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I was surprised to find corruption grown so high and so quick in that empire, by the force of luxury so lately introduced ; which made me less wonder at many parallel cases in other countries, where vices of all kinds have reigned so much longer, and where the whole praise, as well as pillage, has been engrossed by the chief commander, who perhaps had the least title to either.
As every person called up made exactly the same appearance he had done in the world, it gave me melancholy reflections to observe, how much the race of human kind was degenerated among us, within these hundred years past. How the pox, under all its consequences and denominations, had altered every lineament of an English countenance : shortened the size of bodies, unbraced the nerves, relaxed the sinews and muscles, introduced a sallow complexion, and rendered the flesh loose and rancid.
I descended so low, as to desire some English yeoman of the old stamp, might be summoned to appear ; once so famous for the simplicity of their manners, diet, and dress ; for justice in their dealings; for their true spirit of liberty; for their valour and love of their country. Neither could I be wholly unmoved, after comparing the living with the dead, when I considered how all these pure native virtues, were prostituted for a piece of money by their grandchildren ; who, in selling their votes, and managing at elections, have acquired every vice and corruption, that can possibly be learned in a court.
The author returns to Maldonada. Sails to the king
dom of Luggnagg. The author confined. He is sent for to court. The manner of his admittance. The king's great lenily to his subjects.
The day of our departure being come, I took leave of his highness, the governour of Glubbdubdribb, and returned with my two companions to Maldonada, where after a fortnight's waiting, a ship was ready to sail for Luggnagg. The two gentlemen, and some others, were so generous and kind as to furnish me with provisions, and see me on board. I was a month in this voyage. We had one violent storm, and were under a necessity of steering westward to get into the trade-wind, which holds for above sixty leagues. On the 21st of April, 1708, we sailed into the river of Clumegnig, which is a seaport town, at the south-east point of Luggnagg. We cast anchor within a league of the town, and made a signal for a pilot. Two of them came on board in less than half an hour, by whom we were guided between certain shoals and rocks, which are very dangerous in the passage, to a large basin, where a fleet may ride in safety, within a cable's length of the town-wall,
Some of our sailors, whether out of treachery or inadvertence, had informed the pilots that I was a stranger, and a great traveller ; whereof these gave notice to a custom-house officer, by whom I was examined very strictly upon my landing. This officer spoke to me in the language of Balnibarbi, which, by the force of much commerce, is generally understood in that town, especially by seamen, and those employed in the customs.
I gave him a short account of some particulars, and made my story as plausible and consistent as I could; but I thought it necessary to disguise my country, and call myself a Hollander ; because my intentions were for Japan, and I knew the Dutch were the only Europeans, permitted to enter into that kingdom. I therefore told the officer, that having been shipwrecked on the coast of Balnibarbi, and cast on a rock, I was received up, into Laputa, or the flyingisland, (of which he had often heard) and was now endeavouring to get to Japan, whence I might find a convenience of returning to my own country. The officer said, I must be confined till he could receive orders from court, for which he would write immediately, and hoped to receive an answer in a fortnight. I was carried to a convenient lodging, with a sentry placed at the door ; however, I had the liberty of a large garden, and was treated with humanity enough, being maintained all the time at the king's charge. I was invited by several persons, chiefly out of curiosity, because it was reported that I came from countries very remote, of which they had never heard.
I hired a young man, who came in the same ship, to be an interpreter ; he was a native of Luggnagg, but had lived some years at Maldonada, and was a perfect master of both languages. By his assistance, I was able to hold a conversation with those who
came to visit me ; but this consisted only of their questions, and my answers.
The dispatch came from court about the time we expected. It contained a warrant for conducting me and my retinue to Traldragdubh, or Trildrogdrib, for it is pronounced both ways as near as I can remember, by a party of ten horse. All my retinue was that poor lad for an interpreter, whom I persuaded into my service, and at my humble request, we had each of us a mule to ride on.
A messenger was dispatched half a day's journey before us, to give the king notice of my approach; and to desire that his majesty would please to appoint a day and hour, when it would be his gracious pleasure, that I might have the honour to lick the dust before his footstool. This is the court style, and I found it to be more than matter of form. For, upon my admittance two days after my arrival, I was commanded to crawl upon my belly, and lick the floor as I advanced ; but, on account of my being a stranger, care was taken to have it made so clean, that the dust was not offensive. However, this was a peculiar grace, not allowed to any
persons of the highest rank, when they desire an admittance. Nay, sometimes the floor is strewed with dust on purpose, when the person to be admitted happens to have powerful enemies at
And I have seen a great lord with his mouth so crammed, that when he had crept to the proper distance from the throne, he was not able to speak a word. Neither is there any remedy; because it is capital for those, who receive an audience, to spit or wipe their mouths in his majesty's presence. There is indeed another custom which I cannot altogether approve of : when the king has a mind to put any
of his nobles to death, in a gentle indulgent manner, he commands the floor to be strewed with a certain brown powder of a deadly composition, which, being licked up, infallibly kills him in twenty-four hours. But in justice to this prince's great clemency, and the care he has of his subjects lives, (wherein it were much to be wished that the monarchs of Europe would imitate him) it must be mentioned for his honour, that strict orders are given to have the infected parts of the floor well washed, after every such execution ; which if his domesticks neglect, they are in danger of incurring his royal displeasure. I myself heard him give directions, that one of his pages should be whipped, whose turn it was to give notice about washing the floor after an execution, but maliciously had omitted it; by which neglect, a young lord, of great hopes, coming to an audience, was unfortunately poisoned, although the king at that time had no design against his life. But this good prince was so gracious, as to forgive the poor page his whipping, upon proinise that he would do so no more, without special orders,
To return from this digression ; when I had crept within four yards of the throne, I raised myself gently upon my knees, and then, striking my forehead seven times against the ground, I pronounced the following words, as they had been taught me the night before, Inckpling gloffthrobb squut serumm blhiop mlashnalt zwin tnodbalkuffhslhiophad gürdlubh asht. This is the compliment, established by the laws of the land, for all persons admitted to the king's presence. It
may be rendered into English this: 'May your celestial majesty outlive the sun, eleven moons and a half.' To this the king returned some answer,