Verse > Alexander Pope > Complete Poetical Works
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Alexander Pope (1688–1744).  Complete Poetical Works.  1903.
 
Poems: 1718–27
Poems Suggested by Gulliver
III. To Mr. Lemuel Gulliver
 
The Grateful Address of the Unhappy Houyhnhnms Now in Slavery and Bondage in England

TO thee, we wretches of the Houyhnhnm band,
Condemn’d to labour in a barb’rous land,
Return our thanks. Accept our humble lays,
And let each grateful Houyhnhnm neigh thy praise.
  O happy Yahoo, purged from human crimes,        5
By thy sweet sojourn in those virtuous climes,
Where reign our sires; there, to thy country’s shame,
Reason, you found, and Virtue were the same.
Their precepts razed the prejudice of youth,
And ev’n a Yahoo learn’d the love of Truth.        10
  Art thou the first who did the coast explore?
Did never Yahoo tread that ground before?
Yes, thousands! But in pity to their kind,
Or sway’d by envy, or thro’ pride of mind,
They hid their knowledge of a nobler race,        15
Which own’d, would all their sires and sons disgrace.
  You, like the Samian, visit lands unknown,
And by their wiser morals mend your own.
Thus Orpheus travell’d to reform his kind,
Came back, and tamed the brutes he left behind.        20
  You went, you saw, you heard: with virtue fought,
Then spread those morals which the Houyhnhnms taught.
Our labours here must touch thy gen’rous heart,
To see us strain before the coach and cart;
Compell’d to run each knavish jockey’s heat!        25
Subservient to Newmarket’s annual cheat!
With what reluctance do we lawyers bear,
To fleece their country clients twice a year!
Or managed in your schools, for fops to ride,
How foam, how fret beneath a load of pride!        30
Yes, we are slaves—but yet, by reason’s force,
Have learn’d to bear misfortune like a horse.
  O would the stars, to ease my bonds ordain
That gentle Gulliver might guide my rein!
Safe would I bear him to his journey’s end,        35
For ’t is a pleasure to support a friend.
But if my life by doom’d to serve the bad,
Oh! mayst thou never want an easy pad!
HOUYHNHNM    
 
 
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