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HE hiftory of the following production is briefly this: A lady, fond of blank verfe, demanded a of that kind from the author, and gave him the SOFA for a fubject. He obeyed; and, having much leifure, connected another subject with it; and purfuing the train of thought to which his fituation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, inftead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair-a volume.
In the Poem on the fubject of Education, he would be very forry to stand suspected of having aimed his cenfure at any particular school. His objections are fuch as naturally apply themselves to fchools in general. If there were not, as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omiffion even of fuch difcipline as they are fufceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention ; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mourning under the bittereft of all difappointments, atteft the truth of this allegation. His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular instance of it.
ARGUMENT of the FIRST BOOK.
Hiftorical deduction of feats, from the fool to the Sofa. A School-boy's ramble.-A walk in the country. The fcene defcribed.- Rural founds as well as fights delightful.-Another walk.-Miftake, concerning the charms of folitude, corrected.-Colonades commended.-Alcove and the view from it.-The Wildernefs.-The Grove.-The Thresher.-The neceffity and the benefits of exercife. The works of nature Juperior to and in fome inftances inimitable by art.The wearifomeness of what is commonly called a life of pleafure.-Change of Scene fometimes expedient, A common defcribed, and the chara&er of crazy Kate introduced.-Gipfies.-The bleffings of civilized life. That flate moft favourable to virtue.-The South Sea Islanders compassionated, but chiefly Omai.— His prefent fate of mind fup ofed. - Civilized life friendly to virtue, but not great cities.—Great cities, and London in particular, allowed their due praise, but cenfured.-Fete Champetre.-The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of diffipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.
THE S OF A.
ISING the SOFA. I who lately fang
Truth, Hope and Charity*, and touch'd with
The folemn chords, and with a trembling hand,
Save their own painted fkins, our fires had none.