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THE TASK.

A POEM.

BOOK I.

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Historical deduction of seats from the stool to the Sofa.

- A Schoolboy's rambleA 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.-Féte champêtre.The book concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipation and effeminacy upon our public measures.

THE TASK.

BOOK I.

THE SOFA.

I sing the Sofa. I, who lately sang
Truth, Hope, and Charity, and touch'd with awe
The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand,
Escap'd with pain from that advent'rous flight,
Now seek repose upon an humbler theme;
The theme though humble, yet august and proud
The occasion-for the Fair commands the

song

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, 10 Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile:

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The hardy chief upon the rugged rock
Wash'd by the sea, or on the grav'lly bank
Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud,
Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength.
Those barb'rous ages past, succeeded next
The birthday of invention; weak at first,
Dull in design, and clumsy to perform.
Jointstools were then created; on three legs
Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firm 20
A massy slab, in fashion square or round.
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,
And drilld in holes, the solid 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,

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