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The Argument!

Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa A School-boy's ramble. A walk in the country. The scene described.-Rural sounds as well as sights delightful. Another walk-Mistake concerning the charms of solitude corrected. Colonnades commended.-Alcove, and the view from it.-The wilderness.The grove. The thresher. The necessity and the benefits of exercise.The works of nature superior to, and in some instances inimitablé by, art. The wearisomeness of what is commonly called a life of pleasure.-Change of scene sometimes expedient.— A common described, and the character of crazy Kate introduced. Gipsies.-The blessing of civilized life.-That state most favourable to virtue.The South Sea islanders" compassionated, but chiefly Omai. His present state of mind supposed.Civilized life friendly to virtue, but not great cities. Great cities, and London in particular, allowed their due praise, but censured.-Fete champêtre.The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.



SING the Sofa. I who lately sang Truth, Hope, and Charity*, and touched with awe The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Escaped with pain from that adventurous flight,

See Poems, vol. i.


Now seek repose upon an humbler theme;
The theme though humble, yet august and proud
The occasion-for the Fair commands the song.

Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use, Save their own painted skins, or sires had none. As yet black breeches were not; satin smooth, Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile: The hardy chief upon the rugged rock Washed by the sea, or on the gravelly bank Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud, Fearless of wrong, reposed his weary strength. Those barbarous ages past, succeeded next The birth-day of invention; weak at first, Dull in design, and clumsy to perform. Joint stools were then created; on three legs Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firm A massy slab, in fashion square or round, On such a stool immortal Alfred sat,

And swayed the sceptre of his infant realms :
And such in ancient halls and mansions drear
May still be seen, but perforated sore,
And drilled in holes, the solid oak is found,
By worms voracious eating through and through.
At length a generation more refined
Improved the simple plan; made three legs four,
Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
And over the seat, with plenteous wadding stuffed,
Induced a splendid cover, green and blue,
Yellow and red, of tapestry richly wrought
And woven close, or needle-work sublime.

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There might ye see the piony spread wide,
The full-blown rose, the shepherd and his lass,
Lap-dog and lambkin with black staring eyes,
And parrots with twin cherries in their beak.

Now came the cane from India smooth and bright
With Nature's varnish; severed into stripes,
That interlaced each other, these supplied
Of texture firm a lattice-work, that braced
The new machine, and it became a chair.
But restless was the chair; the back erect'
Distressed the weary loins, that felt no ease;
The slippery seat betrayed the sliding part,
That pressed it, and the feet hung dangling down,
Anxious in vain to find the distant floor.


These for the rich: the rest, whom fate had placed In modest mediocrity, content


With base materials, sat on well tanned-hides,
Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth,
With here and there a tuft of crimson yarı,
Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fixt,

If cushion might be called, what harder seemed
Than the firm oak, of which the frame was formed.
No want of timber then was felt or feared
In Albion's happy isle. The lumber stood
Ponderous and fixt by its own massy weight.
But elbows still were wanting; these, some say,
An alderman of Cripplegate contrived;
And some ascribe the invention to a priest
Burly and big, and studious of his ease.
But, rude at first, and not with easy slope

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