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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 leifure, 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 cenfure at any particular school. His objections are such as naturally apply themselves to schools in general. If there were not, as for the most
there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omisfion 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.
ARGUMENT of the FIRST Book.
Historical deduction of seats, froin 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.-Colonades commended. Alcove, and the view from it. --The Wilderness. -The Grove.--The Threber.-The necessity and 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. -Gipfies. — The blejings of civilized life.That state most favourable to virtue.-The South Sea I landers compasionated, but chiefly Omai.—His present fiate of mind suppojed.--Civilized life friendly to virtue, but not great cities.-Great cities, and London in particular, allowed their due praise, but censured.Fete Chompetrc.—The book concludes with é reflection on the jatal effe is of disīpation and effeminacy upon our pillic measures.
I sing the Sofa. I who lately sang, Truth, Hope, and Charity *, and touch'd with awe The folemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Escap'd with pain from that advent'rous 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 cloathing sumptuous or for use, Save their own painted skins, our fires had none. As yet black breeches were not ; fattin smooth,
See vol. i.
Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile :
At length a generation more refin'd