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ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST BOOK. Historical deduction of seats, from the Stool to the Sofa-A
Schoolboy'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 be. nefit of exercise- The works of nature superiour to, and in some instances inimitable by,art-The wearisoineness 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, but censured-Fête champêtre- The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our pubic measures.
I SING the Sofa. I, who lately sang
Time was, when clothing, sumptuous or for use,
* See Poems, Vol. I.
Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud, Fearless of wrong, repos’d his weary strength. 15 Those barbarous ages past, 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 20 A massy slab, in fashion square or round. On such a stool immortal Alfred sat, And sway'd the sceptre of his infant realms: And such in ancient halls and mansions drear May still be seen; but perforated sore,
25 And drill'd in holes, the solid oak is found, By worms voracious eating through and through.
At length a generation more refin'd
Now came the cane from India smooth and bright With Nature's varnish; sever'd into stripes, That interlaced each other, these supplied Of texture firm a lattice-work, that brac'd The new machine, and it became a chair. But restless was the chair; the back erect Distress'd the weary loins, that felt no ease;. 45 The slipp’ry seat betrayed the sliding part That press’d it, and the feet hung dangling down, Anxious in vain to find the distant floor. These for the rich; the rest, whom Fate had plac'd In modest mediocrity, content With base materials, sat on well-tann'd hides,