Gulliver's Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World
online book

Jonathan Swift's Famous Book, Illustrated By Arthur Rackham

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search



Share page  


Previous Contents Next

192
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
respect due to their sublime dignity by us, their in­feriors.
I had often read of some great services done to princes and states, and desired to see the persons by whom those services were performed. Upon inquiry, I was told that their names were to be found on no record, except a few of them, whom history hath represented as the vilest rogues and traitors. As to the rest, I had never once heard of them. They all appeared with dejected looks, and in the meanest habit, most of them telling me they died in poverty and disgrace, and the rest on a scaffold or a gibbet.
Among others, there was one person whose case ap­peared a little singular. He had a youth about eighteen years old standing by his side. He told me he had for many years been commander of a ship; and, in the sea fight at Actium, had the good fortune to break through the enemy's great line of battle, sink three of their capital ships, and take a fourth, which was the sole cause of Anthony's flight, and of the victory that ensued; that the youth standing by him, his only son, was killed in the action. He added, that upon the confidence of some merit, the war being at an end, he went to Rome, and solicited at the court of Augustus, to be preferred to a greater ship, whose com­mander had been killed; but, without any regard to his pretensions, it was given to a youth who had never seen the sea, the son of Libertina, who waited on one of the Emperor's mistresses. Returning back to his own vessel, he was charged with neglect of duty, and the ship given to a favourite page of Publicola, the vice-admiral; whereupon he retired to a poor farm, at a great distance from Rome, and there ended his life. I was so curious to know the truth of this story, that I desired Agrippa might be called, who was admiral in that fight. He appeared, and confirmed the whole account; but with much more advantage to the captain, whose modesty had extenuated or concealed a great part of his merit.
Previous Contents Next