a slightly milder alternative for impose, which indeed seems possible, judging from the scarce samples I found, one of whom is this:
'Tis sure a practice that savors much of pedantry; a reserve of puerility we have not shaken off from school; where, being seasoned with minor sentences, by a neglect of higher enquiries, they prescribe upon our riper ears, and never are worn out, but with our memories.
I think I think it's brilliant, but I'm not really positive I'm interpreting it correctly.
Is it "minor sentences", as in, say, time that we are forced to serve, that teachers ("they") impose upon us during our riper years, and is it the same minor sentences that leave their mark, so to speak, until we've accumulated new memories through living?
And how is "reserve" meant? As a "stock" of puerility, so to speak, or as a puerile reluctance?