Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

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.
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 yarn, 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 case. But, rude at first, and not with easy slope Receding wide, they pressed against the ribs, And bruised the side; and, elevated high, Taught the raised shoulders to invade the ears. » Long time elapsed or ever our rugged sires Complained, though incommodiously pent in, · And ill at ease behind. The ladies first 'Gan murmur, as became the softer sex. Ingenious fancy, never better pleased Than when employed to accommodate the fair, Heard the sweet moan with pity, and devised The soft settee; one elbow at each end, And in the midst an elbow, it received, United yet divided, twain at once. So sit two kings of Brentford on one thrones And so two citizens who take the air, Close packed, and smiling, in a chaise and one. But relaxation of the languid frame, By soft recumbency of outstretched limbs,

Was bliss reserved for happier days. So slow
The growth of what is excellent; so hard
To attain perfection in this nether world.
Thus first necessity invented stools,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs,
And luxury the accomplished sofa last.

The nurse sleeps sweetly, hired to watch the sick,
Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he,
Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour
To sleep within the carriage more secure,
His legs depending at the open door.
Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk ;.
The tedious rector drawling over his head;
And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep
Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead,
Nor his who quits the box at midnight hour
To slumber in the carriage more secure,
Nor sleep enjoyed by curate in his desk,
Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet,
Compared with the repose the sofa yields.

Oh may I live exempted (while I live
Guiltless of pampered appetite obscene)
From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe
Of libertine excess. The sofa suits
The gouty limb, 'tis true ; but gouty limb,
Though on a sofa, may I never feel :
For I have loved the rural walk through lanęs

Of grassy swarth, close cropt by nibbling sheep,
And skirted thick with intertexture firm
Of thorny boughs; have loved the rural walk
Over hills, through vallies, and by rivers' brink,
Ever since a truant boy'I passed my bounds
To enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames;
And still remember, nor without regret
Of hours, that sorrow since has much endeared,
How oft, my slice of pocket store consumed,
Still hungering, pennyless, and far from home,
I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,
Or blushing crabs, or berries, that imboss
The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere.
Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite
Disdains not; nor the palate, undepraved
By culinary arts, unsavory deems.
No SOFA then awaited my return;
Nor sofa then I needed. Youth repairs
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
Incurring short fatigue ; and, though our years,
As life declines, speed rapidly away,
And not a year but pilfers as he goes
Some youthful grace, that age would gladly keep;
A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees
Their length and colour from the locks they spare;
The elastic spring of an unwearied foot,
That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence,

That play of lungs, inhaling and again Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me, Mine have not pilfered yet; nor yet impaired My relish of fair prospect ; scenes that soothed Or charmed me young, no longer young, I find Still soothing, and of power to charm me still. And witness, dear companion of my walks, Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive Fast locked in mine, with pleasure such as love, Confirmed by long experience of thy worth And well-tried virtues, could alone inspireWitness a joy that thou hast doubled long. Thou knowest my praise of nature most sincere, And that my raptures are not conjured up To serve occasions of poetic pomp, But genuine, and art partner of them all. How oft upon yon'eminence our pace Has slackened to a pause, and we have borde The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew, While admiration feeding at the eye, And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene. Thence with what pleasure have, we just discerned The distant plough slow moving, and beside His labouring team, that swerved not from the track, The sturdy swain diminished to a boy! Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain

« ForrigeFortsett »