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THE

TASK,

A POEM.

IN SIX BOOKS.

ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST BOOK.

Historicaldeduction of seats, from thesteol to the Sofa.

A School-boy's ramble.A walk in the country.The scene described.Rural founds as well as fights delightful.Another walk.Mistake concerning the charms of solitude corrected.Colonnades com^ mended.Alcove, and1 "the view from. it.The wilderness.The grove.The thresher.The necessity -and the fyr.esits of exercise.—The works of nature superior to, and in some instances inimitable by, art.The wearsomeness of what is commonly called a life of fleqfure.-^—Ghange of scene sometimes expedient.A common described, aud the character ef crazy Kate introduced.—Gipsies.-j-The blessings 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 champetre.The bock concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.

THE

TASK.

. BOOK I.

THE SOFA.

I Sing the Sofa. I, who lately sang Truth, Hope, and Charity *, and touch'd with awe The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Escap'd with pain from that advent'rous flight, Now seek repose upon an humbler theme; The theme though humble, yet august and proud Th' occasion—for the Fair commands the song.

Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use, Save their own painted skins, our fires had none. As yet black breeches were not $ satin smooth,

* See vol. i. VOL. II. B

Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile:
The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
Wash'd by the sea, or on the grav'ly bank
Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud,
Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength,
Those barb'rous 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
Upborn they stood. Three legs upholding firm
A massy slab, in fashion square or round.
On such a stool immortal Alfred sat,
And sway'd the sceptre of his infant realms:
And such in ancient halls and mansions drear
May still be seen; but perforated sore,
And drill'd in holes, the solid oak is found,
By worms voracious eating through and through.

At length a generation more refin'd
Improv'd the simple plan; made three legs four,

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