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The history of the following production is briefly this: A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the Sofa for a subject. Hfe obeyed; and, having much leisure, connected^'tet with it £ jasjd pursuing the train of thought.,; t6« •which; Iti's situation and turn of mind led him, 'Bought forth a| length, instead of the trifle -which he at first intended, a serious affair—a Volume.




The Argument.

Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the So^ fa.—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 benefits of exercise.—The works of nature superior to, and in some instances inimitable 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 champetre.—The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.

I Sing the Sofa. I who lately sang

Truth, Hope, and Charity*, and touched with awe

* See Poems, vol. i.

The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand,
Escaped with pain from that adventurous flight,
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, our sires had none.
As yet Mack breeches were not; satin smooth,
Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile:
The Ivmly 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,

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