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222 EPISTLE TO A LADY IN FRANCE.
Where Nature has hei mossy velvet spread
With unshod feet they yet securely tread;
Admonish'd, scorn the caution and the friend,
Bent all on pleasure, heedless of its end.
But He, who knew what human hearts would prove
How slow to learn the dictates of his love,
That, hard by nature, and of stubborn will,
A life of ease would make them harder still,
In pity to the souls his grace design'd
To rescue from the ruins of mankind,
Callid for a cloud to darken all their years,
And said, Go, spend them in the vale of tears.'
O balmy gales of soul-reviving air!
O salutary streams, that murmur there!
These flowing from the fount of grace above,
Those breath'd from lips of everlasting love.
The flinty soil indeed their feet annoys;
Chill blasts of trouble nip their springing joys;
An envious world will interpose its frown,
To mar delights superior to its own;
And many a pang, experienced still within,
Reminds them of their hated inmate, Sin:
But ills of every shape and every name,
Transform'd to blessings, miss their cruel aim;
And every moment's calm that soothes the breast,
Is given in earnest of eternal rest.

Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
Far from the flock, and in a boundless waste !
No shepherd's tents within thy view appear,
But the chief Shepherd even there is near;
Thy tender sorrows and thy plaintive strain
Flow in a foreign land, but not in vain;
Thy tears all issue from a source divine,
And every drop bespeaks a Saviour thine-
Bo once in Gideon's fleece the dews were found,
And drought on all the drooping herbs around.

TO THE

REV. W. CAWTHORNE UNWIN

UNWIN, I should bat ill repay

The kindness of a friend, Whose worth deserves as warm a lay

As ever friendship penn'd, Thy name omitted in a page, That would reclaim a vicious ago. A union form’d, as mine withøtbeo;

Not rashly, or in sport,
May be as fervent in degree,

And faithful in its sort,
And may as rich in comfort prove,
As that of true fraternal love.
The bud inserted in the rind,

The bud of peach or rose,
Adorns, though differing in its kind

The stock whereon it grows, With flower as sweet, or fruit as fai: As if produced by Nature there. Not rich, I render what I may,

I seize thy name in haste, And place it in this first essay,

Lest this should prove the last. "Tis where it should be in a plan, That holds in view the good of m.z. The poet's lyre, to fix his fame,

Should be the poet's heart;
Affection lights a brighter flame

Than ever blazed by art.
No muses on these lines attend
I sink the poet in the friend.

THE TASK

ADVERTISEMENT.

The history of the following production is briedy this : A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and gave him the SOFA for a subject. He obeyed; and having much leisure, connected another subject with it; and pursuing the train of thought to which his situation and turn of mind led him, brought forth at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair-a Volume.

In the poem on the subject of Education, he would be very sorry to stand suspected of having aimed his censure 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 those who manage them, and an omission even of such dis. cipline as they are susceptible of, the objects are yet too numerous for minute attention; and the aching hearts of ten thousand parents, mourning under the bitterest of all disappointments, attest the truth of the allegation. His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at large, and not with any particular instanco of it.

THE TASK.

BOOK I.

Historical deduction of seats, from the stool to the Sofa.

Kchoolboy's ramble.-A walk in the country. The scene de scribed.-Rural sounds as well as sight delightful.-Another wak-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 la soie 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 civi. lized 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 dissipetion and effeminacy upon our public manners.

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, Escaped with pain from that adventurous 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, Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile : The hardy chief upon the rugged rock Wash'd by the sea, or on the gravelly bank Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud, Fearless of wrong, reposed his wearied strength. Those barbarous 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 masay slab, in fashion square or round.

See Poems, pages 60. 92, 111.

On such a stool immortal Alfred sat,
Apd sway'd the sceptre of his infant reali
and such in ancient halls and mansions d
May still be seen; but perforated sore,
And drill'd in holes, the solid oak is founi
By worms voracious eaten through and t)

At length a generation more refined Improved the simple plan; made three le Gave them a twisted form vermicular, And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding Induced a splendid cover, green and blue Yellow and red, of tapestry richly wroug! And woven close, or needle-work sublime There might ye see the piony spread wide The full-blown rose, the shepherd and his Lap-dog and lambkin with black staring e And parrots with twin cherries in their bi

Now came the cane from India, smooth With Nature's varnish ; severed into strij That interlaced each other, these supplied Of texture firm a lattice-work, that bracer The new machine, and it became a chair. But restless was the chair; the back erect Distress'd the weary loins, that felt no eas The slippery seat betray'd the sliding part That press'd it, and the feet hung danglin Anxious in vain to find the distant floor. These for the rich,--the rest, whom Fate In modest mediocrity, content With base materials, sat on well-tann'd hi Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth, With here and there a tuft of crimson yar Or scarlet crewel, in the cushion fixid, If cushion might be call'd, what harder se Than the firm oak, of which the frame wa No want of timber then was felt or fear'd In Albion's happy isle. The lumber stood Ponderous and fix'd by its own massy we But elbows still were wanting; these, som An alderman of Cripplegate contrived; And some ascribe the invention to a priest Burly, and big, and studious of his ease.

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