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THE TASK,

А РОЕМ.

BOOK I.

ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST BOOK.

Hiftorical deduction of feats, from the flool to the Sofa. A fchool-boy's ramble.-A walk in the country.-The fcene defcribed-Rural founds as well as fights delight ful.-Another walk.-Miflake concerning the charms of folitude corrected.-Colonnades commended.-Alcove, and the view from it.-The wilderness.-The grove. -The threfter.-The neceffuy and benefits of ener cife. The works of nature fuperior to, and in fome inflances inimitable by, art.-The wearisomeness of what is commonly called a life of pleasure.-Change of fcene fometimes expedient.—A common described, and, the charader of crazy Kate introduced.Gipfies.The bleffings of civilized life.—That flate most favourable to virtue-The South Sea Islanders compaffionated, but chiefly Omai.~His prefent fate of mind suppofed.-Civilized life friendly to virtue, but not great cities.-Great cities, and London in particular, allowed their due praife, but cenfured.-Fete champetre.—The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of diffipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.

THE TASK.

BOOK I.

THE SOFA.

I SING the Sofa. I, who lately fang

Truth, Hope, and Charity *, and touch'd with awe
The folemn chords, and with a trembling hand,
Escap'd with pain from that advent'rous flight,
Now feek repose upon an humbler theme;
The theme though humble, yet august and proud
Th' occafion-for the Fair commands the fang.

Time was, when clothing fumptuous or for ufe, Save their own painted fkins, our fires had none. yet black breeches were not; fattin fmooth, Or velvet foft, or plush with fhaggy pile:

As

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The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
Wafh'd by the fea, 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 paft, fucceeded next
The birth-day of invention; weak at first,
Dull in defign, and clumfy to perform.
Joint-ftools were then created; on three legs
Upborne they flood. Three legs upholding firm
A maffy flab, in fashion square or round.

On fuch a stool immortal ALFRED fat,

And fway'd the fceptre of his infant realms;
And fuch in ancient halls and manfions drear
May still be feen; but perforated fore,

And drill'd in holes, the folid oak is found,
By worms voracious eating through and through.

At length a generation more refin'd

Improv'd the fimple plan; made three legs four,
Gave them a twisted form vermicular,

And o'er the feat, with plenteous wadding stuff'd
Induc'd a fplendid cover, green and blue,
Yellow and red, of tap'ftry richly wrought
And woven clofe, or needle-work fublime.
There might ye fee the piony fpread wide,
The full-blown rofe, the fhepherd and his lafs,

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