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Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

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[The author leaves Laputa; is conveyed to Balnibarbi; arrives at
the metropolis. A description of the metropolis, and the country
adjoining. The author hospitably received by a great lord. His
conversation with that lord.]

Although I cannot say that I was ill treated in this island, yet
I must confess I thought myself too much neglected, not without
some degree of contempt; for neither prince nor people appeared
to be curious in any part of knowledge, except mathematics and
music, wherein I was far their inferior, and upon that account
very little regarded.

On the other side, after having seen all the curiosities of the
island, I was very desirous to leave it, being heartily weary of
those people. They were indeed excellent in two sciences for
which I have great esteem, and wherein I am not unversed; but, at
the same time, so abstracted and involved in speculation, that I
never met with such disagreeable companions. I conversed only
with women, tradesmen, flappers, and court-pages, during two
months of my abode there; by which, at last, I rendered myself
extremely contemptible; yet these were the only people from whom
I could ever receive a reasonable answer.

I had obtained, by hard study, a good degree of knowledge in
their language: I was weary of being confined to an island where
I received so little countenance, and resolved to leave it with
the first opportunity.

There was a great lord at court, nearly related to the king, and
for that reason alone used with respect. He was universally
reckoned the most ignorant and stupid person among them. He had
performed many eminent services for the crown, had great natural
and acquired parts, adorned with integrity and honour; but so ill
an ear for music, that his detractors reported, "he had been
often known to beat time in the wrong place;" neither could his
tutors, without extreme difficulty, teach him to demonstrate the
most easy proposition in the mathematics. He was pleased to show
me many marks of favour, often did me the honour of a visit,
desired to be informed in the affairs of Europe, the laws and
customs, the manners and learning of the several countries where
I had travelled. He listened to me with great attention, and
made very wise observations on all I spoke. He had two flappers
attending him for state, but never made use of them, except at
court and in visits of ceremony, and would always command them to
withdraw, when we were alone together.

I entreated this illustrious person, to intercede in my behalf
with his majesty, for leave to depart; which he accordingly did,
as he was pleased to tell me, with regret: for indeed he had
made me several offers very advantageous, which, however, I
refused, with expressions of the highest acknowledgment.

On the 16th of February I took leave of his majesty and the
court. The king made me a present to the value of about two
hundred pounds English, and my protector, his kinsman, as much
more, together with a letter of recommendation to a friend of his
in Lagado, the metropolis. The island being then hovering over a
mountain about two miles from it, I was let down from the lowest
gallery, in the same manner as I had been taken up.

The continent, as far as it is subject to the monarch of the
flying island, passes under the general name of BALNIBARBI; and
the metropolis, as I said before, is called LAGADO. I felt some
little satisfaction in finding myself on firm ground. I walked
to the city without any concern, being clad like one of the
natives, and sufficiently instructed to converse with them. I
soon found out the person's house to whom I was recommended,
presented my letter from his friend the grandee in the island,
and was received with much kindness. This great lord, whose name
was Munodi, ordered me an apartment in his own house, where I
continued during my stay, and was entertained in a most
hospitable manner.

The next morning after my arrival, he took me in his chariot to
see the town, which is about half the bigness of London; but the
houses very strangely built, and most of them out of repair. The
people in the streets walked fast, looked wild, their eyes fixed,
and were generally in rags. We passed through one of the town
gates, and went about three miles into the country, where I saw
many labourers working with several sorts of tools in the ground,
but was not able to conjecture what they were about: neither did
observe any expectation either of corn or grass, although the
soil appeared to be excellent. I could not forbear admiring at
these odd appearances, both in town and country; and I made bold
to desire my conductor, that he would be pleased to explain to
me, what could be meant by so many busy heads, hands, and faces,
both in the streets and the fields, because I did not discover
any good effects they produced; but, on the contrary, I never
knew a soil so unhappily cultivated, houses so ill contrived and
so ruinous, or a people whose countenances and habit expressed so
much misery and want.

This lord Munodi was a person of the first rank, and had been
some years governor of Lagado; but, by a cabal of ministers, was
discharged for insufficiency. However, the king treated him with
tenderness, as a well-meaning man, but of a low contemptible

When I gave that free censure of the country and its inhabitants,
he made no further answer than by telling me, "that I had not
been long enough among them to form a judgment; and that the
different nations of the world had different customs;" with other
common topics to the same purpose. But, when we returned to his
palace, he asked me "how I liked the building, what absurdities I
observed, and what quarrel I had with the dress or looks of his
domestics?" This he might safely do; because every thing about
him was magnificent, regular, and polite. I answered, "that his
excellency's prudence, quality, and fortune, had exempted him
from those defects, which folly and beggary had produced in
others." He said, "if I would go with him to his country-house,
about twenty miles distant, where his estate lay, there would be
more leisure for this kind of conversation." I told his
excellency "that I was entirely at his disposal;" and accordingly
we set out next morning.

During our journey he made me observe the several methods used by
farmers in managing their lands, which to me were wholly
unaccountable; for, except in some very few places, I could not
discover one ear of corn or blade of grass. But, in three hours
travelling, the scene was wholly altered; we came into a most
beautiful country; farmers' houses, at small distances, neatly
built; the fields enclosed, containing vineyards, corn-grounds,
and meadows. Neither do I remember to have seen a more
delightful prospect. His excellency observed my countenance to
clear up; he told me, with a sigh, "that there his estate began,
and would continue the same, till we should come to his house:
that his countrymen ridiculed and despised him, for managing his
affairs no better, and for setting so ill an example to the
kingdom; which, however, was followed by very few, such as were
old, and wilful, and weak like himself."

We came at length to the house, which was indeed a noble
structure, built according to the best rules of ancient
architecture. The fountains, gardens, walks, avenues, and
groves, were all disposed with exact judgment and taste. I gave
due praises to every thing I saw, whereof his excellency took not
the least notice till after supper; when, there being no third
companion, he told me with a very melancholy air "that he doubted
he must throw down his houses in town and country, to rebuild
them after the present mode; destroy all his plantations, and
cast others into such a form as modern usage required, and give
the same directions to all his tenants, unless he would submit to
incur the censure of pride, singularity, affectation, ignorance,
caprice, and perhaps increase his majesty's displeasure; that the
admiration I appeared to be under would cease or diminish, when
he had informed me of some particulars which, probably, I never
heard of at court, the people there being too much taken up in
their own speculations, to have regard to what passed here below."

The sum of his discourse was to this effect: "That about forty
years ago, certain persons went up to Laputa, either upon
business or diversion, and, after five months continuance, came
back with a very little smattering in mathematics, but full of
volatile spirits acquired in that airy region: that these
persons, upon their return, began to dislike the management of
every thing below, and fell into schemes of putting all arts,
sciences, languages, and mechanics, upon a new foot. To this
end, they procured a royal patent for erecting an academy of
projectors in Lagado; and the humour prevailed so strongly among
the people, that there is not a town of any consequence in the
kingdom without such an academy. In these colleges the
professors contrive new rules and methods of agriculture and
building, and new instruments, and tools for all trades and
manufactures; whereby, as they undertake, one man shall do the
work of ten; a palace may be built in a week, of materials so
durable as to last for ever without repairing. All the fruits of
the earth shall come to maturity at whatever season we think fit
to choose, and increase a hundred fold more than they do at
present; with innumerable other happy proposals. The only
inconvenience is, that none of these projects are yet brought to
perfection; and in the mean time, the whole country lies
miserably waste, the houses in ruins, and the people without food
or clothes. By all which, instead of being discouraged, they are
fifty times more violently bent upon prosecuting their schemes,
driven equally on by hope and despair: that as for himself,
being not of an enterprising spirit, he was content to go on in
the old forms, to live in the houses his ancestors had built, and
act as they did, in every part of life, without innovation: that
some few other persons of quality and gentry had done the same,
but were looked on with an eye of contempt and ill-will, as
enemies to art, ignorant, and ill common-wealth's men, preferring
their own ease and sloth before the general improvement of their

His lordship added, "That he would not, by any further
particulars, prevent the pleasure I should certainly take in
viewing the grand academy, whither he was resolved I should go."
He only desired me to observe a ruined building, upon the side of
a mountain about three miles distant, of which he gave me this
account: "That he had a very convenient mill within half a mile
of his house, turned by a current from a large river, and
sufficient for his own family, as well as a great number of his
tenants; that about seven years ago, a club of those projectors
came to him with proposals to destroy this mill, and build
another on the side of that mountain, on the long ridge whereof a
long canal must be cut, for a repository of water, to be conveyed
up by pipes and engines to supply the mill, because the wind and
air upon a height agitated the water, and thereby made it fitter
for motion, and because the water, descending down a declivity,
would turn the mill with half the current of a river whose course
is more upon a level." He said, "that being then not very well
with the court, and pressed by many of his friends, he complied
with the proposal; and after employing a hundred men for two
years, the work miscarried, the projectors went off, laying the
blame entirely upon him, railing at him ever since, and putting
others upon the same experiment, with equal assurance of success,
as well as equal disappointment."

In a few days we came back to town; and his excellency,
considering the bad character he had in the academy, would not go
with me himself, but recommended me to a friend of his, to bear
me company thither. My lord was pleased to represent me as a
great admirer of projects, and a person of much curiosity and
easy belief; which, indeed, was not without truth; for I had
myself been a sort of projector in my younger days.



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