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The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
Wash'd by the fea, or on the grav'ly bank
Thrown-up by wintry torrents roaring loud,
Fearless of wrong, repos’d his weary strength.
Those barb'rous 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
Upborn they stood. Three legs upholding firm
A massy flab, in fashion square or round.
On such a stool immortal Alfred fat,
And sway'd the sceptre of his infant realms :
And such in ancient halls and manfions drear
May still be seen; but perforated fore,
And drillid in holes, the fólid oak is found,
By worms voracious eating through and througk.
At length a generation more refin'd Improv'd the fimple plan; made three legs four, Gave them a twisted form vermicular, And o'er the seat, with pleriteous wadding-ftuffd, Induc'd a splendid cover, green and blue, Yellow and red, of 'tap'ftry richly wrought And woven close, or needle-work sublime. There might ye see the piony spread wide, The full-blowa rofe, the Shepherd and his lafs,
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; fever?d into Atripes
That interlac'd each other, these fupplied
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 loin's, that felt no ease;
The Nipp'ry feat betray'd the Niding 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,
Obdurate and unyielding, glasfy smooth,
With here and there a tuft of crimson yarn,
Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fixt;
If cushion might be call'd, what harder seemd
Than the firm oak of which the frame was form'd.
No want of timber then was felt or fear'a
In Albion's happy ifle. The umber Atood
Pond'rous and fixt by its own mally weight.
But elbows ftill were wanting ; these, some fay,
An alderman of Cripplegate contriv'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 nope
Receding wide, they pressid against the ribs,
And bruis'd the fide; and, elevated high,
Taught the rais'd shoulders to invade the ears.
Long time elaps'd or e'er our rugged fires
Complain'd, though incommodiously pent in,
And ill at ease behind. The ladies first
'Gan murmur, as became the fofter 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,
And in the midst an elbow, it receiv'd,
United yet divided, twain at once.
So fit 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 now
The growth of what is excellent; so hard
T' attain perfection in this Aether world.
Thus first neceffity invented ftools,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs,
And luxury th' accomplish'd sor a last.
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir'd' to watch the sick, Whom snoring the disturbs. As sweetly he Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour To Neep within the carriage more secure, His legs depending at the open door. Sweet seep enjoys the curate in his desk, The tedious rector drawling o'er his head; And sweet the clerk below. But neither Deep Of lazy nurse, who snores the fick man dead, Nor his who quits the box at midnight hour To sumber in the carriage more secure, Nor seep enjoy'd by curate in his desk, Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet, Compar'd with the repose the sor a yields.
Oh may I live exempted (while I live
Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene)
From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe
Of libertine excess. The soF A 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 grally swarth, close-cropt by nibbling-sheep,
And skirted thick with intertexture firm
Of thorny boughs; have lov'd the rural walk
O’er hills, through vallies, and by rivers' brink,
E’er since a truant boy I pass’d my bounds
T'enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames;
And still remember, nor without regret
Of hours that forrow lince has much endear'd,
How oft, my slice of pocket fore consunid,
Still hung'ring pennyless and far from home,
I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,
Or blushing crabs, or berries, that imboss
The bramble, black as jet, or does auftere.
Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite
Disdains pot; nor the palate, undeprav'd
By culinary arts, unsav'ry deems.
No sofa then awaited my return;
Nor sofa then I needed. Youth repairs
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
Incurring short fatigue; and, though our years
As life declines fpeed 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;
Th' elastic spring of an unwearied foot