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Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile :
The hardy chief, upon the rugged rock
Wash'd by the sea, or on the grav'lly bank
Thrown up by wintry torrents, roaring loàd,
Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength.
Those barb'rous ages past, fucceeded next
The birth-day of invention, weak at first,
Dull in design, and clumsy to perform.
Joint-stools were then created ; on three legs
Upborne they stood : three legs upholding firm
A masly flab, in fashion square or round.
On such a stool immortal Alfred fat,
And fway'd the sceptre of his infant realms :
And such, in ancient halls and mansions drear,
May still be seen ; but perforated fore
And drilld in holes, the solid oak is found,
By worins voracious eating through and through.
At length a generation more refin'd,
Improv'd the simple plan ; made three legs four
Gave them a twisted form vermicular;
And, o'er the seat with plenteous wadding stuff’d,
Induced a splendid cover, green and blue,
Yellow and red, of tap’stry richly wrought
And woven close, or needle-work sublime.
There might ye see the piony spread wide,
The full-blown rose, the shepherd and his lass,
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 ; sever'd into stripes That interlaced each other, these supplied 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 loins that felt no ease; The flipp'ry feat betray'd the sliding 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 modeft 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 feem'd Than the firm oak of which the frame was form’d. No want of timber then was felt or fear'd In Albion's happy ifle. The umber stood Pond'rous, and fixt by its own mafly weight. But elbows still were wanting; these, some say, 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 flope Receding wide, they press’d against the ribs,
And bruis’d the side, 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 softer fex. 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 flow The.growth of what is excellent, so hard T'attain perfection in this nether world. Thus first neceffity invented ftools, Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs, And luxury th' accomplish'd Sofa last. The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir'd to watch the
fick, Whom snoring she disturbs. As fweetly he Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour To fleep within the carriage more secure,
His legs depending at the open door.
Sweet sleep enjoys the Curate in his deik,
The tedious Rector drawling o'er his head,
And sweet the Clerk below : but neither sleep
Of lazy Nurse, who snores the fick man dead,
Nor his who quits the box at midnight hour
To flumber in the carriage more secure,
Nor sleep enjoy'd by Curate in his desk,
Nor yet the dozings of the Clerk are sweet,
Compar'd with the repose the Sora 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 SOFA suits
The gouty limb, 'tis true ; but gouty limb,
Though on the Sofa, may I never feel :
For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes
Of grassy 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 valleys, and by rivers brink,
E'er fince a truant boy I pafs'd my bounds
T' enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames.
And still remember, nor without regret
Of hours that forrow fince has much endear'd,
How oft, my slice of pocket store consum'd,
Still hung'ring, pennyless and far from home,
I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,
Or blushing crabs, or berries that imbofs
The bramble, black as jet, or floes austere.
Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite
Disdains not, nor the palate undeprav'd
By culinary arts, unfav'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, 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;
Th' elastic spring of an unwearied foot
That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the
That play of lungs inhaling and again
Refpiring freely the fresh air, that makes
Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me,
Mine have not pilfer'd yet ; nor yet impair'd
My relish of fair prospect; scenes that sooth'd
Or charm'd me young, no longer young, I find
Still foothing and of power to charm me ftill.
And witness, dear companion of my walks,
Whofe arm this twentieth winter I perceive
Fast lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love
Confirm’d by long experience of thy worth