« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile :
The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
Wash'd by the sea, or on the grav'ly bank
Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud,
Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength.
Those barb'rous ages past, succeeded next
The birth-day of invention, weak at first,
Dull in design, and clumsy to perform.
Joint-stools were then created ; on three legs
Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firm
A maffy flab, in fashion square or round.
On such a stool immortal Alfred fat,
And sway'd the sceptre of his infant realms;
And such in ancient halls and mansions drear
May still be seen, but perforated sore
And drill'd in holes the folid oak is found,
By worms voracious eating through and through.
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',
Induced a splendid cover green and blue,
Yellow and red, of tap'stry richly wrought
And woven close, or needle-work sublime.
There might ye 'ec the piony spread wide,
The full-blown rose, the shepherd and his lass, Lap-dog and lambkin with black staring eyes, And parrots with twin cherries in their beak. 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 flipp'ry seat betray'd the sliding part That press’d it, and the feet hung dangling down, Anxious in vain to find the distant floor. These for the rich : the rest, whom fate had plac'd In modesty mediocrity, content With base materials, sat on well-tann'd hides Obdurate and unyielding, glasfy smooth, With here and there a tuft of crimson yarn, Or scarlet crewel in the cushion fixt : If cushion might be call’d, what harder seem'd I'han 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 umber stood Pond'rous, and fixt by its own massy weiglit.
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 flope
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 fires
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' accommodate 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 fit 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
By soft recumbency of outstretch'd limbs,
Was bliss reserv'd for happier days. So now
The growth of what is excellent, so hard
T'attain perfe&tion in this nether world.
Thus first neceffity invented stools,
Convenience next suggested elbow-chairs,
And luxury th' accomplish'd Sofa last.
The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir’d to watch the
Whom snoring the 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 Re&or drawling o'er his head,
And sweet the Clerk below : but neither fleep
Of lazy Nurse, who snores the fick man dead,
Nor his who quits the box at midnight hour
To sumber 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 Sora yields.
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 fuits
The gouty limb, 'tis true; but gouty limb,
Though on the SOFA, may I never feel :
For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes
Of grassy swarth close cropt by nibbling sheep,
And skirted thick with intertexture firm
Of thorny boughs : have lov’d the rural walk
O'er hills, through valleys, and by rivers brink,
E'er fince a truant boy I pafs'd my bounds
T enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames.
And still remember, nor without regret
Of hours that forrow since has much endear'd,
How oft, my flice of pocket fore consum’d,
Still hung'ring, pennyless and far from home,
I fed on scarlet hips and stony haws,
Or blushing crabs, or berries that imboss
The bramble, black as jet, or foes austere.
Hard fare! but such as boyish appetite
Disdains not, nor the palate undepravd
By culinary arts, unfav'ry deems.
No Sofa then awaited my return,
Nor Sora then I needed. Youth repairs
His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil
Incurring short fatigue ; and though our years
As life declines, speed rapidly away,
And not a year but pilfers as he goes
Some youthful grace that age would gladly keep,
A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees