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And wav'd his rod divine, a race obscene, Spawn'd in the muddy beds of Nile, eame forth, Polluting Egypt: gardens, fields, and plains,

Were cover'd with the pest; the streets were fill'd; : The croaking nuisance lurk'd in ev'ry nook ;

Nor palaces, nor even chambers, 'scap'd ;
And the land stank....80 num'rous was the fry.

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THE TASK.

BOOK III,

ARGUMENT OF THE THIRD BOOK.

Self-recollection and reproof.... Address to domestic

happiness.... Some account of myself....The vanity of many of their pursuits who are reputed wise.... Justification of my censures.... Divine illumination necessary to the most expert philosopher... The question, What is truth? answered by other questions.... Domestic happiness addressed again....Few lovers of the country....My tame hare.... Occupations of a retired gentleman in his garden....Pruning.... Framing.... Greenhouse.... Sowing of flowerseeds.... The country preferable to the town even in the winter... Reasons why it is deserted at that season.... Ruinous effects of gaming and of expensive improvement....Book concludes with an apostrophe to the metropolis.

THE TASK.

BOOK III.

THE GARDEN.

AS one who, long in thickets and in brakes
Entangled, winds now this way and now that
His devious course uncertain, seeking home;
Or, having long in miry ways been foild
And sore discomfited, from slough to slough
Plunging, and half despairing of escape ;
If chance at length he find a greensward smooth
And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise,
He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed,
And winds his way with pleasure and with ease;
So I, designing other themes, and call'd
T'adorn the Sofa with eulogium due,
To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams,
Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat
Of academic fame (howe'er deserv’d),
Long held, and scarcely disengag’d at last.
But now, with pleasant pace, a cleanlier road
I mear to tread. I feel myself at large,

Courageous, and refresh'd for future toil,
If toil await me, or if dangers new.

Since pulpits fail, and sounding-boards reflect Most part an empty ineffectual sound, What chance that I, to fame so little known, Nor conversant with men or manners much, Should speak to purpose, or with better hope Crack the satiric thong ? 'Twere wiser far For me, enamour'd of sequester'd scenes, And charm'd with rural beauty, to repose, Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine, My languid limbs, when summer sears the plains ; Or, when rough winter rages, on the soft And shelter'd Sofa, while the nitrous air Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth; There, undisturb’d by folly, and appriz'd How great the danger of disturbing her, To muse in silence, or at least confine Remarks, that gall so many, to the few My partners in retreat. Disgust conceald Is oft-times proof of wisdom, when the fault Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach.

Domestic happiness, thou only bliss Of paradise that has surviv'd the fall! Though few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure, Or, tasting, long enjoy thee; too infirm,

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