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An alderman of Cripplegate contrived ; And some ascribe the invention to a prieft Burly and big, and studious of his ease. But, rude at first, and not with easy flope Receding wide, they pressed againft the ribs, And bruised the side ; and, elevated high, Taught the raised shoulders to invade the ears. Long time elapsed or ever our rugged fires Complained, though incommodiously pent in, And ill at ease behind. The ladies first 'Gan murmur, as became the softer sex. Ingenious fancy, never better pleased Than when employed to accommodate the fair, Heard the sweet moan with pity, and devised The soft fettee; one elbow at each end, And in the midst an elbow it received, United yet divided, twain at once. So fit two kings of Brentford on one throne; And so two citizens who take the air, Close packed, and smiling, in a chaise and one. But relaxation of the languid frame, By soft recumbency of outstretched limbs, Was bliss reserved for happier days. So flow The growth of what is excellent; so hard To attain perfection in this nether world.
Thus firft neceffity invented stools,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs,
And luxury the accomplished sofa laft.
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hired to watch the fick, Whom snoring she difturbs. As sweetly he, Who quits the coach-box at the 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 over his head; 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 enjoyed by curate in his desk, Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet, Compared with the repose the sofa yields.
Oh may I live exempted (while I live
Guiltless of pampered appetite obscene)
From pangs arthritic, that infeft the toe
Of libertine excess. The sofa fuits
The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb,
Though on a sofa, may I never feel :
For I have loved the rural walk through lanes
Of graffy swarth, close cropt by nibbling sheep,
And skirted thick with intertexture firm
Of thorny boughs; have loved the rural walk
Over hills, through vallies, and by rivers' brink,
Ever since a truant boy I passed my bounds
To enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames ;
And still remember, nor without regret
Of hours, that forrow fince has much endeared,
How oft, my slice of pocket store consumed,
Still hungering, 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 Noes auftere.
Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite
Disdains not; nor the palate, undepraved
By culinary arts, unsavory 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, speed 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;
The elastic spring of an unwearied foot,
That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence,
That play of lungs, inhaling and again
Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes
Swift pace or fteep ascent no toil to me,
Mine have not pilfered yet; nor yet impaired
My relish of fair prospect; scenes that soothed
Or charmed me young, no longer young, I find
Still foothing, and of power to charm me ftill.
And witness, dear companion of my walks,
Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive
Faft locked in mine, with pleasure such as love,
Confirmed by long experience of thy worth
And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire
Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long.
Thou knoweft my praise of nature moft fincere,
And that my raptures are not conjured up
To serve occasions of poetic pomp,
But genuine, and art partner of them all.
How oft upon yon eminence our pace
Has slackened to a pause, and we have borne
The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew,
While admiration, feeding at the eye,
And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene.
Thence with what pleasure have we just discerned
The distant plough Now moving, and beside
His labouring team, that swerved not from the track,
The sturdy (wain diminished to a boy!
Here Oufe, flow winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled over,
Conducts the eye along his sinuous course
Delighted. There, faft rooted in their bank,
Stand, never overlooked, our favourite elms,
That screen the herdsman's solitary hut;
While far beyond, and overthwart the stream
That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale,
The Noping land recedes into the clouds;
Displaying on its varied side the grace
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tower,
Tall fpire, from which the found of cheerful bells
Juft undulates upon the listening ear,
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages, remote.
Scenes must be beautiful, which daily viewed
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years.
Praise juftly due to those that I describe.
Nor rural fights 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 The dash of ocean on his winding shore,