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Gave them a twisted form vermicular,
And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stuff’d,
Induc'd 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 interlac'd 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 Nipp'ry seat betray'd the Niding 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 modest mediocrity, content
With base materials, fat 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 seem'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 massy 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 case.
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 sex,
Ingenious fancy, never better pleas’d
Than when employ'd † accommodate the fair,
Heard the sweet moan with pity, and devis'd
The soft fettee; 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 resery'd for happier days. So now
The growth of what is excellent; so hard
T'attain perfection in this nether world.
Thus first necessity invented stools,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs,
And luxury, th' accomplish'd sofa laft.
The nurse neeps sweetly, hir’d to watch the sick,
Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he
Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour
To seep within the carriage more secure,
His legs depending at the open door.
Sweet sleep enjoys the curate in his desk,
The tedious rector drawling o'er his head;
And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep
Of lazy nurse, who fnores the fick man dead,
Nor his who quits the box at midnight hour
To sumber 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 sofa 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 fuits
The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb, ... 8
Though on a SOFA, may I never feel:
For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes
Of grassy fwarth, 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 since 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 since has much endear'd,
How oft, my Nice of pocket store confum’d,
Still hung'ring, 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 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