Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

THE TASK,

Α Ρ Ο Ε Μ.

BOOK 1.

Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the

Sofa.-A School-voy'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 the 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 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 due praise, lut censured.Fete champetre.-The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.

[ocr errors]

B7

[blocks in formation]

I sing the Sofa. I, who lately fang
Truth, Hope, and Charity *, and touched with awe
The folemn 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 occafion--for the Fair commands the fong.

Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use, Save their own painted skins, our fires had none. As yet black breeches were not; fatin smooth, Or velvet foft, or plush with shaggy pile :

[blocks in formation]

The hardy 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 paft, 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 maffy 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 manfions drear
May still be seen; but perforated fore,
And drilled in holes, the folid oak is found,
By worms voracious eating through and through.

[ocr errors]

At length a generation more refined
Improved the simple plan; made three legs four,
Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
And over the feat, with plenteous wadding stuffed,
Induced a splendid cover, green and blue,
Yellow and red, of tapestry richly wrought
And woven close, or needle-work fublime.
There might ye see the piony spread wide,
The full-blown rose, the thepherd and his lass,

Lap-dog and lambkin with black staring eyes,
And parrots with twin cherries in their beak.

Now came the cane from India smooth and bright With Nature's varnish ; fevered into ftripes, That interlaced each other, these supplied Of texture firm a lattice-work, that braced The new machine, and it became a chair. But reftless was the chair; the back erect Distressed the weary loins, that felt no ease; The flippery feat betrayed the Riding part, That pressed it, and the feet hung dangling down, Anxious in vain to find the diftant floor. These for the rich : the rest, whom fate had placed In modeft mediocrity, content With base materials, sat on well-tanned hides, Obdurate and unyielding, glaffy smooth, With here and there a tuft of crimfon yarn, Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fixt, If cushion might be called, what harder feemed Than the firm oak, of which the frame was formed. No want of timber then was felt or feared In Albion's happy ifle. The lumber ftood Ponderous and fixt by its own maffy weight. But elbows ftill were wanting; these, fome fay,

« AnteriorContinuar »