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THE hiftory of the following production is briefly this:-A lady, fond of blank verfe, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the SOFA for a fubject. He obeyed; and, having much leifure, connected another fubject with it; and, pursuing the train of thought to which his fituation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a ferious affair-a Volume!
In the Poem on the subject of Education, he would be very forry to stand suspected of having aimed his cenfure 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 thofe who manage them, and an omiffion even of such discipline as they are fufceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mour ing under the bittereft of all difappointments, atteft the truth of the allegation. His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular inftance of it.
ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST BOOK.
Hiftorical deduction of feats, from the stool to the Sofa. A School-boy's ramble.-A walk in the country.The fcene defcribed.--Rural founds as well as fights delightful. Another walk.-Mistake concerning the charms of folitude corrected.-Colonnades commended.-Alcove, and the view from it.-The wilderness. The grove. The threfer. The neceffity and the benefits of exercife.-The works of nature fuperior to, and in fome instances inimitable by, art.-The wearisomeness of what is commonly called a life of pleasure.—Change of scene sometimes expedient.-A common defcribed, and the character of crazy Kate introduced.-Gipfies.-The blessings of civilized life.-That state most favourable to virtue.-The South Sea iflanders compaffionated, but chiefly Omai.-His prefent ftate of mind fuppofed...Civilized life friendly to virtue, but not great cities. -Great cities, and London in particular, allowed their due praife, but cenfured.-Fete champetre.The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dilipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.
I SING the SOFA. I, who lately fang Truth, Hope, and Charity*, and touch'd with awe The folemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Efcap'd with pain from that advent'rous flight, Now feek repofe upon an humbler theme; The theme though humble, yet auguft and proud Th' occafion-for the Fair commands the fong.
Time was, when clothing fumptuous or for use, Save their own painted skins, our fires had none. yet black breeches were not; fatin smooth,
*See vol. i.
Or velvet foft, or plush with fhaggy pile:
On fuch a stool immortal Alfred fat,
And fway'd the fceptre of his infant realms:
At length a generation more refin'd Improv'd the fimple plan; made three legs four,