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Nor such as useless conversation breeds,
Behold in these what leisure hours demand, Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds. Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand. Whence, and what are we? to what end ordained ? Luxury gives the mind a childish cast, What means the drama by the world sustained? And, while she polishes, perverts the taste; Business or vain amusement, care or mirth, Habits of close attention, thinking heads, Divide the frail inhabitants of earth.
Become more rare as dissipation spreads, Is duty a mere sport, or an employ?
Till authors hear at length one general cry, — Life an intrusted talent, or a toy?
Tickle and entertain us, or we die. Is there, as reason, conscience, Scripture, say, The loud demand, from year to year the same, Cause to provide for a great future day, Beggars Invention, and makes Fancy lame; When, earth’s assigned duration at an end, Till farce itself, most mournfully jejune, Man shall be summoned and the dead attend? Calls for the kind assistance of a tune; The trumpet—will it sound, the curtain rise, And novels (witness every month's review And show th’august tribunal of the skies; Belie their name, and offer nothing new. Where no prevarication shall avail,
The mind, relaxing into needful sport, Where eloquence and artifice shall fail,
Should turn to writers of an abler sort, The pride of arrogant distinctions fall,
Whose wit well managed, and whose classic style, And conscience and our conduct judge us all ? Give truth a lustre, and make wisdom smile. Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil Friends (for I can not stint, as some have done, To learned cares, or philosophic toil,
Too rigid in my view, that name to one; Though I revere your honourable names, Though one, I grant it, in the generous breast Your useful labours and important aims,
Will stand advanced a step above the rest; And hold the world indebted to your aid, Flowers by that name promiscuously we call, Enriched with the discoveries ye have made; But one, the rose, the regent of them all) Yet let me stand excused, if I esteem
Friends, not adopted with a schoolboy's haste, A mind employed on so sublime a theme, But chosen with a nice discerning taste, Pushing her bold inquiry to the date
Well-born, well-disciplined, who, placed apart And outline of the present transient state, From vulgar minds, have honour much at heart, And, after poising her adventurous wings, And, though the world may think th' ingredients Settling at last upon eternal things,
odd, Far more intelligent and better taught
The love of virtue, and the fear of God! The strenuous use of profitable thought, Such friends prevent what else would soon succeed, Than ye, when happiest, and enlightened most, A temper rustic as the life we lead, And highest in renown, can justly boast. And keep the polish of the manners clean
As theirs who bustle in the busiest scene;
How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude!
Divine communion, carefully enjoyed,
And, while Experience cautions us in vain,
Despondence, self-deserted in her grief,
Religion does not censure or exclude
Unnumbered pleasures harmlessly pursued;
The grain, or herb, or plant that each demands; These, and a thousand plagues, that haunt the To cherish virtue in an humble state, breast,
And share the joys your bounty may create; Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest, To mark the matchless workings of the power Divine communion chases, as the day
That shuts within its seed. the future flower, Drives to their dens th'obedient beasts of prey. Bids these in elegance of form excel, See Judah's promised king bereft of all, In colour these, and those delight the smell, Driven out an exile from the face of Saul, Sends Nature forth the daughter of the skies, To distant caves the lonely wanderer flies, To dance on earth, and charm all human eyes; To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies. To teach the canvass innocent deceit, Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice, Or lay the landscape on the snowy sheetHear him, o'erwhelmed with sorrow, yet rejoice; These, these are arts pursued without a crime, No womanish or wailing grief has part, That leave no stain upon the wing of Time. No, not for a moment, in his royal heart; 'Tis manly music, such as martyrs make,
Me poetry (or rather notes that aim Suffering with gladness for a Saviour's sake; Feebly and vainly at poetic fame) His soul exults, hope animates his lays, Employs, shut out from more important views, The sense of mercy kindles into praise,
Fast by the banks of the slow winding Ouse; And wilds, familiar with a lion's roar,
Content if thus sequestered I may raise Ring with ecstatic sounds unheard before: A monitor's though not a poet's praise, 'Tis love like his, that can alone defeat
And while I teach an art too little known, The foes of man, or make a desert sweet. To close life wisely, may not waste my own.
ADVERTISEMENT. 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. He obeyed; and having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which be it first intended, a serious aflair--a Volume.
In the poem on the subject of Education, he would be very sorry to stand guspected of having aimed his censure at any particular school. His objections are such, as naturally apply themselves to schools in general. If there were not, as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omission even of such discipline as they are suscepuble of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disappointments, attest the truth of the allegation. His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief ai large, and not with any particular instance of it.
ARGUMENT. Hiscorical deduction of seats, from the Stool to the Sofa.—A schoolboy's ramble.--A walk in the country.--The scene de ribed. -Rural sounds as well as sights delightful-Another walk---Mistake concerning the charms of solitude corrected. --Colonnades commended. --- Alcove, andáthe view from it. The wilderness. The grove. -The thresher, -The necessity
and the benefits of exercise. - The works of nature saperior to, and in some instances inimitable by, art. The wearisoneness 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 blessings 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 dire
" praises, but censured. — V'ete Champetre.—The book concludes with a reflection on the faal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures. I SING the Sofa, I, who lately sang
Now seek repose upon an humbler theme; Truth, Hope, and Charity, and touched with awe The theme though humble, yet august and proud The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Th’occasion-for the Fair commands the song. Escaped with pain from that adventurous flight, Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use,
Save their own painted skins, our sires had none. Long time elapsed or e'er our rugged sires
'Gan murmur, as became the softer sex.
United yet divided, twain at once. Joint-stools were then created; on three legs So sit two kings of Brentford on one throne; Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firm And so two citizens, who take the air, A massy slab, in fashion square or round. Close packed, and smiling, in a chaise and one. On such a stool immortal Alfred sat,
But relaxation of the languid frame,
T'attain perfection in this nether world.
And Luxury th' accomplished Sofa last. Improved the simple plan; made three legs four, The nurse sleeps sweetly, hired to watch the sick, Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he, And o'er the seat with plenteous wadding stuffed, Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour, Induced a splendid cover, green and blue, To sleep within the carriage more secure, Yellow and red, of tapestry richly wrought His legs depending at the open door. And woven close, or needlework sublime. Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk, There might you see the piony spread wide, The tedious rector drawling o'er his head; The full blown rose, the shepherd and his lass, And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep Lapdog and lambkin with black staring oyes, Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead; And parrots with twin cherries in their beak. Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour,
Now came the cane from India, smooth and bright To slumber in the carriage more secure; With Nature's varnish; severed into stripes, Nor sleep enjoyed by curate in his desk; That interlaced each other, these supplied Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet, Of texture firm a lattice-work, that braced Compared with the repose the Sofa yields. The new machine, and it became a chair.
O may I live exempted (while I live But restless was the chair; the back erect Guiltless of pampered appetite obscene) Distressed the weary loins, that felt no ease; From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe The slippery seat betrayed the sliding part Of libertine Excess. The Sofa suits That pressed it, and the feet hung dangling down, The gouty limb, 'tis true: but gouty limb Anxious in vain, to find the distant floor. Though on a Sofa, may I never feel; These for the rich; the rest, whom Fate had placed For I have loved the rural walk through lanes In modest mediocrity, content
Of grassy swarth, close cropped by nibbling sheep, With base materials, sat on well tanned hides, And skirted thick with intertexture firm Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth, Of thorny boughs ;' have loved the rural walk With here and there a tuft of crimson yarn, O'er hills, through valleys, and by rivers' brink, Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fixed,
E'er since a truant boy I passed my bounds,
Or blushing crabs, or berries, that emboss
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind; Incurring short fatigue; and though our years, Unnumbered branches waving in the blast, As life declines, speed rapidly away,
And all their leaves fast fluttering, all at once. And not a year but pilfers as he goes
Nor less composure waits upon the roar Some youthful grace, that age would gladly keep; Of distant floods, or on the softer voice A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees
Of neighbouring fountain, or of rills that slip Their length and colour from the locks they spare; Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall Th' elastic spring of an unwearied foot,
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence, In matted grass, that with a livelier green That play of lungs, inhaling and again
| Betrays the secret of their silent course.
But animated nature sweeter still,
Devised the weather-house, that useful toy!
Forth steps the man-an emblem of myself!
Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay,
Or ford the rivulets, are best at home,
At such a scason,
and with such a charge,
A cottage, whither oft we since repair;
Incessant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels,
Here, I have said, at least I should possess
Its elevated site forbids the wretch
He dips the bowl into the weedy ditch,
Angry and sad, and his last crust consumed. Diversified with trees of every growth,
Alike, yet various. Here the gray smooth trunks
Within the twilight of their distant shades; Be still a pleasing object in my view;
There, lost behind a rising ground, the wood My visit still, but never mine abode.
Seems sunk, and shortened to its topmast boughs. Not distant far, a length of colonnade
Notree in all the grove but has its charms,
And poplar, that with silver lines his leaf,
Diffusing odours: "nor unnoted pass
Have changed the woods, in scarlet honours Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast) bright. A sudden steep, upon å rustic bridge
O'er these, but far beyond (a spacious map
As, bashful, yet impatient to be seen.
And such the reascent; between them weeps He, not unlike the great ones of mankind,
A little naiad her impoverished urn Disfigures Earth: and, plotting in the dark,
All summer long, which winter fills again. Toils much to earn a monumental pile,
The folded gates would bar my progress now, 'That may record the mischiefs he has done.
But that the lord of this enclosed demesne, The summit gained, behold the proud alcove Communicative of the good he owns, That crowns it! yet not all its pride secures Admits me to a share; the guiltless eye The grand retreat from injuries impressed Commits no wrong, nor wastes what it enjoys. By rural carvers, who with knives deface
Refreshing change! where now the blazing sun?
And stepped at once into a cooler clime.
Re-echoing pious anthems! while beneath
And now, with nerves new-braced and spirits The loaded wain; while, lightened of its charge, cheered, The wain that meets it passes swiftly by; We tread the wilderness, whose well-rolled walks, The boorish driver leaning o'er his team
With curvature of slow and easy sweep Vociferous, and impatient of delay.
Deception innocent-give ample space Nor less attractive is the woodland scene, To narrow bounds. The grove receives us next;
* John Courtney Throckmorton, Esq. of Weston Under. wood.
* See the foregoing note.