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Society, and that faps and worms the base
Of th' edifice that policy has rais'd,

Swarms in all quarters; meets the eye, the ear,
And fuffocates the breath at ev'ry turn.
Profufion breeds them; and the cause itself
Of that calamitous mifchief has been found:
Found, too, where most offenfive, in the fkirts
Of the rob'd pedagogue! Elfe, let th' arraign'd
Stand up unconfcious, and refute the charge.
So when the Jewish leader ftretch'd his arm,
And wav'd his rod divine, a race obfcene,
Spawn'd in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth,
Polluting Egypt: gardens, fields, and plains,
Were cover'd with the peft; the streets were fill'd;
The croaking nuifance lurk'd in ev'ry nook;
Nor palaces, nor even chambers, 'scap'd;

And the land ftank-so num'rous was the fry.

THE TASK

BOOK III

ARGUMENT OF THE THIRD BOOK.

Self-recollection and reproof.-Addrefs to domeftic happi nefs.-Some account of myfelf.-The vanity of many of their pursuits who are reputed wife.—Fuftification of my cenfures.-Divine illumination necessary to th most expert philofopher.—The question, What is truth? anfwered by other queflions.-Domeftic happiness ad dreffed again.-Few lovers of the country.-My tam bare.-Occupations of a retired gentleman in his gar den.-Pruning.-Framing.-Greenhouse.-Sowing flower-feeds.-The country preferable to the town even in the winter.-Reasons why it is deferted at that fea fon.-Ruinous effects of gaming and of expenfive im provement.-Book concludes with an apostrophe to the metropolis.

THE TASK.

BOOK III.

THE GARDEN.

As one, who, long in thickets and in brakes
Entangled, winds now this way and now that
His devious courfe uncertain, seeking home;
Or, having long in miry ways been foil'd
And fore difcomfited, from flough to flough
unging, and half-defpairing of efcape;

If chance at length he find a green-fward Smooth
And faithful to the foot, his fpirits rife,

He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting fteed, And winds his way with pleasure and with ease; o I, defigning other themes, and call'd ['adorn the SOFA with eulogium due, To tell its flumbers, and to paint its dreams

Have rambled wide. In country, city, feat
Of academic fame (howe'er deferv'd),
Long held, and scarcely difengag'd at last.
But now, with pleasant pace, a cleanlier road
I mean to tread. I feel myself at large,
Courageous and refresh'd for future toil.
If toil await me, or if dangers new.

Since pulpits fail, and founding boards reflect
Moft part an empty ineffectual found,
What chance that I, to fame fo little known,
Nor converfant with men or manners much,
Should fpeak to purpose, or with better hope
Crack the fatiric thong? "Twere wiser far
For me enamour'd of fequefter'd scenes,
And charm'd with rural beauty, to repose,

Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine,
My languid limbs, when fummer fears the plains;
Or, when rough winter rages, on the foft

And fhelter'd Sofa, while the nitrous air

Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth;
There, undisturb'd by folly, and appriz'd
How great the danger of disturbing her,
To mufe in filence, or at leaft confine
Remarks that gall fo many, to the few
My partners in retreat. Difguft conceal'd

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