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ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST BOOK.
Historical 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 sights delightful. - Another walk. – Mistake concerning the charms of solitude corrected. —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 common described, and the character of crazy Kate introduced. ---Gipsies. The blessings of civilized life.That state most favourable to virtue. --The South 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 praise, but censured. --Fete champetre.—The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.
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
On such a stool immortal Alfred sat,
And sway'd the sceptre of his infant realms:
And such in ancient halls and mansions drear
May still be seen; but perforated sore,
At length a generation more refin'd Improv'd the simple plan; made three legs four, 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,
Now came the cane from India, smooth and
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;
Anxious in vain to find the distant floor.