Gulliver's Travels HTML version

Chapter III.4
[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,