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The' undreaded volley with a sword of straw,
And stands an impudent and fearless mark.

Have we not track'd the felon home, and found His birthplace and his dam? The country mourns, Mourns because ev'ry plague, that can infest Society, and that saps and worms the base Of the' edifice, that Policy has rais'd, Swarms in all quarters : meets the eye, the ear, And suffocates the breath at ev'ry turn. Profusion breeds them; and the cause itself Of that calamitous mischief has been found: Found too where most offensive, in the skirts Of the rob’d pedagogue! Else let the' arraign'd Stand up unconscious, and refute the charge. So when the Jewish leader stretch'd his arm, And wav'd his rod divine, a race obscene, Spawn'd in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth, Polluting Egypt: gardens, fields, and plains, Were cover'd with the pest; the streets were fill'd; The croaking nuisance lurk'd in every nook ; Nor palaces, nor even chambers, 'scap'd ; And the land stunk—so num'rous was the fry.

THE TASK.

BOOK III.

li 2

ARGUMENT OF THE THIRD BOOK. Self recollection and reproof.-Address to domestic happiness.

Some account of myself—The vanity of many of their pur. suits, who are reputed wise.- Justification of my censures.Divine illumination necessary to the most expert philosopher.The quesion, What is truth? answered by other questions.Domestic happiness addressed again. -Few lovers of the country.-My tame hare.-Occupations of a retired gentleman in his garden... Pruning ---Framing. --Greenhouse.-Sowing of flower seeds. The country preferable to the town even in the winter.-Reasons why it is deserted at that season.-Ruinous effects of garning, and of expensive improvement.-Book concludes with an apostrophe to the metropolis.

THE TASK.

BOOK III.

THE GARDEN.

As one, who long in thickets and in brakes
Entangled winds now this way and now that
His devious course uncertain, seeking home ;
Or, having long in miry ways been foil'd
And sore discomfited, from slough to slough
Plunging and half despairing of escape;
If chance at length he find a greensward smooth.
And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise,
Me cherups brisk his ear-erecting steed,
And winds his way with pleasure and with ease ;
So I, designing other themes, and call’d
To’ adorn the Sofa with eulogium due,
To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams,
Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat
Of academic fame (howe'er deserv'd),
Long held, and scarcely disengag'd at last.
But now with pleasant pace a cleanlier road
I mean to tread. I feel myself at large,
Courageous, and refresh'd for future toil,
If toil await me, or if dangers new.

Since pulpits fail, and sounding boards reflect Most part an empty ineffectual sound, What chance that I, to fame so little known,

Nor conversant with men or manners much,
Sbould speak to purpose, or with better hope
Crack the satiric thong: 'Twere wiser far
For me, enamour'd of sequester'd scenes,
And charm'd with rural beauty, to repose,
Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine,
My languid limbs, when summer sears the plains ;
Or, when rough winter rages, on the soft
And shelter'd Sofa, while the nitrous air
Feeds a blue flame, and makes a cheerful hearth;
There, undisturb'd by Folly, and appris'd
How great the danger of disturbing her,
To muse in silence, or at least confine
Remarks, that gall so many, to the few
My partners in retreat. Disgust conceal'd
Is ofttimes proof of wisdom, when the fault
Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach.

Domestic Happiness, thou only bliss Of Paradise, that hast surviv'd the fall ! Thougb few now taste thee unimpair'd and pure, Or tasting long enjoy thee! too infirm, Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets Unmix'd with drops of bitter, which neglect Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup; Thou art the nurse of Virtue, in thine arms She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is, Heav'n-born, and destin'd to the skies again. Thou art not known where Pleasure is ador'd, That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist And wand'ring eyes, still leaning on the arm Of Novelty, her fickle, frail support; For thou art meek and constant, hating change, And finding in the calm of truth-tried love

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