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Begins a long look-out for distant land,
And ignorance of better things makes man, Nor quits till ev'ning-watch his giddy stand, Who cannot much, rejoice in what he can ; Then swift descending with a seaman's haste, And he, that deems his leisure well bestow'd Slips to his hammock, and forgets the blast.
In contemplation of a turnpike road, He chooses company, but not the squire's,
Is occupied as well, employs his hours Whose wit is rudeness, whose good-breeding tires; As wisely, and as much improves his pow'rs, Nor yet the parson's, who would gladly come, As he, that slumbers in pavilions grac'd Obsequious when abroad, though proud at home; With all the charms of an accomplish'd taste. Nor can he much affect the neighb'ring peer, Yet hence, alas! insolvencies; and hence Whose toe of emulation treads too near;
Th' unpitied victim of ill-judg'd expense, But wisely seeks a more convenient friend,
From all his wearisome engagements freed, With whom, dismissing forms, he may unbend; Shakes hands with business, and retires indeed. A man, whom marks of condescending grace
Your prudent grand-mammas, ye modern belles, Teach, while they flatter him, his proper place; Content with Bristol, Bath, and Tunbridge-Wells, Who comes when call'd, and at a word withdraws, When health required it, would consent to roam, Speaks with reserve, and listens with applause ; Else more attach'd 10 pleasures found at home. Some plain mechanic, who, without pretence But now alike, gay widow, virgin, wise, To birth or wit, nor gives nor takes offence; Ingenious to diversify dull life, On whom he rests well-pleas'd his weary pow'rs, In coaches, chaises, caravans, and hoys, And talks and laughs away his vacant hours. Fly to the coast for daily, nightly joys, The tide of life, swift always in its course,
And all, impatient of dry land, agree May run in ciiies with a brisker force,
With one consent to rush into the sea.But nowhere with a current so serene,
Ocean exhibits, fathomless and broad, Or half so clear, as in the rural scene.
Much of the pow'r and majesty of God. Yet how fallacious is all earthly bliss,
He swathes about the swelling of the deep, What obvious truths the wisest heads may miss! That shines and rests, as infants smile and sleep; Some pleasures live a month, and some a year, Vast as it is, it answers as it flows But short the date of all we gather here;
The breathing of the lightest air that blows; No happiness is felt except the true,
Curling and whit'ning over all the waste,
Abrupt and horrid as the tempest roars,
|Till he, that rides the whirlwind, checks the rein, The spot he lov'd has lost the pow'r to please ;
Then all the world of waters sleeps againTo cross his ambling pony day by day,
Nereids or Dryads, as the fashion leads, Seems at the best but dreaming life away;
Now in the floods, now panting in the meads, The prospect, such as might enchant despair, Vot'ries of Pleasure still, where'er she dwells, He views it not, or sees no beauty there;
Near barren rocks, in palaces, or cells, With aching heart, and discontented looks,
O grant a poet leave to recommend Returns at noon to billiards or to books,
(A poet fond of Nature, and your friend) But feels, while grasping at his faded joys, Her slighted works to your admiring view; A secret thirst of his renounc'd employs.
Her works must needs excel, who fashion'd you. He chides the tardiness of ev'ry post,
Would ye, when rambling in your morning ride, Pants to be told of battles won or lost,
With some unmeaning coxcomb at your side, Blames his own indolence, observes, though late, Condemn the pratiler for his idle pains, "Tis criminal to leave a sinking state,
To waste upheard the music of his strains, Flies to the levée, and, receiv'd with grace, And, deaf to all th' impertinence of tongue, Kneels, kisses hands, and shines again in place. That, while it courts, affronts and does you wrong? Suburban villas, highway-side retreats,
Mark well the finish'd plan without a fault, That dread the encroachment of our growing streets, The seas globose and huge, ih'o'er-arching vault, Tight boxes, neatly sash'd, and in a blaze
Earth's millions daily fed, a world employ'd With all a July sun's collected rays,
In gath'ring plenty yet to be enjoy'd, Delight the citizen, who, gasping there,
Till gratitude grew vocal in the praise
Ye want but that to seem indeed divine.
Not to redeem his time, but his estate,
There, hid in loth'd obscurity, remov'd Like bottled wasps upon a southern wall,
From pleasures left, but never more belov'd, The man of business and his friends compress'd He just endures, and with a sickly spleen Forget their labors, and yet find no rest;
Sighs o'er the beauties of the charming scene But still 'tis rural-trees are to be seen
Nature indeed looks prettily in rhyme ; From ev'ry window', and the fields are green; Streams tinkle sweetly in poetic chime: Ducks paddle in the pond before the door,
The warblings of the blackbird, clear and strong, And what could a remoter scene show more? Are musical enough in Thomson's song; A sense of elegance we rarely find
And Cobham's groves, and Windsor's green retreats. The portion of a mean or vulgar mind,
When Pope describes them, have a thousand sweets
He likes the country, but in truth must own, Nor yet the swarms, that occupy the brain,
Where dreams of dress, intrigue, and pleasure Poor Jack--no matter who—for when I blame,
reign; I pity, and must therefore sink the name,
Nor snch as useless conversation breeds, Liv'd in his saddle, lov'd the chase, the course, Or lust engenders, and indulgence feeds. And always, ere he mounted, kiss'd his horse. Whence, and what are wel to what end ordain'd: The estate, his sires had own'd in ancient years, What means the drama by the world sustain'd? Was quickly distancu, match'd against a peer's. Business or vain amusement, care or mirth, Jack vanishd, was regretted and forgot;
Divide the frail inhabitants of Earth. "Tis wild good-nature's never failing lot.
Is daty a mere sport, or an employ? At length, when all had long suppos'd him dead, Life an intrusted talent, or a toy? By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead,
Is there, as reason, conscience, Scripture, say, My lord, alighting at his usual place,
Cause to provide for a great future day, The Crown, took notice of an ostler's face,
When, Earth's assign'd duration at an end, Jack knew his friend, but hop'd in that disguise Man shall be summon'd, and the dead attend ! He might escape the most observing eyes,
The trumpet-will it sound ? the curtain rise ? And whistling, as if unconcern'd and gay,
And show th' august tribunal of the skies, Curried his nag, and look'd another way.
Where no prevarication shall avail, Convinc'd at last, upon a nearer view,
Where eloquence and artifice shall fail, 'Twas he, the same, the very Jack he knew, The pride of arrogant distinctions fall, (erwhelm'd at once with wonder, grief, and joy, And conscience and our conduct judge us all? He press'd him much to quit his base employ; Pardon me, ye that give the midnight oil His countenance, his purse, his heart, his hand, To learned cares or philosophic toil, Influence and pow'r, were all at his command: Though I revere your honorable names, Peers are not always gen'rous as well-bred,
Your useful labors and important aims,
Yet let me stand excus'd, if I esteem
Thus some retire to nourish hopeless woe; And, after poising her advent'rous wings,
Settling at last upon eternal things, Some to comply with humor, and a mind
Far more intelligent and better taught To social scenes by nature disinclin'd;
The strenuous use of profitable thought, Some sway'd by fashion, some by deep disgust; Than ye, when happiest and enlighten'd most, Some self-impov'rish'd, and because they must; And highest in renown, can justly boast. But few, that court Retirement, are aware
A mind unnerv'd, or indispos'd to bear Of half the toils they must encounter there. The weight of subjects worthiest of her care, Lucrative offices are seldom lost
Whatever hopes a change of scene inspires, For want of pow'rs proportion'd to the post : Must change her nature, or in vain retires. Give ev'n a dunce th' employment he desires, An idler is a watch, that wants both hands; And he soon finds the talents it requires ;
As useless if it goes, as when it stands. A business with an income at its beels
Books therefore, not the scandal of the sbelves, Furnishes always oil for its own wheels.
In which lewd sensualists print out themselves; But in his arduous enterprise to close
Nor those, in which the stage gives vice a blow. His active years with indolent repose,
With what success let modern manners show; He finds the labors of that state exceed
Nor his, who, for the bane of thousands born, His utmost faculties, severe indeed.
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorn "Tis easy to resign a toilsome place,
Skilful alike to seem devout and just, But not to manage leisure with a grace;
And stab religion with a sly side-thrust; Absence of occupation is not rest,
Nor those of learn'd philologists, who chase
A panting syllable through time and space.
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark:
But such as learning without false prelence, Exempt from future service all his days,
'The friend of truth, th' associate of sound sense, There feels a pleasure perfect in its kind,
And such as in the zeal of good design, Ranges at liberty, and snuffs the wind :
Strong judgment lab'ring in the Scripture mine,
Worthy to live, and of eternal use:
Amusement and true knowledge hand in hand.
And, while she polishes, perverts the taste; But reveries (for human minds will act)
Habits of close attention, thinking heads, Specious in show, impossible in fact,
Become more rare as dissipation spreads, Those flimsy webs, that break as soon as wrought, Till authors hear at length one gen'ral cry, Attain not to the dignity of thought:
| Tickle and entertain us, or we die.
The loud demand, from year to year the same, His soul exults, hope animates his lays,
And wilds, familiar with a lion's roar,
Ring with ecstatic sounds unheard before : And novels (witness every month's review) "Tis love like his, that can alone defeat Belie their name, and offer nothing new.
The foes of man, or make a desert sweet. The mind, relaxing into needful sport,
Religion does not censure or exclude
Unnumber'd pleasures harmlessly pursued ;
The grain, or herb, or plant, that each demands
And share the joys your bounty may create ;
That shuts within its seed the future flow'r,
In color these, and those delight the smell,
Or lay the landscape on the snowy sheetSueh friends prevent what else would soon succeed, These, these are arts pursued without a crime, A temper rustic as the life we lead,
That leave no stain upon the wing of Time. And keep the polish of the manners clean,
Me poetry (or rather notes that aim As theirs who bustle in the busiest scene;
Feebly and vainly at poetic fame) For solitude, however some may rave,
Employs, shut out from more important views, Seeming a sanctuary, proves a grave,
Fast by the banks of the slow-winding Ouse ;
Content if thus sequester'd may raise
The history of the following production is briefly Or sought with energy, must fill the void. O sacred art, to which alone life owes
this : A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a Its happiest seasons, and a peaceful close,
poem of that kind from the author, and gave him
the Sofa for a subject. He obeyed; and, having Scorn'd in a world, indebted to that scorn For evils daily felt and hardly borne,
much leisure, connected another subject with it: Not knowing thee, we reap with bleeding hands
and, pursuing the train of thought to which his
situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth Flow'rs of rank odor upon thorny lands, And, while experience cautions us in vain,
at length, instead of the trifle which he at first
intended, a serious affair—a volume. Grasp seeming happiness, and find it pain. Despondence, self-deserted in her grief,
In the poem on the subject of Education, he would Lost by abandoning her own relief,
be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed Murmuring and ungrateful Discontent,
his censure at any particular school. His obThat scorns afflictions mercifully meant,
jections are such as naturally apply themselves Those humors tart as wines upon the fret,
to schools in general. If there were not, as for Which idleness and weariness beget;
the most part there is, wilful neglect in those
who manage them, and an omission even of These, and a thousand plagues, that haunt the breast, Fond of the phantom of an earthly rest,
such discipline as they are susceptible of, the Divine communion chases, as the day
objects are yet too numerous for minute atten
tion; and the aching hearts of ten thousand Drives to their dens th' obedient beasts of prey.
parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disSee Judah's promis'd king berest of all,
appointments, attest the truth of the allegation Driv'n out an exile from the face of Saul,
His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at To distant caves the lonely wand'rer flies, To seek that peace a tyrant's frown denies.
large, and not with any particular instance of it. Hear the sweet accents of his tuneful voice, Hear him, o'erwhelm'd with sorrow, yet rejoice ;
Book I. No womanish or wailing grief has part,
THE SOFA. No, not a moment, in his royal heart; "Tis manly music, such as martyrs make,
Argument Suff'ring with gladness for a Savior's sake; Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the
Sofa. A. schocl-boy's ramble. A walk in the * Bruyere.
country. The scene described. Rural soimas
as well as sights delightful. Another walk. These for the rich; the rest whom Fate had plac'? Mistake concerning the charms of solitude cor- in modest mediocrity, content rected. Colonnades commended. Alcove, and with base materials, sal on well-tann'd hides, the view from it. The wilderness. The grove. Obdurate and unyielding. glassy smooth, The thresher. The necessity and the bene- With here and there a tufi of crimson yarn, fits of exercise. The works of nature superior Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fix'd, to, and, in some instances, inimitable hy, art. If cushion might be call'd, what harder seem d The wearisomeness of what is commonly called Than the firm oak, of which the frame was forma a life of pleasure. Change of scene sometimes No want of timber then was felt or fear'd expedient. A common described, and the cha- In Albion's happy isle. The lumber slood racter of Crazy Kate introduced. Gypsies. Pond'rous and fix'd by its own massy weight. The blessings of civilized life. The state most But elbow's still were wanting; these, some say: favorable to virtue. The South-Sea islanders An alderman of Cripplegate contrivd; compassionated, but chiefly Omai. His present And some ascribe th' invention to a priest, state of mind supposed. Civilized life friendly Burly, and big, and studious of his ease. to virtue, but not great cities. Great cities, and But rude at first, and not with easy slope London in particular, allowed their due praises, Receding wide, they press'd against the ribs, but censured. Fête-champêtre. The book con. And bruis'd the side; and, elevated high, cludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of Taught the rais'd shoulders to invade the ears. dissipation and effeminacy upon our public mea- Long time elaps d or ere our rugged sires
Complain'd, though incommodiously pent in,
And ill at ease behind. The ladies first I sing the Sofa. I, who lately sang
Gan murmur, as became the softer sex. Truth, Hope, and Charity, and touch'd with awe Ingenious Fancy, never better pleas'd The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Than when employ'd t' accommodate the fair, Escap'd with pain from that advent'rous flight, Heard the sweet moan with pity, and devis'd Now seek repose upon an humbler theme;
The soft settee; one elbow at each end. The theme though humble, yet august and proud And in the midst an elbow it received, Th' occasion-for the Fair commands the song. United yet divided, twain at once.
Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use, So sit two kings of Brentford on one throne ; Save their own painted skins, our sires had none. And so two citizens who take the air, As yet black breeches were not; satin smooth, Close-pack'd, and srailing, in a chaise and one. Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile:
But relaxation of the languid frame, The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
By soft recumbency of out-stretch'd limbs, Wash'd by the sea, or on the grav'ly bank
Was bliss reservd for happier days. So slow Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud, The growth of what is excellent; so hard Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength. T' attain perfection in this nether world. Those barb'rous ages past, succeeded next
Thus first Necessity invented stools, The birth-day of Invention ; weak at first,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs, Dull in design, and clumsy to perform.
And Luxury th' accomplish'd Sofa last. Joint-stools were then created ; on three legs
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir'd to watch the sick Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firm Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he, A massy slab, in fashion square or round.
Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour, On such a stool immortal Alfred sat,
To sleep within the carriage more secure;
The tedious rector drawling o'er his head; And drill'd in holes, the solid oak is found, And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep By worms voracious eaten through and through. Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead; At length a generation more refin'd
Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour, Improv'd the simple plan ; made three legs four, To slumber in the carriage more secure; Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
Nor sleep enjoy'd by curate in his desk ; And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stuff'd, Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, as sweet, Induc'd a splendid cover, green and blue,
Compard with the repose the Sofa yields. Yellow and red, of tap'stry richly wrought
O may I live exempted (while I live And woven close, or needle-work sublime. Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene) There might ye see the piony spread wide, From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe The full-blown rose, the shepherd and his lass, Of libertine Excess. The Sofa suits Lapdog and lambkin with black staring eyes, The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb, And parrots with twin cherries in their beak. Though on a Sofa, may I never feel :
Now came the cane from India smooth and bright For I have loy'd the rural walk through lanes With Nature's varnish ; sever'd into stripes, Of grassy swarth, close-cropp'd by nibbling sheep That interlac'd each other, these supplied
And skirted thick with intertexture firm Of texture firm a lattice-work, that brac'd
Of thorny boughs; have lov'd the rural walk The new machine, and it became a chair.
O'er hills, through valleys, and by rivers' brink, But restless was the chair; the back erect
E'er since a truant boy I pass'd my bounds, Distress'd the weary loins, that felt no ease;
T enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames; The slipp'ry seat betray'd the sliding part
And still remember, nor without regret, That press'd it, and the feet hung dangling down, Of hours, that sorrow since has much endear'd, Anxious in vain to find the distant floor.
How oft, my slice of pocket-store consum d
Still hung'ring, penniless, and far from home,
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
And all their leaves fast flutt'ring, all at once.
Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought
Not distant far a length of colonnade