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The bistory of the following production is briefly this : A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the Author, and gave hin 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, mourning 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 instance of it.
AISTORICAL deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa. A schoolboy's ramble. A walk in the country. The scene described. Rural sounds as well as sights delightful. Another walk. Mistake concerning the charms of solitude corructed. Colonnades commended. Alcove, and the view from it. The wilderness. The grove. The thresher. The necessity 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 com. mon described, and the character of crazy Kate introduced. Gipsies - The blessings of civilized life. That state most favorable to virtue. The South Sea islanders compassion. ated, 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 praise, but censured. Féte champétre. The book concludes with a reflection on the effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.
I SING the Sofa. I who lately sang
when clothing sumptuous or for use: Save their own painted skins, our sires had none. As
yet black breeches were not; satin smooth,
1 See Poems, vol. i.
A massy slab, in fashion square or round.
At length a generation more refined
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 braced 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 slippery seat 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 placed In modest mediocrity, content