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Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth,
60 An alderman of Cripplegate contrived ; 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, 65 And bruis'd the side ; and, elevated liigh, 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
70 'Gan murmur, as became the softer sex. Ingenious 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 at each end,
75 And in the midst an elbow it receiv'd, United, yet divided, twain at once. So eit two kings of Brentford or one throne ; And so two citizens, who take the air, Close pack'd, and smiling, in a chaise and one. 80 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 T'attain perfection in this nether world.
85 Thus first Necessity invented stools, Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs, And Luxury th' accomplish'd Sofa last.
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir'd to watch the sick Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he, 90 Who quits the coach-box 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 ;
95 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 ;
100 Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet, Compar'd with the repose the Sofa yields. 0
may I live exempted (while I live Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene) From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe
105 Of libertine Excess. The Sofa suits The gouty limb, 'tis true : but gouty limb, Though on a Sofa, may I never feel : For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes Of grassy swarth, close cropp'd by nibbling sheep, 110 And skirted thick with intertexture firm Of thorny boughs ; haye loy'd the rural walk O'er hills, through valleys, and by rivers' brink, E’er since a truant boy I pass'd my bounds T' enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames; 115 And still remember, not without regret, Of hours, that sorrow since las much endear'd, How oft, my slice of pocket store consum'd, Still hung'ring, pennyless, and far from home, I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,
120 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, undeprav'd By culinary arts, unsav'ry deems.
No Sofa then awaited my return;
Ot spacious meads, with cattle sprinkled o'er,
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 185 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 flutt'ring, all at once. Nor less composure waits upon the rcar
190 Of distant floods, or on the softer voice Of neighb’ring fountain, or of rills that sli Through the cleft rock, and chiming as they fall Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length In matted grass, that with a livelier green
195 Betrays the secret of their silent course. Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds, But animated nature sweeter still, To sooth and satisfy the human ear. Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one 200 The livelong night; nor these alone, whose notes
Nice-fingerd Art must emulate in vain,
Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought 210
225 With foliage of such dark redundant growth, I call’d the low-roof'd lodge the peasant's nest. And, hidden as it is, and far remote From such unpleasing sounds as haunt the ear In village or in town, the bay of curs
230 Incessant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels, And infants clam'rous whether pleas’d or pain'd, Oft have I wish'd the peaceful coveret mine. Here, I have said, at least I should possess The poet's treasure, Silence, and indulge The dreams of fancy, tranquil and secure. Vain thought ! the dweller in that still retreat Dearly obtains the refuge it assords. Its elevated site forbids the wretch VOL. II.