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Nor noontide feast, nor ev'ning's cool repast,
Hopes she from this---presumptuous, though, perhaps,
The cobler, leather-carving artist! might.
Nathless she thanks thee, and accepts thy boon,
Whatever; not as erst the fabled cock,
Vain glorious fool! unknowing what he found,
Spurned the rich gem thou gavest him. Wherefore, ah!
Why not on me that favour, (worthier sure!)
Conferr'dst thou, goddess! thou art blind, thou sayest:
Enough!---thy blindness shall excuse the deed.
Nor does my muse no benefit exhale
From this thy scant indulgence!---even here,
Hints, worthy sage philosophy, are found;
Illustrious hints, to moralize my song!
This ponderous heel of perforated hide
Compact, with pegs indented, many a row,
Haply (for such its massy form bespeaks),
The weighty tread of some rude peasant clown
Upbore: on this supported oft, he stretched,
With uncouth strides, along the furrowed glebe,
Flattening the stubborn clod, till cruel time
(What will not cruel time), on a wry step,
Severed the strict cohesion; when, alas!
He, who could erst, with even, equal pace,
Pursue his destined way with symmetry,
And some proportion formed, now, on one side,
Curtailed and maimed, the sport of vagrant boys,
Cursing his frail supporter, treacherous prop!
With toilsome steps, and difficult, moves on:
Thus fares it oft with other than the feet
Of humble villager---the statesman thus,
Up the steep road, where proud ambition leads,
Aspiring, first uninterrupted winds
His prosperous way; nor fears miscarriage foul,
While policy prevails, and friends prove true:
But that support soon failing, by him left,
On whom he most depended, basely left,
Betrayed, deserted; from his airy height
Headlong he falls; and through the rest of life,
Drags the dull load of disappointment on.
ON THE LATE INDECENT LIBERTIES TAKEN WITH THE REMAINS OF THE GREAT MILTON.
"ME too, perchance, in future days,
"The sculptured stone shall show,
"With Paphian marble or with bays
"Parnassian on my brow.
"But I, or ere that season come,
"Escaped from every care,
"Shall reach my refuge in the tomb,
"And sleep securely there*."
So sang, in Roman tone and style,
The youthful bard, ere long
Ordained to grace his native isle
With her sublimest song.
Who then but must conceive disdain,
Hearing the deed unblest
Of wretches who have dared profane
His dread sepulchral rest?
Ill fare the hands that heaved the stones
Where Milton's ashes lay,
That trembled not to grasp his bones
And steal his dust away!
O ill-requited bard! neglect
Thy living worth repaid,
And blind idolatrous respect
As much affronts thee dead.
Forsitan et nostros ducat de marmore vultus
Nectens aut Paphia myrti aut Pernasside lauri
Fronde comas--At ego secura pace quiescam.
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 he at first intended, a serious affair---a volume.
In the poem on the subject of Education, he would be very sorry to stand suspected 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 susceptible 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 at large, and not with any particular instance of it.
Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa. A school-boy'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 aud 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 blessing 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.---Fete champetre.-The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.
I SING the Sofa. I who lately sang
Truth, Hope, and Charity, and touched with awe
The solemn 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
Th' occasion---for the Fair commands the song.
Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use,
Save their own painted skins, our sires had none.
As yet black breeches were not; satin smooth,
Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile:
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 past, succeeded next
The birth-day of invention; weak at first,
Dull in design, and clumsy to porform.
Joint-stools were then created; on three legs
Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firm
A massy 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 mansions drear
May still be seen, but perforated sore,
And drilled in holes, the solid oak is found,
By worms voracious eating through and through.
At length a generation more refined
Improved the simple plan; made three legs four,
Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stuffed,
Induced a splendid cover, green and blue,
Yellow and red, of tapestry richly wrought
And woven close, or needle-work sublime.
There might ye see the piony spread wide,
The full-blown rose, the shepherd 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, severed into stripes,
That interlaced each other, these supplied
Of texture firm a lattice-work, that braced
The new machine, and it became a chair.
But restless was the chair; the back erect
Distressed the weary loins, that felt no ease;
The slippery seat betrayed the sliding part,
That pressed it, and the feet hang dangling down,
Anxious in vain to find the distant floor.
These for the rich & the rest whom fate had placed