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peror not to be afraid, ami then I let it off in the air.
The astonishment here was much greater than at the sight of my scimitar. Hundreds fell down as if they had been struck dead; and even the emperor, although he stood his ground, could not recover himself in some time.
I delivered up both my pistols, in the same manner as I had done my scimitar, and then my pouch of powder and bullets, begging him that the former might be kept from the fire, for it would kindle with the smallest spark, and blow up his imperial palace into the air.
I likewise delivered up my watch, which the emperor was very curious to see, and commanded two of his tallest yeomen of the guards to bear it on a pole upon their shoulders, as draymen in England do a barrel of ale. He was amazed at the continual noise it made and the motion of the minute-hand, which he could easily discern (for their sight is much more acute than ours), and asked the opinions of his learned men about it, which were various and remote, as the reader may well imagine without my repeating; although, indeed, I could not very perfectly understand them.
I then gave up my silver and copper money, my purse, with nine large pieces of gold, and some smaller ones; my knife and razor, my comb and silver snuff-box, my handkerchief and journal-book. .My scimitar, pistols, and pouch were conveyed in carriages to his majesty's stores; but the rest of my goods were returned to me.
I had, as I before observed, one private pocket, which escaped their search, wherein there was a pair of spectacles (which I sometimes use for the weakness of mine eyes), a pocket perspective," and several other little conveniences; which, being of no consequence to the emperor, I did not think myself bound in honour to discover; and I apprehended they might be lost or spoiled if I ventured them out of my possession.
My gentleness and good behaviour had gained so far on the emperor and his court, and indeed upon the army and people in general, that I began to conceive hopes of getting my liberty in a short time. I took all possible methods to cultivate this favourable disposition. The natives came by degrees to be less apprehensive «telescope
of any danger from me. I would sometimes lie down, and let five or six of them dance on my hand; and at last the boys and girls would venture to come and play at hide-and-seek iu my hair. I had now made a good progress in understanding and speaking their language.
The emperor had a mind, one day, to entertain me with several of the country shows, wherein they exceed all nations I have known, both for dexterity and magnificence. I was diverted with none so much as that of the ropedancers, performed upon a slender white thread, extended about two feet, and twelve inches from the ground. Upon which I shall desire liberty, with the reader's patience, to enlarge a little.
This diversion is only practised by those persons who are candidates for great employments and high favour at court. They are trained in this art from their youth, and are not always of noble birth or liberal education. When a great office is vacant, either by death or disgrace (which often happens), five or six of those candidates petition the emperor to entertain his majesty and the court with a dance on the rope; and whoever jumps the highest, without falling, succeeds in the office. Very often the chief ministers themselves are commanded to show their skill, and to convince the emperor that they have not lost their faculty. Flintnap,* the treasurer, is allowed to cut a caper on the strait rope, at least an inch higher than any other lord in the whole empire. I have seen him do the summerset several times together upon a trencher, fixed on a rope, which is no thicker than a common packthread in England. My friend Keldresal, principal secretary for private affairs, is, in my opinion, if I am not partial, the second after the treasurer; the rest of the great officers are much upon a par.
These diversions are often attended with fatal accidents, whereof great numbers are on record. I myself have seen two or three candidates break a limb. But the danger is much greater when the ministers themselves are commanded to show their dexterity! for, by contending to excel themselves and their fellows, they strain so far that there is hardly one of them who hath not received a fall, and some of them two or three. I was assured that a year or two before my arrival, Flimnap would have
• Flimnap stands for Sir Robert Walpole, nt that time Lord of the Treasury, who, when Swift was a Whig—before 1710—had failed to aid Swift to gain promotion.
infallibly broket his neck if one of the king's cushions, that accidentally lay on the ground, had not weakened the force of his fall.J
There is likewise another diversion, which is only shown before the emperor and empress and first minister, upon particular occasions. The emperor lays on the table three line silken threads, of six inches long; one is purple, the other yellow, and the third white.f These threads are proposed as prizes for those persons whom the emperor hath a mind to distinguish by a peculiar mark of his favour. The ceremony is performed in his majesty's great chamber of state, where the candidates are to undergo a trial of dexterity very different from the former, and such as I have not observed the least resemblance of in any other country of the old or the new world.
The emperor holds a stick in his hands, both ends parallel to the horizon, while the candidates, advancing one by one, sometimes leap over the stick, sometimes creep under it backwards and forwards several times, according as the stick is advanced or depressed. Sometimes the emperor holds one end of the stick, and his first minister the other; sometimes the minister has it entirely to himself. Whoever performs his part with most agility, and holds out the longest in leaping and creeping, is rewarded with the purple coloured silk; the yellow is given to the next, and the white to the third, which they all wear girt twice round about the middle; and you see few great persons about this court who are not adorned with one of these girdles.
The horses of the army, and those of the royal stables, having been daily led before me, were no longer shy, but would come up to my very feet without starting. The riders would leap them over my hand as I held it on the ground; and one of the emperor"s huntsmen, upon a large courser, took my foot, shoe and all, which was indeed a prodigious leap.
I had the good fortune to divert the emperor one day after a very extraordinary manner. I desired he would order several sticks of
t The preterit form for the participle was freely used in the eighteenth century. Note also below "these kind of feats."
t In 1717 Walpole was dismissed from office, but was probably saved from disastrous consequences through the Influence of the Duchess of Kendal, favorite of George 1.
It In some editions these colors are given as blue, red. and green, the colors of the badges of tin' Orders of the Garter, Bath, and Thistle. The second named order, says Walpole's biographer. William Coxe, was revived by Walpole as "a cheap means of gratifying his political adherents."
two feet high, and the thickness of an ordinary cane, to be brought me; whereupon his majesty commanded the master of his woods to give directions accordingly; and the next morning six woodmen arrived with as many carriages, draw n by eight horses to each.
I took nine of these sticks, and fixing them firmly in the ground in a quadrangular figure, two foot and a half square, I took four other sticks and tied them parallel at each corner, about two foot from the ground; then I fastened my handkerchief to the nine sticks that stood erect, and extended it on all sides, till it was as tight as the top of a drum; and the four parallel sticks, rising about five inches higher than the handkerchief, served as ledges on each side.
When I had finished my work, I desired the emperor to let a troop of his best horse, twenty-four in number, come and exercise upon this plain. His majesty approved of the proposal, and 1 took them up one by one in my hands, ready mounted and armed, with the proper officers to exercise them. As soon as they got into order, they divided into two parties, performed mock skirmishes, discharged blunt arrows, drew their swords, fled and pursued, attacked and retired, and, in short, discovered the best military discipline I ever beheld. The parallel sticks secured them and their horses from falling over the stage: aud the emperor was so much delighted that he ordered this entertainment to be repeated several days, and once was pleased to be lifted up and give the word of command; and, with great difficulty, persuaded even the empress herself to let me hold her in her close chair within two yards of the stage, from whence she was able to take a full view of the whole performance.
It was my good fortune that no ill accident happened in these entertainments; only once a fiery horse, that belonged to one of the captains, pawing with his hoof, struck a hole in my handkerchief, and his foot slipping, he overthrew his rider and himself; but I immediately relieved them both, and covering the hole with one hand, I set down the troop with the other, in the same manner as I took them up. The horse that fell was strained in the left shoulder, but the rider got no hurt, and I repaired my handkerchief as well as I could; however, I would not trust to the strength of it any more in such dangerous enterprises.
About two or three days before I was set at liberty, as I was entertaining the court with these kind of feats, there arrived an express to inform his majesty that some of his subjects riding near the place where I was first taken up, had Been a great black substance lying on the ground, very oddly shaped, extending its edges round as wide as his majesty's bedchamber, and rising up in the middle as high as a man; that it was no living creature, as they at first apprehended, for it lay on the grass without motion; and some of them had walked round it several times; that, by mounting upon each other's shoulders, they had got to the top, which was flat and even, and, stamping upon it, they found it was hollow within; that they humbly conceived it might be something belonging to the man-mountain; and if his majesty pleased, they would undertake to bring it with only Jve horses.
I presently knew what they meant, and was glad at heart to receive this intelligence. It seems, upon my first reaching the shore after our shipwreck, I was in such confusion that, before I came to the place where I went to sleep, my hat, which I had fastened with a string to my head while I was rowing, and had stuck on all the time I was swimming, fell off after I came to land; the string, as I conjecture, breaking by some accident which I never observed, but thought my hat had been lost at sea. 1 entreated his imperial majesty to give orders it might be brought to me as soon as possible, describing to him the use and nature of it; and the next day the wagoners arrived with it, but not in a very good condition; they had bored two holes in the brim, within an inch and a half of the edge, and fastened two hooks in the holes; these hooks were tied by a long cord to the harness, and thus my hat was dragged along for above half an English mile; but the ground in that country being extremely smooth and level, it received less damage than I expected.
Two days after this adventure, the emperor, having ordered that part of the army which quarters in and about his metropolis to be in readiness, took a fancy of diverting himself in a very singular manner.* He desired I would stand like a colossus, with my legs as far asunder as I conveniently could. He then commanded his general (who was an old, experienced leader ami a great patron of mine) to draw up the troops in close order and inarch them under me; the foot by twenty-four in a breast and the horse by sixteen, with drums beating, colours flying, and pikes advanced.
• George I. was especially fond of reviews.
This body consisted of three thousand foot and a thousand horse
I had sent so mauy memorials and petitions for my liberty, that his majesty at length mentioned the matter, first in the cabinet, and then in a full council; where it was opposed by none, except Skyresh Bolgolam who was pleased, without any provocation, to be my mortal enemy. But it was carried against him by the whole board, and confirmed by the emperor. That minister was galbct, or admiral of the realm, very much in his master's confidence, and a person well versed in affairs, but of a morose and sour complexion. However, he was at length persuaded to comply; but prevailed that the articles and conditions upon which I should be set free, and to which I must swear, should be drawn up by himself.
These articles were brought to me by Skyresh Bolgolam in person, attended by two under-secretaries, and several persons of distinction. After they were read, I was demanded to swear to the performance of them, first in the manner of my own country, and afterwards in the method prescribed by their laws; which was, to hold my right foot in my left hand, and to place the middle finger of my right hand on the crown of my head, and my thumb on the tip of my right ear.
But because the reader may be curious to have some idea of the style and manner of expression peculiar to that people, as well as to know the articles upon which I recovered my liberty, I have made a translation of the whole instrument, word for word, as near as 1 was able, which I here offer to the public.
Golbasto Momaren Evlame Gurdilo She/in Mully Vlly Gue, most mighty Emperor of Lilliput, delight and terror of the universe, whose dominions extend five thousand blustrugs (about twelve miles in circumference) to the extremities of the globe; monarch of all monarchs, taller than the sons of men; whose feet press down to the center, and whose head strikes against the sun; at whose nod the princes of the earth shake their knees; pleasant as the spring, comfortable as the summer, fruitful as autumn, dreadful as winter. His most sublime Majesty proposeth to the Manmountain, lately arrived to our celestial dominions, the following articles, which by a solemn oath he shall be obliged to perform.
First. The Man-mountain shall not depart from our dominions without our license under our great seal.
2d. He shall not presume to come into our metropolis without our express order; at which time the inhabitants shall have two hours' warning to keep within their doors.
3d. The said Alan-mountain shall confine bis walks to our principal high roads, and not offer to walk or lie down in a meadow or field of corn.
4th. As he walks the said roads, he shall take the utmost care not to trample upon the bodies of any of our loving subjects, their horses or carriages, nor take any of our said subjects into his hands without their own consent.
5th. If an express requires extraordinary dispatch, the Man-mountain shall be obliged to carry in his pocket the messenger and horse a six-days' journey once in every moon, and return the said messenger back (if so required) safe to our imperial presence.
6th. He shall be our ally against our enemies in the island of Blefuscu, and do his utmost to destroy their fleet, which is now preparing to invade us.
7th. That the said Man-mountain shall at his times of leisure be aiding and assisting to our workmen, in helping to raise certain great stones towards covering the wall of the principal park, and other our royal buildings.
8th. That the said Man-mountain shall, in two moons' time, deliver in an exact survey of the circumference of our dominions, by a computation of his own paces round the coast.
Lastly. That upon his solemn oath to observe all the above articles, the said Manmountain shall have a daily allowance of meat and drink sufficient for the support of 1724 of our subjects, with free access to our royal person, and other marks of our favour. Given at our palace at Belfalorac the twelfth day of the ninety-first moon of our reign.
I swore and subscribed to these articles with great cheerfulness and content, although some of them were not as honourable as I could have wished; which proceeded wholly from the malice of Skyresh Bolgolam the high admiral: whereupon my chains were immediately unlocked, and I was at full liberty; the Emperor himself in person did me the honour to be by at the whole ceremony. I made my acknowledgements by prostrating myself at his majesty's feet: but he commanded me to rise; aud after many gracious expressions, which to avoid the censure of vanity, I shall not repeat, he added, that he hoped I should prove a useful servant, and well deserve all the favours he had already conferred upon me, or might do for the future.
The reader may please to observe, that in the last article for the recovery of my liberty the emperor stipulates to allow me a quantity of meat and drink sufficient for the support of 1724 Lilliputians. Some time after, asking a friend at court how they came to fix on that determined number, he told me that his majesty 'a mathematicians having taken the height of my body by the help of a quadrant, and finding it to exceed theirs in the proportion of twelve to one, they concluded, from the similarity of their bodies, that mine must contain at least 1724 of theirs, and consequently would require as much food as was necessary to support that number of Lilliputians. By which the reader may conceive an idea of the ingenuity of that people, as well as the prudent and exact economy of so great a prince.
JAMES THOMSON (1700-1748)
Fbom THE SEASONS
Come, gentle Spring, ethereal mildness, come;
O Hertford, fitted or to shine in courts- 5 With unaffected grace, or walk the plain With innocence and meditation joined In soft assemblage, listen to my song, Which thy own season paints; when nature all Is blooming, and benevolent, like thee. 10
And see where surly Winter passes off, Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts: His blast! obey, and quit the howling hill, The shattered forest, and the ravaged vale; While softer gales succeed, at whose kind touch, IS Dissolving snows in livid torrents lost, The mountains lift their green heads to the sky.
As yet the trembling year is unconfirmed, And winter oft at eve resumes the breeze,
• The freshness of Thomson's poetry, derived from direct contact with nature, was recognized as early as 1756 by Joseph Warton, who wrote: "His descriptions have a distinctness and truth which are utterly wanting to those of poets who have only copied from each other and have never looked abroad on the objects themselves." Of the four sections of this poem, Spring was published last. In 1728; the Countess of Hertford, to whom it Is dedicated, was a patroness of poetry whose Interest in the author had been aroused by the publication of the preceding parts.
Chills the pale morn, and bids his driving sleets 20 Deform the day delightless: so that scarce The bittern knows his time, with bill ingulfed, To shake the sounding marsh; or from the shore
The plovers when to scatter o'er the heath, And sing their wild notes to the listening
waste. 26 At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun,i And the bright Bull receives him. Then no
The expansive atmosphere is cramped with cold;
But, full of life and vivifying soul,
Lifts the light clouds sublime, and spreads
them thin, 30 Fleecy, and white, o'er all-surrounding Heaven.
Forth fly the tepid airs: and unconfined, Unbinding earth, the moving softness strays. Joyous the impatient husbandman perceives Relenting Nature, and his lusty steers 33 Drives from their stalls, to where the well used
Lies in the furrow, loosened from the frost.
White, through the neighbouring fields the sower stalks, With measured step; and, liberal, throws the grain 46 Into the faithful bosom of the ground; The harrow follows harsh, and shuts the s-enc.
Be gracious, Heaven! for now laborious man Has done his part. Ye fostering breezes, blow! Ye softening dews, ye tender showers, descend! 50 And temper all, thou world-reviving sun, Into the perfect year! Nor ye who live In luxury and ease, in pomp and pride, Think these last themes unworthy of your ear: Such themes as these the rural Maro* sung 55 To wide-imperial Rome, in the full height Of elegance and taste, by Greece refined. In ancient times the sacred plough employed The kings and awful fathers of mankind: And some,5 with whom compared your insect tribes 60
Are but the beings of a summer's day,
Have held the scale of empire, ruled the storm
Of mighty war; then, with victorious hand,
Disdaining little delicacies, seized
The plough, and, greatly independent, scorned
All the vile stores corruption can bestow. 66
As rising from the vegetable world 570
Invite you forth in all your gayest trim.
When first the soul of Love is sent abroad, 580
Calls up the tuneful nations. Every copse
Of notes; when listening Philomela7 deigns
'Tis Love creates their melody, and all