0161 | A Modest Proposal – Jonathan Swift


Context: Very brief listen to this courtesy of librivox.org while working in the Wycliffe kitchens.

I was expecting something of a banal treatise on something mundane or other but, having read Gulliver, I should have known better from Swift, I really should have.

I’m not going to give the game away. It’s very short… read it yourself online at the Gutenberg Project.

Personally, I think the man was a genius and centuries ahead of his time. Today, his proposal is just as relevant to solving our problems as it was back then.

But then, he knew that didn’t he!

It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms.

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the publick good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children, by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.

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One Comment

  1. It’s your review so I won’t give the game away either. It’s a fascinating satire and the English from the time I always find a pleasure to read. Gulliver of course is near on 300 years old now and this comes from only three years later. I’d like to say a lot more but its difficult without addressing the central theme. swift is well understood as a great supporter of his native Ireland and feelings against the English and it this that clearly drove him to write this fascinating piece.

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