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The history of the following production is briefly this :—A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the Sofa for a subject. He obeyed; and, having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and, pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair—a Volume !
In the Poem on the subject of Education, he would be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed his censure at any particular school. His objections are such as naturally apply themselves to schools in general. If there were not, as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in those who manage them, and an omission even of such discipline as they are susceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mour ing under the bitterest of all disappointments, attest the truth of the allegation. His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular inftance of it.
ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST BOOK.'
Hiftorical deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa.-
A School-boy's ramble.--A walk in the country. The scene described.---Rural sounds as well as fights delightful. Another walk. — Mistake concerning the charms of folitude corrected.-Colonnades commended.-Alcove, and the view froin it. The wilderness. -- The grove. — The thresber. - The necesity and the benefits of exercise. The works of nature superior to, and in some instances inimitable by, art.—The wearisomeness of what is commonly called a life of pleasure.-Change of scene sometimes expedient.— A common described, and the charaEter of crazy Kate introduced.-Gipfies.--The bleffings
of civilized life. That state most favourable to virstue.—The Scuth Sea islanders compassionated, but
chiefly Omai.—His present state of mind supposed... Civilized life friendly to virtue, but not great cities.
-Great cities, and London in particular, allowed their due preise, but censured.---Fete champetre.The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effeets of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.
BOOK I. . THE SO FA...
I sing the Sofa. I, who lately fang Truth, Hope, and Charity*, and touch'd with awe The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Escap'd with pain from that advent'rous flight, Now seek repose upon an humbler theme; 4 ; The theme though humble, yet august and proud Th’occasion-for the Fair commands the song.
Time was, when clothing fumptuous or for use, Save their own painted skins, our fires had none. As yet black breeches were not; fatin smooth,
* See vol. i.
Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile:
Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud,
At length a generation more refin'd Improv'd the simple plan; made three legs four,