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ARGUMENT OF THE THIRD BOOK.
Self-recollection, and reproof-Address to domestick 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-Domestiek 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.
AS one, who long in thickets and in brakes
To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams,
20 Since pulpits fail, and sounding boards reflect Most part an empty ineffectual sound, What chance that I, to fame so little known, Nor conversant with men or manners much, Should speak to purpose, or with better hope
25 Crack the satirick thong ? 'Twere wiser far For me, enamour'd of sequester'd scenes, And charm'd with rural beauty, to repose Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine, My languid limbs; when summer sears the plains; 30 Or, when rough winter rages, on the soft And shelter'd Sofa, while the nitrous air Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth; There, undisturb’d by Folly, and appriz’d How great the danger of disturbing her,
Domestick happiness, thou only bliss
Thou art not known where Pleasure is ador d,
60 in all our crowded streets ; and senates seem Conven'd for purposes of empire less Than to release the adult’ress from her bond. Th' adult'ress! what a theme for angry verse ! What provocation to th' indignant heart,
65 That feels for injur'd love ! but I disdain The nauseous task to paint her as she is, Cruel, abandon'd, glorying in her shame? No :-let her pass, and, charioted along In guilty splendour, shake the publick ways; 70 The frequency of crimes has wash'd them white, And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch, Whom matrons now of character unsmirch'd And chaste themselves, are not asham'd to own. Virtue and vice had bound'ries in old time, Not to be pass'd: and she that had renounced Her sex's honour, was renounc'd herself By all that priz'd it; not for prud'ry's sake But dignity's, resentful of the wrong. 'Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif, 80 Desirous to return and not receiv'd : But was a wholesome rigour in the main, And taught th' unblemish’d to preserve with care That purity, whose loss was loss of all. Men too were nice in honour in those days, 85 And judg'd offenders well. Then he that sharp'd, And pocketed a prize by fraud obtain'd, Vas mark d and shunn'd as odious. He that sold
His country, or was slack when she requir'd
95 That they are safe ; sinners of either sex Transgress what laws they may. Well dress’d, well
I was a stricken deer, that left the herd Long since.
With many an arrow deep infix'd My panting side was charg'd, when I withdrew 110 To seek a tranquil death in distant shades. There was I found by one who had himself Been hurt by th' archers. In his side he bore, And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars. With gentle force soliciting the darts,
115 He drew them forth, and heal'd, and bade me live. Since then, with few associates, in remote And silent woods I wander, far from those My former partners of the peopled scene; With few associates, and not wishing more.
120 Here much I ruminate, as much I may, With other views of men and manners now Than once, and others of a life to come: I see that all are wand'rers, gone astray Each in his own delusions ; they are lost
In chase of fancied happiness, still woo'd
Dream after dream ensues;