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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 piles
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 tapestry richly wrought
And woven close, or needlework sublime.
Now came the cane from India smooth and bright
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 high, Taught the rais'd shoulders to invade the ears. Long time elaps'd or e'er our rugged sires Complain’d, though incommodiously pent in, And ill at ease behind. The ladies first 'Gan murmur, as became the softer sex. Ingenious Fancy, never better pleas'd, Than when employ'd t'accomodate the fair, Heard the sweet moan with pity, and devis’d The soft settee; one elbow at each end, And in the midst an elbow it receiv’d, United yet divided, twain at once. So sit two kings of Brentford on one throne; And so two citizens, who take the air, Close pack'd, and smiling in a chaise and one,
But relaxation of the languid frame,
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir'd to watch the sick, Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he, Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour, To sleep within the carriage more secure, 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.