The Horse Show at the Agricultural Hall

The Horse Show at the Agricultural Hall. Fun (8 July 1865): 80. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Click on image to enlarge it. In the following paragraphs that accompanied the image above, the speaker is a Houyhnhnm, one of the supremely rational intelligent horses Gulliver brought back from his fourth and last voyage: —  George P. Landow

I am a Houyhnhnm, and I love them all.

I am mild, gentle, sensitive, and good. I am pure, high-spirited, honourable, and brave. There are few virtues which I do not possess; there is not a single vice with which I am polluted.

I am little known in England. No one has visited my native shore since Captain Lemuel Gulliver, and he, though well meaning, was not a creature of much ability. He had visited both Liliput and Brobding-nag; but neither pleased him. And why? Because in both he was the companion of beings intellectually superior to himself—of creatures to whose qualities he was blinded — in the one case by a ridiculous over-estimate of his own importance, a notion which the Liliputians good-naturedly humoured; and in the other case by an abject terror unworthy even of a mere two-legged man.

Alas! alas! I how common are these frailties, not only amongst the lower orders of vital organizations, such as apes and men, but even amongst those who lave so much in common with the Houyhnhnms as the horse.

Hnhnhnhnrsghnmm! Gna!

Alas, for their follies and their weakness, these men!

And yet is not their ambition to gaze upon the most beautiful models of quadrupedal form an encouraging symptom: Does it not show that they are conscious of their physical defects; and that, however vainly, they aspire towards a higher type?

I wish that I could think so, for I love them all.

Much do I fear, nevertheless, that it is not in a true spirit of humiliation they approach us. Those who seem most familiar with horses are not, unfortunately, of prepossessing aspect or of correct demeanour.

How is this? One would have thought that by long and intimate association with beiigs so superior to themselves they would have gradually become elevated and refined.

Perhaps they have; but if so, they hide the fact very cleverly. For do hut look at their faces, that are full of a crafty cunning; do but mark their coarse and ugly features; do but listen to their foul and vulgar language; do but hearken to their rascally schemes of robbery and fraud; and thou shall turn from them, with pity it is true, since after all they arc merely human, but also with aversion, and contempt.

Oh, my Colt, my Colt, beware of the vices of man, beware lest even thy birth, exalted though it be, thy education, though I aavo conducted it myself, may not save thee from the follies and the faults of the lowest bipeds in the creation.

Hnhnhnhnrsghnmm! Gna!

Observe, my Colt, that thou must not regard them with disdain, simply because they are ill-shapen, have only two legs, and are inferior to thee in physical strength and speed; these alone would not be just grounds for scorn, but rather for affectionate compassion; their vices only are the reason why thou skouldst shun their Bociety, except on days, and in a place like this, with thy friends and thy father by thy side.

Oh, that thy mother had lived to see thee in thy frisky prime, my Colt! No sweeter, gentler being over cropped the green and tender grass; none could race more swiftly along the level trrf; and when she neighed the sound was melody.

Hnhnhnhnrsghnmm Gna!

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Last modified 22 February 2016