VOYAGE TO THE HOUYHNHNMS 239
under horses' feet; flight, pursuit, victory; fields stmwe.d with carcases, left for food to dogs and wolves, and birds of prey; plundering, stripping, ravishing, burning, and destroying. And, to set forth the valour of my own dear countrymen, I assured him that I had seen them blow up a hundred enemies at once in a siege, and as many in a ship; and beheld the dead bodies come down in pieces from the clouds to the great diversion of the spectators.
I was going on to more particulars when my master commanded me silence. He said, whoever understood the nature of Yahoos might easily believe it possible for so vile an animal, to be capable of every action I had named, if their strength and cunning equalled their malice. But as my discourse had increased his abhorrence of the whole species, so he found it gave him a disturbance in his mind, to which he was wholly a stranger before. He thought his ears, being used to such abominable words, might, by degrees, admit them with less detestation. That although he hated the Yahoos of this country, yet he no more blamed them for their odious qualities, than he did a gnnayh (a bird of prey) for its cruelty, or a sharp stone for cutting his hoof. But when a creature, pretending to reason, could be capable of such enormities, he dreaded lest the corruption of that faculty might be worse than brutality itself. He seemed therefore confident that, instead of reason, we were only possessed of some quality fitted to increase our natural vices; as the reflection from a troubled stream returns the image of an ill-shapen body, not only larger, but more distorted.
He added, that he had heard too much upon the subject of war, both in this, and some former discourses. There was another point which a little perplexed him at present. 1 had informed him that some of our crew left their country on account of being ruined by law; that I had already explained the meaning of the word; but he was at a