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Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength.
Those barb'rous ages past, succeeded next
The birthday 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 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 dreur
May still be seen; but perforated sore,
And drill'd in holes, the solid oak is found,
By worms voracious eating through and through.
At length a generation inore refind
In.prov'd the simple plan ; made three legs four,
Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stuftd,
Inducid 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,
Lapdog and lambk in with black staring eyes,
And parrots with twin cherries in their beak.
Now came the cane froin India, smooth and bright, fith nature's varnish ; sever'd into stripes, That interlac'd each other, these supplied Of texture firm a lattice-work, that brac'u The new machine, and it became a chair. Put restless was the chair; the back erect Distress'd the weary loins, that felt no ease ; The slipp'ry seat betray'd 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 placed Ir roodost mediocrity, content
With base materials, sat on well-tann'd hides,
Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth,
With here and there a tust of crimson yarn,
Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fixed,
If cushion might be call'd, what harder seem'd
Than the firm oak, of which the frame was form'd.
No want of timber then was felt or fear'd
In Albion's happy isle. The lumber stood
Pond'rous and fix'd by its own massy weight.
But elbows still were wanting ; these, some say,
An alderman of Cripplegate contriy'd ;
And some ascribe th' invention to a priest
Burly, and big, and studious of his ease.
But rude at first, and not with easy slope
Receding wide, they press'd against the ribs,
And bruis'd the side; and, elevated high,
Taught the rais'd shoulders to invade the ears.
Long time elaps'd or e'er our rugged sires
Complain'd, though incommodiously pent in,
And ill at ease behind. The ladies first
'Gan murmur, as became the softer sex.
Ingenius Fancy, never better pleas'd
Than when employ'd t' accommodate the fair
Heard the sweet moan with pity, and devis'd
The soft settee; one elbow ai each end,
And in the midst an elbow it receiv'd,
United, yet divided, twain at once.
So sit two kings of Brentford on one throne ;
And so two citizens, who take the air
Close pack'd, and smiling, in a chaise and one.
But relaxation of the languid frame,
By soft recumbency of outstretch'd limbs,
Was bliss reserv'd for happier days. So slow
The growth of what is excellent; so hard
To attain perfection in this nether world.
Thus first Necessity invented stools,
Convenience next suggested elbow chairs,
And Luxury th' accomplish'd Sora last.
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir'd to watch the sick,
Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he,
Who quits the coach-hox at a midnight hour,
To sleep within the carriage more secure,
His legs depending at the open door.
Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk,
The tedious rector drawling o'er his head i
And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep
Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead;
Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour
To slumber in the carriage more secure ;
Nor sleep enjoy'd by curate in his desk ;
Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet,
Compar’d with the repose the Sora yields.
O may I live exempted (while I live Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene) From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe Of libertine Excess. The SOFA suits The gouty limb, 'tis true : but gouly limb, Though on a Sofa, may I never feel : For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes or grassy swarth, close cropp'd by nibbling sheep, And skirted thick with intertexture firm Of thorny boughs ; have lov'd the rural walk O'er hills, through valleys, and by river's brink, E’er since a truant boy I pass'd my bounds T'' enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames ; And still remember, not without regret, or hours, that sorrow since has much endear'd, How oft my slice of pocket store consun'd, Still hung'ring, pennyless, and far from home, I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws, Or blushing crabs, or berries, that emboss The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere.
Hard fare ! but such as boyish appetite Disdains not; nor the palate, unde prav'd By culinary arts, unsav'ry deems. No Sofa then awaited my return; Nor Sora then I needed. Youth repairs His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil Incurring short fatigue ; and, though our years, As life declines, speed rapidly away, And not a year but pilfers as he goes Some youthful grace, that age would gladly keep ; A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees Their length and colour from the locks they spare ; The elastic spring of an unwearied foot, That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence; That play of lungs, inhaling and again Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me, Mine have not pilfer'd yet ; nor yet impair'd My relish of fair prospect; scenes that sooth’d Or charm’d me young, or longer young, I find Still soothing, and of pow'r to charm me still. And witness, dear companion of my walks, Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive Fast lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love Confirm'd by long experience of thy worth And well tried virtues, could alone inspireWitness a joy that thou hast doubled long. Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere, And that my raptures are not conjur'd up To serve occasions of poetic pomp, But genuine, and art partner of them all. How oft upon yon eminence our pace Has slacken’d to a pause, and we have borne T'he ruffing wind, scarce' conscious that it blew, While Admiration, feeding at the eye, And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene.
Thence, with what pleasure we just discern'd
The distant plough slow moving, and beside
His lab'ring team, that swerv'd not from the track,
The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads, with cattle sprinkled o'er,
Conducts the eye along bis sinuous course
Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank,
Stand, never overlook'd, our fav'rite elms,
That screen the herdsman's solitary hut;
While far beyond, and overthwart the stream,
That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale,
The sloping land recedes into the clouds;
Displaying on its varied side the grace
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tow'r,
Tall spire, from which the souud of cheerful bélls
Just undulates upon the list’ning ear,
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote.
Scenes must be beautiful, which daily view'd
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years.
Praise justly due to those that I describe.
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid Nature. Mighty winds,
That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood
Of ancient growth, make music not unlike
The dash of Ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast fluil'ring, all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighb'ring fountain, or of rills that slip
Through the cleft rock, and chiming as they fall
Upon Joose pebbles, lose themselves at length