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ARGUMENT OF THE THIRD BOOK.

Self-recollection, and reproof-Address to domestick

happiness-Some account of myself—The vanity of many of their pursuits, who are reputed wise-Justification of my censures-Divine illumination neces sary to the most expert philosopher. The question, What is truth? answered by other questions-Domestick happiness addressed again-Few lovers of the country-My tame hare-Occupations of a retired gentleman in his garden-Pruning-FramingGreenhouse-Sowing of flower seeds—The country preferable to the town even in the winter-Reasons why it is deserted at that season-Ruinous effects of gaming and of expensive improvementBook 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 course uncertain, seeking home : Or, having long in miry ways been foil'd And sore discomfited, from slough to slough Plunging, and half despairing of escape ; If chance at length he find a greensward smooth And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise, He cherups brisk his ear erecting steed, And winds his way with pleasure and with ease! So I, designing other themes, and call'd To adorn the Sofa with eulogium due, To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams, Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat Of academick fame, (howe'er deservid,) Long held, and scarcely disengag'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 sounding boards reflect Most part an empty ineffectual sound, What chance that i, to fame so little known, Nor conversant with men or manners much, Should speak to purpose, or with better hope Crack the satirick thong? 'Twere wiser far For me, enamour'd of sequester'd scenes, And charm’d with rural beauty, to repose Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine, My languid limbs; when summer sears the plaius; Or, when rough winter rages, on the soft And shelter'd Sofa, while the nitrous air Feeds a blue flaine, and makes a cheerful hearth; There, undisturb’d by Folly, and appriz'd How great the danger of disturbing her, To muse in silence, or at least confine Remarks, that gall so many, to the few My partners in retreat. Disgust conceal'd Js ofttimes proof of wisdom,

when the fault Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach.

Domestick happiness, thou only bliss Of Paradise, that hast surviv'd the fall! Though few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure, Or lasting, long enjoy thee! too infirm, Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets Unmix'd with drops of bitter, which neglect Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup; Thou art the nurse of Virtue-in thine arms She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is, Heav'n-born, and destin'd to the skies again. Thou art not known where Pleasure is ador'd,

at reeling goddess, with the zoneless waist

And wand'ring eyes, still Jeaning on the arm
of Novelty, her fickle, frail support ;.
For thou art meek and constant, hating change,
And finding in the calm of truth-iried love,
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield.
Porsaking thee, what shipwreck have we made
of honour, dignity, and fair renown!
Till prostitution elbows us aside
In all our crowded streets; and senates seem
Conven'd for purposes of empire less
Than to release the adult'ress from her bond.
Th' adult'ress! what a theme for angry verse !
What provocation to th' indignant heart,
That feels for injur'd love! but I disdain
The nauseous task to paint her as she is,
Cruel, abendon'd, glorying in her shame!
No:-let her pass, and, charioted along
In guilty splendour, shake the publick ways;,
The frequency of crimes has wash'd then white,
And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch,
Whom matrons now of character unsmirch'd
And chaste themselves, are not asham'd to own.
Virtue and vice bad bound'ries in old time,
Not to be pass'd: and she that had renounced
Her sex's honour, was renounc'd herself
By all that priz'd it; not for prud'ry's sake
But dignity's, resentful of the wrong.
'Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif,
Desirous to return and not receiv'd :
But was a wholesome rigour in the main,
And taught th' unblemish'd to preserve with care
That purity, whose loss was loss of all.
Men too were nice in honour in those days,
And judg'd offenders well. Then he that sharp'd,
And pocketed a prize by fraud obtain's,
Was mark'd and shunn'd as odious. He that sold

His country, or was slack when she requir'd
His ev'ry nerve in action and at stretch,
Paid with the blood that he had basely spar'd
The price of his default. But now-yes, now
We are become so candid and so fair
So lib'ral in construction, and so rich
In christian charity, (good natur'd age !)
That they are safe ; sinners of either sex (bred,
Transgress what laws they may. Well dress'd, well
Well equipag'd, is ticket good enough,
To pass as readily tlirough ev'ry door.
Hypocrisy, detest her as we may,
(And no man's hatred ever wrong'd her yet,)
May claim this merit still-that she admits
The worth of what she mimicks, with such care,
And thus gives virtue indirect applause;,
But she has burnt her mask, not needed here,
Where vice has such allowance, that her shifts
And specious semblances have lost their use.

I was a stricken deer, that left the herd
Long since. With many an arrow deep infix'd
Ny panting side was charg'd, when I withdrew
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades.
There was I found by one who had himself
Been hurt by th' archers. In his side he bore,
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars.
With gentle force soliciting the darts,
He drew them forth, and heal'd, and bade me live.
Since then, with few associates, in remote
And silent woods I wander, far from those
My foriner partners of the peopled scene;
With few associates, not wishing more.
Here much I ruminate, as much I may,
With other views of men and manners now
Than once, and others of a life to come :

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