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I SING the sofa. I, who lately sang
Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use, Save their own painted skins, our sires had none. As yet black breeches were not; satin smooth, Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile :
* See Poems, vol. i.
The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
At length a generation more refin'd
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 slipp'ry seat betray'd the sliding part, That press'd it, and the feet bung 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, sát on well-tann'd hides, Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth, With here and there a tuft of crimson yarn, Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fix'd, If cushion might be callid, 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 isle. The lumber stood Pond'rous and fix'd by it's 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 ease. But rude at first, and not with easy slope Receding wide, they press'd against the ribs, And bruis'd the side ; and, elevated bigb,
Taught the rais'd shoulders to invade the ears, 3
The nurse sleeps sweetly, Lir'd to watch the sick, Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he, Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour, k: To sleep within the carriage more seci e, 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 snores the sick man dead; Nor his, who quits the box at midnight hour, To slumber 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.
0 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 a sofa, may I never feel : For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes Of grassy swarth, close cropp'd by nibbling sheep, And skirted thick with intertexture firm Of thorny boughs ; have lov'd the rural walk O'er hills, through vallies, and by rivers' brink, E'er since a truant boy I pass'd my bounds, T enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames ; And still remember, nor without regret Of hours, that sorrow since 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,