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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 flower seeds.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 foiled And fore discomfited, from flough to flough Plunging and half despairing of escape; If chance at length he find a greenfward smooth And faithful to the foot, his fpirits rise, He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed, And winds his way with pleasure and with ease; So I, designing other themes, and called To adorn the Sofa with eulogium due, To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams,

Have rambled wide. In country, city, feat
Of academic fame (howe'er deserved),
Long held, and scarcely disengaged at laft.
But now with pleasant pace a cleanlier road
I mean to tread. I feel myself at large,
Courageous and refreshed for future toil,
If toil await me, or if dangers new.

Since pulpits fail, and sounding boards reflect Most part an empty ineffectual found, 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 enamoured of sequeftered scenes, And charmed 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 sheltered Sofa, while the nitrous air Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth; There, undisturbed by folly, and apprized How great the danger of disturbing her, To muse in silence, or at least confine Remarks, that gall fo many, to the few My partners in retreat. Disgust concealed

Is oft-times proof of wisdom, when the fault
Is obftinate, and cure beyond our reach.

Domeftic happiness, thou only bliss Of Paradise, that haft survived the fall! Though few now taste thee unimpaired and pure, Or tasting long enjoy thee! too infirm, Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets Unmixt with drops of bitter, which neglect Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup; Thou art the nurse of virtue, in thine arms She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is, Heaven-born, and destined to the skies again. Thou art not known where pleasure is adored, That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist And wandering eyes, ftill leaning on the arm Of novelty, her fickle frail support; For thou art meek and constant, hating change, And finding in the calm of truth-tried love Joys, that her stormy raptures never yield. Forsaking thee what shipwreck have we made Of honour, dignity, and fair renown! Till prostitution elbows us afide In all our crowded ftreets; and fenates seem Convened for purpofes of empire less, Than to release the adultress from her bond. VOL. 11.

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