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+% SiSU 2.0
+@title: Gulliver's Travels
+ :author: Swift, Jonathan
+ :prepared_by: David Price
+ :topic_register: SiSU markup sample:book:novel;book:novel:fiction:fantasy
+ :copyright: Jonathan Swift
+ :license: Public Domain
+ :published: 1726
+ :created: 1726
+ :issued: 1726
+ :available: 1726
+ :modified: 1735
+ :added_to_site: 2005-10-30
+ { Gulliver's Travels }
+ { Johnathan Swift }
+ :headings: none; none; PART; CHAPTER;
+ :breaks: new=3; break=4
+A~ @title @creator
+:B~ Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World
+[As given in the original edition.]
+The author of these Travels, Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, is my ancient and intimate
+friend; there is likewise some relation between us on the mother's side. About
+three years ago, Mr. Gulliver growing weary of the concourse of curious people
+coming to him at his house in Redriff, made a small purchase of land, with a
+convenient house, near Newark, in Nottinghamshire, his native country; where he
+now lives retired, yet in good esteem among his neighbours.
+Although Mr. Gulliver was born in Nottinghamshire, where his father dwelt, yet
+I have heard him say his family came from Oxfordshire; to confirm which, I have
+observed in the churchyard at Banbury in that county, several tombs and
+monuments of the Gullivers.
+Before he quitted Redriff, he left the custody of the following papers in my
+hands, with the liberty to dispose of them as I should think fit. I have
+carefully perused them three times. The style is very plain and simple; and the
+only fault I find is, that the author, after the manner of travellers, is a
+little too circumstantial. There is an air of truth apparent through the whole;
+and indeed the author was so distinguished for his veracity, that it became a
+sort of proverb among his neighbours at Redriff, when any one affirmed a thing,
+to say, it was as true as if Mr. Gulliver had spoken it.
+By the advice of several worthy persons, to whom, with the author's permission,
+I communicated these papers, I now venture to send them into the world, hoping
+they may be, at least for some time, a better entertainment to our young
+noblemen, than the common scribbles of politics and party.
+This volume would have been at least twice as large, if I had not made bold to
+strike out innumerable passages relating to the winds and tides, as well as to
+the variations and bearings in the several voyages, together with the minute
+descriptions of the management of the ship in storms, in the style of sailors;
+likewise the account of longitudes and latitudes; wherein I have reason to
+apprehend, that Mr. Gulliver may be a little dissatisfied. But I was resolved
+to fit the work as much as possible to the general capacity of readers.
+However, if my own ignorance in sea affairs shall have led me to commit some
+mistakes, I alone am answerable for them. And if any traveller hath a curiosity
+to see the whole work at large, as it came from the hands of the author, I will
+be ready to gratify him.
+As for any further particulars relating to the author, the reader will receive
+satisfaction from the first pages of the book.
+I hope you will be ready to own publicly, whenever you shall be called to it,
+that by your great and frequent urgency you prevailed on me to publish a very
+loose and uncorrect account of my travels, with directions to hire some young
+gentleman of either university to put them in order, and correct the style, as
+my cousin Dampier did, by my advice, in his book called "A Voyage round the
+world." But I do not remember I gave you power to consent that any thing should
+be omitted, and much less that any thing should be inserted; therefore, as to
+the latter, I do here renounce every thing of that kind; particularly a
+paragraph about her majesty Queen Anne, of most pious and glorious memory;
+although I did reverence and esteem her more than any of human species. But
+you, or your interpolator, ought to have considered, that it was not my
+inclination, so was it not decent to praise any animal of our composition
+before my master Houyhnhnm: And besides, the fact was altogether false; for to
+my knowledge, being in England during some part of her majesty's reign, she did
+govern by a chief minister; nay even by two successively, the first whereof was
+the lord of Godolphin, and the second the lord of Oxford; so that you have made
+me say the thing that was not. Likewise in the account of the academy of
+projectors, and several passages of my discourse to my master Houyhnhnm, you
+have either omitted some material circumstances, or minced or changed them in
+such a manner, that I do hardly know my own work. When I formerly hinted to you
+something of this in a letter, you were pleased to answer that you were afraid
+of giving offence; that people in power were very watchful over the press, and
+apt not only to interpret, but to punish every thing which looked like an
+innuendo (as I think you call it). But, pray how could that which I spoke so
+many years ago, and at about five thousand leagues distance, in another reign,
+be applied to any of the Yahoos, who now are said to govern the herd;
+especially at a time when I little thought, or feared, the unhappiness of
+living under them? Have not I the most reason to complain, when I see these
+very Yahoos carried by Houyhnhnms in a vehicle, as if they were brutes, and
+those the rational creatures? And indeed to avoid so monstrous and detestable a
+sight was one principal motive of my retirement hither.
+Thus much I thought proper to tell you in relation to yourself, and to the
+trust I reposed in you.
+I do, in the next place, complain of my own great want of judgment, in being
+prevailed upon by the entreaties and false reasoning of you and some others,
+very much against my own opinion, to suffer my travels to be published. Pray
+bring to your mind how often I desired you to consider, when you insisted on
+the motive of public good, that the Yahoos were a species of animals utterly
+incapable of amendment by precept or example: and so it has proved; for,
+instead of seeing a full stop put to all abuses and corruptions, at least in
+this little island, as I had reason to expect; behold, after above six months
+warning, I cannot learn that my book has produced one single effect according
+to my intentions. I desired you would let me know, by a letter, when party and
+faction were extinguished; judges learned and upright; pleaders honest and
+modest, with some tincture of common sense, and Smithfield blazing with
+pyramids of law books; the young nobility's education entirely changed; the
+physicians banished; the female Yahoos abounding in virtue, honour, truth, and
+good sense; courts and levees of great ministers thoroughly weeded and swept;
+wit, merit, and learning rewarded; all disgracers of the press in prose and
+verse condemned to eat nothing but their own cotton, and quench their thirst
+with their own ink. These, and a thousand other reformations, I firmly counted
+upon by your encouragement; as indeed they were plainly deducible from the
+precepts delivered in my book. And it must be owned, that seven months were a
+sufficient time to correct every vice and folly to which Yahoos are subject, if
+their natures had been capable of the least disposition to virtue or wisdom.
+Yet, so far have you been from answering my expectation in any of your letters;
+that on the contrary you are loading our carrier every week with libels, and
+keys, and reflections, and memoirs, and second parts; wherein I see myself
+accused of reflecting upon great state folk; of degrading human nature (for so
+they have still the confidence to style it), and of abusing the female sex. I
+find likewise that the writers of those bundles are not agreed among
+themselves; for some of them will not allow me to be the author of my own
+travels; and others make me author of books to which I am wholly a stranger.
+I find likewise that your printer has been so careless as to confound the
+times, and mistake the dates, of my several voyages and returns; neither
+assigning the true year, nor the true month, nor day of the month: and I hear
+the original manuscript is all destroyed since the publication of my book;
+neither have I any copy left: however, I have sent you some corrections, which
+you may insert, if ever there should be a second edition: and yet I cannot
+stand to them; but shall leave that matter to my judicious and candid readers
+to adjust it as they please.
+I hear some of our sea Yahoos find fault with my sea-language, as not proper in
+many parts, nor now in use. I cannot help it. In my first voyages, while I was
+young, I was instructed by the oldest mariners, and learned to speak as they
+did. But I have since found that the sea Yahoos are apt, like the land ones, to
+become new- fangled in their words, which the latter change every year;
+insomuch, as I remember upon each return to my own country their old dialect
+was so altered, that I could hardly understand the new. And I observe, when any
+Yahoo comes from London out of curiosity to visit me at my house, we neither of
+us are able to deliver our conceptions in a manner intelligible to the other.
+If the censure of the Yahoos could any way affect me, I should have great
+reason to complain, that some of them are so bold as to think my book of
+travels a mere fiction out of mine own brain, and have gone so far as to drop
+hints, that the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos have no more existence than the
+inhabitants of Utopia.
+Indeed I must confess, that as to the people of Lilliput, Brobdingrag (for so
+the word should have been spelt, and not erroneously Brobdingnag), and Laputa,
+I have never yet heard of any Yahoo so presumptuous as to dispute their being,
+or the facts I have related concerning them; because the truth immediately
+strikes every reader with conviction. And is there less probability in my
+account of the Houyhnhnms or Yahoos, when it is manifest as to the latter,
+there are so many thousands even in this country, who only differ from their
+brother brutes in Houyhnhnmland, because they use a sort of jabber, and do not
+go naked? I wrote for their amendment, and not their approbation. The united
+praise of the whole race would be of less consequence to me, than the neighing
+of those two degenerate Houyhnhnms I keep in my stable; because from these,
+degenerate as they are, I still improve in some virtues without any mixture of
+Do these miserable animals presume to think, that I am so degenerated as to
+defend my veracity? Yahoo as I am, it is well known through all Houyhnhnmland,
+that, by the instructions and example of my illustrious master, I was able in
+the compass of two years (although I confess with the utmost difficulty) to
+remove that infernal habit of lying, shuffling, deceiving, and equivocating, so
+deeply rooted in the very souls of all my species; especially the Europeans.
+I have other complaints to make upon this vexatious occasion; but I forbear
+troubling myself or you any further. I must freely confess, that since my last
+return, some corruptions of my Yahoo nature have revived in me by conversing
+with a few of your species, and particularly those of my own family, by an
+unavoidable necessity; else I should never have attempted so absurd a project
+as that of reforming the Yahoo race in this kingdom: But I have now done with
+all such visionary schemes for ever.
+April 2, 1727
+[The author gives some account of himself and family. His first inducements to
+travel. He is shipwrecked, and swims for his life. Gets safe on shore in the
+country of Lilliput; is made a prisoner, and carried up the country.]
+My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire: I was the third of five sons.
+He sent me to Emanuel College in Cambridge at fourteen years old, where I
+resided three years, and applied myself close to my studies; but the charge of
+maintaining me, although I had a very scanty allowance, being too great for a
+narrow fortune, I was bound apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an eminent surgeon
+in London, with whom I continued four years. My father now and then sending me
+small sums of money, I laid them out in learning navigation, and other parts of
+the mathematics, useful to those who intend to travel, as I always believed it
+would be, some time or other, my fortune to do. When I left Mr. Bates, I went
+down to my father: where, by the assistance of him and my uncle John, and some
+other relations, I got forty pounds, and a promise of thirty pounds a year to
+maintain me at Leyden: there I studied physic two years and seven months,
+knowing it would be useful in long voyages.
+Soon after my return from Leyden, I was recommended by my good master, Mr.
+Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, Captain Abraham Pannel, commander; with
+whom I continued three years and a half, making a voyage or two into the
+Levant, and some other parts. When I came back I resolved to settle in London;
+to which Mr. Bates, my master, encouraged me, and by him I was recommended to
+several patients. I took part of a small house in the Old Jewry; and being
+advised to alter my condition, I married Mrs. Mary Burton, second daughter to
+Mr. Edmund Burton, hosier, in Newgate-street, with whom I received four hundred
+pounds for a portion.
+But my good master Bates dying in two years after, and I having few friends, my
+business began to fail; for my conscience would not suffer me to imitate the
+bad practice of too many among my brethren. Having therefore consulted with my
+wife, and some of my acquaintance, I determined to go again to sea. I was
+surgeon successively in two ships, and made several voyages, for six years, to
+the East and West Indies, by which I got some addition to my fortune. My hours
+of leisure I spent in reading the best authors, ancient and modern, being
+always provided with a good number of books; and when I was ashore, in
+observing the manners and dispositions of the people, as well as learning their
+language; wherein I had a great facility, by the strength of my memory.
+The last of these voyages not proving very fortunate, I grew weary of the sea,
+and intended to stay at home with my wife and family. I removed from the Old
+Jewry to Fetter Lane, and from thence to Wapping, hoping to get business among
+the sailors; but it would not turn to account. After three years expectation
+that things would mend, I accepted an advantageous offer from Captain William
+Prichard, master of the Antelope, who was making a voyage to the South Sea. We
+set sail from Bristol, May 4, 1699, and our voyage was at first very
+It would not be proper, for some reasons, to trouble the reader with the
+particulars of our adventures in those seas; let it suffice to inform him, that
+in our passage from thence to the East Indies, we were driven by a violent
+storm to the north-west of Van Diemen's Land. By an observation, we found
+ourselves in the latitude of 30 degrees 2 minutes south. Twelve of our crew
+were dead by immoderate labour and ill food; the rest were in a very weak
+condition. On the 5th of November, which was the beginning of summer in those
+parts, the weather being very hazy, the seamen spied a rock within half a
+cable's length of the ship; but the wind was so strong, that we were driven
+directly upon it, and immediately split. Six of the crew, of whom I was one,
+having let down the boat into the sea, made a shift to get clear of the ship
+and the rock. We rowed, by my computation, about three leagues, till we were
+able to work no longer, being already spent with labour while we were in the
+ship. We therefore trusted ourselves to the mercy of the waves, and in about
+half an hour the boat was overset by a sudden flurry from the north. What
+became of my companions in the boat, as well as of those who escaped on the
+rock, or were left in the vessel, I cannot tell; but conclude they were all
+lost. For my own part, I swam as fortune directed me, and was pushed forward by
+wind and tide. I often let my legs drop, and could feel no bottom; but when I
+was almost gone, and able to struggle no longer, I found myself within my
+depth; and by this time the storm was much abated. The declivity was so small,
+that I walked near a mile before I got to the shore, which I conjectured was
+about eight o'clock in the evening. I then advanced forward near half a mile,
+but could not discover any sign of houses or inhabitants; at least I was in so
+weak a condition, that I did not observe them. I was extremely tired, and with
+that, and the heat of the weather, and about half a pint of brandy that I drank
+as I left the ship, I found myself much inclined to sleep. I lay down on the
+grass, which was very short and soft, where I slept sounder than ever I
+remembered to have done in my life, and, as I reckoned, about nine hours; for
+when I awaked, it was just day-light. I attempted to rise, but was not able to
+stir: for, as I happened to lie on my back, I found my arms and legs were
+strongly fastened on each side to the ground; and my hair, which was long and
+thick, tied down in the same manner. I likewise felt several slender ligatures
+across my body, from my arm-pits to my thighs. I could only look upwards; the
+sun began to grow hot, and the light offended my eyes. I heard a confused noise
+about me; but in the posture I lay, could see nothing except the sky. In a
+little time I felt something alive moving on my left leg, which advancing
+gently forward over my breast, came almost up to my chin; when, bending my eyes
+downwards as much as I could, I perceived it to be a human creature not six
+inches high, with a bow and arrow in his hands, and a quiver at his back. In
+the mean time, I felt at least forty more of the same kind (as I conjectured)
+following the first. I was in the utmost astonishment, and roared so loud, that
+they all ran back in a fright; and some of them, as I was afterwards told, were
+hurt with the falls they got by leaping from my sides upon the ground. However,
+they soon returned, and one of them, who ventured so far as to get a full sight
+of my face, lifting up his hands and eyes by way of admiration, cried out in a
+shrill but distinct voice, Hekinah degul: the others repeated the same words
+several times, but then I knew not what they meant. I lay all this while, as
+the reader may believe, in great uneasiness. At length, struggling to get
+loose, I had the fortune to break the strings, and wrench out the pegs that
+fastened my left arm to the ground; for, by lifting it up to my face, I
+discovered the methods they had taken to bind me, and at the same time with a
+violent pull, which gave me excessive pain, I a little loosened the strings
+that tied down my hair on the left side, so that I was just able to turn my
+head about two inches. But the creatures ran off a second time, before I could
+seize them; whereupon there was a great shout in a very shrill accent, and
+after it ceased I heard one of them cry aloud Tolgo phonac; when in an instant
+I felt above a hundred arrows discharged on my left hand, which, pricked me
+like so many needles; and besides, they shot another flight into the air, as we
+do bombs in Europe, whereof many, I suppose, fell on my body, (though I felt
+them not), and some on my face, which I immediately covered with my left hand.
+When this shower of arrows was over, I fell a groaning with grief and pain; and
+then striving again to get loose, they discharged another volley larger than
+the first, and some of them attempted with spears to stick me in the sides; but
+by good luck I had on a buff jerkin, which they could not pierce. I thought it
+the most prudent method to lie still, and my design was to continue so till
+night, when, my left hand being already loose, I could easily free myself: and
+as for the inhabitants, I had reason to believe I might be a match for the
+greatest army they could bring against me, if they were all of the same size
+with him that I saw. But fortune disposed otherwise of me. When the people
+observed I was quiet, they discharged no more arrows; but, by the noise I
+heard, I knew their numbers increased; and about four yards from me, over
+against my right ear, I heard a knocking for above an hour, like that of people
+at work; when turning my head that way, as well as the pegs and strings would
+permit me, I saw a stage erected about a foot and a half from the ground,
+capable of holding four of the inhabitants, with two or three ladders to mount
+it: from whence one of them, who seemed to be a person of quality, made me a
+long speech, whereof I understood not one syllable. But I should have
+mentioned, that before the principal person began his oration, he cried out
+three times, Langro dehul san (these words and the former were afterwards
+repeated and explained to me); whereupon, immediately, about fifty of the
+inhabitants came and cut the strings that fastened the left side of my head,
+which gave me the liberty of turning it to the right, and of observing the
+person and gesture of him that was to speak. He appeared to be of a middle age,
+and taller than any of the other three who attended him, whereof one was a page
+that held up his train, and seemed to be somewhat longer than my middle finger;
+the other two stood one on each side to support him. He acted every part of an
+orator, and I could observe many periods of threatenings, and others of
+promises, pity, and kindness. I answered in a few words, but in the most
+submissive manner, lifting up my left hand, and both my eyes to the sun, as
+calling him for a witness; and being almost famished with hunger, having not
+eaten a morsel for some hours before I left the ship, I found the demands of
+nature so strong upon me, that I could not forbear showing my impatience
+(perhaps against the strict rules of decency) by putting my finger frequently
+to my mouth, to signify that I wanted food. The hurgo (for so they call a great
+lord, as I afterwards learnt) understood me very well. He descended from the
+stage, and commanded that several ladders should be applied to my sides, on
+which above a hundred of the inhabitants mounted and walked towards my mouth,
+laden with baskets full of meat, which had been provided and sent thither by
+the king's orders, upon the first intelligence he received of me. I observed
+there was the flesh of several animals, but could not distinguish them by the
+taste. There were shoulders, legs, and loins, shaped like those of mutton, and
+very well dressed, but smaller than the wings of a lark. I ate them by two or
+three at a mouthful, and took three loaves at a time, about the bigness of
+musket bullets. They supplied me as fast as they could, showing a thousand
+marks of wonder and astonishment at my bulk and appetite. I then made another
+sign, that I wanted drink. They found by my eating that a small quantity would
+not suffice me; and being a most ingenious people, they slung up, with great
+dexterity, one of their largest hogsheads, then rolled it towards my hand, and
+beat out the top; I drank it off at a draught, which I might well do, for it
+did not hold half a pint, and tasted like a small wine of Burgundy, but much
+more delicious. They brought me a second hogshead, which I drank in the same
+manner, and made signs for more; but they had none to give me. When I had
+performed these wonders, they shouted for joy, and danced upon my breast,
+repeating several times as they did at first, Hekinah degul. They made me a
+sign that I should throw down the two hogsheads, but first warning the people
+below to stand out of the way, crying aloud, Borach mevolah; and when they saw
+the vessels in the air, there was a universal shout of Hekinah degul. I confess
+I was often tempted, while they were passing backwards and forwards on my body,
+to seize forty or fifty of the first that came in my reach, and dash them
+against the ground. But the remembrance of what I had felt, which probably
+might not be the worst they could do, and the promise of honour I made
+them--for so I interpreted my submissive behaviour-- soon drove out these
+imaginations. Besides, I now considered myself as bound by the laws of
+hospitality, to a people who had treated me with so much expense and
+magnificence. However, in my thoughts I could not sufficiently wonder at the
+intrepidity of these diminutive mortals, who durst venture to mount and walk
+upon my body, while one of my hands was at liberty, without trembling at the
+very sight of so prodigious a creature as I must appear to them. After some
+time, when they observed that I made no more demands for meat, there appeared
+before me a person of high rank from his imperial majesty. His excellency,
+having mounted on the small of my right leg, advanced forwards up to my face,
+with about a dozen of his retinue; and producing his credentials under the
+signet royal, which he applied close to my eyes, spoke about ten minutes
+without any signs of anger, but with a kind of determinate resolution, often
+pointing forwards, which, as I afterwards found, was towards the capital city,
+about half a mile distant; whither it was agreed by his majesty in council that
+I must be conveyed. I answered in few words, but to no purpose, and made a sign
+with my hand that was loose, putting it to the other (but over his excellency's
+head for fear of hurting him or his train) and then to my own head and body, to
+signify that I desired my liberty. It appeared that he understood me well
+enough, for he shook his head by way of disapprobation, and held his hand in a
+posture to show that I must be carried as a prisoner. However, he made other
+signs to let me understand that I should have meat and drink enough, and very
+good treatment. Whereupon I once more thought of attempting to break my bonds;
+but again, when I felt the smart of their arrows upon my face and hands, which
+were all in blisters, and many of the darts still sticking in them, and
+observing likewise that the number of my enemies increased, I gave tokens to
+let them know that they might do with me what they pleased. Upon this, the
+hurgo and his train withdrew, with much civility and cheerful countenances.
+Soon after I heard a general shout, with frequent repetitions of the words
+Peplom selan; and I felt great numbers of people on my left side relaxing the
+cords to such a degree, that I was able to turn upon my right, and to ease
+myself with making water; which I very plentifully did, to the great
+astonishment of the people; who, conjecturing by my motion what I was going to
+do, immediately opened to the right and left on that side, to avoid the
+torrent, which fell with such noise and violence from me. But before this, they
+had daubed my face and both my hands with a sort of ointment, very pleasant to
+the smell, which, in a few minutes, removed all the smart of their arrows.
+These circumstances, added to the refreshment I had received by their victuals
+and drink, which were very nourishing, disposed me to sleep. I slept about
+eight hours, as I was afterwards assured; and it was no wonder, for the
+physicians, by the emperor's order, had mingled a sleepy potion in the
+hogsheads of wine.
+It seems, that upon the first moment I was discovered sleeping on the ground,
+after my landing, the emperor had early notice of it by an express; and
+determined in council, that I should be tied in the manner I have related,
+(which was done in the night while I slept;) that plenty of meat and drink
+should be sent to me, and a machine prepared to carry me to the capital city.
+This resolution perhaps may appear very bold and dangerous, and I am confident
+would not be imitated by any prince in Europe on the like occasion. However, in
+my opinion, it was extremely prudent, as well as generous: for, supposing these
+people had endeavoured to kill me with their spears and arrows, while I was
+asleep, I should certainly have awaked with the first sense of smart, which
+might so far have roused my rage and strength, as to have enabled me to break
+the strings wherewith I was tied; after which, as they were not able to make
+resistance, so they could expect no mercy.
+These people are most excellent mathematicians, and arrived to a great
+perfection in mechanics, by the countenance and encouragement of the emperor,
+who is a renowned patron of learning. This prince has several machines fixed on
+wheels, for the carriage of trees and other great weights. He often builds his
+largest men of war, whereof some are nine feet long, in the woods where the
+timber grows, and has them carried on these engines three or four hundred yards
+to the sea. Five hundred carpenters and engineers were immediately set at work
+to prepare the greatest engine they had. It was a frame of wood raised three
+inches from the ground, about seven feet long, and four wide, moving upon
+twenty-two wheels. The shout I heard was upon the arrival of this engine,
+which, it seems, set out in four hours after my landing. It was brought
+parallel to me, as I lay. But the principal difficulty was to raise and place
+me in this vehicle. Eighty poles, each of one foot high, were erected for this
+purpose, and very strong cords, of the bigness of packthread, were fastened by
+hooks to many bandages, which the workmen had girt round my neck, my hands, my
+body, and my legs. Nine hundred of the strongest men were employed to draw up
+these cords, by many pulleys fastened on the poles; and thus, in less than
+three hours, I was raised and slung into the engine, and there tied fast. All
+this I was told; for, while the operation was performing, I lay in a profound
+sleep, by the force of that soporiferous medicine infused into my liquor.
+Fifteen hundred of the emperor's largest horses, each about four inches and a
+half high, were employed to draw me towards the metropolis, which, as I said,
+was half a mile distant.
+About four hours after we began our journey, I awaked by a very ridiculous
+accident; for the carriage being stopped a while, to adjust something that was
+out of order, two or three of the young natives had the curiosity to see how I
+looked when I was asleep; they climbed up into the engine, and advancing very
+softly to my face, one of them, an officer in the guards, put the sharp end of
+his half-pike a good way up into my left nostril, which tickled my nose like a
+straw, and made me sneeze violently; whereupon they stole off unperceived, and
+it was three weeks before I knew the cause of my waking so suddenly. We made a
+long march the remaining part of the day, and, rested at night with five
+hundred guards on each side of me, half with torches, and half with bows and
+arrows, ready to shoot me if I should offer to stir. The next morning at
+sun-rise we continued our march, and arrived within two hundred yards of the
+city gates about noon. The emperor, and all his court, came out to meet us; but
+his great officers would by no means suffer his majesty to endanger his person
+by mounting on my body.
+At the place where the carriage stopped there stood an ancient temple, esteemed
+to be the largest in the whole kingdom; which, having been polluted some years
+before by an unnatural murder, was, according to the zeal of those people,
+looked upon as profane, and therefore had been applied to common use, and all
+the ornaments and furniture carried away. In this edifice it was determined I
+should lodge. The great gate fronting to the north was about four feet high,
+and almost two feet wide, through which I could easily creep. On each side of
+the gate was a small window, not above six inches from the ground: into that on
+the left side, the king's smith conveyed fourscore and eleven chains, like
+those that hang to a lady's watch in Europe, and almost as large, which were
+locked to my left leg with six-and-thirty padlocks. Over against this temple,
+on the other side of the great highway, at twenty feet distance, there was a
+turret at least five feet high. Here the emperor ascended, with many principal
+lords of his court, to have an opportunity of viewing me, as I was told, for I
+could not see them. It was reckoned that above a hundred thousand inhabitants
+came out of the town upon the same errand; and, in spite of my guards, I
+believe there could not be fewer than ten thousand at several times, who
+mounted my body by the help of ladders. But a proclamation was soon issued, to
+forbid it upon pain of death. When the workmen found it was impossible for me
+to break loose, they cut all the strings that bound me; whereupon I rose up,
+with as melancholy a disposition as ever I had in my life. But the noise and
+astonishment of the people, at seeing me rise and walk, are not to be
+expressed. The chains that held my left leg were about two yards long, and gave
+me not only the liberty of walking backwards and forwards in a semicircle, but,
+being fixed within four inches of the gate, allowed me to creep in, and lie at
+my full length in the temple.
+[The emperor of Lilliput, attended by several of the nobility, comes to see the
+author in his confinement. The emperor's person and habit described. Learned
+men appointed to teach the author their language. He gains favour by his mild
+disposition. His pockets are searched, and his sword and pistols taken from
+When I found myself on my feet, I looked about me, and must confess I never
+beheld a more entertaining prospect. The country around appeared like a
+continued garden, and the enclosed fields, which were generally forty feet
+square, resembled so many beds of flowers. These fields were intermingled with
+woods of half a stang,~^ and the tallest trees, as I could judge, appeared to
+be seven feet high. I viewed the town on my left hand, which looked like the
+painted scene of a city in a theatre.
+I had been for some hours extremely pressed by the necessities of nature; which
+was no wonder, it being almost two days since I had last disburdened myself. I
+was under great difficulties between urgency and shame. The best expedient I
+could think of, was to creep into my house, which I accordingly did; and
+shutting the gate after me, I went as far as the length of my chain would
+suffer, and discharged my body of that uneasy load. But this was the only time
+I was ever guilty of so uncleanly an action; for which I cannot but hope the
+candid reader will give some allowance, after he has maturely and impartially
+considered my case, and the distress I was in. From this time my constant
+practice was, as soon as I rose, to perform that business in open air, at the
+full extent of my chain; and due care was taken every morning before company
+came, that the offensive matter should be carried off in wheel-barrows, by two
+servants appointed for that purpose. I would not have dwelt so long upon a
+circumstance that, perhaps, at first sight, may appear not very momentous, if I
+had not thought it necessary to justify my character, in point of cleanliness,
+to the world; which, I am told, some of my maligners have been pleased, upon
+this and other occasions, to call in question.
+When this adventure was at an end, I came back out of my house, having occasion
+for fresh air. The emperor was already descended from the tower, and advancing
+on horseback towards me, which had like to have cost him dear; for the beast,
+though very well trained, yet wholly unused to such a sight, which appeared as
+if a mountain moved before him, reared up on its hinder feet: but that prince,
+who is an excellent horseman, kept his seat, till his attendants ran in, and
+held the bridle, while his majesty had time to dismount. When he alighted, he
+surveyed me round with great admiration; but kept beyond the length of my
+chain. He ordered his cooks and butlers, who were already prepared, to give me
+victuals and drink, which they pushed forward in a sort of vehicles upon
+wheels, till I could reach them. I took these vehicles and soon emptied them
+all; twenty of them were filled with meat, and ten with liquor; each of the
+former afforded me two or three good mouthfuls; and I emptied the liquor of ten
+vessels, which was contained in earthen vials, into one vehicle, drinking it
+off at a draught; and so I did with the rest. The empress, and young princes of
+the blood of both sexes, attended by many ladies, sat at some distance in their
+chairs; but upon the accident that happened to the emperor's horse, they
+alighted, and came near his person, which I am now going to describe. He is
+taller by almost the breadth of my nail, than any of his court; which alone is
+enough to strike an awe into the beholders. His features are strong and
+masculine, with an Austrian lip and arched nose, his complexion olive, his
+countenance erect, his body and limbs well proportioned, all his motions
+graceful, and his deportment majestic. He was then past his prime, being
+twenty-eight years and three quarters old, of which he had reigned about seven
+in great felicity, and generally victorious. For the better convenience of
+beholding him, I lay on my side, so that my face was parallel to his, and he
+stood but three yards off: however, I have had him since many times in my hand,
+and therefore cannot be deceived in the description. His dress was very plain
+and simple, and the fashion of it between the Asiatic and the European; but he
+had on his head a light helmet of gold, adorned with jewels, and a plume on the
+crest. He held his sword drawn in his hand to defend himself, if I should
+happen to break loose; it was almost three inches long; the hilt and scabbard
+were gold enriched with diamonds. His voice was shrill, but very clear and
+articulate; and I could distinctly hear it when I stood up. The ladies and
+courtiers were all most magnificently clad; so that the spot they stood upon
+seemed to resemble a petticoat spread upon the ground, embroidered with figures
+of gold and silver. His imperial majesty spoke often to me, and I returned
+answers: but neither of us could understand a syllable. There were several of
+his priests and lawyers present (as I conjectured by their habits), who were
+commanded to address themselves to me; and I spoke to them in as many languages
+as I had the least smattering of, which were High and Low Dutch, Latin, French,
+Spanish, Italian, and Lingua Franca, but all to no purpose. After about two
+hours the court retired, and I was left with a strong guard, to prevent the
+impertinence, and probably the malice of the rabble, who were very impatient to
+crowd about me as near as they durst; and some of them had the impudence to
+shoot their arrows at me, as I sat on the ground by the door of my house,
+whereof one very narrowly missed my left eye. But the colonel ordered six of
+the ringleaders to be seized, and thought no punishment so proper as to deliver
+them bound into my hands; which some of his soldiers accordingly did, pushing
+them forward with the butt-ends of their pikes into my reach. I took them all
+in my right hand, put five of them into my coat-pocket; and as to the sixth, I
+made a countenance as if I would eat him alive. The poor man squalled terribly,
+and the colonel and his officers were in much pain, especially when they saw me
+take out my penknife: but I soon put them out of fear; for, looking mildly, and
+immediately cutting the strings he was bound with, I set him gently on the
+ground, and away he ran. I treated the rest in the same manner, taking them one
+by one out of my pocket; and I observed both the soldiers and people were
+highly delighted at this mark of my clemency, which was represented very much
+to my advantage at court.
+Towards night I got with some difficulty into my house, where I lay on the
+ground, and continued to do so about a fortnight; during which time, the
+emperor gave orders to have a bed prepared for me. Six hundred beds of the
+common measure were brought in carriages, and worked up in my house; a hundred
+and fifty of their beds, sewn together, made up the breadth and length; and
+these were four double: which, however, kept me but very indifferently from the
+hardness of the floor, that was of smooth stone. By the same computation, they
+provided me with sheets, blankets, and coverlets, tolerable enough for one who
+had been so long inured to hardships.
+As the news of my arrival spread through the kingdom, it brought prodigious
+numbers of rich, idle, and curious people to see me; so that the villages were
+almost emptied; and great neglect of tillage and household affairs must have
+ensued, if his imperial majesty had not provided, by several proclamations and
+orders of state, against this inconveniency. He directed that those who had
+already beheld me should return home, and not presume to come within fifty
+yards of my house, without license from the court; whereby the secretaries of
+state got considerable fees.
+In the mean time the emperor held frequent councils, to debate what course
+should be taken with me; and I was afterwards assured by a particular friend, a
+person of great quality, who was as much in the secret as any, that the court
+was under many difficulties concerning me. They apprehended my breaking loose;
+that my diet would be very expensive, and might cause a famine. Sometimes they
+determined to starve me; or at least to shoot me in the face and hands with
+poisoned arrows, which would soon despatch me; but again they considered, that
+the stench of so large a carcass might produce a plague in the metropolis, and
+probably spread through the whole kingdom. In the midst of these consultations,
+several officers of the army went to the door of the great council-chamber, and
+two of them being admitted, gave an account of my behaviour to the six
+criminals above-mentioned; which made so favourable an impression in the breast
+of his majesty and the whole board, in my behalf, that an imperial commission
+was issued out, obliging all the villages, nine hundred yards round the city,
+to deliver in every morning six beeves, forty sheep, and other victuals for my
+sustenance; together with a proportionable quantity of bread, and wine, and
+other liquors; for the due payment of which, his majesty gave assignments upon
+his treasury:- for this prince lives chiefly upon his own demesnes; seldom,
+except upon great occasions, raising any subsidies upon his subjects, who are
+bound to attend him in his wars at their own expense. An establishment was also
+made of six hundred persons to be my domestics, who had board-wages allowed for
+their maintenance, and tents built for them very conveniently on each side of
+my door. It was likewise ordered, that three hundred tailors should make me a
+suit of clothes, after the fashion of the country; that six of his majesty's
+greatest scholars should be employed to instruct me in their language; and
+lastly, that the emperor's horses, and those of the nobility and troops of
+guards, should be frequently exercised in my sight, to accustom themselves to
+me. All these orders were duly put in execution; and in about three weeks I
+made a great progress in learning their language; during which time the emperor
+frequently honoured me with his visits, and was pleased to assist my masters in
+teaching me. We began already to converse together in some sort; and the first
+words I learnt, were to express my desire "that he would please give me my
+liberty;" which I every day repeated on my knees. His answer, as I could
+comprehend it, was, "that this must be a work of time, not to be thought on
+without the advice of his council, and that first I must lumos kelmin pesso
+desmar lon emposo;" that is, swear a peace with him and his kingdom. However,
+that I should be used with all kindness. And he advised me to "acquire, by my
+patience and discreet behaviour, the good opinion of himself and his subjects."
+He desired "I would not take it ill, if he gave orders to certain proper
+officers to search me; for probably I might carry about me several weapons,
+which must needs be dangerous things, if they answered the bulk of so
+prodigious a person." I said, "His majesty should be satisfied; for I was ready
+to strip myself, and turn up my pockets before him." This I delivered part in
+words, and part in signs. He replied, "that, by the laws of the kingdom, I must
+be searched by two of his officers; that he knew this could not be done without
+my consent and assistance; and he had so good an opinion of my generosity and
+justice, as to trust their persons in my hands; that whatever they took from
+me, should be returned when I left the country, or paid for at the rate which I
+would set upon them." I took up the two officers in my hands, put them first
+into my coat-pockets, and then into every other pocket about me, except my two
+fobs, and another secret pocket, which I had no mind should be searched,
+wherein I had some little necessaries that were of no consequence to any but
+myself. In one of my fobs there was a silver watch, and in the other a small
+quantity of gold in a purse. These gentlemen, having pen, ink, and paper, about
+them, made an exact inventory of every thing they saw; and when they had done,
+desired I would set them down, that they might deliver it to the emperor. This
+inventory I afterwards translated into English, and is, word for word, as
+"Imprimis: In the right coat-pocket of the great man-mountain" (for so I
+interpret the words quinbus flestrin,) "after the strictest search, we found
+only one great piece of coarse-cloth, large enough to be a foot-cloth for your
+majesty's chief room of state. In the left pocket we saw a huge silver chest,
+with a cover of the same metal, which we, the searchers, were not able to lift.
+We desired it should be opened, and one of us stepping into it, found himself
+up to the mid leg in a sort of dust, some part whereof flying up to our faces
+set us both a sneezing for several times together. In his right
+waistcoat-pocket we found a prodigious bundle of white thin substances, folded
+one over another, about the bigness of three men, tied with a strong cable, and
+marked with black figures; which we humbly conceive to be writings, every
+letter almost half as large as the palm of our hands. In the left there was a
+sort of engine, from the back of which were extended twenty long poles,
+resembling the pallisados before your majesty's court: wherewith we conjecture
+the man- mountain combs his head; for we did not always trouble him with
+questions, because we found it a great difficulty to make him understand us. In
+the large pocket, on the right side of his middle cover" (so I translate the
+word ranfulo, by which they meant my breeches,) "we saw a hollow pillar of
+iron, about the length of a man, fastened to a strong piece of timber larger
+than the pillar; and upon one side of the pillar, were huge pieces of iron
+sticking out, cut into strange figures, which we know not what to make of. In
+the left pocket, another engine of the same kind. In the smaller pocket on the
+right side, were several round flat pieces of white and red metal, of different
+bulk; some of the white, which seemed to be silver, were so large and heavy,
+that my comrade and I could hardly lift them. In the left pocket were two black
+pillars irregularly shaped: we could not, without difficulty, reach the top of
+them, as we stood at the bottom of his pocket. One of them was covered, and
+seemed all of a piece: but at the upper end of the other there appeared a white
+round substance, about twice the bigness of our heads. Within each of these was
+enclosed a prodigious plate of steel; which, by our orders, we obliged him to
+show us, because we apprehended they might be dangerous engines. He took them
+out of their cases, and told us, that in his own country his practice was to
+shave his beard with one of these, and cut his meat with the other. There were
+two pockets which we could not enter: these he called his fobs; they were two
+large slits cut into the top of his middle cover, but squeezed close by the
+pressure of his belly. Out of the right fob hung a great silver chain, with a
+wonderful kind of engine at the bottom. We directed him to draw out whatever
+was at the end of that chain; which appeared to be a globe, half silver, and
+half of some transparent metal; for, on the transparent side, we saw certain
+strange figures circularly drawn, and thought we could touch them, till we
+found our fingers stopped by the lucid substance. He put this engine into our
+ears, which made an incessant noise, like that of a water- mill: and we
+conjecture it is either some unknown animal, or the god that he worships; but
+we are more inclined to the latter opinion, because he assured us, (if we
+understood him right, for he expressed himself very imperfectly) that he seldom
+did any thing without consulting it. He called it his oracle, and said, it
+pointed out the time for every action of his life. From the left fob he took
+out a net almost large enough for a fisherman, but contrived to open and shut
+like a purse, and served him for the same use: we found therein several massy
+pieces of yellow metal, which, if they be real gold, must be of immense value.
+"Having thus, in obedience to your majesty's commands, diligently searched all
+his pockets, we observed a girdle about his waist made of the hide of some
+prodigious animal, from which, on the left side, hung a sword of the length of
+five men; and on the right, a bag or pouch divided into two cells, each cell
+capable of holding three of your majesty's subjects. In one of these cells were
+several globes, or balls, of a most ponderous metal, about the bigness of our
+heads, and requiring a strong hand to lift them: the other cell contained a
+heap of certain black grains, but of no great bulk or weight, for we could hold
+above fifty of them in the palms of our hands.
+"This is an exact inventory of what we found about the body of the
+man-mountain, who used us with great civility, and due respect to your
+majesty's commission. Signed and sealed on the fourth day of the eighty-ninth
+moon of your majesty's auspicious reign.
+When this inventory was read over to the emperor, he directed me, although in
+very gentle terms, to deliver up the several particulars. He first called for
+my scimitar, which I took out, scabbard and all. In the mean time he ordered
+three thousand of his choicest troops (who then attended him) to surround me at
+a distance, with their bows and arrows just ready to discharge; but I did not
+observe it, for mine eyes were wholly fixed upon his majesty. He then desired
+me to draw my scimitar, which, although it had got some rust by the sea water,
+was, in most parts, exceeding bright. I did so, and immediately all the troops
+gave a shout between terror and surprise; for the sun shone clear, and the
+reflection dazzled their eyes, as I waved the scimitar to and fro in my hand.
+His majesty, who is a most magnanimous prince, was less daunted than I could
+expect: he ordered me to return it into the scabbard, and cast it on the ground
+as gently as I could, about six feet from the end of my chain. The next thing
+he demanded was one of the hollow iron pillars; by which he meant my pocket
+pistols. I drew it out, and at his desire, as well as I could, expressed to him
+the use of it; and charging it only with powder, which, by the closeness of my
+pouch, happened to escape wetting in the sea (an inconvenience against which
+all prudent mariners take special care to provide,) I first cautioned the
+emperor not to be afraid, and then I let it off in the air. The astonishment
+here was much greater than at the sight of my scimitar. Hundreds fell down as
+if they had been struck dead; and even the emperor, although he stood his
+ground, could not recover himself for some time. I delivered up both my pistols
+in the same manner as I had done my scimitar, and then my pouch of powder and
+bullets; begging him that the former might be kept from fire, for it would
+kindle with the smallest spark, and blow up his imperial palace into the air. I
+likewise delivered up my watch, which the emperor was very curious to see, and
+commanded two of his tallest yeomen of the guards to bear it on a pole upon
+their shoulders, as draymen in England do a barrel of ale. He was amazed at the
+continual noise it made, and the motion of the minute-hand, which he could
+easily discern; for their sight is much more acute than ours: he asked the
+opinions of his learned men about it, which were various and remote, as the
+reader may well imagine without my repeating; although indeed I could not very
+perfectly understand them. I then gave up my silver and copper money, my purse,
+with nine large pieces of gold, and some smaller ones; my knife and razor, my
+comb and silver snuff-box, my handkerchief and journal-book. My scimitar,
+pistols, and pouch, were conveyed in carriages to his majesty's stores; but the
+rest of my goods were returned me.
+I had as I before observed, one private pocket, which escaped their search,
+wherein there was a pair of spectacles (which I sometimes use for the weakness
+of mine eyes,) a pocket perspective, and some other little conveniences; which,
+being of no consequence to the emperor, I did not think myself bound in honour
+to discover, and I apprehended they might be lost or spoiled if I ventured them
+out of my possession.
+[The author diverts the emperor, and his nobility of both sexes, in a very
+uncommon manner. The diversions of the court of Lilliput described. The author
+has his liberty granted him upon certain conditions.]
+My gentleness and good behaviour had gained so far on the emperor and his
+court, and indeed upon the army and people in general, that I began to conceive
+hopes of getting my liberty in a short time. I took all possible methods to
+cultivate this favourable disposition. The natives came, by degrees, to be less
+apprehensive of any danger from me. I would sometimes lie down, and let five or
+six of them dance on my hand; and at last the boys and girls would venture to
+come and play at hide-and-seek in my hair. I had now made a good progress in
+understanding and speaking the language. The emperor had a mind one day to
+entertain me with several of the country shows, wherein they exceed all nations
+I have known, both for dexterity and magnificence. I was diverted with none so
+much as that of the rope-dancers, performed upon a slender white thread,
+extended about two feet, and twelve inches from the ground. Upon which I shall
+desire liberty, with the reader's patience, to enlarge a little.
+This diversion is only practised by those persons who are candidates for great
+employments, and high favour at court. They are trained in this art from their
+youth, and are not always of noble birth, or liberal education. When a great
+office is vacant, either by death or disgrace (which often happens,) five or
+six of those candidates petition the emperor to entertain his majesty and the
+court with a dance on the rope; and whoever jumps the highest, without falling,
+succeeds in the office. Very often the chief ministers themselves are commanded
+to show their skill, and to convince the emperor that they have not lost their
+faculty. Flimnap, the treasurer, is allowed to cut a caper on the straight
+rope, at least an inch higher than any other lord in the whole empire. I have
+seen him do the summerset several times together, upon a trencher fixed on a
+rope which is no thicker than a common packthread in England. My friend
+Reldresal, principal secretary for private affairs, is, in my opinion, if I am
+not partial, the second after the treasurer; the rest of the great officers are
+much upon a par.
+These diversions are often attended with fatal accidents, whereof great numbers
+are on record. I myself have seen two or three candidates break a limb. But the
+danger is much greater, when the ministers themselves are commanded to show
+their dexterity; for, by contending to excel themselves and their fellows, they
+strain so far that there is hardly one of them who has not received a fall, and
+some of them two or three. I was assured that, a year or two before my arrival,
+Flimnap would infallibly have broke his neck, if one of the king's cushions,
+that accidentally lay on the ground, had not weakened the force of his fall.
+There is likewise another diversion, which is only shown before the emperor and
+empress, and first minister, upon particular occasions. The emperor lays on the
+table three fine silken threads of six inches long; one is blue, the other red,
+and the third green. These threads are proposed as prizes for those persons
+whom the emperor has a mind to distinguish by a peculiar mark of his favour.
+The ceremony is performed in his majesty's great chamber of state, where the
+candidates are to undergo a trial of dexterity very different from the former,
+and such as I have not observed the least resemblance of in any other country
+of the new or old world. The emperor holds a stick in his hands, both ends
+parallel to the horizon, while the candidates advancing, one by one, sometimes
+leap over the stick, sometimes creep under it, backward and forward, several
+times, according as the stick is advanced or depressed. Sometimes the emperor
+holds one end of the stick, and his first minister the other; sometimes the
+minister has it entirely to himself. Whoever performs his part with most
+agility, and holds out the longest in leaping and creeping, is rewarded with
+the blue- coloured silk; the red is given to the next, and the green to the
+third, which they all wear girt twice round about the middle; and you see few
+great persons about this court who are not adorned with one of these girdles.
+The horses of the army, and those of the royal stables, having been daily led
+before me, were no longer shy, but would come up to my very feet without
+starting. The riders would leap them over my hand, as I held it on the ground;
+and one of the emperor's huntsmen, upon a large courser, took my foot, shoe and
+all; which was indeed a prodigious leap. I had the good fortune to divert the
+emperor one day after a very extraordinary manner. I desired he would order
+several sticks of two feet high, and the thickness of an ordinary cane, to be
+brought me; whereupon his majesty commanded the master of his woods to give
+directions accordingly; and the next morning six woodmen arrived with as many
+carriages, drawn by eight horses to each. I took nine of these sticks, and
+fixing them firmly in the ground in a quadrangular figure, two feet and a half
+square, I took four other sticks, and tied them parallel at each corner, about
+two feet from the ground; then I fastened my handkerchief to the nine sticks
+that stood erect; and extended it on all sides, till it was tight as the top of
+a drum; and the four parallel sticks, rising about five inches higher than the
+handkerchief, served as ledges on each side. When I had finished my work, I
+desired the emperor to let a troop of his best horses twenty-four in number,
+come and exercise upon this plain. His majesty approved of the proposal, and I
+took them up, one by one, in my hands, ready mounted and armed, with the proper
+officers to exercise them. As soon as they got into order they divided into two
+parties, performed mock skirmishes, discharged blunt arrows, drew their swords,
+fled and pursued, attacked and retired, and in short discovered the best
+military discipline I ever beheld. The parallel sticks secured them and their
+horses from falling over the stage; and the emperor was so much delighted, that
+he ordered this entertainment to be repeated several days, and once was pleased
+to be lifted up and give the word of command; and with great difficulty
+persuaded even the empress herself to let me hold her in her close chair within
+two yards of the stage, when she was able to take a full view of the whole
+performance. It was my good fortune, that no ill accident happened in these
+entertainments; only once a fiery horse, that belonged to one of the captains,
+pawing with his hoof, struck a hole in my handkerchief, and his foot slipping,
+he overthrew his rider and himself; but I immediately relieved them both, and
+covering the hole with one hand, I set down the troop with the other, in the
+same manner as I took them up. The horse that fell was strained in the left
+shoulder, but the rider got no hurt; and I repaired my handkerchief as well as
+I could: however, I would not trust to the strength of it any more, in such
+dangerous enterprises.
+About two or three days before I was set at liberty, as I was entertaining the
+court with this kind of feat, there arrived an express to inform his majesty,
+that some of his subjects, riding near the place where I was first taken up,
+had seen a great black substance lying on the around, very oddly shaped,
+extending its edges round, as wide as his majesty's bedchamber, and rising up
+in the middle as high as a man; that it was no living creature, as they at
+first apprehended, for it lay on the grass without motion; and some of them had
+walked round it several times; that, by mounting upon each other's shoulders,
+they had got to the top, which was flat and even, and, stamping upon it, they
+found that it was hollow within; that they humbly conceived it might be
+something belonging to the man-mountain; and if his majesty pleased, they would
+undertake to bring it with only five horses. I presently knew what they meant,
+and was glad at heart to receive this intelligence. It seems, upon my first
+reaching the shore after our shipwreck, I was in such confusion, that before I
+came to the place where I went to sleep, my hat, which I had fastened with a
+string to my head while I was rowing, and had stuck on all the time I was
+swimming, fell off after I came to land; the string, as I conjecture, breaking
+by some accident, which I never observed, but thought my hat had been lost at
+sea. I entreated his imperial majesty to give orders it might be brought to me
+as soon as possible, describing to him the use and the nature of it: and the
+next day the waggoners arrived with it, but not in a very good condition; they
+had bored two holes in the brim, within an inch and half of the edge, and
+fastened two hooks in the holes; these hooks were tied by a long cord to the
+harness, and thus my hat was dragged along for above half an English mile; but,
+the ground in that country being extremely smooth and level, it received less
+damage than I expected.
+Two days after this adventure, the emperor, having ordered that part of his
+army which quarters in and about his metropolis, to be in readiness, took a
+fancy of diverting himself in a very singular manner. He desired I would stand
+like a Colossus, with my legs as far asunder as I conveniently could. He then
+commanded his general (who was an old experienced leader, and a great patron of
+mine) to draw up the troops in close order, and march them under me; the foot
+by twenty-four abreast, and the horse by sixteen, with drums beating, colours
+flying, and pikes advanced. This body consisted of three thousand foot, and a
+thousand horse. His majesty gave orders, upon pain of death, that every soldier
+in his march should observe the strictest decency with regard to my person;
+which however could not prevent some of the younger officers from turning up
+their eyes as they passed under me: and, to confess the truth, my breeches were
+at that time in so ill a condition, that they afforded some opportunities for
+laughter and admiration.
+I had sent so many memorials and petitions for my liberty, that his majesty at
+length mentioned the matter, first in the cabinet, and then in a full council;
+where it was opposed by none, except Skyresh Bolgolam, who was pleased, without
+any provocation, to be my mortal enemy. But it was carried against him by the
+whole board, and confirmed by the emperor. That minister was galbet, or admiral
+of the realm, very much in his master's confidence, and a person well versed in
+affairs, but of a morose and sour complexion. However, he was at length
+persuaded to comply; but prevailed that the articles and conditions upon which
+I should be set free, and to which I must swear, should be drawn up by himself.
+These articles were brought to me by Skyresh Bolgolam in person attended by two
+under-secretaries, and several persons of distinction. After they were read, I
+was demanded to swear to the performance of them; first in the manner of my own
+country, and afterwards in the method prescribed by their laws; which was, to
+hold my right foot in my left hand, and to place the middle finger of my right
+hand on the crown of my head, and my thumb on the tip of my right ear. But
+because the reader may be curious to have some idea of the style and manner of
+expression peculiar to that people, as well as to know the article upon which I
+recovered my liberty, I have made a translation of the whole instrument, word
+for word, as near as I was able, which I here offer to the public.
+"Golbasto Momarem Evlame Gurdilo Shefin Mully Ully Gue, most mighty Emperor of
+Lilliput, delight and terror of the universe, whose dominions extend five
+thousand blustrugs (about twelve miles in circumference) to the extremities of
+the globe; monarch of all monarchs, taller than the sons of men; whose feet
+press down to the centre, and whose head strikes against the sun; at whose nod
+the princes of the earth shake their knees; pleasant as the spring, comfortable
+as the summer, fruitful as autumn, dreadful as winter: his most sublime majesty
+proposes to the man-mountain, lately arrived at our celestial dominions, the
+following articles, which, by a solemn oath, he shall be obliged to perform:-
+"1st, The man-mountain shall not depart from our dominions, without our license
+under our great seal.
+"2d, He shall not presume to come into our metropolis, without our express
+order; at which time, the inhabitants shall have two hours warning to keep
+within doors.
+"3d, The said man-mountain shall confine his walks to our principal high roads,
+and not offer to walk, or lie down, in a meadow or field of corn.
+"4th, As he walks the said roads, he shall take the utmost care not to trample
+upon the bodies of any of our loving subjects, their horses, or carriages, nor
+take any of our subjects into his hands without their own consent.
+"5th, If an express requires extraordinary despatch, the man- mountain shall be
+obliged to carry, in his pocket, the messenger and horse a six days journey,
+once in every moon, and return the said messenger back (if so required) safe to
+our imperial presence.
+"6th, He shall be our ally against our enemies in the island of Blefuscu, and
+do his utmost to destroy their fleet, which is now preparing to invade us.
+"7th, That the said man-mountain shall, at his times of leisure, be aiding and
+assisting to our workmen, in helping to raise certain great stones, towards
+covering the wall of the principal park, and other our royal buildings.
+"8th, That the said man-mountain shall, in two moons' time, deliver in an exact
+survey of the circumference of our dominions, by a computation of his own paces
+round the coast.
+"Lastly, That, upon his solemn oath to observe all the above articles, the said
+man-mountain shall have a daily allowance of meat and drink sufficient for the
+support of 1724 of our subjects, with free access to our royal person, and
+other marks of our favour. Given at our palace at Belfaborac, the twelfth day
+of the ninety-first moon of our reign."
+I swore and subscribed to these articles with great cheerfulness and content,
+although some of them were not so honourable as I could have wished; which
+proceeded wholly from the malice of Skyresh Bolgolam, the high-admiral:
+whereupon my chains were immediately unlocked, and I was at full liberty. The
+emperor himself, in person, did me the honour to be by at the whole ceremony. I
+made my acknowledgements by prostrating myself at his majesty's feet: but he
+commanded me to rise; and after many gracious expressions, which, to avoid the
+censure of vanity, I shall not repeat, he added, "that he hoped I should prove
+a useful servant, and well deserve all the favours he had already conferred
+upon me, or might do for the future."
+The reader may please to observe, that, in the last article of the recovery of
+my liberty, the emperor stipulates to allow me a quantity of meat and drink
+sufficient for the support of 1724 Lilliputians. Some time after, asking a
+friend at court how they came to fix on that determinate number, he told me
+that his majesty's mathematicians, having taken the height of my body by the
+help of a quadrant, and finding it to exceed theirs in the proportion of twelve
+to one, they concluded from the similarity of their bodies, that mine must
+contain at least 1724 of theirs, and consequently would require as much food as
+was necessary to support that number of Lilliputians. By which the reader may
+conceive an idea of the ingenuity of that people, as well as the prudent and
+exact economy of so great a prince.
+[Mildendo, the metropolis of Lilliput, described, together with the emperor's
+palace. A conversation between the author and a principal secretary, concerning
+the affairs of that empire. The author's offers to serve the emperor in his
+The first request I made, after I had obtained my liberty, was, that I might
+have license to see Mildendo, the metropolis; which the emperor easily granted
+me, but with a special charge to do no hurt either to the inhabitants or their
+houses. The people had notice, by proclamation, of my design to visit the town.
+The wall which encompassed it is two feet and a half high, and at least eleven
+inches broad, so that a coach and horses may be driven very safely round it;
+and it is flanked with strong towers at ten feet distance. I stepped over the
+great western gate, and passed very gently, and sidling, through the two
+principal streets, only in my short waistcoat, for fear of damaging the roofs
+and eaves of the houses with the skirts of my coat. I walked with the utmost
+circumspection, to avoid treading on any stragglers who might remain in the
+streets, although the orders were very strict, that all people should keep in
+their houses, at their own peril. The garret windows and tops of houses were so
+crowded with spectators, that I thought in all my travels I had not seen a more
+populous place. The city is an exact square, each side of the wall being five
+hundred feet long. The two great streets, which run across and divide it into
+four quarters, are five feet wide. The lanes and alleys, which I could not
+enter, but only view them as I passed, are from twelve to eighteen inches. The
+town is capable of holding five hundred thousand souls: the houses are from
+three to five stories: the shops and markets well provided.
+The emperor's palace is in the centre of the city where the two great streets
+meet. It is enclosed by a wall of two feet high, and twenty feet distance from
+the buildings. I had his majesty's permission to step over this wall; and, the
+space being so wide between that and the palace, I could easily view it on
+every side. The outward court is a square of forty feet, and includes two other
+courts: in the inmost are the royal apartments, which I was very desirous to
+see, but found it extremely difficult; for the great gates, from one square
+into another, were but eighteen inches high, and seven inches wide. Now the
+buildings of the outer court were at least five feet high, and it was
+impossible for me to stride over them without infinite damage to the pile,
+though the walls were strongly built of hewn stone, and four inches thick. At
+the same time the emperor had a great desire that I should see the magnificence
+of his palace; but this I was not able to do till three days after, which I
+spent in cutting down with my knife some of the largest trees in the royal
+park, about a hundred yards distant from the city. Of these trees I made two
+stools, each about three feet high, and strong enough to bear my weight. The
+people having received notice a second time, I went again through the city to
+the palace with my two stools in my hands. When I came to the side of the outer
+court, I stood upon one stool, and took the other in my hand; this I lifted
+over the roof, and gently set it down on the space between the first and second
+court, which was eight feet wide. I then stept over the building very
+conveniently from one stool to the other, and drew up the first after me with a
+hooked stick. By this contrivance I got into the inmost court; and, lying down
+upon my side, I applied my face to the windows of the middle stories, which
+were left open on purpose, and discovered the most splendid apartments that can
+be imagined. There I saw the empress and the young princes, in their several
+lodgings, with their chief attendants about them. Her imperial majesty was
+pleased to smile very graciously upon me, and gave me out of the window her
+hand to kiss.
+But I shall not anticipate the reader with further descriptions of this kind,
+because I reserve them for a greater work, which is now almost ready for the
+press; containing a general description of this empire, from its first
+erection, through along series of princes; with a particular account of their
+wars and politics, laws, learning, and religion; their plants and animals;
+their peculiar manners and customs, with other matters very curious and useful;
+my chief design at present being only to relate such events and transactions as
+happened to the public or to myself during a residence of about nine months in
+that empire.
+One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my liberty, Reldresal,
+principal secretary (as they style him) for private affairs, came to my house
+attended only by one servant. He ordered his coach to wait at a distance, and
+desired I would give him an hours audience; which I readily consented to, on
+account of his quality and personal merits, as well as of the many good offices
+he had done me during my solicitations at court. I offered to lie down that he
+might the more conveniently reach my ear, but he chose rather to let me hold
+him in my hand during our conversation. He began with compliments on my
+liberty; said "he might pretend to some merit in it;" but, however, added,
+"that if it had not been for the present situation of things at court, perhaps
+I might not have obtained it so soon. For," said he, "as flourishing a
+condition as we may appear to be in to foreigners, we labour under two mighty
+evils: a violent faction at home, and the danger of an invasion, by a most
+potent enemy, from abroad. As to the first, you are to understand, that for
+about seventy moons past there have been two struggling parties in this empire,
+under the names of Tramecksan and Slamecksan, from the high and low heels of
+their shoes, by which they distinguish themselves. It is alleged, indeed, that
+the high heels are most agreeable to our ancient constitution; but, however
+this be, his majesty has determined to make use only of low heels in the
+administration of the government, and all offices in the gift of the crown, as
+you cannot but observe; and particularly that his majesty's imperial heels are
+lower at least by a drurr than any of his court (drurr is a measure about the
+fourteenth part of an inch). The animosities between these two parties run so
+high, that they will neither eat, nor drink, nor talk with each other. We
+compute the Tramecksan, or high heels, to exceed us in number; but the power is
+wholly on our side. We apprehend his imperial highness, the heir to the crown,
+to have some tendency towards the high heels; at least we can plainly discover
+that one of his heels is higher than the other, which gives him a hobble in his
+gait. Now, in the midst of these intestine disquiets, we are threatened with an
+invasion from the island of Blefuscu, which is the other great empire of the
+universe, almost as large and powerful as this of his majesty. For as to what
+we have heard you affirm, that there are other kingdoms and states in the world
+inhabited by human creatures as large as yourself, our philosophers are in much
+doubt, and would rather conjecture that you dropped from the moon, or one of
+the stars; because it is certain, that a hundred mortals of your bulk would in
+a short time destroy all the fruits and cattle of his majesty's dominions:
+besides, our histories of six thousand moons make no mention of any other
+regions than the two great empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu. Which two mighty
+powers have, as I was going to tell you, been engaged in a most obstinate war
+for six-and-thirty moons past. It began upon the following occasion. It is
+allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs, before we eat
+them, was upon the larger end; but his present majesty's grandfather, while he
+was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient
+practice, happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon the emperor his father
+published an edict, commanding all his subjects, upon great penalties, to break
+the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law, that our
+histories tell us, there have been six rebellions raised on that account;
+wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown. These civil
+commotions were constantly fomented by the monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they
+were quelled, the exiles always fled for refuge to that empire. It is computed
+that eleven thousand persons have at several times suffered death, rather than
+submit to break their eggs at the smaller end. Many hundred large volumes have
+been published upon this controversy: but the books of the Big- endians have
+been long forbidden, and the whole party rendered incapable by law of holding
+employments. During the course of these troubles, the emperors of Blefusca did
+frequently expostulate by their ambassadors, accusing us of making a schism in
+religion, by offending against a fundamental doctrine of our great prophet
+Lustrog, in the fifty-fourth chapter of the Blundecral (which is their
+Alcoran). This, however, is thought to be a mere strain upon the text; for the
+words are these: 'that all true believers break their eggs at the convenient
+end.' And which is the convenient end, seems, in my humble opinion to be left
+to every man's conscience, or at least in the power of the chief magistrate to
+determine. Now, the Big-endian exiles have found so much credit in the emperor
+of Blefuscu's court, and so much private assistance and encouragement from
+their party here at home, that a bloody war has been carried on between the two
+empires for six-and-thirty moons, with various success; during which time we
+have lost forty capital ships, and a much a greater number of smaller vessels,
+together with thirty thousand of our best seamen and soldiers; and the damage
+received by the enemy is reckoned to be somewhat greater than ours. However,
+they have now equipped a numerous fleet, and are just preparing to make a
+descent upon us; and his imperial majesty, placing great confidence in your
+valour and strength, has commanded me to lay this account of his affairs before
+I desired the secretary to present my humble duty to the emperor; and to let
+him know, "that I thought it would not become me, who was a foreigner, to
+interfere with parties; but I was ready, with the hazard of my life, to defend
+his person and state against all invaders."
+[The author, by an extraordinary stratagem, prevents an invasion. A high title
+of honour is conferred upon him. Ambassadors arrive from the emperor of
+Blefuscu, and sue for peace. The empress's apartment on fire by an accident;
+the author instrumental in saving the rest of the palace.]
+The empire of Blefuscu is an island situated to the north-east of Lilliput,
+from which it is parted only by a channel of eight hundred yards wide. I had
+not yet seen it, and upon this notice of an intended invasion, I avoided
+appearing on that side of the coast, for fear of being discovered, by some of
+the enemy's ships, who had received no intelligence of me; all intercourse
+between the two empires having been strictly forbidden during the war, upon
+pain of death, and an embargo laid by our emperor upon all vessels whatsoever.
+I communicated to his majesty a project I had formed of seizing the enemy's
+whole fleet; which, as our scouts assured us, lay at anchor in the harbour,
+ready to sail with the first fair wind. I consulted the most experienced seamen
+upon the depth of the channel, which they had often plumbed; who told me, that
+in the middle, at high-water, it was seventy glumgluffs deep, which is about
+six feet of European measure; and the rest of it fifty glumgluffs at most. I
+walked towards the north-east coast, over against Blefuscu, where, lying down
+behind a hillock, I took out my small perspective glass, and viewed the enemy's
+fleet at anchor, consisting of about fifty men of war, and a great number of
+transports: I then came back to my house, and gave orders (for which I had a
+warrant) for a great quantity of the strongest cable and bars of iron. The
+cable was about as thick as packthread and the bars of the length and size of a
+knitting-needle. I trebled the cable to make it stronger, and for the same
+reason I twisted three of the iron bars together, bending the extremities into
+a hook. Having thus fixed fifty hooks to as many cables, I went back to the
+north-east coast, and putting off my coat, shoes, and stockings, walked into
+the sea, in my leathern jerkin, about half an hour before high water. I waded
+with what haste I could, and swam in the middle about thirty yards, till I felt
+ground. I arrived at the fleet in less than half an hour. The enemy was so
+frightened when they saw me, that they leaped out of their ships, and swam to
+shore, where there could not be fewer than thirty thousand souls. I then took
+my tackling, and, fastening a hook to the hole at the prow of each, I tied all
+the cords together at the end. While I was thus employed, the enemy discharged
+several thousand arrows, many of which stuck in my hands and face, and, beside
+the excessive smart, gave me much disturbance in my work. My greatest
+apprehension was for mine eyes, which I should have infallibly lost, if I had
+not suddenly thought of an expedient. I kept, among other little necessaries, a
+pair of spectacles in a private pocket, which, as I observed before, had
+escaped the emperor's searchers. These I took out and fastened as strongly as I
+could upon my nose, and thus armed, went on boldly with my work, in spite of
+the enemy's arrows, many of which struck against the glasses of my spectacles,
+but without any other effect, further than a little to discompose them. I had
+now fastened all the hooks, and, taking the knot in my hand, began to pull; but
+not a ship would stir, for they were all too fast held by their anchors, so
+that the boldest part of my enterprise remained. I therefore let go the cord,
+and leaving the looks fixed to the ships, I resolutely cut with my knife the
+cables that fastened the anchors, receiving about two hundred shots in my face
+and hands; then I took up the knotted end of the cables, to which my hooks were
+tied, and with great ease drew fifty of the enemy's largest men of war after
+The Blefuscudians, who had not the least imagination of what I intended, were
+at first confounded with astonishment. They had seen me cut the cables, and
+thought my design was only to let the ships run adrift or fall foul on each
+other: but when they perceived the whole fleet moving in order, and saw me
+pulling at the end, they set up such a scream of grief and despair as it is
+almost impossible to describe or conceive. When I had got out of danger, I
+stopped awhile to pick out the arrows that stuck in my hands and face; and
+rubbed on some of the same ointment that was given me at my first arrival, as I
+have formerly mentioned. I then took off my spectacles, and waiting about an
+hour, till the tide was a little fallen, I waded through the middle with my
+cargo, and arrived safe at the royal port of Lilliput.
+The emperor and his whole court stood on the shore, expecting the issue of this
+great adventure. They saw the ships move forward in a large half-moon, but
+could not discern me, who was up to my breast in water. When I advanced to the
+middle of the channel, they were yet more in pain, because I was under water to
+my neck. The emperor concluded me to be drowned, and that the enemy's fleet was
+approaching in a hostile manner: but he was soon eased of his fears; for the
+channel growing shallower every step I made, I came in a short time within
+hearing, and holding up the end of the cable, by which the fleet was fastened,
+I cried in a loud voice, "Long live the most puissant king of Lilliput!" This
+great prince received me at my landing with all possible encomiums, and created
+me a nardac upon the spot, which is the highest title of honour among them.
+His majesty desired I would take some other opportunity of bringing all the
+rest of his enemy's ships into his ports. And so unmeasureable is the ambition
+of princes, that he seemed to think of nothing less than reducing the whole
+empire of Blefuscu into a province, and governing it, by a viceroy; of
+destroying the Big- endian exiles, and compelling that people to break the
+smaller end of their eggs, by which he would remain the sole monarch of the
+whole world. But I endeavoured to divert him from this design, by many
+arguments drawn from the topics of policy as well as justice; and I plainly
+protested, "that I would never be an instrument of bringing a free and brave
+people into slavery." And, when the matter was debated in council, the wisest
+part of the ministry were of my opinion.
+This open bold declaration of mine was so opposite to the schemes and politics
+of his imperial majesty, that he could never forgive me. He mentioned it in a
+very artful manner at council, where I was told that some of the wisest
+appeared, at least by their silence, to be of my opinion; but others, who were
+my secret enemies, could not forbear some expressions which, by a side-wind,
+reflected on me. And from this time began an intrigue between his majesty and a
+junto of ministers, maliciously bent against me, which broke out in less than
+two months, and had like to have ended in my utter destruction. Of so little
+weight are the greatest services to princes, when put into the balance with a
+refusal to gratify their passions.
+About three weeks after this exploit, there arrived a solemn embassy from
+Blefuscu, with humble offers of a peace, which was soon concluded, upon
+conditions very advantageous to our emperor, wherewith I shall not trouble the
+reader. There were six ambassadors, with a train of about five hundred persons,
+and their entry was very magnificent, suitable to the grandeur of their master,
+and the importance of their business. When their treaty was finished, wherein I
+did them several good offices by the credit I now had, or at least appeared to
+have, at court, their excellencies, who were privately told how much I had been
+their friend, made me a visit in form. They began with many compliments upon my
+valour and generosity, invited me to that kingdom in the emperor their master's
+name, and desired me to show them some proofs of my prodigious strength, of
+which they had heard so many wonders; wherein I readily obliged them, but shall
+not trouble the reader with the particulars.
+When I had for some time entertained their excellencies, to their infinite
+satisfaction and surprise, I desired they would do me the honour to present my
+most humble respects to the emperor their master, the renown of whose virtues
+had so justly filled the whole world with admiration, and whose royal person I
+resolved to attend, before I returned to my own country. Accordingly, the next
+time I had the honour to see our emperor, I desired his general license to wait
+on the Blefuscudian monarch, which he was pleased to grant me, as I could
+perceive, in a very cold manner; but could not guess the reason, till I had a
+whisper from a certain person, "that Flimnap and Bolgolam had represented my
+intercourse with those ambassadors as a mark of disaffection;" from which I am
+sure my heart was wholly free. And this was the first time I began to conceive
+some imperfect idea of courts and ministers.
+It is to be observed, that these ambassadors spoke to me, by an interpreter,
+the languages of both empires differing as much from each other as any two in
+Europe, and each nation priding itself upon the antiquity, beauty, and energy
+of their own tongue, with an avowed contempt for that of their neighbour; yet
+our emperor, standing upon the advantage he had got by the seizure of their
+fleet, obliged them to deliver their credentials, and make their speech, in the
+Lilliputian tongue. And it must be confessed, that from the great intercourse
+of trade and commerce between both realms, from the continual reception of
+exiles which is mutual among them, and from the custom, in each empire, to send
+their young nobility and richer gentry to the other, in order to polish
+themselves by seeing the world, and understanding men and manners; there are
+few persons of distinction, or merchants, or seamen, who dwell in the maritime
+parts, but what can hold conversation in both tongues; as I found some weeks
+after, when I went to pay my respects to the emperor of Blefuscu, which, in the
+midst of great misfortunes, through the malice of my enemies, proved a very
+happy adventure to me, as I shall relate in its proper place.
+The reader may remember, that when I signed those articles upon which I
+recovered my liberty, there were some which I disliked, upon account of their
+being too servile; neither could anything but an extreme necessity have forced
+me to submit. But being now a nardac of the highest rank in that empire, such
+offices were looked upon as below my dignity, and the emperor (to do him
+justice), never once mentioned them to me. However, it was not long before I
+had an opportunity of doing his majesty, at least as I then thought, a most
+signal service. I was alarmed at midnight with the cries of many hundred people
+at my door; by which, being suddenly awaked, I was in some kind of terror. I
+heard the word Burglum repeated incessantly: several of the emperor's court,
+making their way through the crowd, entreated me to come immediately to the
+palace, where her imperial majesty's apartment was on fire, by the carelessness
+of a maid of honour, who fell asleep while she was reading a romance. I got up
+in an instant; and orders being given to clear the way before me, and it being
+likewise a moonshine night, I made a shift to get to the palace without
+trampling on any of the people. I found they had already applied ladders to the
+walls of the apartment, and were well provided with buckets, but the water was
+at some distance. These buckets were about the size of large thimbles, and the
+poor people supplied me with them as fast as they could: but the flame was so
+violent that they did little good. I might easily have stifled it with my coat,
+which I unfortunately left behind me for haste, and came away only in my
+leathern jerkin. The case seemed wholly desperate and deplorable; and this
+magnificent palace would have infallibly been burnt down to the ground, if, by
+a presence of mind unusual to me, I had not suddenly thought of an expedient. I
+had, the evening before, drunk plentifully of a most delicious wine called
+glimigrim, (the Blefuscudians call it flunec, but ours is esteemed the better
+sort,) which is very diuretic. By the luckiest chance in the world, I had not
+discharged myself of any part of it. The heat I had contracted by coming very
+near the flames, and by labouring to quench them, made the wine begin to
+operate by urine; which I voided in such a quantity, and applied so well to the
+proper places, that in three minutes the fire was wholly extinguished, and the
+rest of that noble pile, which had cost so many ages in erecting, preserved
+from destruction.
+It was now day-light, and I returned to my house without waiting to
+congratulate with the emperor: because, although I had done a very eminent
+piece of service, yet I could not tell how his majesty might resent the manner
+by which I had performed it: for, by the fundamental laws of the realm, it is
+capital in any person, of what quality soever, to make water within the
+precincts of the palace. But I was a little comforted by a message from his
+majesty, "that he would give orders to the grand justiciary for passing my
+pardon in form:" which, however, I could not obtain; and I was privately
+assured, "that the empress, conceiving the greatest abhorrence of what I had
+done, removed to the most distant side of the court, firmly resolved that those
+buildings should never be repaired for her use: and, in the presence of her
+chief confidents could not forbear vowing revenge."
+[Of the inhabitants of Lilliput; their learning, laws, and customs; the manner
+of educating their children. The author's way of living in that country. His
+vindication of a great lady.]
+Although I intend to leave the description of this empire to a particular
+treatise, yet, in the mean time, I am content to gratify the curious reader
+with some general ideas. As the common size of the natives is somewhat under
+six inches high, so there is an exact proportion in all other animals, as well
+as plants and trees: for instance, the tallest horses and oxen are between four
+and five inches in height, the sheep an inch and half, more or less: their
+geese about the bigness of a sparrow, and so the several gradations downwards
+till you come to the smallest, which to my sight, were almost invisible; but
+nature has adapted the eyes of the Lilliputians to all objects proper for their
+view: they see with great exactness, but at no great distance. And, to show the
+sharpness of their sight towards objects that are near, I have been much
+pleased with observing a cook pulling a lark, which was not so large as a
+common fly; and a young girl threading an invisible needle with invisible silk.
+Their tallest trees are about seven feet high: I mean some of those in the
+great royal park, the tops whereof I could but just reach with my fist
+clenched. The other vegetables are in the same proportion; but this I leave to
+the reader's imagination.
+I shall say but little at present of their learning, which, for many ages, has
+flourished in all its branches among them: but their manner of writing is very
+peculiar, being neither from the left to the right, like the Europeans, nor
+from the right to the left, like the Arabians, nor from up to down, like the
+Chinese, but aslant, from one corner of the paper to the other, like ladies in
+They bury their dead with their heads directly downward, because they hold an
+opinion, that in eleven thousand moons they are all to rise again; in which
+period the earth (which they conceive to be flat) will turn upside down, and by
+this means they shall, at their resurrection, be found ready standing on their
+feet. The learned among them confess the absurdity of this doctrine; but the
+practice still continues, in compliance to the vulgar.
+There are some laws and customs in this empire very peculiar; and if they were
+not so directly contrary to those of my own dear country, I should be tempted
+to say a little in their justification. It is only to be wished they were as
+well executed. The first I shall mention, relates to informers. All crimes
+against the state, are punished here with the utmost severity; but, if the
+person accused makes his innocence plainly to appear upon his trial, the
+accuser is immediately put to an ignominious death; and out of his goods or
+lands the innocent person is quadruply recompensed for the loss of his time,
+for the danger he underwent, for the hardship of his imprisonment, and for all
+the charges he has been at in making his defence; or, if that fund be
+deficient, it is largely supplied by the crown. The emperor also confers on him
+some public mark of his favour, and proclamation is made of his innocence
+through the whole city.
+They look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft, and therefore seldom fail
+to punish it with death; for they allege, that care and vigilance, with a very
+common understanding, may preserve a man's goods from thieves, but honesty has
+no defence against superior cunning; and, since it is necessary that there
+should be a perpetual intercourse of buying and selling, and dealing upon
+credit, where fraud is permitted and connived at, or has no law to punish it,
+the honest dealer is always undone, and the knave gets the advantage. I
+remember, when I was once interceding with the emperor for a criminal who had
+wronged his master of a great sum of money, which he had received by order and
+ran away with; and happening to tell his majesty, by way of extenuation, that
+it was only a breach of trust, the emperor thought it monstrous in me to offer
+as a defence the greatest aggravation of the crime; and truly I had little to
+say in return, farther than the common answer, that different nations had
+different customs; for, I confess, I was heartily ashamed.~^
+Although we usually call reward and punishment the two hinges upon which all
+government turns, yet I could never observe this maxim to be put in practice by
+any nation except that of Lilliput. Whoever can there bring sufficient proof,
+that he has strictly observed the laws of his country for seventy-three moons,
+has a claim to certain privileges, according to his quality or condition of
+life, with a proportionable sum of money out of a fund appropriated for that
+use: he likewise acquires the title of snilpall, or legal, which is added to
+his name, but does not descend to his posterity. And these people thought it a
+prodigious defect of policy among us, when I told them that our laws were
+enforced only by penalties, without any mention of reward. It is upon this
+account that the image of Justice, in their courts of judicature, is formed
+with six eyes, two before, as many behind, and on each side one, to signify
+circumspection; with a bag of gold open in her right hand, and a sword sheathed
+in her left, to show she is more disposed to reward than to punish.
+In choosing persons for all employments, they have more regard to good morals
+than to great abilities; for, since government is necessary to mankind, they
+believe, that the common size of human understanding is fitted to some station
+or other; and that Providence never intended to make the management of public
+affairs a mystery to be comprehended only by a few persons of sublime genius,
+of which there seldom are three born in an age: but they suppose truth,
+justice, temperance, and the like, to be in every man's power; the practice of
+which virtues, assisted by experience and a good intention, would qualify any
+man for the service of his country, except where a course of study is required.
+But they thought the want of moral virtues was so far from being supplied by
+superior endowments of the mind, that employments could never be put into such
+dangerous hands as those of persons so qualified; and, at least, that the
+mistakes committed by ignorance, in a virtuous disposition, would never be of
+such fatal consequence to the public weal, as the practices of a man, whose
+inclinations led him to be corrupt, and who had great abilities to manage, to
+multiply, and defend his corruptions.
+In like manner, the disbelief of a Divine Providence renders a man incapable of
+holding any public station; for, since kings avow themselves to be the deputies
+of Providence, the Lilliputians think nothing can be more absurd than for a
+prince to employ such men as disown the authority under which he acts.
+In relating these and the following laws, I would only be understood to mean
+the original institutions, and not the most scandalous corruptions, into which
+these people are fallen by the degenerate nature of man. For, as to that
+infamous practice of acquiring great employments by dancing on the ropes, or
+badges of favour and distinction by leaping over sticks and creeping under
+them, the reader is to observe, that they were first introduced by the
+grandfather of the emperor now reigning, and grew to the present height by the
+gradual increase of party and faction.
+Ingratitude is among them a capital crime, as we read it to have been in some
+other countries: for they reason thus; that whoever makes ill returns to his
+benefactor, must needs be a common enemy to the rest of mankind, from whom he
+has received no obligation, and therefore such a man is not fit to live.
+Their notions relating to the duties of parents and children differ extremely
+from ours. For, since the conjunction of male and female is founded upon the
+great law of nature, in order to propagate and continue the species, the
+Lilliputians will needs have it, that men and women are joined together, like
+other animals, by the motives of concupiscence; and that their tenderness
+towards their young proceeds from the like natural principle: for which reason
+they will never allow that a child is under any obligation to his father for
+begetting him, or to his mother for bringing him into the world; which,
+considering the miseries of human life, was neither a benefit in itself, nor
+intended so by his parents, whose thoughts, in their love encounters, were
+otherwise employed. Upon these, and the like reasonings, their opinion is, that
+parents are the last of all others to be trusted with the education of their
+own children; and therefore they have in every town public nurseries, where all
+parents, except cottagers and labourers, are obliged to send their infants of
+both sexes to be reared and educated, when they come to the age of twenty
+moons, at which time they are supposed to have some rudiments of docility.
+These schools are of several kinds, suited to different qualities, and both
+sexes. They have certain professors well skilled in preparing children for such
+a condition of life as befits the rank of their parents, and their own
+capacities, as well as inclinations. I shall first say something of the male
+nurseries, and then of the female.
+The nurseries for males of noble or eminent birth, are provided with grave and
+learned professors, and their several deputies. The clothes and food of the
+children are plain and simple. They are bred up in the principles of honour,
+justice, courage, modesty, clemency, religion, and love of their country; they
+are always employed in some business, except in the times of eating and
+sleeping, which are very short, and two hours for diversions consisting of
+bodily exercises. They are dressed by men till four years of age, and then are
+obliged to dress themselves, although their quality be ever so great; and the
+women attendant, who are aged proportionably to ours at fifty, perform only the
+most menial offices. They are never suffered to converse with servants, but go
+together in smaller or greater numbers to take their diversions, and always in
+the presence of a professor, or one of his deputies; whereby they avoid those
+early bad impressions of folly and vice, to which our children are subject.
+Their parents are suffered to see them only twice a year; the visit is to last
+but an hour; they are allowed to kiss the child at meeting and parting; but a
+professor, who always stands by on those occasions, will not suffer them to
+whisper, or use any fondling expressions, or bring any presents of toys,
+sweetmeats, and the like.
+The pension from each family for the education and entertainment of a child,
+upon failure of due payment, is levied by the emperor's officers.
+The nurseries for children of ordinary gentlemen, merchants, traders, and
+handicrafts, are managed proportionably after the same manner; only those
+designed for trades are put out apprentices at eleven years old, whereas those
+of persons of quality continue in their exercises till fifteen, which answers
+to twenty-one with us: but the confinement is gradually lessened for the last
+three years.
+In the female nurseries, the young girls of quality are educated much like the
+males, only they are dressed by orderly servants of their own sex; but always
+in the presence of a professor or deputy, till they come to dress themselves,
+which is at five years old. And if it be found that these nurses ever presume
+to entertain the girls with frightful or foolish stories, or the common follies
+practised by chambermaids among us, they are publicly whipped thrice about the
+city, imprisoned for a year, and banished for life to the most desolate part of
+the country. Thus the young ladies are as much ashamed of being cowards and
+fools as the men, and despise all personal ornaments, beyond decency and
+cleanliness: neither did I perceive any difference in their education made by
+their difference of sex, only that the exercises of the females were not
+altogether so robust; and that some rules were given them relating to domestic
+life, and a smaller compass of learning was enjoined them: for their maxim is,
+that among peoples of quality, a wife should be always a reasonable and
+agreeable companion, because she cannot always be young. When the girls are
+twelve years old, which among them is the marriageable age, their parents or
+guardians take them home, with great expressions of gratitude to the
+professors, and seldom without tears of the young lady and her companions.
+In the nurseries of females of the meaner sort, the children are instructed in
+all kinds of works proper for their sex, and their several degrees: those
+intended for apprentices are dismissed at seven years old, the rest are kept to
+The meaner families who have children at these nurseries, are obliged, besides
+their annual pension, which is as low as possible, to return to the steward of
+the nursery a small monthly share of their gettings, to be a portion for the
+child; and therefore all parents are limited in their expenses by the law. For
+the Lilliputians think nothing can be more unjust, than for people, in
+subservience to their own appetites, to bring children into the world, and
+leave the burthen of supporting them on the public. As to persons of quality,
+they give security to appropriate a certain sum for each child, suitable to
+their condition; and these funds are always managed with good husbandry and the
+most exact justice.
+The cottagers and labourers keep their children at home, their business being
+only to till and cultivate the earth, and therefore their education is of
+little consequence to the public: but the old and diseased among them, are
+supported by hospitals; for begging is a trade unknown in this empire.
+And here it may, perhaps, divert the curious reader, to give some account of my
+domestics, and my manner of living in this country, during a residence of nine
+months, and thirteen days. Having a head mechanically turned, and being
+likewise forced by necessity, I had made for myself a table and chair
+convenient enough, out of the largest trees in the royal park. Two hundred
+sempstresses were employed to make me shirts, and linen for my bed and table,
+all of the strongest and coarsest kind they could get; which, however, they
+were forced to quilt together in several folds, for the thickest was some
+degrees finer than lawn. Their linen is usually three inches wide, and three
+feet make a piece. The sempstresses took my measure as I lay on the ground, one
+standing at my neck, and another at my mid-leg, with a strong cord extended,
+that each held by the end, while a third measured the length of the cord with a
+rule of an inch long. Then they measured my right thumb, and desired no more;
+for by a mathematical computation, that twice round the thumb is once round the
+wrist, and so on to the neck and the waist, and by the help of my old shirt,
+which I displayed on the ground before them for a pattern, they fitted me
+exactly. Three hundred tailors were employed in the same manner to make me
+clothes; but they had another contrivance for taking my measure. I kneeled
+down, and they raised a ladder from the ground to my neck; upon this ladder one
+of them mounted, and let fall a plumb-line from my collar to the floor, which
+just answered the length of my coat: but my waist and arms I measured myself.
+When my clothes were finished, which was done in my house (for the largest of
+theirs would not have been able to hold them), they looked like the patch-work
+made by the ladies in England, only that mine were all of a colour.
+I had three hundred cooks to dress my victuals, in little convenient huts built
+about my house, where they and their families lived, and prepared me two dishes
+a-piece. I took up twenty waiters in my hand, and placed them on the table: a
+hundred more attended below on the ground, some with dishes of meat, and some
+with barrels of wine and other liquors slung on their shoulders; all which the
+waiters above drew up, as I wanted, in a very ingenious manner, by certain
+cords, as we draw the bucket up a well in Europe. A dish of their meat was a
+good mouthful, and a barrel of their liquor a reasonable draught. Their mutton
+yields to ours, but their beef is excellent. I have had a sirloin so large,
+that I have been forced to make three bites of it; but this is rare. My
+servants were astonished to see me eat it, bones and all, as in our country we
+do the leg of a lark. Their geese and turkeys I usually ate at a mouthful, and
+I confess they far exceed ours. Of their smaller fowl I could take up twenty or
+thirty at the end of my knife.
+One day his imperial majesty, being informed of my way of living, desired "that
+himself and his royal consort, with the young princes of the blood of both
+sexes, might have the happiness," as he was pleased to call it, "of dining with
+me." They came accordingly, and I placed them in chairs of state, upon my
+table, just over against me, with their guards about them. Flimnap, the lord
+high treasurer, attended there likewise with his white staff; and I observed he
+often looked on me with a sour countenance, which I would not seem to regard,
+but ate more than usual, in honour to my dear country, as well as to fill the
+court with admiration. I have some private reasons to believe, that this visit
+from his majesty gave Flimnap an opportunity of doing me ill offices to his
+master. That minister had always been my secret enemy, though he outwardly
+caressed me more than was usual to the moroseness of his nature. He represented
+to the emperor "the low condition of his treasury; that he was forced to take
+up money at a great discount; that exchequer bills would not circulate under
+nine per cent. below par; that I had cost his majesty above a million and a
+half of sprugs" (their greatest gold coin, about the bigness of a spangle)
+"and, upon the whole, that it would be advisable in the emperor to take the
+first fair occasion of dismissing me."
+I am here obliged to vindicate the reputation of an excellent lady, who was an
+innocent sufferer upon my account. The treasurer took a fancy to be jealous of
+his wife, from the malice of some evil tongues, who informed him that her grace
+had taken a violent affection for my person; and the court scandal ran for some
+time, that she once came privately to my lodging. This I solemnly declare to be
+a most infamous falsehood, without any grounds, further than that her grace was
+pleased to treat me with all innocent marks of freedom and friendship. I own
+she came often to my house, but always publicly, nor ever without three more in
+the coach, who were usually her sister and young daughter, and some particular
+acquaintance; but this was common to many other ladies of the court. And I
+still appeal to my servants round, whether they at any time saw a coach at my
+door, without knowing what persons were in it. On those occasions, when a
+servant had given me notice, my custom was to go immediately to the door, and,
+after paying my respects, to take up the coach and two horses very carefully in
+my hands (for, if there were six horses, the postillion always unharnessed
+four,) and place them on a table, where I had fixed a movable rim quite round,
+of five inches high, to prevent accidents. And I have often had four coaches
+and horses at once on my table, full of company, while I sat in my chair,
+leaning my face towards them; and when I was engaged with one set, the coachmen
+would gently drive the others round my table. I have passed many an afternoon
+very agreeably in these conversations. But I defy the treasurer, or his two
+informers (I will name them, and let them make the best of it) Clustril and
+Drunlo, to prove that any person ever came to me incognito, except the
+secretary Reldresal, who was sent by express command of his imperial majesty,
+as I have before related. I should not have dwelt so long upon this particular,
+if it had not been a point wherein the reputation of a great lady is so nearly
+concerned, to say nothing of my own; though I then had the honour to be a
+nardac, which the treasurer himself is not; for all the world knows, that he is
+only a glumglum, a title inferior by one degree, as that of a marquis is to a
+duke in England; yet I allow he preceded me in right of his post. These false
+informations, which I afterwards came to the knowledge of by an accident not
+proper to mention, made the treasurer show his lady for some time an ill
+countenance, and me a worse; and although he was at last undeceived and
+reconciled to her, yet I lost all credit with him, and found my interest
+decline very fast with the emperor himself, who was, indeed, too much governed
+by that favourite.
+[The author, being informed of a design to accuse him of high- treason, makes
+his escape to Blefuscu. His reception there.]
+Before I proceed to give an account of my leaving this kingdom, it may be
+proper to inform the reader of a private intrigue which had been for two months
+forming against me.
+I had been hitherto, all my life, a stranger to courts, for which I was
+unqualified by the meanness of my condition. I had indeed heard and read enough
+of the dispositions of great princes and ministers, but never expected to have
+found such terrible effects of them, in so remote a country, governed, as I
+thought, by very different maxims from those in Europe.
+When I was just preparing to pay my attendance on the emperor of Blefuscu, a
+considerable person at court (to whom I had been very serviceable, at a time
+when he lay under the highest displeasure of his imperial majesty) came to my
+house very privately at night, in a close chair, and, without sending his name,
+desired admittance. The chairmen were dismissed; I put the chair, with his
+lordship in it, into my coat-pocket: and, giving orders to a trusty servant, to
+say I was indisposed and gone to sleep, I fastened the door of my house, placed
+the chair on the table, according to my usual custom, and sat down by it. After
+the common salutations were over, observing his lordship's countenance full of
+concern, and inquiring into the reason, he desired "I would hear him with
+patience, in a matter that highly concerned my honour and my life." His speech
+was to the following effect, for I took notes of it as soon as he left me:-
+"You are to know," said he, "that several committees of council have been
+lately called, in the most private manner, on your account; and it is but two
+days since his majesty came to a full resolution.
+"You are very sensible that Skyresh Bolgolam" (galbet, or high- admiral) "has
+been your mortal enemy, almost ever since your arrival. His original reasons I
+know not; but his hatred is increased since your great success against
+Blefuscu, by which his glory as admiral is much obscured. This lord, in
+conjunction with Flimnap the high-treasurer, whose enmity against you is
+notorious on account of his lady, Limtoc the general, Lalcon the chamberlain,
+and Balmuff the grand justiciary, have prepared articles of impeachment against
+you, for treason and other capital crimes."
+This preface made me so impatient, being conscious of my own merits and
+innocence, that I was going to interrupt him; when he entreated me to be
+silent, and thus proceeded:-
+"Out of gratitude for the favours you have done me, I procured information of
+the whole proceedings, and a copy of the articles; wherein I venture my head
+for your service.
+"'Articles of Impeachment against QUINBUS FLESTRIN, (the Man- Mountain.)
+"'Whereas, by a statute made in the reign of his imperial majesty Calin Deffar
+Plune, it is enacted, that, whoever shall make water within the precincts of
+the royal palace, shall be liable to the pains and penalties of high-treason;
+notwithstanding, the said Quinbus Flestrin, in open breach of the said law,
+under colour of extinguishing the fire kindled in the apartment of his
+majesty's most dear imperial consort, did maliciously, traitorously, and
+devilishly, by discharge of his urine, put out the said fire kindled in the
+said apartment, lying and being within the precincts of the said royal palace,
+against the statute in that case provided, etc. against the duty, etc.
+"'That the said Quinbus Flestrin, having brought the imperial fleet of Blefuscu
+into the royal port, and being afterwards commanded by his imperial majesty to
+seize all the other ships of the said empire of Blefuscu, and reduce that
+empire to a province, to be governed by a viceroy from hence, and to destroy
+and put to death, not only all the Big-endian exiles, but likewise all the
+people of that empire who would not immediately forsake the Big-endian heresy,
+he, the said Flestrin, like a false traitor against his most auspicious,
+serene, imperial majesty, did petition to be excused from the said service,
+upon pretence of unwillingness to force the consciences, or destroy the
+liberties and lives of an innocent people.
+"'That, whereas certain ambassadors arrived from the Court of Blefuscu, to sue
+for peace in his majesty's court, he, the said Flestrin, did, like a false
+traitor, aid, abet, comfort, and divert, the said ambassadors, although he knew
+them to be servants to a prince who was lately an open enemy to his imperial
+majesty, and in an open war against his said majesty.
+"'That the said Quinbus Flestrin, contrary to the duty of a faithful subject,
+is now preparing to make a voyage to the court and empire of Blefuscu, for
+which he has received only verbal license from his imperial majesty; and, under
+colour of the said license, does falsely and traitorously intend to take the
+said voyage, and thereby to aid, comfort, and abet the emperor of Blefuscu, so
+lately an enemy, and in open war with his imperial majesty aforesaid.'
+"There are some other articles; but these are the most important, of which I
+have read you an abstract.
+"In the several debates upon this impeachment, it must be confessed that his
+majesty gave many marks of his great lenity; often urging the services you had
+done him, and endeavouring to extenuate your crimes. The treasurer and admiral
+insisted that you should be put to the most painful and ignominious death, by
+setting fire to your house at night, and the general was to attend with twenty
+thousand men, armed with poisoned arrows, to shoot you on the face and hands.
+Some of your servants were to have private orders to strew a poisonous juice on
+your shirts and sheets, which would soon make you tear your own flesh, and die
+in the utmost torture. The general came into the same opinion; so that for a
+long time there was a majority against you; but his majesty resolving, if
+possible, to spare your life, at last brought off the chamberlain.
+"Upon this incident, Reldresal, principal secretary for private affairs, who
+always approved himself your true friend, was commanded by the emperor to
+deliver his opinion, which he accordingly did; and therein justified the good
+thoughts you have of him. He allowed your crimes to be great, but that still
+there was room for mercy, the most commendable virtue in a prince, and for
+which his majesty was so justly celebrated. He said, the friendship between you
+and him was so well known to the world, that perhaps the most honourable board
+might think him partial; however, in obedience to the command he had received,
+he would freely offer his sentiments. That if his majesty, in consideration of
+your services, and pursuant to his own merciful disposition, would please to
+spare your life, and only give orders to put out both your eyes, he humbly
+conceived, that by this expedient justice might in some measure be satisfied,
+and all the world would applaud the lenity of the emperor, as well as the fair
+and generous proceedings of those who have the honour to be his counsellors.
+That the loss of your eyes would be no impediment to your bodily strength, by
+which you might still be useful to his majesty; that blindness is an addition
+to courage, by concealing dangers from us; that the fear you had for your eyes,
+was the greatest difficulty in bringing over the enemy's fleet, and it would be
+sufficient for you to see by the eyes of the ministers, since the greatest
+princes do no more.
+"This proposal was received with the utmost disapprobation by the whole board.
+Bolgolam, the admiral, could not preserve his temper, but, rising up in fury,
+said, he wondered how the secretary durst presume to give his opinion for
+preserving the life of a traitor; that the services you had performed were, by
+all true reasons of state, the great aggravation of your crimes; that you, who
+were able to extinguish the fire by discharge of urine in her majesty's
+apartment (which he mentioned with horror), might, at another time, raise an
+inundation by the same means, to drown the whole palace; and the same strength
+which enabled you to bring over the enemy's fleet, might serve, upon the first
+discontent, to carry it back; that he had good reasons to think you were a
+Big-endian in your heart; and, as treason begins in the heart, before it
+appears in overt-acts, so he accused you as a traitor on that account, and
+therefore insisted you should be put to death.
+"The treasurer was of the same opinion: he showed to what straits his majesty's
+revenue was reduced, by the charge of maintaining you, which would soon grow
+insupportable; that the secretary's expedient of putting out your eyes, was so
+far from being a remedy against this evil, that it would probably increase it,
+as is manifest from the common practice of blinding some kind of fowls, after
+which they fed the faster, and grew sooner fat; that his sacred majesty and the
+council, who are your judges, were, in their own consciences, fully convinced
+of your guilt, which was a sufficient argument to condemn you to death, without
+the formal proofs required by the strict letter of the law.
+"But his imperial majesty, fully determined against capital punishment, was
+graciously pleased to say, that since the council thought the loss of your eyes
+too easy a censure, some other way may be inflicted hereafter. And your friend
+the secretary, humbly desiring to be heard again, in answer to what the
+treasurer had objected, concerning the great charge his majesty was at in
+maintaining you, said, that his excellency, who had the sole disposal of the
+emperor's revenue, might easily provide against that evil, by gradually
+lessening your establishment; by which, for want of sufficient for you would
+grow weak and faint, and lose your appetite, and consequently, decay, and
+consume in a few months; neither would the stench of your carcass be then so
+dangerous, when it should become more than half diminished; and immediately
+upon your death five or six thousand of his majesty's subjects might, in two or
+three days, cut your flesh from your bones, take it away by cart-loads, and
+bury it in distant parts, to prevent infection, leaving the skeleton as a
+monument of admiration to posterity.
+"Thus, by the great friendship of the secretary, the whole affair was
+compromised. It was strictly enjoined, that the project of starving you by
+degrees should be kept a secret; but the sentence of putting out your eyes was
+entered on the books; none dissenting, except Bolgolam the admiral, who, being
+a creature of the empress, was perpetually instigated by her majesty to insist
+upon your death, she having borne perpetual malice against you, on account of
+that infamous and illegal method you took to extinguish the fire in her
+"In three days your friend the secretary will be directed to come to your
+house, and read before you the articles of impeachment; and then to signify the
+great lenity and favour of his majesty and council, whereby you are only
+condemned to the loss of your eyes, which his majesty does not question you
+will gratefully and humbly submit to; and twenty of his majesty's surgeons will
+attend, in order to see the operation well performed, by discharging very
+sharp-pointed arrows into the balls of your eyes, as you lie on the ground.
+"I leave to your prudence what measures you will take; and to avoid suspicion,
+I must immediately return in as private a manner as I came."
+His lordship did so; and I remained alone, under many doubts and perplexities
+of mind.
+It was a custom introduced by this prince and his ministry (very different, as
+I have been assured, from the practice of former times,) that after the court
+had decreed any cruel execution, either to gratify the monarch's resentment, or
+the malice of a favourite, the emperor always made a speech to his whole
+council, expressing his great lenity and tenderness, as qualities known and
+confessed by all the world. This speech was immediately published throughout
+the kingdom; nor did any thing terrify the people so much as those encomiums on
+his majesty's mercy; because it was observed, that the more these praises were
+enlarged and insisted on, the more inhuman was the punishment, and the sufferer
+more innocent. Yet, as to myself, I must confess, having never been designed
+for a courtier, either by my birth or education, I was so ill a judge of
+things, that I could not discover the lenity and favour of this sentence, but
+conceived it (perhaps erroneously) rather to be rigorous than gentle. I
+sometimes thought of standing my trial, for, although I could not deny the
+facts alleged in the several articles, yet I hoped they would admit of some
+extenuation. But having in my life perused many state-trials, which I ever
+observed to terminate as the judges thought fit to direct, I durst not rely on
+so dangerous a decision, in so critical a juncture, and against such powerful
+enemies. Once I was strongly bent upon resistance, for, while I had liberty the
+whole strength of that empire could hardly subdue me, and I might easily with
+stones pelt the metropolis to pieces; but I soon rejected that project with
+horror, by remembering the oath I had made to the emperor, the favours I
+received from him, and the high title of nardac he conferred upon me. Neither
+had I so soon learned the gratitude of courtiers, to persuade myself, that his
+majesty's present seventies acquitted me of all past obligations.
+At last, I fixed upon a resolution, for which it is probable I may incur some
+censure, and not unjustly; for I confess I owe the preserving of mine eyes, and
+consequently my liberty, to my own great rashness and want of experience;
+because, if I had then known the nature of princes and ministers, which I have
+since observed in many other courts, and their methods of treating criminals
+less obnoxious than myself, I should, with great alacrity and readiness, have
+submitted to so easy a punishment. But hurried on by the precipitancy of youth,
+and having his imperial majesty's license to pay my attendance upon the emperor
+of Blefuscu, I took this opportunity, before the three days were elapsed, to
+send a letter to my friend the secretary, signifying my resolution of setting
+out that morning for Blefuscu, pursuant to the leave I had got; and, without
+waiting for an answer, I went to that side of the island where our fleet lay. I
+seized a large man of war, tied a cable to the prow, and, lifting up the
+anchors, I stripped myself, put my clothes (together with my coverlet, which I
+carried under my arm) into the vessel, and, drawing it after me, between wading
+and swimming arrived at the royal port of Blefuscu, where the people had long
+expected me: they lent me two guides to direct me to the capital city, which is
+of the same name. I held them in my hands, till I came within two hundred yards
+of the gate, and desired them "to signify my arrival to one of the secretaries,
+and let him know, I there waited his majesty's command." I had an answer in
+about an hour, "that his majesty, attended by the royal family, and great
+officers of the court, was coming out to receive me." I advanced a hundred
+yards. The emperor and his train alighted from their horses, the empress and
+ladies from their coaches, and I did not perceive they were in any fright or
+concern. I lay on the ground to kiss his majesty's and the empress's hands. I
+told his majesty, "that I was come according to my promise, and with the
+license of the emperor my master, to have the honour of seeing so mighty a
+monarch, and to offer him any service in my power, consistent with my duty to
+my own prince;" not mentioning a word of my disgrace, because I had hitherto no
+regular information of it, and might suppose myself wholly ignorant of any such
+design; neither could I reasonably conceive that the emperor would discover the
+secret, while I was out of his power; wherein, however, it soon appeared I was
+I shall not trouble the reader with the particular account of my reception at
+this court, which was suitable to the generosity of so great a prince; nor of
+the difficulties I was in for want of a house and bed, being forced to lie on
+the ground, wrapped up in my coverlet.
+[The author, by a lucky accident, finds means to leave Blefuscu; and, after
+some difficulties, returns safe to his native country.]
+Three days after my arrival, walking out of curiosity to the north- east coast
+of the island, I observed, about half a league off in the sea, somewhat that
+looked like a boat overturned. I pulled off my shoes and stockings, and,
+wailing two or three hundred yards, I found the object to approach nearer by
+force of the tide; and then plainly saw it to be a real boat, which I supposed
+might by some tempest have been driven from a ship. Whereupon, I returned
+immediately towards the city, and desired his imperial majesty to lend me
+twenty of the tallest vessels he had left, after the loss of his fleet, and
+three thousand seamen, under the command of his vice-admiral. This fleet sailed
+round, while I went back the shortest way to the coast, where I first
+discovered the boat. I found the tide had driven it still nearer. The seamen
+were all provided with cordage, which I had beforehand twisted to a sufficient
+strength. When the ships came up, I stripped myself, and waded till I came
+within a hundred yards off the boat, after which I was forced to swim till I
+got up to it. The seamen threw me the end of the cord, which I fastened to a
+hole in the fore-part of the boat, and the other end to a man of war; but I
+found all my labour to little purpose; for, being out of my depth, I was not
+able to work. In this necessity I was forced to swim behind, and push the boat
+forward, as often as I could, with one of my hands; and the tide favouring me,
+I advanced so far that I could just hold up my chin and feel the ground. I
+rested two or three minutes, and then gave the boat another shove, and so on,
+till the sea was no higher than my arm-pits; and now, the most laborious part
+being over, I took out my other cables, which were stowed in one of the ships,
+and fastened them first to the boat, and then to nine of the vessels which
+attended me; the wind being favourable, the seamen towed, and I shoved, until
+we arrived within forty yards of the shore; and, waiting till the tide was out,
+I got dry to the boat, and by the assistance of two thousand men, with ropes
+and engines, I made a shift to turn it on its bottom, and found it was but
+little damaged.
+I shall not trouble the reader with the difficulties I was under, by the help
+of certain paddles, which cost me ten days making, to get my boat to the royal
+port of Blefuscu, where a mighty concourse of people appeared upon my arrival,
+full of wonder at the sight of so prodigious a vessel. I told the emperor "that
+my good fortune had thrown this boat in my way, to carry me to some place
+whence I might return into my native country; and begged his majesty's orders
+for getting materials to fit it up, together with his license to depart;"
+which, after some kind expostulations, he was pleased to grant.
+I did very much wonder, in all this time, not to have heard of any express
+relating to me from our emperor to the court of Blefuscu. But I was afterward
+given privately to understand, that his imperial majesty, never imagining I had
+the least notice of his designs, believed I was only gone to Blefuscu in
+performance of my promise, according to the license he had given me, which was
+well known at our court, and would return in a few days, when the ceremony was
+ended. But he was at last in pain at my long absence; and after consulting with
+the treasurer and the rest of that cabal, a person of quality was dispatched
+with the copy of the articles against me. This envoy had instructions to
+represent to the monarch of Blefuscu, "the great lenity of his master, who was
+content to punish me no farther than with the loss of mine eyes; that I had
+fled from justice; and if I did not return in two hours, I should be deprived
+of my title of nardac, and declared a traitor." The envoy further added, "that
+in order to maintain the peace and amity between both empires, his master
+expected that his brother of Blefuscu would give orders to have me sent back to
+Lilliput, bound hand and foot, to be punished as a traitor."
+The emperor of Blefuscu, having taken three days to consult, returned an answer
+consisting of many civilities and excuses. He said, "that as for sending me
+bound, his brother knew it was impossible; that, although I had deprived him of
+his fleet, yet he owed great obligations to me for many good offices I had done
+him in making the peace. That, however, both their majesties would soon be made
+easy; for I had found a prodigious vessel on the shore, able to carry me on the
+sea, which he had given orders to fit up, with my own assistance and direction;
+and he hoped, in a few weeks, both empires would be freed from so insupportable
+an encumbrance."
+With this answer the envoy returned to Lilliput; and the monarch of Blefuscu
+related to me all that had passed; offering me at the same time (but under the
+strictest confidence) his gracious protection, if I would continue in his
+service; wherein, although I believed him sincere, yet I resolved never more to
+put any confidence in princes or ministers, where I could possibly avoid it;
+and therefore, with all due acknowledgments for his favourable intentions, I
+humbly begged to be excused. I told him, "that since fortune, whether good or
+evil, had thrown a vessel in my way, I was resolved to venture myself on the
+ocean, rather than be an occasion of difference between two such mighty
+monarchs." Neither did I find the emperor at all displeased; and I discovered,
+by a certain accident, that he was very glad of my resolution, and so were most
+of his ministers.
+These considerations moved me to hasten my departure somewhat sooner than I
+intended; to which the court, impatient to have me gone, very readily
+contributed. Five hundred workmen were employed to make two sails to my boat,
+according to my directions, by quilting thirteen folds of their strongest linen
+together. I was at the pains of making ropes and cables, by twisting ten,
+twenty, or thirty of the thickest and strongest of theirs. A great stone that I
+happened to find, after a long search, by the sea-shore, served me for an
+anchor. I had the tallow of three hundred cows, for greasing my boat, and other
+uses. I was at incredible pains in cutting down some of the largest
+timber-trees, for oars and masts, wherein I was, however, much assisted by his
+majesty's ship- carpenters, who helped me in smoothing them, after I had done
+the rough work.
+In about a month, when all was prepared, I sent to receive his majesty's
+commands, and to take my leave. The emperor and royal family came out of the
+palace; I lay down on my face to kiss his hand, which he very graciously gave
+me: so did the empress and young princes of the blood. His majesty presented me
+with fifty purses of two hundred sprugs a-piece, together with his picture at
+full length, which I put immediately into one of my gloves, to keep it from
+being hurt. The ceremonies at my departure were too many to trouble the reader
+with at this time.
+I stored the boat with the carcases of a hundred oxen, and three hundred sheep,
+with bread and drink proportionable, and as much meat ready dressed as four
+hundred cooks could provide. I took with me six cows and two bulls alive, with
+as many ewes and rams, intending to carry them into my own country, and
+propagate the breed. And to feed them on board, I had a good bundle of hay, and
+a bag of corn. I would gladly have taken a dozen of the natives, but this was a
+thing the emperor would by no means permit; and, besides a diligent search into
+my pockets, his majesty engaged my honour "not to carry away any of his
+subjects, although with their own consent and desire."
+Having thus prepared all things as well as I was able, I set sail on the
+twenty-fourth day of September 1701, at six in the morning; and when I had gone
+about four-leagues to the northward, the wind being at south-east, at six in
+the evening I descried a small island, about half a league to the north-west. I
+advanced forward, and cast anchor on the lee-side of the island, which seemed
+to be uninhabited. I then took some refreshment, and went to my rest. I slept
+well, and as I conjectured at least six hours, for I found the day broke in two
+hours after I awaked. It was a clear night. I ate my breakfast before the sun
+was up; and heaving anchor, the wind being favourable, I steered the same
+course that I had done the day before, wherein I was directed by my pocket
+compass. My intention was to reach, if possible, one of those islands. which I
+had reason to believe lay to the north-east of Van Diemen's Land. I discovered
+nothing all that day; but upon the next, about three in the afternoon, when I
+had by my computation made twenty-four leagues from Blefuscu, I descried a sail
+steering to the south- east; my course was due east. I hailed her, but could
+get no answer; yet I found I gained upon her, for the wind slackened. I made
+all the sail I could, and in half an hour she spied me, then hung out her
+ancient, and discharged a gun. It is not easy to express the joy I was in, upon
+the unexpected hope of once more seeing my beloved country, and the dear
+pledges I left in it. The ship slackened her sails, and I came up with her
+between five and six in the evening, September 26th; but my heart leaped within
+me to see her English colours. I put my cows and sheep into my coat- pockets,
+and got on board with all my little cargo of provisions. The vessel was an
+English merchantman, returning from Japan by the North and South seas; the
+captain, Mr. John Biddel, of Deptford, a very civil man, and an excellent
+We were now in the latitude of 30 degrees south; there were about fifty men in
+the ship; and here I met an old comrade of mine, one Peter Williams, who gave
+me a good character to the captain. This gentleman treated me with kindness,
+and desired I would let him know what place I came from last, and whither I was
+bound; which I did in a few words, but he thought I was raving, and that the
+dangers I underwent had disturbed my head; whereupon I took my black cattle and
+sheep out of my pocket, which, after great astonishment, clearly convinced him
+of my veracity. I then showed him the gold given me by the emperor of Blefuscu,
+together with his majesty's picture at full length, and some other rarities of
+that country. I gave him two purses of two hundreds sprugs each, and promised,
+when we arrived in England, to make him a present of a cow and a sheep big with
+I shall not trouble the reader with a particular account of this voyage, which
+was very prosperous for the most part. We arrived in the Downs on the 13th of
+April, 1702. I had only one misfortune, that the rats on board carried away one
+of my sheep; I found her bones in a hole, picked clean from the flesh. The rest
+of my cattle I got safe ashore, and set them a-grazing in a bowling-green at
+Greenwich, where the fineness of the grass made them feed very heartily, though
+I had always feared the contrary: neither could I possibly have preserved them
+in so long a voyage, if the captain had not allowed me some of his best
+biscuit, which, rubbed to powder, and mingled with water, was their constant
+food. The short time I continued in England, I made a considerable profit by
+showing my cattle to many persons of quality and others: and before I began my
+second voyage, I sold them for six hundred pounds. Since my last return I find
+the breed is considerably increased, especially the sheep, which I hope will
+prove much to the advantage of the woollen manufacture, by the fineness of the
+I stayed but two months with my wife and family, for my insatiable desire of
+seeing foreign countries, would suffer me to continue no longer. I left fifteen
+hundred pounds with my wife, and fixed her in a good house at Redriff. My
+remaining stock I carried with me, part in money and part in goods, in hopes to
+improve my fortunes. My eldest uncle John had left me an estate in land, near
+Epping, of about thirty pounds a-year; and I had a long lease of the Black Bull
+in Fetter-Lane, which yielded me as much more; so that I was not in any danger
+of leaving my family upon the parish. My son Johnny, named so after his uncle,
+was at the grammar-school, and a towardly child. My daughter Betty (who is now
+well married, and has children) was then at her needle-work. I took leave of my
+wife, and boy and girl, with tears on both sides, and went on board the
+Adventure, a merchant ship of three hundred tons, bound for Surat, captain John
+Nicholas, of Liverpool, commander. But my account of this voyage must be
+referred to the Second Part of my Travels.
+[A great storm described; the long boat sent to fetch water; the author goes
+with it to discover the country. He is left on shore, is seized by one of the
+natives, and carried to a farmer's house. His reception, with several accidents
+that happened there. A description of the inhabitants.]
+Having been condemned, by nature and fortune, to active and restless life, in
+two months after my return, I again left my native country, and took shipping
+in the Downs, on the 20th day of June, 1702, in the Adventure, Captain John
+Nicholas, a Cornish man, commander, bound for Surat. We had a very prosperous
+gale, till we arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, where we landed for fresh
+water; but discovering a leak, we unshipped our goods and wintered there; for
+the captain falling sick of an ague, we could not leave the Cape till the end
+of March. We then set sail, and had a good voyage till we passed the Straits of
+Madagascar; but having got northward of that island, and to about five degrees
+south latitude, the winds, which in those seas are observed to blow a constant
+equal gale between the north and west, from the beginning of December to the
+beginning of May, on the 19th of April began to blow with much greater
+violence, and more westerly than usual, continuing so for twenty days together:
+during which time, we were driven a little to the east of the Molucca Islands,
+and about three degrees northward of the line, as our captain found by an
+observation he took the 2nd of May, at which time the wind ceased, and it was a
+perfect calm, whereat I was not a little rejoiced. But he, being a man well
+experienced in the navigation of those seas, bid us all prepare against a
+storm, which accordingly happened the day following: for the southern wind,
+called the southern monsoon, began to set in.
+Finding it was likely to overblow, we took in our sprit-sail, and stood by to
+hand the fore-sail; but making foul weather, we looked the guns were all fast,
+and handed the mizen. The ship lay very broad off, so we thought it better
+spooning before the sea, than trying or hulling. We reefed the fore-sail and
+set him, and hauled aft the fore-sheet; the helm was hard a-weather. The ship
+wore bravely. We belayed the fore down-haul; but the sail was split, and we
+hauled down the yard, and got the sail into the ship, and unbound all the
+things clear of it. It was a very fierce storm; the sea broke strange and
+dangerous. We hauled off upon the laniard of the whip-staff, and helped the man
+at the helm. We would not get down our topmast, but let all stand, because she
+scudded before the sea very well, and we knew that the top-mast being aloft,
+the ship was the wholesomer, and made better way through the sea, seeing we had
+sea-room. When the storm was over, we set fore-sail and main-sail, and brought
+the ship to. Then we set the mizen, main-top-sail, and the fore-top-sail. Our
+course was east-north-east, the wind was at south-west. We got the starboard
+tacks aboard, we cast off our weather-braces and lifts; we set in the
+lee-braces, and hauled forward by the weather- bowlings, and hauled them tight,
+and belayed them, and hauled over the mizen tack to windward, and kept her full
+and by as near as she would lie.
+During this storm, which was followed by a strong wind west-south- west, we
+were carried, by my computation, about five hundred leagues to the east, so
+that the oldest sailor on board could not tell in what part of the world we
+were. Our provisions held out well, our ship was staunch, and our crew all in
+good health; but we lay in the utmost distress for water. We thought it best to
+hold on the same course, rather than turn more northerly, which might have
+brought us to the north-west part of Great Tartary, and into the Frozen Sea.
+On the 16th day of June, 1703, a boy on the top-mast discovered land. On the
+17th, we came in full view of a great island, or continent (for we knew not
+whether;) on the south side whereof was a small neck of land jutting out into
+the sea, and a creek too shallow to hold a ship of above one hundred tons. We
+cast anchor within a league of this creek, and our captain sent a dozen of his
+men well armed in the long-boat, with vessels for water, if any could be found.
+I desired his leave to go with them, that I might see the country, and make
+what discoveries I could. When we came to land we saw no river or spring, nor
+any sign of inhabitants. Our men therefore wandered on the shore to find out
+some fresh water near the sea, and I walked alone about a mile on the other
+side, where I observed the country all barren and rocky. I now began to be
+weary, and seeing nothing to entertain my curiosity, I returned gently down
+towards the creek; and the sea being full in my view, I saw our men already got
+into the boat, and rowing for life to the ship. I was going to holla after
+them, although it had been to little purpose, when I observed a huge creature
+walking after them in the sea, as fast as he could: he waded not much deeper
+than his knees, and took prodigious strides: but our men had the start of him
+half a league, and, the sea thereabouts being full of sharp-pointed rocks, the
+monster was not able to overtake the boat. This I was afterwards told, for I
+durst not stay to see the issue of the adventure; but ran as fast as I could
+the way I first went, and then climbed up a steep hill, which gave me some
+prospect of the country. I found it fully cultivated; but that which first
+surprised me was the length of the grass, which, in those grounds that seemed
+to be kept for hay, was about twenty feet high.
+I fell into a high road, for so I took it to be, though it served to the
+inhabitants only as a foot-path through a field of barley. Here I walked on for
+some time, but could see little on either side, it being now near harvest, and
+the corn rising at least forty feet. I was an hour walking to the end of this
+field, which was fenced in with a hedge of at least one hundred and twenty feet
+high, and the trees so lofty that I could make no computation of their
+altitude. There was a stile to pass from this field into the next. It had four
+steps, and a stone to cross over when you came to the uppermost. It was
+impossible for me to climb this stile, because every step was six-feet high,
+and the upper stone about twenty. I was endeavouring to find some gap in the
+hedge, when I discovered one of the inhabitants in the next field, advancing
+towards the stile, of the same size with him whom I saw in the sea pursuing our
+boat. He appeared as tall as an ordinary spire steeple, and took about ten
+yards at every stride, as near as I could guess. I was struck with the utmost
+fear and astonishment, and ran to hide myself in the corn, whence I saw him at
+the top of the stile looking back into the next field on the right hand, and
+heard him call in a voice many degrees louder than a speaking- trumpet: but the
+noise was so high in the air, that at first I certainly thought it was thunder.
+Whereupon seven monsters, like himself, came towards him with reaping-hooks in
+their hands, each hook about the largeness of six scythes. These people were
+not so well clad as the first, whose servants or labourers they seemed to be;
+for, upon some words he spoke, they went to reap the corn in the field where I
+lay. I kept from them at as great a distance as I could, but was forced to move
+with extreme difficulty, for the stalks of the corn were sometimes not above a
+foot distant, so that I could hardly squeeze my body betwixt them. However, I
+made a shift to go forward, till I came to a part of the field where the corn
+had been laid by the rain and wind. Here it was impossible for me to advance a
+step; for the stalks were so interwoven, that I could not creep through, and
+the beards of the fallen ears so strong and pointed, that they pierced through
+my clothes into my flesh. At the same time I heard the reapers not a hundred
+yards behind me. Being quite dispirited with toil, and wholly overcome by grief
+and dispair, I lay down between two ridges, and heartily wished I might there
+end my days. I bemoaned my desolate widow and fatherless children. I lamented
+my own folly and wilfulness, in attempting a second voyage, against the advice
+of all my friends and relations. In this terrible agitation of mind, I could
+not forbear thinking of Lilliput, whose inhabitants looked upon me as the
+greatest prodigy that ever appeared in the world; where I was able to draw an
+imperial fleet in my hand, and perform those other actions, which will be
+recorded for ever in the chronicles of that empire, while posterity shall
+hardly believe them, although attested by millions. I reflected what a
+mortification it must prove to me, to appear as inconsiderable in this nation,
+as one single Lilliputian would be among us. But this I conceived was to be the
+least of my misfortunes; for, as human creatures are observed to be more savage
+and cruel in proportion to their bulk, what could I expect but to be a morsel
+in the mouth of the first among these enormous barbarians that should happen to
+seize me? Undoubtedly philosophers are in the right, when they tell us that
+nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison. It might have pleased
+fortune, to have let the Lilliputians find some nation, where the people were
+as diminutive with respect to them, as they were to me. And who knows but that
+even this prodigious race of mortals might be equally overmatched in some
+distant part of the world, whereof we have yet no discovery.
+Scared and confounded as I was, I could not forbear going on with these
+reflections, when one of the reapers, approaching within ten yards of the ridge
+where I lay, made me apprehend that with the next step I should be squashed to
+death under his foot, or cut in two with his reaping-hook. And therefore, when
+he was again about to move, I screamed as loud as fear could make me: whereupon
+the huge creature trod short, and, looking round about under him for some time,
+at last espied me as I lay on the ground. He considered awhile, with the
+caution of one who endeavours to lay hold on a small dangerous animal in such a
+manner that it shall not be able either to scratch or bite him, as I myself
+have sometimes done with a weasel in England. At length he ventured to take me
+behind, by the middle, between his fore-finger and thumb, and brought me within
+three yards of his eyes, that he might behold my shape more perfectly. I
+guessed his meaning, and my good fortune gave me so much presence of mind, that
+I resolved not to struggle in the least as he held me in the air above sixty
+feet from the ground, although he grievously pinched my sides, for fear I
+should slip through his fingers. All I ventured was to raise mine eyes towards
+the sun, and place my hands together in a supplicating posture, and to speak
+some words in a humble melancholy tone, suitable to the condition I then was
+in: for I apprehended every moment that he would dash me against the ground, as
+we usually do any little hateful animal, which we have a mind to destroy. But
+my good star would have it, that he appeared pleased with my voice and
+gestures, and began to look upon me as a curiosity, much wondering to hear me
+pronounce articulate words, although he could not understand them. In the mean
+time I was not able to forbear groaning and shedding tears, and turning my head
+towards my sides; letting him know, as well as I could, how cruelly I was hurt
+by the pressure of his thumb and finger. He seemed to apprehend my meaning;
+for, lifting up the lappet of his coat, he put me gently into it, and
+immediately ran along with me to his master, who was a substantial farmer, and
+the same person I had first seen in the field.
+The farmer having (as I suppose by their talk) received such an account of me
+as his servant could give him, took a piece of a small straw, about the size of
+a walking-staff, and therewith lifted up the lappets of my coat; which it seems
+he thought to be some kind of covering that nature had given me. He blew my
+hairs aside to take a better view of my face. He called his hinds about him,
+and asked them, as I afterwards learned, whether they had ever seen in the
+fields any little creature that resembled me. He then placed me softly on the
+ground upon all fours, but I got immediately up, and walked slowly backward and
+forward, to let those people see I had no intent to run away. They all sat down
+in a circle about me, the better to observe my motions. I pulled off my hat,
+and made a low bow towards the farmer. I fell on my knees, and lifted up my
+hands and eyes, and spoke several words as loud as I could: I took a purse of
+gold out of my pocket, and humbly presented it to him. He received it on the
+palm of his hand, then applied it close to his eye to see what it was, and
+afterwards turned it several times with the point of a pin (which he took out
+of his sleeve,) but could make nothing of it. Whereupon I made a sign that he
+should place his hand on the ground. I then took the purse, and, opening it,
+poured all the gold into his palm. There were six Spanish pieces of four
+pistoles each, beside twenty or thirty smaller coins. I saw him wet the tip of
+his little finger upon his tongue, and take up one of my largest pieces, and
+then another; but he seemed to be wholly ignorant what they were. He made me a
+sign to put them again into my purse, and the purse again into my pocket,
+which, after offering it to him several times, I thought it best to do.
+The farmer, by this time, was convinced I must be a rational creature. He spoke
+often to me; but the sound of his voice pierced my ears like that of a
+water-mill, yet his words were articulate enough. I answered as loud as I could
+in several languages, and he often laid his ear within two yards of me: but all
+in vain, for we were wholly unintelligible to each other. He then sent his
+servants to their work, and taking his handkerchief out of his pocket, he
+doubled and spread it on his left hand, which he placed flat on the ground with
+the palm upward, making me a sign to step into it, as I could easily do, for it
+was not above a foot in thickness. I thought it my part to obey, and, for fear
+of falling, laid myself at full length upon the handkerchief, with the
+remainder of which he lapped me up to the head for further security, and in
+this manner carried me home to his house. There he called his wife, and showed
+me to her; but she screamed and ran back, as women in England do at the sight
+of a toad or a spider. However, when she had a while seen my behaviour, and how
+well I observed the signs her husband made, she was soon reconciled, and by
+degrees grew extremely tender of me.
+It was about twelve at noon, and a servant brought in dinner. It was only one
+substantial dish of meat (fit for the plain condition of a husbandman,) in a
+dish of about four-and-twenty feet diameter. The company were, the farmer and
+his wife, three children, and an old grandmother. When they were sat down, the
+farmer placed me at some distance from him on the table, which was thirty feet
+high from the floor. I was in a terrible fright, and kept as far as I could
+from the edge, for fear of falling. The wife minced a bit of meat, then
+crumbled some bread on a trencher, and placed it before me. I made her a low
+bow, took out my knife and fork, and fell to eat, which gave them exceeding
+delight. The mistress sent her maid for a small dram cup, which held about two
+gallons, and filled it with drink; I took up the vessel with much difficulty in
+both hands, and in a most respectful manner drank to her ladyship's health,
+expressing the words as loud as I could in English, which made the company
+laugh so heartily, that I was almost deafened with the noise. This liquor
+tasted like a small cider, and was not unpleasant. Then the master made me a
+sign to come to his trencher side; but as I walked on the table, being in great
+surprise all the time, as the indulgent reader will easily conceive and excuse,
+I happened to stumble against a crust, and fell flat on my face, but received
+no hurt. I got up immediately, and observing the good people to be in much
+concern, I took my hat (which I held under my arm out of good manners,) and
+waving it over my head, made three huzzas, to show I had got no mischief by my
+fall. But advancing forward towards my master (as I shall henceforth call him,)
+his youngest son, who sat next to him, an arch boy of about ten years old, took
+me up by the legs, and held me so high in the air, that I trembled every limb:
+but his father snatched me from him, and at the same time gave him such a box
+on the left ear, as would have felled an European troop of horse to the earth,
+ordering him to be taken from the table. But being afraid the boy might owe me
+a spite, and well remembering how mischievous all children among us naturally
+are to sparrows, rabbits, young kittens, and puppy dogs, I fell on my knees,
+and pointing to the boy, made my master to understand, as well as I could, that
+I desired his son might be pardoned. The father complied, and the lad took his
+seat again, whereupon I went to him, and kissed his hand, which my master took,
+and made him stroke me gently with it.
+In the midst of dinner, my mistress's favourite cat leaped into her lap. I
+heard a noise behind me like that of a dozen stocking- weavers at work; and
+turning my head, I found it proceeded from the purring of that animal, who
+seemed to be three times larger than an ox, as I computed by the view of her
+head, and one of her paws, while her mistress was feeding and stroking her. The
+fierceness of this creature's countenance altogether discomposed me; though I
+stood at the farther end of the table, above fifty feet off; and although my
+mistress held her fast, for fear she might give a spring, and seize me in her
+talons. But it happened there was no danger, for the cat took not the least
+notice of me when my master placed me within three yards of her. And as I have
+been always told, and found true by experience in my travels, that flying or
+discovering fear before a fierce animal, is a certain way to make it pursue or
+attack you, so I resolved, in this dangerous juncture, to show no manner of
+concern. I walked with intrepidity five or six times before the very head of
+the cat, and came within half a yard of her; whereupon she drew herself back,
+as if she were more afraid of me: I had less apprehension concerning the dogs,
+whereof three or four came into the room, as it is usual in farmers' houses;
+one of which was a mastiff, equal in bulk to four elephants, and another a
+greyhound, somewhat taller than the mastiff, but not so large.
+When dinner was almost done, the nurse came in with a child of a year old in
+her arms, who immediately spied me, and began a squall that you might have
+heard from London-Bridge to Chelsea, after the usual oratory of infants, to get
+me for a plaything. The mother, out of pure indulgence, took me up, and put me
+towards the child, who presently seized me by the middle, and got my head into
+his mouth, where I roared so loud that the urchin was frighted, and let me
+drop, and I should infallibly have broke my neck, if the mother had not held
+her apron under me. The nurse, to quiet her babe, made use of a rattle which
+was a kind of hollow vessel filled with great stones, and fastened by a cable
+to the child's waist: but all in vain; so that she was forced to apply the last
+remedy by giving it suck. I must confess no object ever disgusted me so much as
+the sight of her monstrous breast, which I cannot tell what to compare with, so
+as to give the curious reader an idea of its bulk, shape, and colour. It stood
+prominent six feet, and could not be less than sixteen in circumference. The
+nipple was about half the bigness of my head, and the hue both of that and the
+dug, so varied with spots, pimples, and freckles, that nothing could appear
+more nauseous: for I had a near sight of her, she sitting down, the more
+conveniently to give suck, and I standing on the table. This made me reflect
+upon the fair skins of our English ladies, who appear so beautiful to us, only
+because they are of our own size, and their defects not to be seen but through
+a magnifying glass; where we find by experiment that the smoothest and whitest
+skins look rough, and coarse, and ill-coloured.
+I remember when I was at Lilliput, the complexion of those diminutive people
+appeared to me the fairest in the world; and talking upon this subject with a
+person of learning there, who was an intimate friend of mine, he said that my
+face appeared much fairer and smoother when he looked on me from the ground,
+than it did upon a nearer view, when I took him up in my hand, and brought him
+close, which he confessed was at first a very shocking sight. He said, "he
+could discover great holes in my skin; that the stumps of my beard were ten
+times stronger than the bristles of a boar, and my complexion made up of
+several colours altogether disagreeable:" although I must beg leave to say for
+myself, that I am as fair as most of my sex and country, and very little
+sunburnt by all my travels. On the other side, discoursing of the ladies in
+that emperor's court, he used to tell me, "one had freckles; another too wide a
+mouth; a third too large a nose;" nothing of which I was able to distinguish. I
+confess this reflection was obvious enough; which, however, I could not
+forbear, lest the reader might think those vast creatures were actually
+deformed: for I must do them the justice to say, they are a comely race of
+people, and particularly the features of my master's countenance, although he
+was but a farmer, when I beheld him from the height of sixty feet, appeared
+very well proportioned.
+When dinner was done, my master went out to his labourers, and, as I could
+discover by his voice and gesture, gave his wife strict charge to take care of
+me. I was very much tired, and disposed to sleep, which my mistress perceiving,
+she put me on her own bed, and covered me with a clean white handkerchief, but
+larger and coarser than the mainsail of a man-of-war.
+I slept about two hours, and dreamt I was at home with my wife and children,
+which aggravated my sorrows when I awaked, and found myself alone in a vast
+room, between two and three hundred feet wide, and above two hundred high,
+lying in a bed twenty yards wide. My mistress was gone about her household
+affairs, and had locked me in. The bed was eight yards from the floor. Some
+natural necessities required me to get down; I durst not presume to call; and
+if I had, it would have been in vain, with such a voice as mine, at so great a
+distance from the room where I lay to the kitchen where the family kept. While
+I was under these circumstances, two rats crept up the curtains, and ran
+smelling backwards and forwards on the bed. One of them came up almost to my
+face, whereupon I rose in a fright, and drew out my hanger to defend myself.
+These horrible animals had the boldness to attack me on both sides, and one of
+them held his fore-feet at my collar; but I had the good fortune to rip up his
+belly before he could do me any mischief. He fell down at my feet; and the
+other, seeing the fate of his comrade, made his escape, but not without one
+good wound on the back, which I gave him as he fled, and made the blood run
+trickling from him. After this exploit, I walked gently to and fro on the bed,
+to recover my breath and loss of spirits. These creatures were of the size of a
+large mastiff, but infinitely more nimble and fierce; so that if I had taken
+off my belt before I went to sleep, I must have infallibly been torn to pieces
+and devoured. I measured the tail of the dead rat, and found it to be two yards
+long, wanting an inch; but it went against my stomach to drag the carcass off
+the bed, where it lay still bleeding; I observed it had yet some life, but with
+a strong slash across the neck, I thoroughly despatched it.
+Soon after my mistress came into the room, who seeing me all bloody, ran and
+took me up in her hand. I pointed to the dead rat, smiling, and making other
+signs to show I was not hurt; whereat she was extremely rejoiced, calling the
+maid to take up the dead rat with a pair of tongs, and throw it out of the
+window. Then she set me on a table, where I showed her my hanger all bloody,
+and wiping it on the lappet of my coat, returned it to the scabbard. I was
+pressed to do more than one thing which another could not do for me, and
+therefore endeavoured to make my mistress understand, that I desired to be set
+down on the floor; which after she had done, my bashfulness would not suffer me
+to express myself farther, than by pointing to the door, and bowing several
+times. The good woman, with much difficulty, at last perceived what I would be
+at, and taking me up again in her hand, walked into the garden, where she set
+me down. I went on one side about two hundred yards, and beckoning to her not
+to look or to follow me, I hid myself between two leaves of sorrel, and there
+discharged the necessities of nature.
+I hope the gentle reader will excuse me for dwelling on these and the like
+particulars, which, however insignificant they may appear to groveling vulgar
+minds, yet will certainly help a philosopher to enlarge his thoughts and
+imagination, and apply them to the benefit of public as well as private life,
+which was my sole design in presenting this and other accounts of my travels to
+the world; wherein I have been chiefly studious of truth, without affecting any
+ornaments of learning or of style. But the whole scene of this voyage made so
+strong an impression on my mind, and is so deeply fixed in my memory, that, in
+committing it to paper I did not omit one material circumstance: however, upon
+a strict review, I blotted out several passages. Of less moment which were in
+my first copy, for fear of being censured as tedious and trifling, whereof
+travellers are often, perhaps not without justice, accused.
+[A description of the farmer's daughter. The author carried to a market-town,
+and then to the metropolis. The particulars of his journey.]
+My mistress had a daughter of nine years old, a child of towardly parts for her
+age, very dexterous at her needle, and skilful in dressing her baby. Her mother
+and she contrived to fit up the baby's cradle for me against night: the cradle
+was put into a small drawer of a cabinet, and the drawer placed upon a hanging
+shelf for fear of the rats. This was my bed all the time I staid with those
+people, though made more convenient by degrees, as I began to learn their
+language and make my wants known. This young girl was so handy, that after I
+had once or twice pulled off my clothes before her, she was able to dress and
+undress me, though I never gave her that trouble when she would let me do
+either myself. She made me seven shirts, and some other linen, of as fine cloth
+as could be got, which indeed was coarser than sackcloth; and these she
+constantly washed for me with her own hands. She was likewise my
+school-mistress, to teach me the language: when I pointed to any thing, she
+told me the name of it in her own tongue, so that in a few days I was able to
+call for whatever I had a mind to. She was very good-natured, and not above
+forty feet high, being little for her age. She gave me the name of Grildrig,
+which the family took up, and afterwards the whole kingdom. The word imports
+what the Latins call nanunculus, the Italians homunceletino, and the English
+mannikin. To her I chiefly owe my preservation in that country: we never parted
+while I was there; I called her my Glumdalclitch, or little nurse; and should
+be guilty of great ingratitude, if I omitted this honourable mention of her
+care and affection towards me, which I heartily wish it lay in my power to
+requite as she deserves, instead of being the innocent, but unhappy instrument
+of her disgrace, as I have too much reason to fear.
+It now began to be known and talked of in the neighbourhood, that my master had
+found a strange animal in the field, about the bigness of a splacnuck, but
+exactly shaped in every part like a human creature; which it likewise imitated
+in all its actions; seemed to speak in a little language of its own, had
+already learned several words of theirs, went erect upon two legs, was tame and
+gentle, would come when it was called, do whatever it was bid, had the finest
+limbs in the world, and a complexion fairer than a nobleman's daughter of three
+years old. Another farmer, who lived hard by, and was a particular friend of my
+master, came on a visit on purpose to inquire into the truth of this story. I
+was immediately produced, and placed upon a table, where I walked as I was
+commanded, drew my hanger, put it up again, made my reverence to my master's
+guest, asked him in his own language how he did, and told him HE WAS WELCOME,
+just as my little nurse had instructed me. This man, who was old and
+dim-sighted, put on his spectacles to behold me better; at which I could not
+forbear laughing very heartily, for his eyes appeared like the full moon
+shining into a chamber at two windows. Our people, who discovered the cause of
+my mirth, bore me company in laughing, at which the old fellow was fool enough
+to be angry and out of countenance. He had the character of a great miser; and,
+to my misfortune, he well deserved it, by the cursed advice he gave my master,
+to show me as a sight upon a market-day in the next town, which was half an
+hour's riding, about two-and-twenty miles from our house. I guessed there was
+some mischief when I observed my master and his friend whispering together,
+sometimes pointing at me; and my fears made me fancy that I overheard and
+understood some of their words. But the next morning Glumdalclitch, my little
+nurse, told me the whole matter, which she had cunningly picked out from her
+mother. The poor girl laid me on her bosom, and fell a weeping with shame and
+grief. She apprehended some mischief would happen to me from rude vulgar folks,
+who might squeeze me to death, or break one of my limbs by taking me in their
+hands. She had also observed how modest I was in my nature, how nicely I
+regarded my honour, and what an indignity I should conceive it, to be exposed
+for money as a public spectacle, to the meanest of the people. She said, her
+papa and mamma had promised that Grildrig should be hers; but now she found
+they meant to serve her as they did last year, when they pretended to give her
+a lamb, and yet, as soon as it was fat, sold it to a butcher. For my own part,
+I may truly affirm, that I was less concerned than my nurse. I had a strong
+hope, which never left me, that I should one day recover my liberty: and as to
+the ignominy of being carried about for a monster, I considered myself to be a
+perfect stranger in the country, and that such a misfortune could never be
+charged upon me as a reproach, if ever I should return to England, since the
+king of Great Britain himself, in my condition, must have undergone the same
+My master, pursuant to the advice of his friend, carried me in a box the next
+market-day to the neighbouring town, and took along with him his little
+daughter, my nurse, upon a pillion behind him. The box was close on every side,
+with a little door for me to go in and out, and a few gimlet holes to let in
+air. The girl had been so careful as to put the quilt of her baby's bed into
+it, for me to lie down on. However, I was terribly shaken and discomposed in
+this journey, though it was but of half an hour: for the horse went about forty
+feet at every step and trotted so high, that the agitation was equal to the
+rising and falling of a ship in a great storm, but much more frequent. Our
+journey was somewhat farther than from London to St. Alban's. My master
+alighted at an inn which he used to frequent; and after consulting awhile with
+the inn-keeper, and making some necessary preparations, he hired the grultrud,
+or crier, to give notice through the town of a strange creature to be seen at
+the sign of the Green Eagle, not so big as a splacnuck (an animal in that
+country very finely shaped, about six feet long,) and in every part of the body
+resembling a human creature, could speak several words, and perform a hundred
+diverting tricks.
+I was placed upon a table in the largest room of the inn, which might be near
+three hundred feet square. My little nurse stood on a low stool close to the
+table, to take care of me, and direct what I should do. My master, to avoid a
+crowd, would suffer only thirty people at a time to see me. I walked about on
+the table as the girl commanded; she asked me questions, as far as she knew my
+understanding of the language reached, and I answered them as loud as I could.
+I turned about several times to the company, paid my humble respects, said THEY
+WERE WELCOME, and used some other speeches I had been taught. I took up a
+thimble filled with liquor, which Glumdalclitch had given me for a cup, and
+drank their health, I drew out my hanger, and flourished with it after the
+manner of fencers in England. My nurse gave me a part of a straw, which I
+exercised as a pike, having learnt the art in my youth. I was that day shown to
+twelve sets of company, and as often forced to act over again the same
+fopperies, till I was half dead with weariness and vexation; for those who had
+seen me made such wonderful reports, that the people were ready to break down
+the doors to come in. My master, for his own interest, would not suffer any one
+to touch me except my nurse; and to prevent danger, benches were set round the
+table at such a distance as to put me out of every body's reach. However, an
+unlucky school-boy aimed a hazel nut directly at my head, which very narrowly
+missed me; otherwise it came with so much violence, that it would have
+infallibly knocked out my brains, for it was almost as large as a small
+pumpkin, but I had the satisfaction to see the young rogue well beaten, and
+turned out of the room.
+My master gave public notice that he would show me again the next market-day;
+and in the meantime he prepared a convenient vehicle for me, which he had
+reason enough to do; for I was so tired with my first journey, and with
+entertaining company for eight hours together, that I could hardly stand upon
+my legs, or speak a word. It was at least three days before I recovered my
+strength; and that I might have no rest at home, all the neighbouring gentlemen
+from a hundred miles round, hearing of my fame, came to see me at my master's
+own house. There could not be fewer than thirty persons with their wives and
+children (for the country is very populous;) and my master demanded the rate of
+a full room whenever he showed me at home, although it were only to a single
+family; so that for some time I had but little ease every day of the week
+(except Wednesday, which is their Sabbath,) although I were not carried to the
+My master, finding how profitable I was likely to be, resolved to carry me to
+the most considerable cities of the kingdom. Having therefore provided himself
+with all things necessary for a long journey, and settled his affairs at home,
+he took leave of his wife, and upon the 17th of August, 1703, about two months
+after my arrival, we set out for the metropolis, situate near the middle of
+that empire, and about three thousand miles distance from our house. My master
+made his daughter Glumdalclitch ride behind him. She carried me on her lap, in
+a box tied about her waist. The girl had lined it on all sides with the softest
+cloth she could get, well quilted underneath, furnished it with her baby's bed,
+provided me with linen and other necessaries, and made everything as convenient
+as she could. We had no other company but a boy of the house, who rode after us
+with the luggage.
+My master's design was to show me in all the towns by the way, and to step out
+of the road for fifty or a hundred miles, to any village, or person of
+quality's house, where he might expect custom. We made easy journeys, of not
+above seven or eight score miles a-day; for Glumdalclitch, on purpose to spare
+me, complained she was tired with the trotting of the horse. She often took me
+out of my box, at my own desire, to give me air, and show me the country, but
+always held me fast by a leading-string. We passed over five or six rivers,
+many degrees broader and deeper than the Nile or the Ganges: and there was
+hardly a rivulet so small as the Thames at London-bridge. We were ten weeks in
+our journey, and I was shown in eighteen large towns, besides many villages,
+and private families.
+On the 26th day of October we arrived at the metropolis, called in their
+language Lorbrulgrud, or Pride of the Universe. My master took a lodging in the
+principal street of the city, not far from the royal palace, and put out bills
+in the usual form, containing an exact description of my person and parts. He
+hired a large room between three and four hundred feet wide. He provided a
+table sixty feet in diameter, upon which I was to act my part, and pallisadoed
+it round three feet from the edge, and as many high, to prevent my falling
+over. I was shown ten times a-day, to the wonder and satisfaction of all
+people. I could now speak the language tolerably well, and perfectly understood
+every word, that was spoken to me. Besides, I had learnt their alphabet, and
+could make a shift to explain a sentence here and there; for Glumdalclitch had
+been my instructor while we were at home, and at leisure hours during our
+journey. She carried a little book in her pocket, not much larger than a
+Sanson's Atlas; it was a common treatise for the use of young girls, giving a
+short account of their religion: out of this she taught me my letters, and
+interpreted the words.
+[The author sent for to court. The queen buys him of his master the farmer, and
+presents him to the king. He disputes with his majesty's great scholars. An
+apartment at court provided for the author. He is in high favour with the
+queen. He stands up for the honour of his own country. His quarrels with the
+queen's dwarf.]
+The frequent labours I underwent every day, made, in a few weeks, a very
+considerable change in my health: the more my master got by me, the more
+insatiable he grew. I had quite lost my stomach, and was almost reduced to a
+skeleton. The farmer observed it, and concluding I must soon die, resolved to
+make as good a hand of me as he could. While he was thus reasoning and
+resolving with himself, a sardral, or gentleman-usher, came from court,
+commanding my master to carry me immediately thither for the diversion of the
+queen and her ladies. Some of the latter had already been to see me, and
+reported strange things of my beauty, behaviour, and good sense. Her majesty,
+and those who attended her, were beyond measure delighted with my demeanour. I
+fell on my knees, and begged the honour of kissing her imperial foot; but this
+gracious princess held out her little finger towards me, after I was set on the
+table, which I embraced in both my arms, and put the tip of it with the utmost
+respect to my lip. She made me some general questions about my country and my
+travels, which I answered as distinctly, and in as few words as I could. She
+asked, "whether I could be content to live at court?" I bowed down to the board
+of the table, and humbly answered "that I was my master's slave: but, if I were
+at my own disposal, I should be proud to devote my life to her majesty's
+service." She then asked my master, "whether he was willing to sell me at a
+good price?" He, who apprehended I could not live a month, was ready enough to
+part with me, and demanded a thousand pieces of gold, which were ordered him on
+the spot, each piece being about the bigness of eight hundred moidores; but
+allowing for the proportion of all things between that country and Europe, and
+the high price of gold among them, was hardly so great a sum as a thousand
+guineas would be in England. I then said to the queen, "since I was now her
+majesty's most humble creature and vassal, I must beg the favour, that
+Glumdalclitch, who had always tended me with so much care and kindness, and
+understood to do it so well, might be admitted into her service, and continue
+to be my nurse and instructor."
+Her majesty agreed to my petition, and easily got the farmer's consent, who was
+glad enough to have his daughter preferred at court, and the poor girl herself
+was not able to hide her joy. My late master withdrew, bidding me farewell, and
+saying he had left me in a good service; to which I replied not a word, only
+making him a slight bow.
+The queen observed my coldness; and, when the farmer was gone out of the
+apartment, asked me the reason. I made bold to tell her majesty, "that I owed
+no other obligation to my late master, than his not dashing out the brains of a
+poor harmless creature, found by chance in his fields: which obligation was
+amply recompensed, by the gain he had made in showing me through half the
+kingdom, and the price he had now sold me for. That the life I had since led
+was laborious enough to kill an animal of ten times my strength. That my health
+was much impaired, by the continual drudgery of entertaining the rabble every
+hour of the day; and that, if my master had not thought my life in danger, her
+majesty would not have got so cheap a bargain. But as I was out of all fear of
+being ill-treated under the protection of so great and good an empress, the
+ornament of nature, the darling of the world, the delight of her subjects, the
+phoenix of the creation, so I hoped my late master's apprehensions would appear
+to be groundless; for I already found my spirits revive, by the influence of
+her most august presence."
+This was the sum of my speech, delivered with great improprieties and
+hesitation. The latter part was altogether framed in the style peculiar to that
+people, whereof I learned some phrases from Glumdalclitch, while she was
+carrying me to court.
+The queen, giving great allowance for my defectiveness in speaking, was,
+however, surprised at so much wit and good sense in so diminutive an animal.
+She took me in her own hand, and carried me to the king, who was then retired
+to his cabinet. His majesty, a prince of much gravity and austere countenance,
+not well observing my shape at first view, asked the queen after a cold manner
+"how long it was since she grew fond of a splacnuck?" for such it seems he took
+me to be, as I lay upon my breast in her majesty's right hand. But this
+princess, who has an infinite deal of wit and humour, set me gently on my feet
+upon the scrutoire, and commanded me to give his majesty an account of myself,
+which I did in a very few words: and Glumdalclitch who attended at the cabinet
+door, and could not endure I should be out of her sight, being admitted,
+confirmed all that had passed from my arrival at her father's house.
+The king, although he be as learned a person as any in his dominions, had been
+educated in the study of philosophy, and particularly mathematics; yet when he
+observed my shape exactly, and saw me walk erect, before I began to speak,
+conceived I might be a piece of clock-work (which is in that country arrived to
+a very great perfection) contrived by some ingenious artist. But when he heard
+my voice, and found what I delivered to be regular and rational, he could not
+conceal his astonishment. He was by no means satisfied with the relation I gave
+him of the manner I came into his kingdom, but thought it a story concerted
+between Glumdalclitch and her father, who had taught me a set of words to make
+me sell at a better price. Upon this imagination, he put several other
+questions to me, and still received rational answers: no otherwise defective
+than by a foreign accent, and an imperfect knowledge in the language, with some
+rustic phrases which I had learned at the farmer's house, and did not suit the
+polite style of a court.
+His majesty sent for three great scholars, who were then in their weekly
+waiting, according to the custom in that country. These gentlemen, after they
+had a while examined my shape with much nicety, were of different opinions
+concerning me. They all agreed that I could not be produced according to the
+regular laws of nature, because I was not framed with a capacity of preserving
+my life, either by swiftness, or climbing of trees, or digging holes in the
+earth. They observed by my teeth, which they viewed with great exactness, that
+I was a carnivorous animal; yet most quadrupeds being an overmatch for me, and
+field mice, with some others, too nimble, they could not imagine how I should
+be able to support myself, unless I fed upon snails and other insects, which
+they offered, by many learned arguments, to evince that I could not possibly
+do. One of these virtuosi seemed to think that I might be an embryo, or
+abortive birth. But this opinion was rejected by the other two, who observed my
+limbs to be perfect and finished; and that I had lived several years, as it was
+manifest from my beard, the stumps whereof they plainly discovered through a
+magnifying glass. They would not allow me to be a dwarf, because my littleness
+was beyond all degrees of comparison; for the queen's favourite dwarf, the
+smallest ever known in that kingdom, was near thirty feet high. After much
+debate, they concluded unanimously, that I was only relplum scalcath, which is
+interpreted literally lusus naturae; a determination exactly agreeable to the
+modern philosophy of Europe, whose professors, disdaining the old evasion of
+occult causes, whereby the followers of Aristotle endeavoured in vain to
+disguise their ignorance, have invented this wonderful solution of all
+difficulties, to the unspeakable advancement of human knowledge.
+After this decisive conclusion, I entreated to be heard a word or two. I
+applied myself to the king, and assured his majesty, "that I came from a
+country which abounded with several millions of both sexes, and of my own
+stature; where the animals, trees, and houses, were all in proportion, and
+where, by consequence, I might be as able to defend myself, and to find
+sustenance, as any of his majesty's subjects could do here; which I took for a
+full answer to those gentlemen's arguments." To this they only replied with a
+smile of contempt, saying, "that the farmer had instructed me very well in my
+lesson." The king, who had a much better understanding, dismissing his learned
+men, sent for the farmer, who by good fortune was not yet gone out of town.
+Having therefore first examined him privately, and then confronted him with me
+and the young girl, his majesty began to think that what we told him might
+possibly be true. He desired the queen to order that a particular care should
+be taken of me; and was of opinion that Glumdalclitch should still continue in
+her office of tending me, because he observed we had a great affection for each
+other. A convenient apartment was provided for her at court: she had a sort of
+governess appointed to take care of her education, a maid to dress her, and two
+other servants for menial offices; but the care of me was wholly appropriated
+to herself. The queen commanded her own cabinet-maker to contrive a box, that
+might serve me for a bedchamber, after the model that Glumdalclitch and I
+should agree upon. This man was a most ingenious artist, and according to my
+direction, in three weeks finished for me a wooden chamber of sixteen feet
+square, and twelve high, with sash-windows, a door, and two closets, like a
+London bed-chamber. The board, that made the ceiling, was to be lifted up and
+down by two hinges, to put in a bed ready furnished by her majesty's
+upholsterer, which Glumdalclitch took out every day to air, made it with her
+own hands, and letting it down at night, locked up the roof over me. A nice
+workman, who was famous for little curiosities, undertook to make me two
+chairs, with backs and frames, of a substance not unlike ivory, and two tables,
+with a cabinet to put my things in. The room was quilted on all sides, as well
+as the floor and the ceiling, to prevent any accident from the carelessness of
+those who carried me, and to break the force of a jolt, when I went in a coach.
+I desired a lock for my door, to prevent rats and mice from coming in. The
+smith, after several attempts, made the smallest that ever was seen among them,
+for I have known a larger at the gate of a gentleman's house in England. I made
+a shift to keep the key in a pocket of my own, fearing Glumdalclitch might lose
+it. The queen likewise ordered the thinnest silks that could be gotten, to make
+me clothes, not much thicker than an English blanket, very cumbersome till I
+was accustomed to them. They were after the fashion of the kingdom, partly
+resembling the Persian, and partly the Chinese, and are a very grave and decent
+The queen became so fond of my company, that she could not dine without me. I
+had a table placed upon the same at which her majesty ate, just at her left
+elbow, and a chair to sit on. Glumdalclitch stood on a stool on the floor near
+my table, to assist and take care of me. I had an entire set of silver dishes
+and plates, and other necessaries, which, in proportion to those of the queen,
+were not much bigger than what I have seen in a London toy-shop for the
+furniture of a baby-house: these my little nurse kept in her pocket in a silver
+box, and gave me at meals as I wanted them, always cleaning them herself. No
+person dined with the queen but the two princesses royal, the eldest sixteen
+years old, and the younger at that time thirteen and a month. Her majesty used
+to put a bit of meat upon one of my dishes, out of which I carved for myself,
+and her diversion was to see me eat in miniature: for the queen (who had indeed
+but a weak stomach) took up, at one mouthful, as much as a dozen English
+farmers could eat at a meal, which to me was for some time a very nauseous
+sight. She would craunch the wing of a lark, bones and all, between her teeth,
+although it were nine times as large as that of a full-grown turkey; and put a
+bit of bread into her mouth as big as two twelve- penny loaves. She drank out
+of a golden cup, above a hogshead at a draught. Her knives were twice as long
+as a scythe, set straight upon the handle. The spoons, forks, and other
+instruments, were all in the same proportion. I remember when Glumdalclitch
+carried me, out of curiosity, to see some of the tables at court, where ten or
+a dozen of those enormous knives and forks were lifted up together, I thought I
+had never till then beheld so terrible a sight.
+It is the custom, that every Wednesday (which, as I have observed, is their
+Sabbath) the king and queen, with the royal issue of both sexes, dine together
+in the apartment of his majesty, to whom I was now become a great favourite;
+and at these times, my little chair and table were placed at his left hand,
+before one of the salt- cellars. This prince took a pleasure in conversing with
+me, inquiring into the manners, religion, laws, government, and learning of
+Europe; wherein I gave him the best account I was able. His apprehension was so
+clear, and his judgment so exact, that he made very wise reflections and
+observations upon all I said. But I confess, that, after I had been a little
+too copious in talking of my own beloved country, of our trade and wars by sea
+and land, of our schisms in religion, and parties in the state; the prejudices
+of his education prevailed so far, that he could not forbear taking me up in
+his right hand, and stroking me gently with the other, after a hearty fit of
+laughing, asked me, "whether I was a whig or tory?" Then turning to his first
+minister, who waited behind him with a white staff, near as tall as the
+mainmast of the Royal Sovereign, he observed "how contemptible a thing was
+human grandeur, which could be mimicked by such diminutive insects as I: and
+yet," says he, "I dare engage these creatures have their titles and
+distinctions of honour; they contrive little nests and burrows, that they call
+houses and cities; they make a figure in dress and equipage; they love, they
+fight, they dispute, they cheat, they betray!" And thus he continued on, while
+my colour came and went several times, with indignation, to hear our noble
+country, the mistress of arts and arms, the scourge of France, the arbitress of
+Europe, the seat of virtue, piety, honour, and truth, the pride and envy of the
+world, so contemptuously treated.
+But as I was not in a condition to resent injuries, so upon mature thoughts I
+began to doubt whether I was injured or no. For, after having been accustomed
+several months to the sight and converse of this people, and observed every
+object upon which I cast mine eyes to be of proportionable magnitude, the
+horror I had at first conceived from their bulk and aspect was so far worn off,
+that if I had then beheld a company of English lords and ladies in their finery
+and birth-day clothes, acting their several parts in the most courtly manner of
+strutting, and bowing, and prating, to say the truth, I should have been
+strongly tempted to laugh as much at them as the king and his grandees did at
+me. Neither, indeed, could I forbear smiling at myself, when the queen used to
+place me upon her hand towards a looking-glass, by which both our persons
+appeared before me in full view together; and there could be nothing more
+ridiculous than the comparison; so that I really began to imagine myself
+dwindled many degrees below my usual size.
+Nothing angered and mortified me so much as the queen's dwarf; who being of the
+lowest stature that was ever in that country (for I verily think he was not
+full thirty feet high), became so insolent at seeing a creature so much beneath
+him, that he would always affect to swagger and look big as he passed by me in
+the queen's antechamber, while I was standing on some table talking with the
+lords or ladies of the court, and he seldom failed of a smart word or two upon
+my littleness; against which I could only revenge myself by calling him
+brother, challenging him to wrestle, and such repartees as are usually in the
+mouths of court pages. One day, at dinner, this malicious little cub was so
+nettled with something I had said to him, that, raising himself upon the frame
+of her majesty's chair, he took me up by the middle, as I was sitting down, not
+thinking any harm, and let me drop into a large silver bowl of cream, and then
+ran away as fast as he could. I fell over head and ears, and, if I had not been
+a good swimmer, it might have gone very hard with me; for Glumdalclitch in that
+instant happened to be at the other end of the room, and the queen was in such
+a fright, that she wanted presence of mind to assist me. But my little nurse
+ran to my relief, and took me out, after I had swallowed above a quart of
+cream. I was put to bed: however, I received no other damage than the loss of a
+suit of clothes, which was utterly spoiled. The dwarf was soundly whipt, and as
+a farther punishment, forced to drink up the bowl of cream into which he had
+thrown me: neither was he ever restored to favour; for soon after the queen
+bestowed him on a lady of high quality, so that I saw him no more, to my very
+great satisfaction; for I could not tell to what extremities such a malicious
+urchin might have carried his resentment.
+He had before served me a scurvy trick, which set the queen a-laughing,
+although at the same time she was heartily vexed, and would have immediately
+cashiered him, if I had not been so generous as to intercede. Her majesty had
+taken a marrow-bone upon her plate, and, after knocking out the marrow, placed
+the bone again in the dish erect, as it stood before; the dwarf, watching his
+opportunity, while Glumdalclitch was gone to the side-board, mounted the stool
+that she stood on to take care of me at meals, took me up in both hands, and
+squeezing my legs together, wedged them into the marrow bone above my waist,
+where I stuck for some time, and made a very ridiculous figure. I believe it
+was near a minute before any one knew what was become of me; for I thought it
+below me to cry out. But, as princes seldom get their meat hot, my legs were
+not scalded, only my stockings and breeches in a sad condition. The dwarf, at
+my entreaty, had no other punishment than a sound whipping.
+I was frequently rallied by the queen upon account of my fearfulness; and she
+used to ask me whether the people of my country were as great cowards as
+myself? The occasion was this: the kingdom is much pestered with flies in
+summer; and these odious insects, each of them as big as a Dunstable lark,
+hardly gave me any rest while I sat at dinner, with their continual humming and
+buzzing about mine ears. They would sometimes alight upon my victuals, and
+leave their loathsome excrement, or spawn behind, which to me was very visible,
+though not to the natives of that country, whose large optics were not so acute
+as mine, in viewing smaller objects. Sometimes they would fix upon my nose, or
+forehead, where they stung me to the quick, smelling very offensively; and I
+could easily trace that viscous matter, which, our naturalists tell us, enables
+those creatures to walk with their feet upwards upon a ceiling. I had much ado
+to defend myself against these detestable animals, and could not forbear
+starting when they came on my face. It was the common practice of the dwarf, to
+catch a number of these insects in his hand, as schoolboys do among us, and let
+them out suddenly under my nose, on purpose to frighten me, and divert the
+queen. My remedy was to cut them in pieces with my knife, as they flew in the
+air, wherein my dexterity was much admired.
+I remember, one morning, when Glumdalclitch had set me in a box upon a window,
+as she usually did in fair days to give me air (for I durst not venture to let
+the box be hung on a nail out of the window, as we do with cages in England),
+after I had lifted up one of my sashes, and sat down at my table to eat a piece
+of sweet cake for my breakfast, above twenty wasps, allured by the smell, came
+flying into the room, humming louder than the drones of as many bagpipes. Some
+of them seized my cake, and carried it piecemeal away; others flew about my
+head and face, confounding me with the noise, and putting me in the utmost
+terror of their stings. However, I had the courage to rise and draw my hanger,
+and attack them in the air. I dispatched four of them, but the rest got away,
+and I presently shut my window. These insects were as large as partridges: I
+took out their stings, found them an inch and a half long, and as sharp as
+needles. I carefully preserved them all; and having since shown them, with some
+other curiosities, in several parts of Europe, upon my return to England I gave
+three of them to Gresham College, and kept the fourth for myself.
+[The country described. A proposal for correcting modern maps. The king's
+palace; and some account of the metropolis. The author's way of travelling. The
+chief temple described.]
+I now intend to give the reader a short description of this country, as far as
+I travelled in it, which was not above two thousand miles round Lorbrulgrud,
+the metropolis. For the queen, whom I always attended, never went farther when
+she accompanied the king in his progresses, and there staid till his majesty
+returned from viewing his frontiers. The whole extent of this prince's
+dominions reaches about six thousand miles in length, and from three to five in
+breadth: whence I cannot but conclude, that our geographers of Europe are in a
+great error, by supposing nothing but sea between Japan and California; for it
+was ever my opinion, that there must be a balance of earth to counterpoise the
+great continent of Tartary; and therefore they ought to correct their maps and
+charts, by joining this vast tract of land to the north- west parts of America,
+wherein I shall be ready to lend them my assistance.
+The kingdom is a peninsula, terminated to the north-east by a ridge of
+mountains thirty miles high, which are altogether impassable, by reason of the
+volcanoes upon the tops: neither do the most learned know what sort of mortals
+inhabit beyond those mountains, or whether they be inhabited at all. On the
+three other sides, it is bounded by the ocean. There is not one seaport in the
+whole kingdom: and those parts of the coasts into which the rivers issue, are
+so full of pointed rocks, and the sea generally so rough, that there is no
+venturing with the smallest of their boats; so that these people are wholly
+excluded from any commerce with the rest of the world. But the large rivers are
+full of vessels, and abound with excellent fish; for they seldom get any from
+the sea, because the sea fish are of the same size with those in Europe, and
+consequently not worth catching; whereby it is manifest, that nature, in the
+production of plants and animals of so extraordinary a bulk, is wholly confined
+to this continent, of which I leave the reasons to be determined by
+philosophers. However, now and then they take a whale that happens to be dashed
+against the rocks, which the common people feed on heartily. These whales I
+have known so large, that a man could hardly carry one upon his shoulders; and
+sometimes, for curiosity, they are brought in hampers to Lorbrulgrud; I saw one
+of them in a dish at the king's table, which passed for a rarity, but I did not
+observe he was fond of it; for I think, indeed, the bigness disgusted him,
+although I have seen one somewhat larger in Greenland.
+The country is well inhabited, for it contains fifty-one cities, near a hundred
+walled towns, and a great number of villages. To satisfy my curious reader, it
+may be sufficient to describe Lorbrulgrud. This city stands upon almost two
+equal parts, on each side the river that passes through. It contains above
+eighty thousand houses, and about six hundred thousand inhabitants. It is in
+length three glomglungs (which make about fifty-four English miles,) and two
+and a half in breadth; as I measured it myself in the royal map made by the
+king's order, which was laid on the ground on purpose for me, and extended a
+hundred feet: I paced the diameter and circumference several times barefoot,
+and, computing by the scale, measured it pretty exactly.
+The king's palace is no regular edifice, but a heap of buildings, about seven
+miles round: the chief rooms are generally two hundred and forty feet high, and
+broad and long in proportion. A coach was allowed to Glumdalclitch and me,
+wherein her governess frequently took her out to see the town, or go among the
+shops; and I was always of the party, carried in my box; although the girl, at
+my own desire, would often take me out, and hold me in her hand, that I might
+more conveniently view the houses and the people, as we passed along the
+streets. I reckoned our coach to be about a square of Westminster-hall, but not
+altogether so high: however, I cannot be very exact. One day the governess
+ordered our coachman to stop at several shops, where the beggars, watching
+their opportunity, crowded to the sides of the coach, and gave me the most
+horrible spectacle that ever a European eye beheld. There was a woman with a
+cancer in her breast, swelled to a monstrous size, full of holes, in two or
+three of which I could have easily crept, and covered my whole body. There was
+a fellow with a wen in his neck, larger than five wool-packs; and another, with
+a couple of wooden legs, each about twenty feet high. But the most hateful
+sight of all, was the lice crawling on their clothes. I could see distinctly
+the limbs of these vermin with my naked eye, much better than those of a
+European louse through a microscope, and their snouts with which they rooted
+like swine. They were the first I had ever beheld, and I should have been
+curious enough to dissect one of them, if I had had proper instruments, which I
+unluckily left behind me in the ship, although, indeed, the sight was so
+nauseous, that it perfectly turned my stomach.
+Besides the large box in which I was usually carried, the queen ordered a
+smaller one to be made for me, of about twelve feet square, and ten high, for
+the convenience of travelling; because the other was somewhat too large for
+Glumdalclitch's lap, and cumbersome in the coach; it was made by the same
+artist, whom I directed in the whole contrivance. This travelling-closet was an
+exact square, with a window in the middle of three of the squares, and each
+window was latticed with iron wire on the outside, to prevent accidents in long
+journeys. On the fourth side, which had no window, two strong staples were
+fixed, through which the person that carried me, when I had a mind to be on
+horseback, put a leathern belt, and buckled it about his waist. This was always
+the office of some grave trusty servant, in whom I could confide, whether I
+attended the king and queen in their progresses, or were disposed to see the
+gardens, or pay a visit to some great lady or minister of state in the court,
+when Glumdalclitch happened to be out of order; for I soon began to be known
+and esteemed among the greatest officers, I suppose more upon account of their
+majesties' favour, than any merit of my own. In journeys, when I was weary of
+the coach, a servant on horseback would buckle on my box, and place it upon a
+cushion before him; and there I had a full prospect of the country on three
+sides, from my three windows. I had, in this closet, a field-bed and a hammock,
+hung from the ceiling, two chairs and a table, neatly screwed to the floor, to
+prevent being tossed about by the agitation of the horse or the coach. And
+having been long used to sea-voyages, those motions, although sometimes very
+violent, did not much discompose me.
+Whenever I had a mind to see the town, it was always in my travelling-closet;
+which Glumdalclitch held in her lap in a kind of open sedan, after the fashion
+of the country, borne by four men, and attended by two others in the queen's
+livery. The people, who had often heard of me, were very curious to crowd about
+the sedan, and the girl was complaisant enough to make the bearers stop, and to
+take me in her hand, that I might be more conveniently seen.
+I was very desirous to see the chief temple, and particularly the tower
+belonging to it, which is reckoned the highest in the kingdom. Accordingly one
+day my nurse carried me thither, but I may truly say I came back disappointed;
+for the height is not above three thousand feet, reckoning from the ground to
+the highest pinnacle top; which, allowing for the difference between the size
+of those people and us in Europe, is no great matter for admiration, nor at all
+equal in proportion (if I rightly remember) to Salisbury steeple. But, not to
+detract from a nation, to which, during my life, I shall acknowledge myself
+extremely obliged, it must be allowed, that whatever this famous tower wants in
+height, is amply made up in beauty and strength: for the walls are near a
+hundred feet thick, built of hewn stone, whereof each is about forty feet
+square, and adorned on all sides with statues of gods and emperors, cut in
+marble, larger than the life, placed in their several niches. I measured a
+little finger which had fallen down from one of these statues, and lay
+unperceived among some rubbish, and found it exactly four feet and an inch in
+length. Glumdalclitch wrapped it up in her handkerchief, and carried it home in
+her pocket, to keep among other trinkets, of which the girl was very fond, as
+children at her age usually are.
+The king's kitchen is indeed a noble building, vaulted at top, and about six
+hundred feet high. The great oven is not so wide, by ten paces, as the cupola
+at St. Paul's: for I measured the latter on purpose, after my return. But if I
+should describe the kitchen grate, the prodigious pots and kettles, the joints
+of meat turning on the spits, with many other particulars, perhaps I should be
+hardly believed; at least a severe critic would be apt to think I enlarged a
+little, as travellers are often suspected to do. To avoid which censure I fear
+I have run too much into the other extreme; and that if this treatise should
+happen to be translated into the language of Brobdingnag (which is the general
+name of that kingdom,) and transmitted thither, the king and his people would
+have reason to complain that I had done them an injury, by a false and
+diminutive representation.
+His majesty seldom keeps above six hundred horses in his stables: they are
+generally from fifty-four to sixty feet high. But, when he goes abroad on
+solemn days, he is attended, for state, by a military guard of five hundred
+horse, which, indeed, I thought was the most splendid sight that could be ever
+beheld, till I saw part of his army in battalia, whereof I shall find another
+occasion to speak.
+[Several adventurers that happened to the author. The execution of a criminal.
+The author shows his skill in navigation.]
+I should have lived happy enough in that country, if my littleness had not
+exposed me to several ridiculous and troublesome accidents; some of which I
+shall venture to relate. Glumdalclitch often carried me into the gardens of the
+court in my smaller box, and would sometimes take me out of it, and hold me in
+her hand, or set me down to walk. I remember, before the dwarf left the queen,
+he followed us one day into those gardens, and my nurse having set me down, he
+and I being close together, near some dwarf apple trees, I must needs show my
+wit, by a silly allusion between him and the trees, which happens to hold in
+their language as it does in ours. Whereupon, the malicious rogue, watching his
+opportunity, when I was walking under one of them, shook it directly over my
+head, by which a dozen apples, each of them near as large as a Bristol barrel,
+came tumbling about my ears; one of them hit me on the back as I chanced to
+stoop, and knocked me down flat on my face; but I received no other hurt, and
+the dwarf was pardoned at my desire, because I had given the provocation.
+Another day, Glumdalclitch left me on a smooth grass-plot to divert myself,
+while she walked at some distance with her governess. In the meantime, there
+suddenly fell such a violent shower of hail, that I was immediately by the
+force of it, struck to the ground: and when I was down, the hailstones gave me
+such cruel bangs all over the body, as if I had been pelted with tennis-balls;
+however, I made a shift to creep on all fours, and shelter myself, by lying
+flat on my face, on the lee-side of a border of lemon-thyme, but so bruised
+from head to foot, that I could not go abroad in ten days. Neither is this at
+all to be wondered at, because nature, in that country, observing the same
+proportion through all her operations, a hailstone is near eighteen hundred
+times as large as one in Europe; which I can assert upon experience, having
+been so curious as to weigh and measure them.
+But a more dangerous accident happened to me in the same garden, when my little
+nurse, believing she had put me in a secure place (which I often entreated her
+to do, that I might enjoy my own thoughts,) and having left my box at home, to
+avoid the trouble of carrying it, went to another part of the garden with her
+governess and some ladies of her acquaintance. While she was absent, and out of
+hearing, a small white spaniel that belonged to one of the chief gardeners,
+having got by accident into the garden, happened to range near the place where
+I lay: the dog, following the scent, came directly up, and taking me in his
+mouth, ran straight to his master wagging his tail, and set me gently on the
+ground. By good fortune he had been so well taught, that I was carried between
+his teeth without the least hurt, or even tearing my clothes. But the poor
+gardener, who knew me well, and had a great kindness for me, was in a terrible
+fright: he gently took me up in both his hands, and asked me how I did? but I
+was so amazed and out of breath, that I could not speak a word. In a few
+minutes I came to myself, and he carried me safe to my little nurse, who, by
+this time, had returned to the place where she left me, and was in cruel
+agonies when I did not appear, nor answer when she called. She severely
+reprimanded the gardener on account of his dog. But the thing was hushed up,
+and never known at court, for the girl was afraid of the queen's anger; and
+truly, as to myself, I thought it would not be for my reputation, that such a
+story should go about.
+This accident absolutely determined Glumdalclitch never to trust me abroad for
+the future out of her sight. I had been long afraid of this resolution, and
+therefore concealed from her some little unlucky adventures, that happened in
+those times when I was left by myself. Once a kite, hovering over the garden,
+made a stoop at me, and if I had not resolutely drawn my hanger, and run under
+a thick espalier, he would have certainly carried me away in his talons.
+Another time, walking to the top of a fresh mole-hill, I fell to my neck in the
+hole, through which that animal had cast up the earth, and coined some lie, not
+worth remembering, to excuse myself for spoiling my clothes. I likewise broke
+my right shin against the shell of a snail, which I happened to stumble over,
+as I was walking alone and thinking on poor England.
+I cannot tell whether I were more pleased or mortified to observe, in those
+solitary walks, that the smaller birds did not appear to be at all afraid of
+me, but would hop about within a yard's distance, looking for worms and other
+food, with as much indifference and security as if no creature at all were near
+them. I remember, a thrush had the confidence to snatch out of my hand, with
+his bill, a of cake that Glumdalclitch had just given me for my breakfast. When
+I attempted to catch any of these birds, they would boldly turn against me,
+endeavouring to peck my fingers, which I durst not venture within their reach;
+and then they would hop back unconcerned, to hunt for worms or snails, as they
+did before. But one day, I took a thick cudgel, and threw it with all my
+strength so luckily, at a linnet, that I knocked him down, and seizing him by
+the neck with both my hands, ran with him in triumph to my nurse. However, the
+bird, who had only been stunned, recovering himself gave me so many boxes with
+his wings, on both sides of my head and body, though I held him at
+arm's-length, and was out of the reach of his claws, that I was twenty times
+thinking to let him go. But I was soon relieved by one of our servants, who
+wrung off the bird's neck, and I had him next day for dinner, by the queen's
+command. This linnet, as near as I can remember, seemed to be somewhat larger
+than an English swan.
+The maids of honour often invited Glumdalclitch to their apartments, and
+desired she would bring me along with her, on purpose to have the pleasure of
+seeing and touching me. They would often strip me naked from top to toe, and
+lay me at full length in their bosoms; wherewith I was much disgusted because,
+to say the truth, a very offensive smell came from their skins; which I do not
+mention, or intend, to the disadvantage of those excellent ladies, for whom I
+have all manner of respect; but I conceive that my sense was more acute in
+proportion to my littleness, and that those illustrious persons were no more
+disagreeable to their lovers, or to each other, than people of the same quality
+are with us in England. And, after all, I found their natural smell was much
+more supportable, than when they used perfumes, under which I immediately
+swooned away. I cannot forget, that an intimate friend of mine in Lilliput,
+took the freedom in a warm day, when I had used a good deal of exercise, to
+complain of a strong smell about me, although I am as little faulty that way,
+as most of my sex: but I suppose his faculty of smelling was as nice with
+regard to me, as mine was to that of this people. Upon this point, I cannot
+forbear doing justice to the queen my mistress, and Glumdalclitch my nurse,
+whose persons were as sweet as those of any lady in England.
+That which gave me most uneasiness among these maids of honour (when my nurse
+carried me to visit then) was, to see them use me without any manner of
+ceremony, like a creature who had no sort of consequence: for they would strip
+themselves to the skin, and put on their smocks in my presence, while I was
+placed on their toilet, directly before their naked bodies, which I am sure to
+me was very far from being a tempting sight, or from giving me any other
+emotions than those of horror and disgust: their skins appeared so coarse and
+uneven, so variously coloured, when I saw them near, with a mole here and there
+as broad as a trencher, and hairs hanging from it thicker than packthreads, to
+say nothing farther concerning the rest of their persons. Neither did they at
+all scruple, while I was by, to discharge what they had drank, to the quantity
+of at least two hogsheads, in a vessel that held above three tuns. The
+handsomest among these maids of honour, a pleasant, frolicsome girl of sixteen,
+would sometimes set me astride upon one of her nipples, with many other tricks,
+wherein the reader will excuse me for not being over particular. But I was so
+much displeased, that I entreated Glumdalclitch to contrive some excuse for not
+seeing that young lady any more.
+One day, a young gentleman, who was nephew to my nurse's governess, came and
+pressed them both to see an execution. It was of a man, who had murdered one of
+that gentleman's intimate acquaintance. Glumdalclitch was prevailed on to be of
+the company, very much against her inclination, for she was naturally
+tender-hearted: and, as for myself, although I abhorred such kind of
+spectacles, yet my curiosity tempted me to see something that I thought must be
+extraordinary. The malefactor was fixed in a chair upon a scaffold erected for
+that purpose, and his head cut off at one blow, with a sword of about forty
+feet long. The veins and arteries spouted up such a prodigious quantity of
+blood, and so high in the air, that the great jet d'eau at Versailles was not
+equal to it for the time it lasted: and the head, when it fell on the scaffold
+floor, gave such a bounce as made me start, although I was at least half an
+English mile distant.
+The queen, who often used to hear me talk of my sea-voyages, and took all
+occasions to divert me when I was melancholy, asked me whether I understood how
+to handle a sail or an oar, and whether a little exercise of rowing might not
+be convenient for my health? I answered, that I understood both very well: for
+although my proper employment had been to be surgeon or doctor to the ship, yet
+often, upon a pinch, I was forced to work like a common mariner. But I could
+not see how this could be done in their country, where the smallest wherry was
+equal to a first-rate man of war among us; and such a boat as I could manage
+would never live in any of their rivers. Her majesty said, if I would contrive
+a boat, her own joiner should make it, and she would provide a place for me to
+sail in. The fellow was an ingenious workman, and by my instructions, in ten
+days, finished a pleasure-boat with all its tackling, able conveniently to hold
+eight Europeans. When it was finished, the queen was so delighted, that she ran
+with it in her lap to the king, who ordered it to be put into a cistern full of
+water, with me in it, by way of trial, where I could not manage my two sculls,
+or little oars, for want of room. But the queen had before contrived another
+project. She ordered the joiner to make a wooden trough of three hundred feet
+long, fifty broad, and eight deep; which, being well pitched, to prevent
+leaking, was placed on the floor, along the wall, in an outer room of the
+palace. It had a cock near the bottom to let out the water, when it began to
+grow stale; and two servants could easily fill it in half an hour. Here I often
+used to row for my own diversion, as well as that of the queen and her ladies,
+who thought themselves well entertained with my skill and agility. Sometimes I
+would put up my sail, and then my business was only to steer, while the ladies
+gave me a gale with their fans; and, when they were weary, some of their pages
+would blow my sail forward with their breath, while I showed my art by steering
+starboard or larboard as I pleased. When I had done, Glumdalclitch always
+carried back my boat into her closet, and hung it on a nail to dry.
+In this exercise I once met an accident, which had like to have cost me my
+life; for, one of the pages having put my boat into the trough, the governess
+who attended Glumdalclitch very officiously lifted me up, to place me in the
+boat: but I happened to slip through her fingers, and should infallibly have
+fallen down forty feet upon the floor, if, by the luckiest chance in the world,
+I had not been stopped by a corking-pin that stuck in the good gentlewoman's
+stomacher; the head of the pin passing between my shirt and the waistband of my
+breeches, and thus I was held by the middle in the air, till Glumdalclitch ran
+to my relief.
+Another time, one of the servants, whose office it was to fill my trough every
+third day with fresh water, was so careless as to let a huge frog (not
+perceiving it) slip out of his pail. The frog lay concealed till I was put into
+my boat, but then, seeing a resting- place, climbed up, and made it lean so
+much on one side, that I was forced to balance it with all my weight on the
+other, to prevent overturning. When the frog was got in, it hopped at once half
+the length of the boat, and then over my head, backward and forward, daubing my
+face and clothes with its odious slime. The largeness of its features made it
+appear the most deformed animal that can be conceived. However, I desired
+Glumdalclitch to let me deal with it alone. I banged it a good while with one
+of my sculls, and at last forced it to leap out of the boat.
+But the greatest danger I ever underwent in that kingdom, was from a monkey,
+who belonged to one of the clerks of the kitchen. Glumdalclitch had locked me
+up in her closet, while she went somewhere upon business, or a visit. The
+weather being very warm, the closet-window was left open, as well as the
+windows and the door of my bigger box, in which I usually lived, because of its
+largeness and conveniency. As I sat quietly meditating at my table, I heard
+something bounce in at the closet-window, and skip about from one side to the
+other: whereat, although I was much alarmed, yet I ventured to look out, but
+not stirring from my seat; and then I saw this frolicsome animal frisking and
+leaping up and down, till at last he came to my box, which he seemed to view
+with great pleasure and curiosity, peeping in at the door and every window. I
+retreated to the farther corner of my room; or box; but the monkey looking in
+at every side, put me in such a fright, that I wanted presence of mind to
+conceal myself under the bed, as I might easily have done. After some time
+spent in peeping, grinning, and chattering, he at last espied me; and reaching
+one of his paws in at the door, as a cat does when she plays with a mouse,
+although I often shifted place to avoid him, he at length seized the lappet of
+my coat (which being made of that country silk, was very thick and strong), and
+dragged me out. He took me up in his right fore-foot and held me as a nurse
+does a child she is going to suckle, just as I have seen the same sort of
+creature do with a kitten in Europe; and when I offered to struggle he squeezed
+me so hard, that I thought it more prudent to submit. I have good reason to
+believe, that he took me for a young one of his own species, by his often
+stroking my face very gently with his other paw. In these diversions he was
+interrupted by a noise at the closet door, as if somebody were opening it:
+whereupon he suddenly leaped up to the window at which he had come in, and
+thence upon the leads and gutters, walking upon three legs, and holding me in
+the fourth, till he clambered up to a roof that was next to ours. I heard
+Glumdalclitch give a shriek at the moment he was carrying me out. The poor girl
+was almost distracted: that quarter of the palace was all in an uproar; the
+servants ran for ladders; the monkey was seen by hundreds in the court, sitting
+upon the ridge of a building, holding me like a baby in one of his forepaws,
+and feeding me with the other, by cramming into my mouth some victuals he had
+squeezed out of the bag on one side of his chaps, and patting me when I would
+not eat; whereat many of the rabble below could not forbear laughing; neither
+do I think they justly ought to be blamed, for, without question, the sight was
+ridiculous enough to every body but myself. Some of the people threw up stones,
+hoping to drive the monkey down; but this was strictly forbidden, or else, very
+probably, my brains had been dashed out.
+The ladders were now applied, and mounted by several men; which the monkey
+observing, and finding himself almost encompassed, not being able to make speed
+enough with his three legs, let me drop on a ridge tile, and made his escape.
+Here I sat for some time, five hundred yards from the ground, expecting every
+moment to be blown down by the wind, or to fall by my own giddiness, and come
+tumbling over and over from the ridge to the eaves; but an honest lad, one of
+my nurse's footmen, climbed up, and putting me into his breeches pocket,
+brought me down safe.
+I was almost choked with the filthy stuff the monkey had crammed down my
+throat: but my dear little nurse picked it out of my mouth with a small needle,
+and then I fell a-vomiting, which gave me great relief. Yet I was so weak and
+bruised in the sides with the squeezes given me by this odious animal, that I
+was forced to keep my bed a fortnight. The king, queen, and all the court, sent
+every day to inquire after my health; and her majesty made me several visits
+during my sickness. The monkey was killed, and an order made, that no such
+animal should be kept about the palace.
+When I attended the king after my recovery, to return him thanks for his
+favours, he was pleased to rally me a good deal upon this adventure. He asked
+me, "what my thoughts and speculations were, while I lay in the monkey's paw;
+how I liked the victuals he gave me; his manner of feeding; and whether the
+fresh air on the roof had sharpened my stomach." He desired to know, "what I
+would have done upon such an occasion in my own country." I told his majesty,
+"that in Europe we had no monkeys, except such as were brought for curiosity
+from other places, and so small, that I could deal with a dozen of them
+together, if they presumed to attack me. And as for that monstrous animal with
+whom I was so lately engaged (it was indeed as large as an elephant), if my
+fears had suffered me to think so far as to make use of my hanger," (looking
+fiercely, and clapping my hand on the hilt, as I spoke) "when he poked his paw
+into my chamber, perhaps I should have given him such a wound, as would have
+made him glad to withdraw it with more haste than he put it in." This I
+delivered in a firm tone, like a person who was jealous lest his courage should
+be called in question. However, my speech produced nothing else beside a laud
+laughter, which all the respect due to his majesty from those about him could
+not make them contain. This made me reflect, how vain an attempt it is for a
+man to endeavour to do himself honour among those who are out of all degree of
+equality or comparison with him. And yet I have seen the moral of my own
+behaviour very frequent in England since my return; where a little contemptible
+varlet, without the least title to birth, person, wit, or common sense, shall
+presume to look with importance, and put himself upon a foot with the greatest
+persons of the kingdom.
+I was every day furnishing the court with some ridiculous story: and
+Glumdalclitch, although she loved me to excess, yet was arch enough to inform
+the queen, whenever I committed any folly that she thought would be diverting
+to her majesty. The girl, who had been out of order, was carried by her
+governess to take the air about an hour's distance, or thirty miles from town.
+They alighted out of the coach near a small foot-path in a field, and
+Glumdalclitch setting down my travelling box, I went out of it to walk. There
+was a cow-dung in the path, and I must need try my activity by attempting to
+leap over it. I took a run, but unfortunately jumped short, and found myself
+just in the middle up to my knees. I waded through with some difficulty, and
+one of the footmen wiped me as clean as he could with his handkerchief, for I
+was filthily bemired; and my nurse confined me to my box, till we returned
+home; where the queen was soon informed of what had passed, and the footmen
+spread it about the court: so that all the mirth for some days was at my
+[Several contrivances of the author to please the king and queen. He shows his
+skill in music. The king inquires into the state of England, which the author
+relates to him. The king's observations thereon.]
+I used to attend the king's levee once or twice a week, and had often seen him
+under the barber's hand, which indeed was at first very terrible to behold; for
+the razor was almost twice as long as an ordinary scythe. His majesty,
+according to the custom of the country, was only shaved twice a-week. I once
+prevailed on the barber to give me some of the suds or lather, out of which I
+picked forty or fifty of the strongest stumps of hair. I then took a piece of
+fine wood, and cut it like the back of a comb, making several holes in it at
+equal distances with as small a needle as I could get from Glumdalclitch. I
+fixed in the stumps so artificially, scraping and sloping them with my knife
+toward the points, that I made a very tolerable comb; which was a seasonable
+supply, my own being so much broken in the teeth, that it was almost useless:
+neither did I know any artist in that country so nice and exact, as would
+undertake to make me another.
+And this puts me in mind of an amusement, wherein I spent many of my leisure
+hours. I desired the queen's woman to save for me the combings of her majesty's
+hair, whereof in time I got a good quantity; and consulting with my friend the
+cabinet-maker, who had received general orders to do little jobs for me, I
+directed him to make two chair-frames, no larger than those I had in my box,
+and to bore little holes with a fine awl, round those parts where I designed
+the backs and seats; through these holes I wove the strongest hairs I could
+pick out, just after the manner of cane chairs in England. When they were
+finished, I made a present of them to her majesty; who kept them in her
+cabinet, and used to show them for curiosities, as indeed they were the wonder
+of every one that beheld them. The queen would have me sit upon one of these
+chairs, but I absolutely refused to obey her, protesting I would rather die
+than place a dishonourable part of my body on those precious hairs, that once
+adorned her majesty's head. Of these hairs (as I had always a mechanical
+genius) I likewise made a neat little purse, about five feet long, with her
+majesty's name deciphered in gold letters, which I gave to Glumdalclitch, by
+the queen's consent. To say the truth, it was more for show than use, being not
+of strength to bear the weight of the larger coins, and therefore she kept
+nothing in it but some little toys that girls are fond of.
+The king, who delighted in music, had frequent concerts at court, to which I
+was sometimes carried, and set in my box on a table to hear them: but the noise
+was so great that I could hardly distinguish the tunes. I am confident that all
+the drums and trumpets of a royal army, beating and sounding together just at
+your ears, could not equal it. My practice was to have my box removed from the
+place where the performers sat, as far as I could, then to shut the doors and
+windows of it, and draw the window curtains; after which I found their music
+not disagreeable.
+I had learned in my youth to play a little upon the spinet. Glumdalclitch kept
+one in her chamber, and a master attended twice a-week to teach her: I called
+it a spinet, because it somewhat resembled that instrument, and was played upon
+in the same manner. A fancy came into my head, that I would entertain the king
+and queen with an English tune upon this instrument. But this appeared
+extremely difficult: for the spinet was near sixty feet long, each key being
+almost a foot wide, so that with my arms extended I could not reach to above
+five keys, and to press them down required a good smart stroke with my fist,
+which would be too great a labour, and to no purpose. The method I contrived
+was this: I prepared two round sticks, about the bigness of common cudgels;
+they were thicker at one end than the other, and I covered the thicker ends
+with pieces of a mouse's skin, that by rapping on them I might neither damage
+the tops of the keys nor interrupt the sound. Before the spinet a bench was
+placed, about four feet below the keys, and I was put upon the bench. I ran
+sideling upon it, that way and this, as fast as I could, banging the proper
+keys with my two sticks, and made a shift to play a jig, to the great
+satisfaction of both their majesties; but it was the most violent exercise I
+ever underwent; and yet I could not strike above sixteen keys, nor consequently
+play the bass and treble together, as other artists do; which was a great
+disadvantage to my performance.
+The king, who, as I before observed, was a prince of excellent understanding,
+would frequently order that I should be brought in my box, and set upon the
+table in his closet: he would then command me to bring one of my chairs out of
+the box, and sit down within three yards distance upon the top of the cabinet,
+which brought me almost to a level with his face. In this manner I had several
+conversations with him. I one day took the freedom to tell his majesty, "that
+the contempt he discovered towards Europe, and the rest of the world, did not
+seem answerable to those excellent qualities of mind that he was master of;
+that reason did not extend itself with the bulk of the body; on the contrary,
+we observed in our country, that the tallest persons were usually the least
+provided with it; that among other animals, bees and ants had the reputation of
+more industry, art, and sagacity, than many of the larger kinds; and that, as
+inconsiderable as he took me to be, I hoped I might live to do his majesty some
+signal service." The king heard me with attention, and began to conceive a much
+better opinion of me than he had ever before. He desired "I would give him as
+exact an account of the government of England as I possibly could; because, as
+fond as princes commonly are of their own customs (for so he conjectured of
+other monarchs, by my former discourses), he should be glad to hear of any
+thing that might deserve imitation."
+Imagine with thyself, courteous reader, how often I then wished for the tongue
+of Demosthenes or Cicero, that might have enabled me to celebrate the praise of
+my own dear native country in a style equal to its merits and felicity.
+I began my discourse by informing his majesty, that our dominions consisted of
+two islands, which composed three mighty kingdoms, under one sovereign, beside
+our plantations in America. I dwelt long upon the fertility of our soil, and
+the temperature of our climate. I then spoke at large upon the constitution of
+an English parliament; partly made up of an illustrious body called the House
+of Peers; persons of the noblest blood, and of the most ancient and ample
+patrimonies. I described that extraordinary care always taken of their
+education in arts and arms, to qualify them for being counsellors both to the
+king and kingdom; to have a share in the legislature; to be members of the
+highest court of judicature, whence there can be no appeal; and to be champions
+always ready for the defence of their prince and country, by their valour,
+conduct, and fidelity. That these were the ornament and bulwark of the kingdom,
+worthy followers of their most renowned ancestors, whose honour had been the
+reward of their virtue, from which their posterity were never once known to
+degenerate. To these were joined several holy persons, as part of that
+assembly, under the title of bishops, whose peculiar business is to take care
+of religion, and of those who instruct the people therein. These were searched
+and sought out through the whole nation, by the prince and his wisest
+counsellors, among such of the priesthood as were most deservedly distinguished
+by the sanctity of their lives, and the depth of their erudition; who were
+indeed the spiritual fathers of the clergy and the people.
+That the other part of the parliament consisted of an assembly called the House
+of Commons, who were all principal gentlemen, freely picked and culled out by
+the people themselves, for their great abilities and love of their country, to
+represent the wisdom of the whole nation. And that these two bodies made up the
+most august assembly in Europe; to whom, in conjunction with the prince, the
+whole legislature is committed.
+I then descended to the courts of justice; over which the judges, those
+venerable sages and interpreters of the law, presided, for determining the
+disputed rights and properties of men, as well as for the punishment of vice
+and protection of innocence. I mentioned the prudent management of our
+treasury; the valour and achievements of our forces, by sea and land. I
+computed the number of our people, by reckoning how many millions there might
+be of each religious sect, or political party among us. I did not omit even our
+sports and pastimes, or any other particular which I thought might redound to
+the honour of my country. And I finished all with a brief historical account of
+affairs and events in England for about a hundred years past.
+This conversation was not ended under five audiences, each of several hours;
+and the king heard the whole with great attention, frequently taking notes of
+what I spoke, as well as memorandums of what questions he intended to ask me.
+When I had put an end to these long discources, his majesty, in a sixth
+audience, consulting his notes, proposed many doubts, queries, and objections,
+upon every article. He asked, "What methods were used to cultivate the minds
+and bodies of our young nobility, and in what kind of business they commonly
+spent the first and teachable parts of their lives? What course was taken to
+supply that assembly, when any noble family became extinct? What qualifications
+were necessary in those who are to be created new lords: whether the humour of
+the prince, a sum of money to a court lady, or a design of strengthening a
+party opposite to the public interest, ever happened to be the motive in those
+advancements? What share of knowledge these lords had in the laws of their
+country, and how they came by it, so as to enable them to decide the properties
+of their fellow-subjects in the last resort? Whether they were always so free
+from avarice, partialities, or want, that a bribe, or some other sinister view,
+could have no place among them? Whether those holy lords I spoke of were always
+promoted to that rank upon account of their knowledge in religious matters, and
+the sanctity of their lives; had never been compliers with the times, while
+they were common priests; or slavish prostitute chaplains to some nobleman,
+whose opinions they continued servilely to follow, after they were admitted
+into that assembly?"
+He then desired to know, "What arts were practised in electing those whom I
+called commoners: whether a stranger, with a strong purse, might not influence
+the vulgar voters to choose him before their own landlord, or the most
+considerable gentleman in the neighbourhood? How it came to pass, that people
+were so violently bent upon getting into this assembly, which I allowed to be a
+great trouble and expense, often to the ruin of their families, without any
+salary or pension? because this appeared such an exalted strain of virtue and
+public spirit, that his majesty seemed to doubt it might possibly not be always
+sincere." And he desired to know, "Whether such zealous gentlemen could have
+any views of refunding themselves for the charges and trouble they were at by
+sacrificing the public good to the designs of a weak and vicious prince, in
+conjunction with a corrupted ministry?" He multiplied his questions, and sifted
+me thoroughly upon every part of this head, proposing numberless inquiries and
+objections, which I think it not prudent or convenient to repeat.
+Upon what I said in relation to our courts of justice, his majesty desired to
+be satisfied in several points: and this I was the better able to do, having
+been formerly almost ruined by a long suit in chancery, which was decreed for
+me with costs. He asked, "What time was usually spent in determining between
+right and wrong, and what degree of expense? Whether advocates and orators had
+liberty to plead in causes manifestly known to be unjust, vexatious, or
+oppressive? Whether party, in religion or politics, were observed to be of any
+weight in the scale of justice? Whether those pleading orators were persons
+educated in the general knowledge of equity, or only in provincial, national,
+and other local customs? Whether they or their judges had any part in penning
+those laws, which they assumed the liberty of interpreting, and glossing upon
+at their pleasure? Whether they had ever, at different times, pleaded for and
+against the same cause, and cited precedents to prove contrary opinions?
+Whether they were a rich or a poor corporation? Whether they received any
+pecuniary reward for pleading, or delivering their opinions? And particularly,
+whether they were ever admitted as members in the lower senate?"
+He fell next upon the management of our treasury; and said, "he thought my
+memory had failed me, because I computed our taxes at about five or six
+millions a-year, and when I came to mention the issues, he found they sometimes
+amounted to more than double; for the notes he had taken were very particular
+in this point, because he hoped, as he told me, that the knowledge of our
+conduct might be useful to him, and he could not be deceived in his
+calculations. But, if what I told him were true, he was still at a loss how a
+kingdom could run out of its estate, like a private person." He asked me, "who
+were our creditors; and where we found money to pay them?" He wondered to hear
+me talk of such chargeable and expensive wars; "that certainly we must be a
+quarrelsome people, or live among very bad neighbours, and that our generals
+must needs be richer than our kings." He asked, what business we had out of our
+own islands, unless upon the score of trade, or treaty, or to defend the coasts
+with our fleet?" Above all, he was amazed to hear me talk of a mercenary
+standing army, in the midst of peace, and among a free people. He said, "if we
+were governed by our own consent, in the persons of our representatives, he
+could not imagine of whom we were afraid, or against whom we were to fight; and
+would hear my opinion, whether a private man's house might not be better
+defended by himself, his children, and family, than by half-a-dozen rascals,
+picked up at a venture in the streets for small wages, who might get a hundred
+times more by cutting their throats?"
+He laughed at my "odd kind of arithmetic," as he was pleased to call it, "in
+reckoning the numbers of our people, by a computation drawn from the several
+sects among us, in religion and politics." He said, "he knew no reason why
+those, who entertain opinions prejudicial to the public, should be obliged to
+change, or should not be obliged to conceal them. And as it was tyranny in any
+government to require the first, so it was weakness not to enforce the second:
+for a man may be allowed to keep poisons in his closet, but not to vend them
+about for cordials."
+He observed, "that among the diversions of our nobility and gentry, I had
+mentioned gaming: he desired to know at what age this entertainment was usually
+taken up, and when it was laid down; how much of their time it employed;
+whether it ever went so high as to affect their fortunes; whether mean, vicious
+people, by their dexterity in that art, might not arrive at great riches, and
+sometimes keep our very nobles in dependence, as well as habituate them to vile
+companions, wholly take them from the improvement of their minds, and force
+them, by the losses they received, to learn and practise that infamous
+dexterity upon others?"
+He was perfectly astonished with the historical account gave him of our affairs
+during the last century; protesting "it was only a heap of conspiracies,
+rebellions, murders, massacres, revolutions, banishments, the very worst
+effects that avarice, faction, hypocrisy, perfidiousness, cruelty, rage,
+madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice, and ambition, could produce."
+His majesty, in another audience, was at the pains to recapitulate the sum of
+all I had spoken; compared the questions he made with the answers I had given;
+then taking me into his hands, and stroking me gently, delivered himself in
+these words, which I shall never forget, nor the manner he spoke them in: "My
+little friend Grildrig, you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your
+country; you have clearly proved, that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the
+proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that laws are best explained,
+interpreted, and applied, by those whose interest and abilities lie in
+perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an
+institution, which, in its original, might have been tolerable, but these half
+erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It does not
+appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required toward the
+procurement of any one station among you; much less, that men are ennobled on
+account of their virtue; that priests are advanced for their piety or learning;
+soldiers, for their conduct or valour; judges, for their integrity; senators,
+for the love of their country; or counsellors for their wisdom. As for
+yourself," continued the king, "who have spent the greatest part of your life
+in travelling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many
+vices of your country. But by what I have gathered from your own relation, and
+the answers I have with much pains wrung and extorted from you, I cannot but
+conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little
+odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the
+[The author's love of his country. He makes a proposal of much advantage to the
+king, which is rejected. The king's great ignorance in politics. The learning
+of that country very imperfect and confined. The laws, and military affairs,
+and parties in the state.]
+Nothing but an extreme love of truth could have hindered me from concealing
+this part of my story. It was in vain to discover my resentments, which were
+always turned into ridicule; and I was forced to rest with patience, while my
+noble and beloved country was so injuriously treated. I am as heartily sorry as
+any of my readers can possibly be, that such an occasion was given: but this
+prince happened to be so curious and inquisitive upon every particular, that it
+could not consist either with gratitude or good manners, to refuse giving him
+what satisfaction I was able. Yet thus much I may be allowed to say in my own
+vindication, that I artfully eluded many of his questions, and gave to every
+point a more favourable turn, by many degrees, than the strictness of truth
+would allow. For I have always borne that laudable partiality to my own
+country, which Dionysius Halicarnassensis, with so much justice, recommends to
+an historian: I would hide the frailties and deformities of my political
+mother, and place her virtues and beauties in the most advantageous light. This
+was my sincere endeavour in those many discourses I had with that monarch,
+although it unfortunately failed of success.
+But great allowances should be given to a king, who lives wholly secluded from
+the rest of the world, and must therefore be altogether unacquainted with the
+manners and customs that most prevail in other nations: the want of which
+knowledge will ever produce many prejudices, and a certain narrowness of
+thinking, from which we, and the politer countries of Europe, are wholly
+exempted. And it would be hard indeed, if so remote a prince's notions of
+virtue and vice were to be offered as a standard for all mankind.
+To confirm what I have now said, and further to show the miserable effects of a
+confined education, I shall here insert a passage, which will hardly obtain
+belief. In hopes to ingratiate myself further into his majesty's favour, I told
+him of "an invention, discovered between three and four hundred years ago, to
+make a certain powder, into a heap of which, the smallest spark of fire
+falling, would kindle the whole in a moment, although it were as big as a
+mountain, and make it all fly up in the air together, with a noise and
+agitation greater than thunder. That a proper quantity of this powder rammed
+into a hollow tube of brass or iron, according to its bigness, would drive a
+ball of iron or lead, with such violence and speed, as nothing was able to
+sustain its force. That the largest balls thus discharged, would not only
+destroy whole ranks of an army at once, but batter the strongest walls to the
+ground, sink down ships, with a thousand men in each, to the bottom of the sea,
+and when linked together by a chain, would cut through masts and rigging,
+divide hundreds of bodies in the middle, and lay all waste before them. That we
+often put this powder into large hollow balls of iron, and discharged them by
+an engine into some city we were besieging, which would rip up the pavements,
+tear the houses to pieces, burst and throw splinters on every side, dashing out
+the brains of all who came near. That I knew the ingredients very well, which
+were cheap and common; I understood the manner of compounding them, and could
+direct his workmen how to make those tubes, of a size proportionable to all
+other things in his majesty's kingdom, and the largest need not be above a
+hundred feet long; twenty or thirty of which tubes, charged with the proper
+quantity of powder and balls, would batter down the walls of the strongest town
+in his dominions in a few hours, or destroy the whole metropolis, if ever it
+should pretend to dispute his absolute commands." This I humbly offered to his
+majesty, as a small tribute of acknowledgment, in turn for so many marks that I
+had received, of his royal favour and protection.
+The king was struck with horror at the description I had given of those
+terrible engines, and the proposal I had made. "He was amazed, how so impotent
+and grovelling an insect as I" (these were his expressions) "could entertain
+such inhuman ideas, and in so familiar a manner, as to appear wholly unmoved at
+all the scenes of blood and desolation which I had painted as the common
+effects of those destructive machines; whereof," he said, "some evil genius,
+enemy to mankind, must have been the first contriver. As for himself, he
+protested, that although few things delighted him so much as new discoveries in
+art or in nature, yet he would rather lose half his kingdom, than be privy to
+such a secret; which he commanded me, as I valued any life, never to mention
+any more."
+A strange effect of narrow principles and views! that a prince possessed of
+every quality which procures veneration, love, and esteem; of strong parts,
+great wisdom, and profound learning, endowed with admirable talents, and almost
+adored by his subjects, should, from a nice, unnecessary scruple, whereof in
+Europe we can have no conception, let slip an opportunity put into his hands
+that would have made him absolute master of the lives, the liberties, and the
+fortunes of his people! Neither do I say this, with the least intention to
+detract from the many virtues of that excellent king, whose character, I am
+sensible, will, on this account, be very much lessened in the opinion of an
+English reader: but I take this defect among them to have risen from their
+ignorance, by not having hitherto reduced politics into a science, as the more
+acute wits of Europe have done. For, I remember very well, in a discourse one
+day with the king, when I happened to say, "there were several thousand books
+among us written upon the art of government," it gave him (directly contrary to
+my intention) a very mean opinion of our understandings. He professed both to
+abominate and despise all mystery, refinement, and intrigue, either in a prince
+or a minister. He could not tell what I meant by secrets of state, where an
+enemy, or some rival nation, were not in the case. He confined the knowledge of
+governing within very narrow bounds, to common sense and reason, to justice and
+lenity, to the speedy determination of civil and criminal causes; with some
+other obvious topics, which are not worth considering. And he gave it for his
+opinion, "that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to
+grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of
+mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of
+politicians put together."
+The learning of this people is very defective, consisting only in morality,
+history, poetry, and mathematics, wherein they must be allowed to excel. But
+the last of these is wholly applied to what may be useful in life, to the
+improvement of agriculture, and all mechanical arts; so that among us, it would
+be little esteemed. And as to ideas, entities, abstractions, and
+transcendentals, I could never drive the least conception into their heads.
+No law in that country must exceed in words the number of letters in their
+alphabet, which consists only of two and twenty. But indeed few of them extend
+even to that length. They are expressed in the most plain and simple terms,
+wherein those people are not mercurial enough to discover above one
+interpretation: and to write a comment upon any law, is a capital crime. As to
+the decision of civil causes, or proceedings against criminals, their
+precedents are so few, that they have little reason to boast of any
+extraordinary skill in either.
+They have had the art of printing, as well as the Chinese, time out of mind:
+but their libraries are not very large; for that of the king, which is reckoned
+the largest, does not amount to above a thousand volumes, placed in a gallery
+of twelve hundred feet long, whence I had liberty to borrow what books I
+pleased. The queen's joiner had contrived in one of Glumdalclitch's rooms, a
+kind of wooden machine five-and-twenty feet high, formed like a standing
+ladder; the steps were each fifty feet long. It was indeed a moveable pair of
+stairs, the lowest end placed at ten feet distance from the wall of the
+chamber. The book I had a mind to read, was put up leaning against the wall: I
+first mounted to the upper step of the ladder, and turning my face towards the
+book, began at the top of the page, and so walking to the right and left about
+eight or ten paces, according to the length of the lines, till I had gotten a
+little below the level of mine eyes, and then descending gradually till I came
+to the bottom: after which I mounted again, and began the other page in the
+same manner, and so turned over the leaf, which I could easily do with both my
+hands, for it was as thick and stiff as a pasteboard, and in the largest folios
+not above eighteen or twenty feet long.
+Their style is clear, masculine, and smooth, but not florid; for they avoid
+nothing more than multiplying unnecessary words, or using various expressions.
+I have perused many of their books, especially those in history and morality.
+Among the rest, I was much diverted with a little old treatise, which always
+lay in Glumdalclitch's bed chamber, and belonged to her governess, a grave
+elderly gentlewoman, who dealt in writings of morality and devotion. The book
+treats of the weakness of human kind, and is in little esteem, except among the
+women and the vulgar. However, I was curious to see what an author of that
+country could say upon such a subject. This writer went through all the usual
+topics of European moralists, showing "how diminutive, contemptible, and
+helpless an animal was man in his own nature; how unable to defend himself from
+inclemencies of the air, or the fury of wild beasts: how much he was excelled
+by one creature in strength, by another in speed, by a third in foresight, by a
+fourth in industry." He added, "that nature was degenerated in these latter
+declining ages of the world, and could now produce only small abortive births,
+in comparison of those in ancient times." He said "it was very reasonable to
+think, not only that the species of men were originally much larger, but also
+that there must have been giants in former ages; which, as it is asserted by
+history and tradition, so it has been confirmed by huge bones and skulls,
+casually dug up in several parts of the kingdom, far exceeding the common
+dwindled race of men in our days." He argued, "that the very laws of nature
+absolutely required we should have been made, in the beginning of a size more
+large and robust; not so liable to destruction from every little accident, of a
+tile falling from a house, or a stone cast from the hand of a boy, or being
+drowned in a little brook." From this way of reasoning, the author drew several
+moral applications, useful in the conduct of life, but needless here to repeat.
+For my own part, I could not avoid reflecting how universally this talent was
+spread, of drawing lectures in morality, or indeed rather matter of discontent
+and repining, from the quarrels we raise with nature. And I believe, upon a
+strict inquiry, those quarrels might be shown as ill-grounded among us as they
+are among that people.
+As to their military affairs, they boast that the king's army consists of a
+hundred and seventy-six thousand foot, and thirty-two thousand horse: if that
+may be called an army, which is made up of tradesmen in the several cities, and
+farmers in the country, whose commanders are only the nobility and gentry,
+without pay or reward. They are indeed perfect enough in their exercises, and
+under very good discipline, wherein I saw no great merit; for how should it be
+otherwise, where every farmer is under the command of his own landlord, and
+every citizen under that of the principal men in his own city, chosen after the
+manner of Venice, by ballot?
+I have often seen the militia of Lorbrulgrud drawn out to exercise, in a great
+field near the city of twenty miles square. They were in all not above
+twenty-five thousand foot, and six thousand horse; but it was impossible for me
+to compute their number, considering the space of ground they took up. A
+cavalier, mounted on a large steed, might be about ninety feet high. I have
+seen this whole body of horse, upon a word of command, draw their swords at
+once, and brandish them in the air. Imagination can figure nothing so grand, so
+surprising, and so astonishing! it looked as if ten thousand flashes of
+lightning were darting at the same time from every quarter of the sky.
+I was curious to know how this prince, to whose dominions there is no access
+from any other country, came to think of armies, or to teach his people the
+practice of military discipline. But I was soon informed, both by conversation
+and reading their histories; for, in the course of many ages, they have been
+troubled with the same disease to which the whole race of mankind is subject;
+the nobility often contending for power, the people for liberty, and the king
+for absolute dominion. All which, however happily tempered by the laws of that
+kingdom, have been sometimes violated by each of the three parties, and have
+more than once occasioned civil wars; the last whereof was happily put an end
+to by this prince's grand-father, in a general composition; and the militia,
+then settled with common consent, has been ever since kept in the strictest
+[The king and queen make a progress to the frontiers. The author attends them.
+The manner in which he leaves the country very particularly related. He returns
+to England.]
+I had always a strong impulse that I should some time recover my liberty,
+though it was impossible to conjecture by what means, or to form any project
+with the least hope of succeeding. The ship in which I sailed, was the first
+ever known to be driven within sight of that coast, and the king had given
+strict orders, that if at any time another appeared, it should be taken ashore,
+and with all its crew and passengers brought in a tumbril to Lorbrulgrud. He
+was strongly bent to get me a woman of my own size, by whom I might propagate
+the breed: but I think I should rather have died than undergone the disgrace of
+leaving a posterity to be kept in cages, like tame canary-birds, and perhaps,
+in time, sold about the kingdom, to persons of quality, for curiosities. I was
+indeed treated with much kindness: I was the favourite of a great king and
+queen, and the delight of the whole court; but it was upon such a foot as ill
+became the dignity of humankind. I could never forget those domestic pledges I
+had left behind me. I wanted to be among people, with whom I could converse
+upon even terms, and walk about the streets and fields without being afraid of
+being trod to death like a frog or a young puppy. But my deliverance came
+sooner than I expected, and in a manner not very common; the whole story and
+circumstances of which I shall faithfully relate.
+I had now been two years in this country; and about the beginning of the third,
+Glumdalclitch and I attended the king and queen, in a progress to the south
+coast of the kingdom. I was carried, as usual, in my travelling-box, which as I
+have already described, was a very convenient closet, of twelve feet wide. And
+I had ordered a hammock to be fixed, by silken ropes from the four corners at
+the top, to break the jolts, when a servant carried me before him on horseback,
+as I sometimes desired; and would often sleep in my hammock, while we were upon
+the road. On the roof of my closet, not directly over the middle of the
+hammock, I ordered the joiner to cut out a hole of a foot square, to give me
+air in hot weather, as I slept; which hole I shut at pleasure with a board that
+drew backward and forward through a groove.
+When we came to our journey's end, the king thought proper to pass a few days
+at a palace he has near Flanflasnic, a city within eighteen English miles of
+the seaside. Glumdalclitch and I were much fatigued: I had gotten a small cold,
+but the poor girl was so ill as to be confined to her chamber. I longed to see
+the ocean, which must be the only scene of my escape, if ever it should happen.
+I pretended to be worse than I really was, and desired leave to take the fresh
+air of the sea, with a page, whom I was very fond of, and who had sometimes
+been trusted with me. I shall never forget with what unwillingness
+Glumdalclitch consented, nor the strict charge she gave the page to be careful
+of me, bursting at the same time into a flood of tears, as if she had some
+forboding of what was to happen. The boy took me out in my box, about half an
+hours walk from the palace, towards the rocks on the sea-shore. I ordered him
+to set me down, and lifting up one of my sashes, cast many a wistful melancholy
+look towards the sea. I found myself not very well, and told the page that I
+had a mind to take a nap in my hammock, which I hoped would do me good. I got
+in, and the boy shut the window close down, to keep out the cold. I soon fell
+asleep, and all I can conjecture is, while I slept, the page, thinking no
+danger could happen, went among the rocks to look for birds' eggs, having
+before observed him from my window searching about, and picking up one or two
+in the clefts. Be that as it will, I found myself suddenly awaked with a
+violent pull upon the ring, which was fastened at the top of my box for the
+conveniency of carriage. I felt my box raised very high in the air, and then
+borne forward with prodigious speed. The first jolt had like to have shaken me
+out of my hammock, but afterward the motion was easy enough. I called out
+several times, as loud as I could raise my voice, but all to no purpose. I
+looked towards my windows, and could see nothing but the clouds and sky. I
+heard a noise just over my head, like the clapping of wings, and then began to
+perceive the woful condition I was in; that some eagle had got the ring of my
+box in his beak, with an intent to let it fall on a rock, like a tortoise in a
+shell, and then pick out my body, and devour it: for the sagacity and smell of
+this bird enables him to discover his quarry at a great distance, though better
+concealed than I could be within a two-inch board.
+In a little time, I observed the noise and flutter of wings to increase very
+fast, and my box was tossed up and down, like a sign in a windy day. I heard
+several bangs or buffets, as I thought given to the eagle (for such I am
+certain it must have been that held the ring of my box in his beak), and then,
+all on a sudden, felt myself falling perpendicularly down, for above a minute,
+but with such incredible swiftness, that I almost lost my breath. My fall was
+stopped by a terrible squash, that sounded louder to my ears than the cataract
+of Niagara; after which, I was quite in the dark for another minute, and then
+my box began to rise so high, that I could see light from the tops of the
+windows. I now perceived I was fallen into the sea. My box, by the weight of my
+body, the goods that were in, and the broad plates of iron fixed for strength
+at the four corners of the top and bottom, floated about five feet deep in
+water. I did then, and do now suppose, that the eagle which flew away with my
+box was pursued by two or three others, and forced to let me drop, while he
+defended himself against the rest, who hoped to share in the prey. The plates
+of iron fastened at the bottom of the box (for those were the strongest)
+preserved the balance while it fell, and hindered it from being broken on the
+surface of the water. Every joint of it was well grooved; and the door did not
+move on hinges, but up and down like a sash, which kept my closet so tight that
+very little water came in. I got with much difficulty out of my hammock, having
+first ventured to draw back the slip-board on the roof already mentioned,
+contrived on purpose to let in air, for want of which I found myself almost
+How often did I then wish myself with my dear Glumdalclitch, from whom one
+single hour had so far divided me! And I may say with truth, that in the midst
+of my own misfortunes I could not forbear lamenting my poor nurse, the grief
+she would suffer for my loss, the displeasure of the queen, and the ruin of her
+fortune. Perhaps many travellers have not been under greater difficulties and
+distress than I was at this juncture, expecting every moment to see my box
+dashed to pieces, or at least overset by the first violent blast, or rising
+wave. A breach in one single pane of glass would have been immediate death: nor
+could any thing have preserved the windows, but the strong lattice wires placed
+on the outside, against accidents in travelling. I saw the water ooze in at
+several crannies, although the leaks were not considerable, and I endeavoured
+to stop them as well as I could. I was not able to lift up the roof of my
+closet, which otherwise I certainly should have done, and sat on the top of it;
+where I might at least preserve myself some hours longer, than by being shut up
+(as I may call it) in the hold. Or if I escaped these dangers for a day or two,
+what could I expect but a miserable death of cold and hunger? I was four hours
+under these circumstances, expecting, and indeed wishing, every moment to be my
+I have already told the reader that there were two strong staples fixed upon
+that side of my box which had no window, and into which the servant, who used
+to carry me on horseback, would put a leathern belt, and buckle it about his
+waist. Being in this disconsolate state, I heard, or at least thought I heard,
+some kind of grating noise on that side of my box where the staples were fixed;
+and soon after I began to fancy that the box was pulled or towed along the sea;
+for I now and then felt a sort of tugging, which made the waves rise near the
+tops of my windows, leaving me almost in the dark. This gave me some faint
+hopes of relief, although I was not able to imagine how it could be brought
+about. I ventured to unscrew one of my chairs, which were always fastened to
+the floor; and having made a hard shift to screw it down again, directly under
+the slipping-board that I had lately opened, I mounted on the chair, and
+putting my mouth as near as I could to the hole, I called for help in a loud
+voice, and in all the languages I understood. I then fastened my handkerchief
+to a stick I usually carried, and thrusting it up the hole, waved it several
+times in the air, that if any boat or ship were near, the seamen might
+conjecture some unhappy mortal to be shut up in the box.
+I found no effect from all I could do, but plainly perceived my closet to be
+moved along; and in the space of an hour, or better, that side of the box where
+the staples were, and had no windows, struck against something that was hard. I
+apprehended it to be a rock, and found myself tossed more than ever. I plainly
+heard a noise upon the cover of my closet, like that of a cable, and the
+grating of it as it passed through the ring. I then found myself hoisted up, by
+degrees, at least three feet higher than I was before. Whereupon I again thrust
+up my stick and handkerchief, calling for help till I was almost hoarse. In
+return to which, I heard a great shout repeated three times, giving me such
+transports of joy as are not to be conceived but by those who feel them. I now
+heard a trampling over my head, and somebody calling through the hole with a
+loud voice, in the English tongue, "If there be any body below, let them
+speak." I answered, "I was an Englishman, drawn by ill fortune into the
+greatest calamity that ever any creature underwent, and begged, by all that was
+moving, to be delivered out of the dungeon I was in." The voice replied, "I was
+safe, for my box was fastened to their ship; and the carpenter should
+immediately come and saw a hole in the cover, large enough to pull me out." I
+answered, "that was needless, and would take up too much time; for there was no
+more to be done, but let one of the crew put his finger into the ring, and take
+the box out of the sea into the ship, and so into the captain's cabin." Some of
+them, upon hearing me talk so wildly, thought I was mad: others laughed; for
+indeed it never came into my head, that I was now got among people of my own
+stature and strength. The carpenter came, and in a few minutes sawed a passage
+about four feet square, then let down a small ladder, upon which I mounted, and
+thence was taken into the ship in a very weak condition.
+The sailors were all in amazement, and asked me a thousand questions, which I
+had no inclination to answer. I was equally confounded at the sight of so many
+pigmies, for such I took them to be, after having so long accustomed mine eyes
+to the monstrous objects I had left. But the captain, Mr. Thomas Wilcocks, an
+honest worthy Shropshire man, observing I was ready to faint, took me into his
+cabin, gave me a cordial to comfort me, and made me turn in upon his own bed,
+advising me to take a little rest, of which I had great need. Before I went to
+sleep, I gave him to understand that I had some valuable furniture in my box,
+too good to be lost: a fine hammock, a handsome field-bed, two chairs, a table,
+and a cabinet; that my closet was hung on all sides, or rather quilted, with
+silk and cotton; that if he would let one of the crew bring my closet into his
+cabin, I would open it there before him, and show him my goods. The captain,
+hearing me utter these absurdities, concluded I was raving; however (I suppose
+to pacify me) he promised to give order as I desired, and going upon deck, sent
+some of his men down into my closet, whence (as I afterwards found) they drew
+up all my goods, and stripped off the quilting; but the chairs, cabinet, and
+bedstead, being screwed to the floor, were much damaged by the ignorance of the
+seamen, who tore them up by force. Then they knocked off some of the boards for
+the use of the ship, and when they had got all they had a mind for, let the
+hull drop into the sea, which by reason of many breaches made in the bottom and
+sides, sunk to rights. And, indeed, I was glad not to have been a spectator of
+the havoc they made, because I am confident it would have sensibly touched me,
+by bringing former passages into my mind, which I would rather have forgot.
+I slept some hours, but perpetually disturbed with dreams of the place I had
+left, and the dangers I had escaped. However, upon waking, I found myself much
+recovered. It was now about eight o'clock at night, and the captain ordered
+supper immediately, thinking I had already fasted too long. He entertained me
+with great kindness, observing me not to look wildly, or talk inconsistently:
+and, when we were left alone, desired I would give him a relation of my
+travels, and by what accident I came to be set adrift, in that monstrous wooden
+chest. He said "that about twelve o'clock at noon, as he was looking through
+his glass, he spied it at a distance, and thought it was a sail, which he had a
+mind to make, being not much out of his course, in hopes of buying some
+biscuit, his own beginning to fall short. That upon coming nearer, and finding
+his error, he sent out his long-boat to discover what it was; that his men came
+back in a fright, swearing they had seen a swimming house. That he laughed at
+their folly, and went himself in the boat, ordering his men to take a strong
+cable along with them. That the weather being calm, he rowed round me several
+times, observed my windows and wire lattices that defended them. That he
+discovered two staples upon one side, which was all of boards, without any
+passage for light. He then commanded his men to row up to that side, and
+fastening a cable to one of the staples, ordered them to tow my chest, as they
+called it, toward the ship. When it was there, he gave directions to fasten
+another cable to the ring fixed in the cover, and to raise up my chest with
+pulleys, which all the sailors were not able to do above two or three feet." He
+said, "they saw my stick and handkerchief thrust out of the hole, and concluded
+that some unhappy man must be shut up in the cavity." I asked, "whether he or
+the crew had seen any prodigious birds in the air, about the time he first
+discovered me." To which he answered, that discoursing this matter with the
+sailors while I was asleep, one of them said, he had observed three eagles
+flying towards the north, but remarked nothing of their being larger than the
+usual size:" which I suppose must be imputed to the great height they were at;
+and he could not guess the reason of my question. I then asked the captain,
+"how far he reckoned we might be from land?" He said, "by the best computation
+he could make, we were at least a hundred leagues." I assured him, "that he
+must be mistaken by almost half, for I had not left the country whence I came
+above two hours before I dropped into the sea." Whereupon he began again to
+think that my brain was disturbed, of which he gave me a hint, and advised me
+to go to bed in a cabin he had provided. I assured him, "I was well refreshed
+with his good entertainment and company, and as much in my senses as ever I was
+in my life." He then grew serious, and desired to ask me freely, "whether I
+were not troubled in my mind by the consciousness of some enormous crime, for
+which I was punished, at the command of some prince, by exposing me in that
+chest; as great criminals, in other countries, have been forced to sea in a
+leaky vessel, without provisions: for although he should be sorry to have taken
+so ill a man into his ship, yet he would engage his word to set me safe ashore,
+in the first port where we arrived." He added, "that his suspicions were much
+increased by some very absurd speeches I had delivered at first to his sailors,
+and afterwards to himself, in relation to my closet or chest, as well as by my
+odd looks and behaviour while I was at supper."
+I begged his patience to hear me tell my story, which I faithfully did, from
+the last time I left England, to the moment he first discovered me. And, as
+truth always forces its way into rational minds, so this honest worthy
+gentleman, who had some tincture of learning, and very good sense, was
+immediately convinced of my candour and veracity. But further to confirm all I
+had said, I entreated him to give order that my cabinet should be brought, of
+which I had the key in my pocket; for he had already informed me how the seamen
+disposed of my closet. I opened it in his own presence, and showed him the
+small collection of rarities I made in the country from which I had been so
+strangely delivered. There was the comb I had contrived out of the stumps of
+the king's beard, and another of the same materials, but fixed into a paring of
+her majesty's thumb-nail, which served for the back. There was a collection of
+needles and pins, from a foot to half a yard long; four wasp stings, like
+joiner's tacks; some combings of the queen's hair; a gold ring, which one day
+she made me a present of, in a most obliging manner, taking it from her little
+finger, and throwing it over my head like a collar. I desired the captain would
+please to accept this ring in return for his civilities; which he absolutely
+refused. I showed him a corn that I had cut off with my own hand, from a maid
+of honour's toe; it was about the bigness of Kentish pippin, and grown so hard,
+that when I returned England, I got it hollowed into a cup, and set in silver.
+Lastly, I desired him to see the breeches I had then on, which were made of a
+mouse's skin.
+I could force nothing on him but a footman's tooth, which I observed him to
+examine with great curiosity, and found he had a fancy for it. He received it
+with abundance of thanks, more than such a trifle could deserve. It was drawn
+by an unskilful surgeon, in a mistake, from one of Glumdalclitch's men, who was
+afflicted with the tooth-ache, but it was as sound as any in his head. I got it
+cleaned, and put it into my cabinet. It was about a foot long, and four inches
+in diameter.
+The captain was very well satisfied with this plain relation I had given him,
+and said, "he hoped, when we returned to England, I would oblige the world by
+putting it on paper, and making it public." My answer was, "that we were
+overstocked with books of travels: that nothing could now pass which was not
+extraordinary; wherein I doubted some authors less consulted truth, than their
+own vanity, or interest, or the diversion of ignorant readers; that my story
+could contain little beside common events, without those ornamental
+descriptions of strange plants, trees, birds, and other animals; or of the
+barbarous customs and idolatry of savage people, with which most writers
+abound. However, I thanked him for his good opinion, and promised to take the
+matter into my thoughts."
+He said "he wondered at one thing very much, which was, to hear me speak so
+loud;" asking me "whether the king or queen of that country were thick of
+hearing?" I told him, "it was what I had been used to for above two years past,
+and that I admired as much at the voices of him and his men, who seemed to me
+only to whisper, and yet I could hear them well enough. But, when I spoke in
+that country, it was like a man talking in the streets, to another looking out
+from the top of a steeple, unless when I was placed on a table, or held in any
+person's hand." I told him, "I had likewise observed another thing, that, when
+I first got into the ship, and the sailors stood all about me, I thought they
+were the most little contemptible creatures I had ever beheld." For indeed,
+while I was in that prince's country, I could never endure to look in a glass,
+after mine eyes had been accustomed to such prodigious objects, because the
+comparison gave me so despicable a conceit of myself. The captain said, "that
+while we were at supper, he observed me to look at every thing with a sort of
+wonder, and that I often seemed hardly able to contain my laughter, which he
+knew not well how to take, but imputed it to some disorder in my brain." I
+answered, "it was very true; and I wondered how I could forbear, when I saw his
+dishes of the size of a silver three-pence, a leg of pork hardly a mouthful, a
+cup not so big as a nut-shell;" and so I went on, describing the rest of his
+household-stuff and provisions, after the same manner. For, although he queen
+had ordered a little equipage of all things necessary for me, while I was in
+her service, yet my ideas were wholly taken up with what I saw on every side of
+me, and I winked at my own littleness, as people do at their own faults. The
+captain understood my raillery very well, and merrily replied with the old
+English proverb, "that he doubted mine eyes were bigger than my belly, for he
+did not observe my stomach so good, although I had fasted all day;" and,
+continuing in his mirth, protested "he would have gladly given a hundred
+pounds, to have seen my closet in the eagle's bill, and afterwards in its fall
+from so great a height into the sea; which would certainly have been a most
+astonishing object, worthy to have the description of it transmitted to future
+ages:" and the comparison of Phaeton was so obvious, that he could not forbear
+applying it, although I did not much admire the conceit.
+The captain having been at Tonquin, was, in his return to England, driven
+north-eastward to the latitude of 44 degrees, and longitude of 143. But meeting
+a trade-wind two days after I came on board him, we sailed southward a long
+time, and coasting New Holland, kept our course west-south-west, and then
+south-south-west, till we doubled the Cape of Good Hope. Our voyage was very
+prosperous, but I shall not trouble the reader with a journal of it. The
+captain called in at one or two ports, and sent in his long-boat for provisions
+and fresh water; but I never went out of the ship till we came into the Downs,
+which was on the third day of June, 1706, about nine months after my escape. I
+offered to leave my goods in security for payment of my freight: but the
+captain protested he would not receive one farthing. We took a kind leave of
+each other, and I made him promise he would come to see me at my house in
+Redriff. I hired a horse and guide for five shillings, which I borrowed of the
+As I was on the road, observing the littleness of the houses, the trees, the
+cattle, and the people, I began to think myself in Lilliput. I was afraid of
+trampling on every traveller I met, and often called aloud to have them stand
+out of the way, so that I had like to have gotten one or two broken heads for
+my impertinence.
+When I came to my own house, for which I was forced to inquire, one of the
+servants opening the door, I bent down to go in, (like a goose under a gate,)
+for fear of striking my head. My wife run out to embrace me, but I stooped
+lower than her knees, thinking she could otherwise never be able to reach my
+mouth. My daughter kneeled to ask my blessing, but I could not see her till she
+arose, having been so long used to stand with my head and eyes erect to above
+sixty feet; and then I went to take her up with one hand by the waist. I looked
+down upon the servants, and one or two friends who were in the house, as if
+they had been pigmies and I a giant. I told my wife, "she had been too thrifty,
+for I found she had starved herself and her daughter to nothing." In short, I
+behaved myself so unaccountably, that they were all of the captain's opinion
+when he first saw me, and concluded I had lost my wits. This I mention as an
+instance of the great power of habit and prejudice.
+In a little time, I and my family and friends came to a right understanding:
+but my wife protested "I should never go to sea any more;" although my evil
+destiny so ordered, that she had not power to hinder me, as the reader may know
+hereafter. In the mean time, I here conclude the second part of my unfortunate
+[The author sets out on his third voyage. Is taken by pirates. The malice of a
+Dutchman. His arrival at an island. He is received into Laputa.]
+I had not been at home above ten days, when Captain William Robinson, a Cornish
+man, commander of the Hopewell, a stout ship of three hundred tons, came to my
+house. I had formerly been surgeon of another ship where he was master, and a
+fourth part owner, in a voyage to the Levant. He had always treated me more
+like a brother, than an inferior officer; and, hearing of my arrival, made me a
+visit, as I apprehended only out of friendship, for nothing passed more than
+what is usual after long absences. But repeating his visits often, expressing
+his joy to find I me in good health, asking, "whether I were now settled for
+life?" adding, "that he intended a voyage to the East Indies in two months," at
+last he plainly invited me, though with some apologies, to be surgeon of the
+ship; "that I should have another surgeon under me, beside our two mates; that
+my salary should be double to the usual pay; and that having experienced my
+knowledge in sea-affairs to be at least equal to his, he would enter into any
+engagement to follow my advice, as much as if I had shared in the command."
+He said so many other obliging things, and I knew him to be so honest a man,
+that I could not reject this proposal; the thirst I had of seeing the world,
+notwithstanding my past misfortunes, continuing as violent as ever. The only
+difficulty that remained, was to persuade my wife, whose consent however I at
+last obtained, by the prospect of advantage she proposed to her children.
+We set out the 5th day of August, 1706, and arrived at Fort St. George the 11th
+of April, 1707. We staid there three weeks to refresh our crew, many of whom
+were sick. From thence we went to Tonquin, where the captain resolved to
+continue some time, because many of the goods he intended to buy were not
+ready, nor could he expect to be dispatched in several months. Therefore, in
+hopes to defray some of the charges he must be at, he bought a sloop, loaded it
+with several sorts of goods, wherewith the Tonquinese usually trade to the
+neighbouring islands, and putting fourteen men on board, whereof three were of
+the country, he appointed me master of the sloop, and gave me power to traffic,
+while he transacted his affairs at Tonquin.
+We had not sailed above three days, when a great storm arising, we were driven
+five days to the north-north-east, and then to the east: after which we had
+fair weather, but still with a pretty strong gale from the west. Upon the tenth
+day we were chased by two pirates, who soon overtook us; for my sloop was so
+deep laden, that she sailed very slow, neither were we in a condition to defend
+We were boarded about the same time by both the pirates, who entered furiously
+at the head of their men; but finding us all prostrate upon our faces (for so I
+gave order), they pinioned us with strong ropes, and setting guard upon us,
+went to search the sloop.
+I observed among them a Dutchman, who seemed to be of some authority, though he
+was not commander of either ship. He knew us by our countenances to be
+Englishmen, and jabbering to us in his own language, swore we should be tied
+back to back and thrown into the sea. I spoken Dutch tolerably well; I told him
+who we were, and begged him, in consideration of our being Christians and
+Protestants, of neighbouring countries in strict alliance, that he would move
+the captains to take some pity on us. This inflamed his rage; he repeated his
+threatenings, and turning to his companions, spoke with great vehemence in the
+Japanese language, as I suppose, often using the word Christianos.
+The largest of the two pirate ships was commanded by a Japanese captain, who
+spoke a little Dutch, but very imperfectly. He came up to me, and after several
+questions, which I answered in great humility, he said, "we should not die." I
+made the captain a very low bow, and then, turning to the Dutchman, said, "I
+was sorry to find more mercy in a heathen, than in a brother christian." But I
+had soon reason to repent those foolish words: for that malicious reprobate,
+having often endeavoured in vain to persuade both the captains that I might be
+thrown into the sea (which they would not yield to, after the promise made me
+that I should not die), however, prevailed so far, as to have a punishment
+inflicted on me, worse, in all human appearance, than death itself. My men were
+sent by an equal division into both the pirate ships, and my sloop new manned.
+As to myself, it was determined that I should be set adrift in a small canoe,
+with paddles and a sail, and four days' provisions; which last, the Japanese
+captain was so kind to double out of his own stores, and would permit no man to
+search me. I got down into the canoe, while the Dutchman, standing upon the
+deck, loaded me with all the curses and injurious terms his language could
+About an hour before we saw the pirates I had taken an observation, and found
+we were in the latitude of 46 N. and longitude of 183. When I was at some
+distance from the pirates, I discovered, by my pocket-glass, several islands to
+the south-east. I set up my sail, the wind being fair, with a design to reach
+the nearest of those islands, which I made a shift to do, in about three hours.
+It was all rocky: however I got many birds' eggs; and, striking fire, I kindled
+some heath and dry sea-weed, by which I roasted my eggs. I ate no other supper,
+being resolved to spare my provisions as much as I could. I passed the night
+under the shelter of a rock, strewing some heath under me, and slept pretty
+The next day I sailed to another island, and thence to a third and fourth,
+sometimes using my sail, and sometimes my paddles. But, not to trouble the
+reader with a particular account of my distresses, let it suffice, that on the
+fifth day I arrived at the last island in my sight, which lay south-south-east
+to the former.
+This island was at a greater distance than I expected, and I did not reach it
+in less than five hours. I encompassed it almost round, before I could find a
+convenient place to land in; which was a small creek, about three times the
+wideness of my canoe. I found the island to be all rocky, only a little
+intermingled with tufts of grass, and sweet-smelling herbs. I took out my small
+provisions and after having refreshed myself, I secured the remainder in a
+cave, whereof there were great numbers; I gathered plenty of eggs upon the
+rocks, and got a quantity of dry sea-weed, and parched grass, which I designed
+to kindle the next day, and roast my eggs as well as I could, for I had about
+me my flint, steel, match, and burning-glass. I lay all night in the cave where
+I had lodged my provisions. My bed was the same dry grass and sea-weed which I
+intended for fuel. I slept very little, for the disquiets of my mind prevailed
+over my weariness, and kept me awake. I considered how impossible it was to
+preserve my life in so desolate a place, and how miserable my end must be: yet
+found myself so listless and desponding, that I had not the heart to rise; and
+before I could get spirits enough to creep out of my cave, the day was far
+advanced. I walked awhile among the rocks: the sky was perfectly clear, and the
+sun so hot, that I was forced to turn my face from it: when all on a sudden it
+became obscure, as I thought, in a manner very different from what happens by
+the interposition of a cloud. I turned back, and perceived a vast opaque body
+between me and the sun moving forwards towards the island: it seemed to be
+about two miles high, and hid the sun six or seven minutes; but I did not
+observe the air to be much colder, or the sky more darkened, than if I had
+stood under the shade of a mountain. As it approached nearer over the place
+where I was, it appeared to be a firm substance, the bottom flat, smooth, and
+shining very bright, from the reflection of the sea below. I stood upon a
+height about two hundred yards from the shore, and saw this vast body
+descending almost to a parallel with me, at less than an English mile distance.
+I took out my pocket perspective, and could plainly discover numbers of people
+moving up and down the sides of it, which appeared to be sloping; but what
+those people where doing I was not able to distinguish.
+The natural love of life gave me some inward motion of joy, and I was ready to
+entertain a hope that this adventure might, some way or other, help to deliver
+me from the desolate place and condition I was in. But at the same time the
+reader can hardly conceive my astonishment, to behold an island in the air,
+inhabited by men, who were able (as it should seem) to raise or sink, or put it
+into progressive motion, as they pleased. But not being at that time in a
+disposition to philosophise upon this phenomenon, I rather chose to observe
+what course the island would take, because it seemed for awhile to stand still.
+Yet soon after, it advanced nearer, and I could see the sides of it encompassed
+with several gradations of galleries, and stairs, at certain intervals, to
+descend from one to the other. In the lowest gallery, I beheld some people
+fishing with long angling rods, and others looking on. I waved my cap (for my
+hat was long since worn out) and my handkerchief toward the island; and upon
+its nearer approach, I called and shouted with the utmost strength of my voice;
+and then looking circumspectly, I beheld a crowd gather to that side which was
+most in my view. I found by their pointing towards me and to each other, that
+they plainly discovered me, although they made no return to my shouting. But I
+could see four or five men running in great haste, up the stairs, to the top of
+the island, who then disappeared. I happened rightly to conjecture, that these
+were sent for orders to some person in authority upon this occasion.
+The number of people increased, and, in less than half all hour, the island was
+moved and raised in such a manner, that the lowest gallery appeared in a
+parallel of less then a hundred yards distance from the height where I stood. I
+then put myself in the most supplicating posture, and spoke in the humblest
+accent, but received no answer. Those who stood nearest over against me, seemed
+to be persons of distinction, as I supposed by their habit. They conferred
+earnestly with each other, looking often upon me. At length one of them called
+out in a clear, polite, smooth dialect, not unlike in sound to the Italian: and
+therefore I returned an answer in that language, hoping at least that the
+cadence might be more agreeable to his ears. Although neither of us understood
+the other, yet my meaning was easily known, for the people saw the distress I
+was in.
+They made signs for me to come down from the rock, and go towards the shore,
+which I accordingly did; and the flying island being raised to a convenient
+height, the verge directly over me, a chain was let down from the lowest
+gallery, with a seat fastened to the bottom, to which I fixed myself, and was
+drawn up by pulleys.
+[The humours and dispositions of the Laputians described. An account of their
+learning. Of the king and his court. The author's reception there. The
+inhabitants subject to fear and disquietudes. An account of the women.]
+At my alighting, I was surrounded with a crowd of people, but those who stood
+nearest seemed to be of better quality. They beheld me with all the marks and
+circumstances of wonder; neither indeed was I much in their debt, having never
+till then seen a race of mortals so singular in their shapes, habits, and
+countenances. Their heads were all reclined, either to the right, or the left;
+one of their eyes turned inward, and the other directly up to the zenith. Their
+outward garments were adorned with the figures of suns, moons, and stars;
+interwoven with those of fiddles, flutes, harps, trumpets, guitars,
+harpsichords, and many other instruments of music, unknown to us in Europe. I
+observed, here and there, many in the habit of servants, with a blown bladder,
+fastened like a flail to the end of a stick, which they carried in their hands.
+In each bladder was a small quantity of dried peas, or little pebbles, as I was
+afterwards informed. With these bladders, they now and then flapped the mouths
+and ears of those who stood near them, of which practice I could not then
+conceive the meaning. It seems the minds of these people are so taken up with
+intense speculations, that they neither can speak, nor attend to the discourses
+of others, without being roused by some external taction upon the organs of
+speech and hearing; for which reason, those persons who are able to afford it
+always keep a flapper (the original is climenole) in their family, as one of
+their domestics; nor ever walk abroad, or make visits, without him. And the
+business of this officer is, when two, three, or more persons are in company,
+gently to strike with his bladder the mouth of him who is to speak, and the
+right ear of him or them to whom the speaker addresses himself. This flapper is
+likewise employed diligently to attend his master in his walks, and upon
+occasion to give him a soft flap on his eyes; because he is always so wrapped
+up in cogitation, that he is in manifest danger of falling down every
+precipice, and bouncing his head against every post; and in the streets, of
+justling others, or being justled himself into the kennel.
+It was necessary to give the reader this information, without which he would be
+at the same loss with me to understand the proceedings of these people, as they
+conducted me up the stairs to the top of the island, and from thence to the
+royal palace. While we were ascending, they forgot several times what they were
+about, and left me to myself, till their memories were again roused by their
+flappers; for they appeared altogether unmoved by the sight of my foreign habit
+and countenance, and by the shouts of the vulgar, whose thoughts and minds were
+more disengaged.
+At last we entered the palace, and proceeded into the chamber of presence,
+where I saw the king seated on his throne, attended on each side by persons of
+prime quality. Before the throne, was a large table filled with globes and
+spheres, and mathematical instruments of all kinds. His majesty took not the
+least notice of us, although our entrance was not without sufficient noise, by
+the concourse of all persons belonging to the court. But he was then deep in a
+problem; and we attended at least an hour, before he could solve it. There
+stood by him, on each side, a young page with flaps in their hands, and when
+they saw he was at leisure, one of them gently struck his mouth, and the other
+his right ear; at which he startled like one awaked on the sudden, and looking
+towards me and the company I was in, recollected the occasion of our coming,
+whereof he had been informed before. He spoke some words, whereupon immediately
+a young man with a flap came up to my side, and flapped me gently on the right
+ear; but I made signs, as well as I could, that I had no occasion for such an
+instrument; which, as I afterwards found, gave his majesty, and the whole
+court, a very mean opinion of my understanding. The king, as far as I could
+conjecture, asked me several questions, and I addressed myself to him in all
+the languages I had. When it was found I could neither understand nor be
+understood, I was conducted by his order to an apartment in his palace (this
+prince being distinguished above all his predecessors for his hospitality to
+strangers), where two servants were appointed to attend me. My dinner was
+brought, and four persons of quality, whom I remembered to have seen very near
+the king's person, did me the honour to dine with me. We had two courses, of
+three dishes each. In the first course, there was a shoulder of mutton cut into
+an equilateral triangle, a piece of beef into a rhomboides, and a pudding into
+a cycloid. The second course was two ducks trussed up in the form of fiddles;
+sausages and puddings resembling flutes and hautboys, and a breast of veal in
+the shape of a harp. The servants cut our bread into cones, cylinders,
+parallelograms, and several other mathematical figures.
+While we were at dinner, I made bold to ask the names of several things in
+their language, and those noble persons, by the assistance of their flappers,
+delighted to give me answers, hoping to raise my admiration of their great
+abilities if I could be brought to converse with them. I was soon able to call
+for bread and drink, or whatever else I wanted.
+After dinner my company withdrew, and a person was sent to me by the king's
+order, attended by a flapper. He brought with him pen, ink, and paper, and
+three or four books, giving me to understand by signs, that he was sent to
+teach me the language. We sat together four hours, in which time I wrote down a
+great number of words in columns, with the translations over against them; I
+likewise made a shift to learn several short sentences; for my tutor would
+order one of my servants to fetch something, to turn about, to make a bow, to
+sit, or to stand, or walk, and the like. Then I took down the sentence in
+writing. He showed me also, in one of his books, the figures of the sun, moon,
+and stars, the zodiac, the tropics, and polar circles, together with the
+denominations of many plains and solids. He gave me the names and descriptions
+of all the musical instruments, and the general terms of art in playing on each
+of them. After he had left me, I placed all my words, with their
+interpretations, in alphabetical order. And thus, in a few days, by the help of
+a very faithful memory, I got some insight into their language. The word, which
+I interpret the flying or floating island, is in the original Laputa, whereof I
+could never learn the true etymology. Lap, in the old obsolete language,
+signifies high; and untuh, a governor; from which they say, by corruption, was
+derived Laputa, from Lapuntuh. But I do not approve of this derivation, which
+seems to be a little strained. I ventured to offer to the learned among them a
+conjecture of my own, that Laputa was quasi lap outed; lap, signifying
+properly, the dancing of the sunbeams in the sea, and outed, a wing; which,
+however, I shall not obtrude, but submit to the judicious reader.
+Those to whom the king had entrusted me, observing how ill I was clad, ordered
+a tailor to come next morning, and take measure for a suit of clothes. This
+operator did his office after a different manner from those of his trade in
+Europe. He first took my altitude by a quadrant, and then, with a rule and
+compasses, described the dimensions and outlines of my whole body, all which he
+entered upon paper; and in six days brought my clothes very ill made, and quite
+out of shape, by happening to mistake a figure in the calculation. But my
+comfort was, that I observed such accidents very frequent, and little regarded.
+During my confinement for want of clothes, and by an indisposition that held me
+some days longer, I much enlarged my dictionary; and when I went next to court,
+was able to understand many things the king spoke, and to return him some kind
+of answers. His majesty had given orders, that the island should move
+north-east and by east, to the vertical point over Lagado, the metropolis of
+the whole kingdom below, upon the firm earth. It was about ninety leagues
+distant, and our voyage lasted four days and a half. I was not in the least
+sensible of the progressive motion made in the air by the island. On the second
+morning, about eleven o'clock, the king himself in person, attended by his
+nobility, courtiers, and officers, having prepared all their musical
+instruments, played on them for three hours without intermission, so that I was
+quite stunned with the noise; neither could I possibly guess the meaning, till
+my tutor informed me. He said that, the people of their island had their ears
+adapted to hear "the music of the spheres, which always played at certain
+periods, and the court was now prepared to bear their part, in whatever
+instrument they most excelled."
+In our journey towards Lagado, the capital city, his majesty ordered that the
+island should stop over certain towns and villages, from whence he might
+receive the petitions of his subjects. And to this purpose, several packthreads
+were let down, with small weights at the bottom. On these packthreads the
+people strung their petitions, which mounted up directly, like the scraps of
+paper fastened by school boys at the end of the string that holds their kite.
+Sometimes we received wine and victuals from below, which were drawn up by
+The knowledge I had in mathematics, gave me great assistance in acquiring their
+phraseology, which depended much upon that science, and music; and in the
+latter I was not unskilled. Their ideas are perpetually conversant in lines and
+figures. If they would, for example, praise the beauty of a woman, or any other
+animal, they describe it by rhombs, circles, parallelograms, ellipses, and
+other geometrical terms, or by words of art drawn from music, needless here to
+repeat. I observed in the king's kitchen all sorts of mathematical and musical
+instruments, after the figures of which they cut up the joints that were served
+to his majesty's table.
+Their houses are very ill built, the walls bevil, without one right angle in
+any apartment; and this defect arises from the contempt they bear to practical
+geometry, which they despise as vulgar and mechanic; those instructions they
+give being too refined for the intellects of their workmen, which occasions
+perpetual mistakes. And although they are dexterous enough upon a piece of
+paper, in the management of the rule, the pencil, and the divider, yet in the
+common actions and behaviour of life, I have not seen a more clumsy, awkward,
+and unhandy people, nor so slow and perplexed in their conceptions upon all
+other subjects, except those of mathematics and music. They are very bad
+reasoners, and vehemently given to opposition, unless when they happen to be of
+the right opinion, which is seldom their case. Imagination, fancy, and
+invention, they are wholly strangers to, nor have any words in their language,
+by which those ideas can be expressed; the whole compass of their thoughts and
+mind being shut up within the two forementioned sciences.
+Most of them, and especially those who deal in the astronomical part, have
+great faith in judicial astrology, although they are ashamed to own it
+publicly. But what I chiefly admired, and thought altogether unaccountable, was
+the strong disposition I observed in them towards news and politics,
+perpetually inquiring into public affairs, giving their judgments in matters of
+state, and passionately disputing every inch of a party opinion. I have indeed
+observed the same disposition among most of the mathematicians I have known in
+Europe, although I could never discover the least analogy between the two
+sciences; unless those people suppose, that because the smallest circle has as
+many degrees as the largest, therefore the regulation and management of the
+world require no more abilities than the handling and turning of a globe; but I
+rather take this quality to spring from a very common infirmity of human
+nature, inclining us to be most curious and conceited in matters where we have
+least concern, and for which we are least adapted by study or nature.
+These people are under continual disquietudes, never enjoying a minutes peace
+of mind; and their disturbances proceed from causes which very little affect
+the rest of mortals. Their apprehensions arise from several changes they dread
+in the celestial bodies: for instance, that the earth, by the continual
+approaches of the sun towards it, must, in course of time, be absorbed, or
+swallowed up; that the face of the sun, will, by degrees, be encrusted with its
+own effluvia, and give no more light to the world; that the earth very narrowly
+escaped a brush from the tail of the last comet, which would have infallibly
+reduced it to ashes; and that the next, which they have calculated for
+one-and-thirty years hence, will probably destroy us. For if, in its
+perihelion, it should approach within a certain degree of the sun (as by their
+calculations they have reason to dread) it will receive a degree of heat ten
+thousand times more intense than that of red hot glowing iron, and in its
+absence from the sun, carry a blazing tail ten hundred thousand and fourteen
+miles long, through which, if the earth should pass at the distance of one
+hundred thousand miles from the nucleus, or main body of the comet, it must in
+its passage be set on fire, and reduced to ashes: that the sun, daily spending
+its rays without any nutriment to supply them, will at last be wholly consumed
+and annihilated; which must be attended with the destruction of this earth, and
+of all the planets that receive their light from it.
+They are so perpetually alarmed with the apprehensions of these, and the like
+impending dangers, that they can neither sleep quietly in their beds, nor have
+any relish for the common pleasures and amusements of life. When they meet an
+acquaintance in the morning, the first question is about the sun's health, how
+he looked at his setting and rising, and what hopes they have to avoid the
+stroke of the approaching comet. This conversation they are apt to run into
+with the same temper that boys discover in delighting to hear terrible stories
+of spirits and hobgoblins, which they greedily listen to, and dare not go to
+bed for fear.
+The women of the island have abundance of vivacity: they, contemn their
+husbands, and are exceedingly fond of strangers, whereof there is always a
+considerable number from the continent below, attending at court, either upon
+affairs of the several towns and corporations, or their own particular
+occasions, but are much despised, because they want the same endowments. Among
+these the ladies choose their gallants: but the vexation is, that they act with
+too much ease and security; for the husband is always so rapt in speculation,
+that the mistress and lover may proceed to the greatest familiarities before
+his face, if he be but provided with paper and implements, and without his
+flapper at his side.
+The wives and daughters lament their confinement to the island, although I
+think it the most delicious spot of ground in the world; and although they live
+here in the greatest plenty and magnificence, and are allowed to do whatever
+they please, they long to see the world, and take the diversions of the
+metropolis, which they are not allowed to do without a particular license from
+the king; and this is not easy to be obtained, because the people of quality
+have found, by frequent experience, how hard it is to persuade their women to
+return from below. I was told that a great court lady, who had several
+children,--is married to the prime minister, the richest subject in the
+kingdom, a very graceful person, extremely fond of her, and lives in the finest
+palace of the island,--went down to Lagado on the pretence of health, there hid
+herself for several months, till the king sent a warrant to search for her; and
+she was found in an obscure eating-house all in rags, having pawned her clothes
+to maintain an old deformed footman, who beat her every day, and in whose
+company she was taken, much against her will. And although her husband received
+her with all possible kindness, and without the least reproach, she soon after
+contrived to steal down again, with all her jewels, to the same gallant, and
+has not been heard of since.
+This may perhaps pass with the reader rather for an European or English story,
+than for one of a country so remote. But he may please to consider, that the
+caprices of womankind are not limited by any climate or nation, and that they
+are much more uniform, than can be easily imagined.
+In about a month's time, I had made a tolerable proficiency in their language,
+and was able to answer most of the king's questions, when I had the honour to
+attend him. His majesty discovered not the least curiosity to inquire into the
+laws, government, history, religion, or manners of the countries where I had
+been; but confined his questions to the state of mathematics, and received the
+account I gave him with great contempt and indifference, though often roused by
+his flapper on each side.
+[A phenomenon solved by modern philosophy and astronomy. The Laputians' great
+improvements in the latter. The king's method of suppressing insurrections.]
+I desired leave of this prince to see the curiosities of the island, which he
+was graciously pleased to grant, and ordered my tutor to attend me. I chiefly
+wanted to know, to what cause, in art or in nature, it owed its several
+motions, whereof I will now give a philosophical account to the reader.
+The flying or floating island is exactly circular, its diameter 7837 yards, or
+about four miles and a half, and consequently contains ten thousand acres. It
+is three hundred yards thick. The bottom, or under surface, which appears to
+those who view it below, is one even regular plate of adamant, shooting up to
+the height of about two hundred yards. Above it lie the several minerals in
+their usual order, and over all is a coat of rich mould, ten or twelve feet
+deep. The declivity of the upper surface, from the circumference to the centre,
+is the natural cause why all the dews and rains, which fall upon the island,
+are conveyed in small rivulets toward the middle, where they are emptied into
+four large basins, each of about half a mile in circuit, and two hundred yards
+distant from the centre. From these basins the water is continually exhaled by
+the sun in the daytime, which effectually prevents their overflowing. Besides,
+as it is in the power of the monarch to raise the island above the region of
+clouds and vapours, he can prevent the falling of dews and rain whenever he
+pleases. For the highest clouds cannot rise above two miles, as naturalists
+agree, at least they were never known to do so in that country.
+At the centre of the island there is a chasm about fifty yards in diameter,
+whence the astronomers descend into a large dome, which is therefore called
+flandona gagnole, or the astronomer's cave, situated at the depth of a hundred
+yards beneath the upper surface of the adamant. In this cave are twenty lamps
+continually burning, which, from the reflection of the adamant, cast a strong
+light into every part. The place is stored with great variety of sextants,
+quadrants, telescopes, astrolabes, and other astronomical instruments. But the
+greatest curiosity, upon which the fate of the island depends, is a loadstone
+of a prodigious size, in shape resembling a weaver's shuttle. It is in length
+six yards, and in the thickest part at least three yards over. This magnet is
+sustained by a very strong axle of adamant passing through its middle, upon
+which it plays, and is poised so exactly that the weakest hand can turn it. It
+is hooped round with a hollow cylinder of adamant, four feet yards in diameter,
+placed horizontally, and supported by eight adamantine feet, each six yards
+high. In the middle of the concave side, there is a groove twelve inches deep,
+in which the extremities of the axle are lodged, and turned round as there is
+The stone cannot be removed from its place by any force, because the hoop and
+its feet are one continued piece with that body of adamant which constitutes
+the bottom of the island.
+By means of this loadstone, the island is made to rise and fall, and move from
+one place to another. For, with respect to that part of the earth over which
+the monarch presides, the stone is endued at one of its sides with an
+attractive power, and at the other with a repulsive. Upon placing the magnet
+erect, with its attracting end towards the earth, the island descends; but when
+the repelling extremity points downwards, the island mounts directly upwards.
+When the position of the stone is oblique, the motion of the island is so too:
+for in this magnet, the forces always act in lines parallel to its direction.
+By this oblique motion, the island is conveyed to different parts of the
+monarch's dominions. To explain the manner of its progress, let A B represent a
+line drawn across the dominions of Balnibarbi, let the line c d represent the
+loadstone, of which let d be the repelling end, and c the attracting end, the
+island being over C: let the stone be placed in position c d, with its
+repelling end downwards; then the island will be driven upwards obliquely
+towards D. When it is arrived at D, let the stone be turned upon its axle, till
+its attracting end points towards E, and then the island will be carried
+obliquely towards E; where, if the stone be again turned upon its axle till it
+stands in the position E F, with its repelling point downwards, the island will
+rise obliquely towards F, where, by directing the attracting end towards G, the
+island may be carried to G, and from G to H, by turning the stone, so as to
+make its repelling extremity to point directly downward. And thus, by changing
+the situation of the stone, as often as there is occasion, the island is made
+to rise and fall by turns in an oblique direction, and by those alternate
+risings and fallings (the obliquity being not considerable) is conveyed from
+one part of the dominions to the other.
+But it must be observed, that this island cannot move beyond the extent of the
+dominions below, nor can it rise above the height of four miles. For which the
+astronomers (who have written large systems concerning the stone) assign the
+following reason: that the magnetic virtue does not extend beyond the distance
+of four miles, and that the mineral, which acts upon the stone in the bowels of
+the earth, and in the sea about six leagues distant from the shore, is not
+diffused through the whole globe, but terminated with the limits of the king's
+dominions; and it was easy, from the great advantage of such a superior
+situation, for a prince to bring under his obedience whatever country lay
+within the attraction of that magnet.
+When the stone is put parallel to the plane of the horizon, the island stands
+still; for in that case the extremities of it, being at equal distance from the
+earth, act with equal force, the one in drawing downwards, the other in pushing
+upwards, and consequently no motion can ensue.
+This loadstone is under the care of certain astronomers, who, from time to
+time, give it such positions as the monarch directs. They spend the greatest
+part of their lives in observing the celestial bodies, which they do by the
+assistance of glasses, far excelling ours in goodness. For, although their
+largest telescopes do not exceed three feet, they magnify much more than those
+of a hundred with us, and show the stars with greater clearness. This advantage
+has enabled them to extend their discoveries much further than our astronomers
+in Europe; for they have made a catalogue of ten thousand fixed stars, whereas
+the largest of ours do not contain above one third part of that number. They
+have likewise discovered two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about
+Mars; whereof the innermost is distant from the centre of the primary planet
+exactly three of his diameters, and the outermost, five; the former revolves in
+the space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half; so that the
+squares of their periodical times are very near in the same proportion with the
+cubes of their distance from the centre of Mars; which evidently shows them to
+be governed by the same law of gravitation that influences the other heavenly
+They have observed ninety-three different comets, and settled their periods
+with great exactness. If this be true (and they affirm it with great
+confidence) it is much to be wished, that their observations were made public,
+whereby the theory of comets, which at present is very lame and defective,
+might be brought to the same perfection with other arts of astronomy.
+The king would be the most absolute prince in the universe, if he could but
+prevail on a ministry to join with him; but these having their estates below on
+the continent, and considering that the office of a favourite has a very
+uncertain tenure, would never consent to the enslaving of their country.
+If any town should engage in rebellion or mutiny, fall into violent factions,
+or refuse to pay the usual tribute, the king has two methods of reducing them
+to obedience. The first and the mildest course is, by keeping the island
+hovering over such a town, and the lands about it, whereby he can deprive them
+of the benefit of the sun and the rain, and consequently afflict the
+inhabitants with dearth and diseases: and if the crime deserve it, they are at
+the same time pelted from above with great stones, against which they have no
+defence but by creeping into cellars or caves, while the roofs of their houses
+are beaten to pieces. But if they still continue obstinate, or offer to raise
+insurrections, he proceeds to the last remedy, by letting the island drop
+directly upon their heads, which makes a universal destruction both of houses
+and men. However, this is an extremity to which the prince is seldom driven,
+neither indeed is he willing to put it in execution; nor dare his ministers
+advise him to an action, which, as it would render them odious to the people,
+so it would be a great damage to their own estates, which all lie below; for
+the island is the king's demesne.
+But there is still indeed a more weighty reason, why the kings of this country
+have been always averse from executing so terrible an action, unless upon the
+utmost necessity. For, if the town intended to be destroyed should have in it
+any tall rocks, as it generally falls out in the larger cities, a situation
+probably chosen at first with a view to prevent such a catastrophe; or if it
+abound in high spires, or pillars of stone, a sudden fall might endanger the
+bottom or under surface of the island, which, although it consist, as I have
+said, of one entire adamant, two hundred yards thick, might happen to crack by
+too great a shock, or burst by approaching too near the fires from the houses
+below, as the backs, both of iron and stone, will often do in our chimneys. Of
+all this the people are well apprised, and understand how far to carry their
+obstinacy, where their liberty or property is concerned. And the king, when he
+is highest provoked, and most determined to press a city to rubbish, orders the
+island to descend with great gentleness, out of a pretence of tenderness to his
+people, but, indeed, for fear of breaking the adamantine bottom; in which case,
+it is the opinion of all their philosophers, that the loadstone could no longer
+hold it up, and the whole mass would fall to the ground.
+By a fundamental law of this realm, neither the king, nor either of his two
+eldest sons, are permitted to leave the island; nor the queen, till she is past
+[The author leaves Laputa; is conveyed to Balnibarbi; arrives at the
+metropolis. A description of the metropolis, and the country adjoining. The
+author hospitably received by a great lord. His conversation with that lord.]
+Although I cannot say that I was ill treated in this island, yet I must confess
+I thought myself too much neglected, not without some degree of contempt; for
+neither prince nor people appeared to be curious in any part of knowledge,
+except mathematics and music, wherein I was far their inferior, and upon that
+account very little regarded.
+On the other side, after having seen all the curiosities of the island, I was
+very desirous to leave it, being heartily weary of those people. They were
+indeed excellent in two sciences for which I have great esteem, and wherein I
+am not unversed; but, at the same time, so abstracted and involved in
+speculation, that I never met with such disagreeable companions. I conversed
+only with women, tradesmen, flappers, and court-pages, during two months of my
+abode there; by which, at last, I rendered myself extremely contemptible; yet
+these were the only people from whom I could ever receive a reasonable answer.
+I had obtained, by hard study, a good degree of knowledge in their language: I
+was weary of being confined to an island where I received so little
+countenance, and resolved to leave it with the first opportunity.
+There was a great lord at court, nearly related to the king, and for that
+reason alone used with respect. He was universally reckoned the most ignorant
+and stupid person among them. He had performed many eminent services for the
+crown, had great natural and acquired parts, adorned with integrity and honour;
+but so ill an ear for music, that his detractors reported, "he had been often
+known to beat time in the wrong place;" neither could his tutors, without
+extreme difficulty, teach him to demonstrate the most easy proposition in the
+mathematics. He was pleased to show me many marks of favour, often did me the
+honour of a visit, desired to be informed in the affairs of Europe, the laws
+and customs, the manners and learning of the several countries where I had
+travelled. He listened to me with great attention, and made very wise
+observations on all I spoke. He had two flappers attending him for state, but
+never made use of them, except at court and in visits of ceremony, and would
+always command them to withdraw, when we were alone together.
+I entreated this illustrious person, to intercede in my behalf with his
+majesty, for leave to depart; which he accordingly did, as he was pleased to
+tell me, with regret: for indeed he had made me several offers very
+advantageous, which, however, I refused, with expressions of the highest
+On the 16th of February I took leave of his majesty and the court. The king
+made me a present to the value of about two hundred pounds English, and my
+protector, his kinsman, as much more, together with a letter of recommendation
+to a friend of his in Lagado, the metropolis. The island being then hovering
+over a mountain about two miles from it, I was let down from the lowest
+gallery, in the same manner as I had been taken up.
+The continent, as far as it is subject to the monarch of the flying island,
+passes under the general name of Balnibarbi; and the metropolis, as I said
+before, is called Lagado. I felt some little satisfaction in finding myself on
+firm ground. I walked to the city without any concern, being clad like one of
+the natives, and sufficiently instructed to converse with them. I soon found
+out the person's house to whom I was recommended, presented my letter from his
+friend the grandee in the island, and was received with much kindness. This
+great lord, whose name was Munodi, ordered me an apartment in his own house,
+where I continued during my stay, and was entertained in a most hospitable
+The next morning after my arrival, he took me in his chariot to see the town,
+which is about half the bigness of London; but the houses very strangely built,
+and most of them out of repair. The people in the streets walked fast, looked
+wild, their eyes fixed, and were generally in rags. We passed through one of
+the town gates, and went about three miles into the country, where I saw many
+labourers working with several sorts of tools in the ground, but was not able
+to conjecture what they were about: neither did observe any expectation either
+of corn or grass, although the soil appeared to be excellent. I could not
+forbear admiring at these odd appearances, both in town and country; and I made
+bold to desire my conductor, that he would be pleased to explain to me, what
+could be meant by so many busy heads, hands, and faces, both in the streets and
+the fields, because I did not discover any good effects they produced; but, on
+the contrary, I never knew a soil so unhappily cultivated, houses so ill
+contrived and so ruinous, or a people whose countenances and habit expressed so
+much misery and want.
+This lord Munodi was a person of the first rank, and had been some years
+governor of Lagado; but, by a cabal of ministers, was discharged for
+insufficiency. However, the king treated him with tenderness, as a well-meaning
+man, but of a low contemptible understanding.
+When I gave that free censure of the country and its inhabitants, he made no
+further answer than by telling me, "that I had not been long enough among them
+to form a judgment; and that the different nations of the world had different
+customs;" with other common topics to the same purpose. But, when we returned
+to his palace, he asked me "how I liked the building, what absurdities I
+observed, and what quarrel I had with the dress or looks of his domestics?"
+This he might safely do; because every thing about him was magnificent,
+regular, and polite. I answered, "that his excellency's prudence, quality, and
+fortune, had exempted him from those defects, which folly and beggary had
+produced in others." He said, "if I would go with him to his country-house,
+about twenty miles distant, where his estate lay, there would be more leisure
+for this kind of conversation." I told his excellency "that I was entirely at
+his disposal;" and accordingly we set out next morning.
+During our journey he made me observe the several methods used by farmers in
+managing their lands, which to me were wholly unaccountable; for, except in
+some very few places, I could not discover one ear of corn or blade of grass.
+But, in three hours travelling, the scene was wholly altered; we came into a
+most beautiful country; farmers' houses, at small distances, neatly built; the
+fields enclosed, containing vineyards, corn-grounds, and meadows. Neither do I
+remember to have seen a more delightful prospect. His excellency observed my
+countenance to clear up; he told me, with a sigh, "that there his estate began,
+and would continue the same, till we should come to his house: that his
+countrymen ridiculed and despised him, for managing his affairs no better, and
+for setting so ill an example to the kingdom; which, however, was followed by
+very few, such as were old, and wilful, and weak like himself."
+We came at length to the house, which was indeed a noble structure, built
+according to the best rules of ancient architecture. The fountains, gardens,
+walks, avenues, and groves, were all disposed with exact judgment and taste. I
+gave due praises to every thing I saw, whereof his excellency took not the
+least notice till after supper; when, there being no third companion, he told
+me with a very melancholy air "that he doubted he must throw down his houses in
+town and country, to rebuild them after the present mode; destroy all his
+plantations, and cast others into such a form as modern usage required, and
+give the same directions to all his tenants, unless he would submit to incur
+the censure of pride, singularity, affectation, ignorance, caprice, and perhaps
+increase his majesty's displeasure; that the admiration I appeared to be under
+would cease or diminish, when he had informed me of some particulars which,
+probably, I never heard of at court, the people there being too much taken up
+in their own speculations, to have regard to what passed here below."
+The sum of his discourse was to this effect: "That about forty years ago,
+certain persons went up to Laputa, either upon business or diversion, and,
+after five months continuance, came back with a very little smattering in
+mathematics, but full of volatile spirits acquired in that airy region: that
+these persons, upon their return, began to dislike the management of every
+thing below, and fell into schemes of putting all arts, sciences, languages,
+and mechanics, upon a new foot. To this end, they procured a royal patent for
+erecting an academy of projectors in Lagado; and the humour prevailed so
+strongly among the people, that there is not a town of any consequence in the
+kingdom without such an academy. In these colleges the professors contrive new
+rules and methods of agriculture and building, and new instruments, and tools
+for all trades and manufactures; whereby, as they undertake, one man shall do
+the work of ten; a palace may be built in a week, of materials so durable as to
+last for ever without repairing. All the fruits of the earth shall come to
+maturity at whatever season we think fit to choose, and increase a hundred fold
+more than they do at present; with innumerable other happy proposals. The only
+inconvenience is, that none of these projects are yet brought to perfection;
+and in the mean time, the whole country lies miserably waste, the houses in
+ruins, and the people without food or clothes. By all which, instead of being
+discouraged, they are fifty times more violently bent upon prosecuting their
+schemes, driven equally on by hope and despair: that as for himself, being not
+of an enterprising spirit, he was content to go on in the old forms, to live in
+the houses his ancestors had built, and act as they did, in every part of life,
+without innovation: that some few other persons of quality and gentry had done
+the same, but were looked on with an eye of contempt and ill-will, as enemies
+to art, ignorant, and ill common-wealth's men, preferring their own ease and
+sloth before the general improvement of their country."
+His lordship added, "That he would not, by any further particulars, prevent the
+pleasure I should certainly take in viewing the grand academy, whither he was
+resolved I should go." He only desired me to observe a ruined building, upon
+the side of a mountain about three miles distant, of which he gave me this
+account: "That he had a very convenient mill within half a mile of his house,
+turned by a current from a large river, and sufficient for his own family, as
+well as a great number of his tenants; that about seven years ago, a club of
+those projectors came to him with proposals to destroy this mill, and build
+another on the side of that mountain, on the long ridge whereof a long canal
+must be cut, for a repository of water, to be conveyed up by pipes and engines
+to supply the mill, because the wind and air upon a height agitated the water,
+and thereby made it fitter for motion, and because the water, descending down a
+declivity, would turn the mill with half the current of a river whose course is
+more upon a level." He said, "that being then not very well with the court, and
+pressed by many of his friends, he complied with the proposal; and after
+employing a hundred men for two years, the work miscarried, the projectors went
+off, laying the blame entirely upon him, railing at him ever since, and putting
+others upon the same experiment, with equal assurance of success, as well as
+equal disappointment."
+In a few days we came back to town; and his excellency, considering the bad
+character he had in the academy, would not go with me himself, but recommended
+me to a friend of his, to bear me company thither. My lord was pleased to
+represent me as a great admirer of projects, and a person of much curiosity and
+easy belief; which, indeed, was not without truth; for I had myself been a sort
+of projector in my younger days.
+[The author permitted to see the grand academy of Lagado. The academy largely
+described. The arts wherein the professors employ themselves.]
+This academy is not an entire single building, but a continuation of several
+houses on both sides of a street, which growing waste, was purchased and
+applied to that use.
+I was received very kindly by the warden, and went for many days to the
+academy. Every room has in it one or more projectors; and I believe I could not
+be in fewer than five hundred rooms.
+The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect, with sooty hands and face, his hair
+and beard long, ragged, and singed in several places. His clothes, shirt, and
+skin, were all of the same colour. He has been eight years upon a project for
+extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials
+hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He
+told me, he did not doubt, that, in eight years more, he should be able to
+supply the governor's gardens with sunshine, at a reasonable rate: but he
+complained that his stock was low, and entreated me "to give him something as
+an encouragement to ingenuity, especially since this had been a very dear
+season for cucumbers." I made him a small present, for my lord had furnished me
+with money on purpose, because he knew their practice of begging from all who
+go to see them.
+I went into another chamber, but was ready to hasten back, being almost
+overcome with a horrible stink. My conductor pressed me forward, conjuring me
+in a whisper "to give no offence, which would be highly resented;" and
+therefore I durst not so much as stop my nose. The projector of this cell was
+the most ancient student of the academy; his face and beard were of a pale
+yellow; his hands and clothes daubed over with filth. When I was presented to
+him, he gave me a close embrace, a compliment I could well have excused. His
+employment, from his first coming into the academy, was an operation to reduce
+human excrement to its original food, by separating the several parts, removing
+the tincture which it receives from the gall, making the odour exhale, and
+scumming off the saliva. He had a weekly allowance, from the society, of a
+vessel filled with human ordure, about the bigness of a Bristol barrel.
+I saw another at work to calcine ice into gunpowder; who likewise showed me a
+treatise he had written concerning the malleability of fire, which he intended
+to publish.
+There was a most ingenious architect, who had contrived a new method for
+building houses, by beginning at the roof, and working downward to the
+foundation; which he justified to me, by the like practice of those two prudent
+insects, the bee and the spider.
+There was a man born blind, who had several apprentices in his own condition:
+their employment was to mix colours for painters, which their master taught
+them to distinguish by feeling and smelling. It was indeed my misfortune to
+find them at that time not very perfect in their lessons, and the professor
+himself happened to be generally mistaken. This artist is much encouraged and
+esteemed by the whole fraternity.
+In another apartment I was highly pleased with a projector who had found a
+device of ploughing the ground with hogs, to save the charges of ploughs,
+cattle, and labour. The method is this: in an acre of ground you bury, at six
+inches distance and eight deep, a quantity of acorns, dates, chestnuts, and
+other mast or vegetables, whereof these animals are fondest; then you drive six
+hundred or more of them into the field, where, in a few days, they will root up
+the whole ground in search of their food, and make it fit for sowing, at the
+same time manuring it with their dung: it is true, upon experiment, they found
+the charge and trouble very great, and they had little or no crop. However it
+is not doubted, that this invention may be capable of great improvement.
+I went into another room, where the walls and ceiling were all hung round with
+cobwebs, except a narrow passage for the artist to go in and out. At my
+entrance, he called aloud to me, "not to disturb his webs." He lamented "the
+fatal mistake the world had been so long in, of using silkworms, while we had
+such plenty of domestic insects who infinitely excelled the former, because
+they understood how to weave, as well as spin." And he proposed further, "that
+by employing spiders, the charge of dyeing silks should be wholly saved;"
+whereof I was fully convinced, when he showed me a vast number of flies most
+beautifully coloured, wherewith he fed his spiders, assuring us "that the webs
+would take a tincture from them; and as he had them of all hues, he hoped to
+fit everybody's fancy, as soon as he could find proper food for the flies, of
+certain gums, oils, and other glutinous matter, to give a strength and
+consistence to the threads."
+There was an astronomer, who had undertaken to place a sun-dial upon the great
+weathercock on the town-house, by adjusting the annual and diurnal motions of
+the earth and sun, so as to answer and coincide with all accidental turnings of
+the wind.
+I was complaining of a small fit of the colic, upon which my conductor led me
+into a room where a great physician resided, who was famous for curing that
+disease, by contrary operations from the same instrument. He had a large pair
+of bellows, with a long slender muzzle of ivory: this he conveyed eight inches
+up the anus, and drawing in the wind, he affirmed he could make the guts as
+lank as a dried bladder. But when the disease was more stubborn and violent, he
+let in the muzzle while the bellows were full of wind, which he discharged into
+the body of the patient; then withdrew the instrument to replenish it, clapping
+his thumb strongly against the orifice of then fundament; and this being
+repeated three or four times, the adventitious wind would rush out, bringing
+the noxious along with it, (like water put into a pump), and the patient
+recovered. I saw him try both experiments upon a dog, but could not discern any
+effect from the former. After the latter the animal was ready to burst, and
+made so violent a discharge as was very offensive to me and my companion. The
+dog died on the spot, and we left the doctor endeavouring to recover him, by
+the same operation.
+I visited many other apartments, but shall not trouble my reader with all the
+curiosities I observed, being studious of brevity.
+I had hitherto seen only one side of the academy, the other being appropriated
+to the advancers of speculative learning, of whom I shall say something, when I
+have mentioned one illustrious person more, who is called among them "the
+universal artist." He told us "he had been thirty years employing his thoughts
+for the improvement of human life." He had two large rooms full of wonderful
+curiosities, and fifty men at work. Some were condensing air into a dry
+tangible substance, by extracting the nitre, and letting the aqueous or fluid
+particles percolate; others softening marble, for pillows and pin-cushions;
+others petrifying the hoofs of a living horse, to preserve them from
+foundering. The artist himself was at that time busy upon two great designs;
+the first, to sow land with chaff, wherein he affirmed the true seminal virtue
+to be contained, as he demonstrated by several experiments, which I was not
+skilful enough to comprehend. The other was, by a certain composition of gums,
+minerals, and vegetables, outwardly applied, to prevent the growth of wool upon
+two young lambs; and he hoped, in a reasonable time to propagate the breed of
+naked sheep, all over the kingdom.
+We crossed a walk to the other part of the academy, where, as I have already
+said, the projectors in speculative learning resided.
+The first professor I saw, was in a very large room, with forty pupils about
+him. After salutation, observing me to look earnestly upon a frame, which took
+up the greatest part of both the length and breadth of the room, he said,
+"Perhaps I might wonder to see him employed in a project for improving
+speculative knowledge, by practical and mechanical operations. But the world
+would soon be sensible of its usefulness; and he flattered himself, that a more
+noble, exalted thought never sprang in any other man's head. Every one knew how
+laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences; whereas, by
+his contrivance, the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a
+little bodily labour, might write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, laws,
+mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study."
+He then led me to the frame, about the sides, whereof all his pupils stood in
+ranks. It was twenty feet square, placed in the middle of the room. The
+superfices was composed of several bits of wood, about the bigness of a die,
+but some larger than others. They were all linked together by slender wires.
+These bits of wood were covered, on every square, with paper pasted on them;
+and on these papers were written all the words of their language, in their
+several moods, tenses, and declensions; but without any order. The professor
+then desired me "to observe; for he was going to set his engine at work." The
+pupils, at his command, took each of them hold of an iron handle, whereof there
+were forty fixed round the edges of the frame; and giving them a sudden turn,
+the whole disposition of the words was entirely changed. He then commanded
+six-and-thirty of the lads, to read the several lines softly, as they appeared
+upon the frame; and where they found three or four words together that might
+make part of a sentence, they dictated to the four remaining boys, who were
+scribes. This work was repeated three or four times, and at every turn, the
+engine was so contrived, that the words shifted into new places, as the square
+bits of wood moved upside down.
+Six hours a day the young students were employed in this labour; and the
+professor showed me several volumes in large folio, already collected, of
+broken sentences, which he intended to piece together, and out of those rich
+materials, to give the world a complete body of all arts and sciences; which,
+however, might be still improved, and much expedited, if the public would raise
+a fund for making and employing five hundred such frames in Lagado, and oblige
+the managers to contribute in common their several collections.
+He assured me "that this invention had employed all his thoughts from his
+youth; that he had emptied the whole vocabulary into his frame, and made the
+strictest computation of the general proportion there is in books between the
+numbers of particles, nouns, and verbs, and other parts of speech."
+I made my humblest acknowledgment to this illustrious person, for his great
+communicativeness; and promised, "if ever I had the good fortune to return to
+my native country, that I would do him justice, as the sole inventor of this
+wonderful machine;" the form and contrivance of which I desired leave to
+delineate on paper, as in the figure here annexed. I told him, "although it
+were the custom of our learned in Europe to steal inventions from each other,
+who had thereby at least this advantage, that it became a controversy which was
+the right owner; yet I would take such caution, that he should have the honour
+entire, without a rival."
+We next went to the school of languages, where three professors sat in
+consultation upon improving that of their own country.
+The first project was, to shorten discourse, by cutting polysyllables into one,
+and leaving out verbs and participles, because, in reality, all things
+imaginable are but norms.
+The other project was, a scheme for entirely abolishing all words whatsoever;
+and this was urged as a great advantage in point of health, as well as brevity.
+For it is plain, that every word we speak is, in some degree, a diminution of
+our lunge by corrosion, and, consequently, contributes to the shortening of our
+lives. An expedient was therefore offered, "that since words are only names for
+things, it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them such things
+as were necessary to express a particular business they are to discourse on."
+And this invention would certainly have taken place, to the great ease as well
+as health of the subject, if the women, in conjunction with the vulgar and
+illiterate, had not threatened to raise a rebellion unless they might be
+allowed the liberty to speak with their tongues, after the manner of their
+forefathers; such constant irreconcilable enemies to science are the common
+people. However, many of the most learned and wise adhere to the new scheme of
+expressing themselves by things; which has only this inconvenience attending
+it, that if a man's business be very great, and of various kinds, he must be
+obliged, in proportion, to carry a greater bundle of things upon his back,
+unless he can afford one or two strong servants to attend him. I have often
+beheld two of those sages almost sinking under the weight of their packs, like
+pedlars among us, who, when they met in the street, would lay down their loads,
+open their sacks, and hold conversation for an hour together; then put up their
+implements, help each other to resume their burdens, and take their leave.
+But for short conversations, a man may carry implements in his pockets, and
+under his arms, enough to supply him; and in his house, he cannot be at a loss.
+Therefore the room where company meet who practise this art, is full of all
+things, ready at hand, requisite to furnish matter for this kind of artificial
+Another great advantage proposed by this invention was, that it would serve as
+a universal language, to be understood in all civilised nations, whose goods
+and utensils are generally of the same kind, or nearly resembling, so that
+their uses might easily be comprehended. And thus ambassadors would be
+qualified to treat with foreign princes, or ministers of state, to whose
+tongues they were utter strangers.
+I was at the mathematical school, where the master taught his pupils after a
+method scarce imaginable to us in Europe. The proposition, and demonstration,
+were fairly written on a thin wafer, with ink composed of a cephalic tincture.
+This, the student was to swallow upon a fasting stomach, and for three days
+following, eat nothing but bread and water. As the wafer digested, the tincture
+mounted to his brain, bearing the proposition along with it. But the success
+has not hitherto been answerable, partly by some error in the quantum or
+composition, and partly by the perverseness of lads, to whom this bolus is so
+nauseous, that they generally steal aside, and discharge it upwards, before it
+can operate; neither have they been yet persuaded to use so long an abstinence,
+as the prescription requires.
+[A further account of the academy. The author proposes some improvements, which
+are honourably received.]
+In the school of political projectors, I was but ill entertained; the
+professors appearing, in my judgment, wholly out of their senses, which is a
+scene that never fails to make me melancholy. These unhappy people were
+proposing schemes for persuading monarchs to choose favourites upon the score
+of their wisdom, capacity, and virtue; of teaching ministers to consult the
+public good; of rewarding merit, great abilities, eminent services; of
+instructing princes to know their true interest, by placing it on the same
+foundation with that of their people; of choosing for employments persons
+qualified to exercise them, with many other wild, impossible chimeras, that
+never entered before into the heart of man to conceive; and confirmed in me the
+old observation, "that there is nothing so extravagant and irrational, which
+some philosophers have not maintained for truth."
+But, however, I shall so far do justice to this part of the Academy, as to
+acknowledge that all of them were not so visionary. There was a most ingenious
+doctor, who seemed to be perfectly versed in the whole nature and system of
+government. This illustrious person had very usefully employed his studies, in
+finding out effectual remedies for all diseases and corruptions to which the
+several kinds of public administration are subject, by the vices or infirmities
+of those who govern, as well as by the licentiousness of those who are to obey.
+For instance: whereas all writers and reasoners have agreed, that there is a
+strict universal resemblance between the natural and the political body; can
+there be any thing more evident, than that the health of both must be
+preserved, and the diseases cured, by the same prescriptions? It is allowed,
+that senates and great councils are often troubled with redundant, ebullient,
+and other peccant humours; with many diseases of the head, and more of the
+heart; with strong convulsions, with grievous contractions of the nerves and
+sinews in both hands, but especially the right; with spleen, flatus, vertigos,
+and deliriums; with scrofulous tumours, full of fetid purulent matter; with
+sour frothy ructations: with canine appetites, and crudeness of digestion,
+besides many others, needless to mention. This doctor therefore proposed, "that
+upon the meeting of the senate, certain physicians should attend it the three
+first days of their sitting, and at the close of each day's debate feel the
+pulses of every senator; after which, having maturely considered and consulted
+upon the nature of the several maladies, and the methods of cure, they should
+on the fourth day return to the senate house, attended by their apothecaries
+stored with proper medicines; and before the members sat, administer to each of
+them lenitives, aperitives, abstersives, corrosives, restringents, palliatives,
+laxatives, cephalalgics, icterics, apophlegmatics, acoustics, as their several
+cases required; and, according as these medicines should operate, repeat,
+alter, or omit them, at the next meeting."
+This project could not be of any great expense to the public; and might in my
+poor opinion, be of much use for the despatch of business, in those countries
+where senates have any share in the legislative power; beget unanimity, shorten
+debates, open a few mouths which are now closed, and close many more which are
+now open; curb the petulancy of the young, and correct the positiveness of the
+old; rouse the stupid, and damp the pert.
+Again: because it is a general complaint, that the favourites of princes are
+troubled with short and weak memories; the same doctor proposed, "that whoever
+attended a first minister, after having told his business, with the utmost
+brevity and in the plainest words, should, at his departure, give the said
+minister a tweak by the nose, or a kick in the belly, or tread on his corns, or
+lug him thrice by both ears, or run a pin into his breech; or pinch his arm
+black and blue, to prevent forgetfulness; and at every levee day, repeat the
+same operation, till the business were done, or absolutely refused."
+He likewise directed, "that every senator in the great council of a nation,
+after he had delivered his opinion, and argued in the defence of it, should be
+obliged to give his vote directly contrary; because if that were done, the
+result would infallibly terminate in the good of the public."
+When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonderful contrivance to
+reconcile them. The method is this: You take a hundred leaders of each party;
+you dispose them into couples of such whose heads are nearest of a size; then
+let two nice operators saw off the occiput of each couple at the same time, in
+such a manner that the brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs, thus cut
+off, be interchanged, applying each to the head of his opposite party-man. It
+seems indeed to be a work that requires some exactness, but the professor
+assured us, "that if it were dexterously performed, the cure would be
+infallible." For he argued thus: "that the two half brains being left to debate
+the matter between themselves within the space of one skull, would soon come to
+a good understanding, and produce that moderation, as well as regularity of
+thinking, so much to be wished for in the heads of those, who imagine they come
+into the world only to watch and govern its motion: and as to the difference of
+brains, in quantity or quality, among those who are directors in faction, the
+doctor assured us, from his own knowledge, that "it was a perfect trifle."
+I heard a very warm debate between two professors, about the most commodious
+and effectual ways and means of raising money, without grieving the subject.
+The first affirmed, "the justest method would be, to lay a certain tax upon
+vices and folly; and the sum fixed upon every man to be rated, after the
+fairest manner, by a jury of his neighbours." The second was of an opinion
+directly contrary; "to tax those qualities of body and mind, for which men
+chiefly value themselves; the rate to be more or less, according to the degrees
+of excelling; the decision whereof should be left entirely to their own
+breast." The highest tax was upon men who are the greatest favourites of the
+other sex, and the assessments, according to the number and nature of the
+favours they have received; for which, they are allowed to be their own
+vouchers. Wit, valour, and politeness, were likewise proposed to be largely
+taxed, and collected in the same manner, by every person's giving his own word
+for the quantum of what he possessed. But as to honour, justice, wisdom, and
+learning, they should not be taxed at all; because they are qualifications of
+so singular a kind, that no man will either allow them in his neighbour or
+value them in himself.
+The women were proposed to be taxed according to their beauty and skill in
+dressing, wherein they had the same privilege with the men, to be determined by
+their own judgment. But constancy, chastity, good sense, and good nature, were
+not rated, because they would not bear the charge of collecting.
+To keep senators in the interest of the crown, it was proposed that the members
+should raffle for employment; every man first taking an oath, and giving
+security, that he would vote for the court, whether he won or not; after which,
+the losers had, in their turn, the liberty of raffling upon the next vacancy.
+Thus, hope and expectation would be kept alive; none would complain of broken
+promises, but impute their disappointments wholly to fortune, whose shoulders
+are broader and stronger than those of a ministry.
+Another professor showed me a large paper of instructions for discovering plots
+and conspiracies against the government. He advised great statesmen to examine
+into the diet of all suspected persons; their times of eating; upon which side
+they lay in bed; with which hand they wipe their posteriors; take a strict view
+of their excrements, and, from the colour, the odour, the taste, the
+consistence, the crudeness or maturity of digestion, form a judgment of their
+thoughts and designs; because men are never so serious, thoughtful, and intent,
+as when they are at stool, which he found by frequent experiment; for, in such
+conjunctures, when he used, merely as a trial, to consider which was the best
+way of murdering the king, his ordure would have a tincture of green; but quite
+different, when he thought only of raising an insurrection, or burning the
+The whole discourse was written with great acuteness, containing many
+observations, both curious and useful for politicians; but, as I conceived, not
+altogether complete. This I ventured to tell the author, and offered, if he
+pleased, to supply him with some additions. He received my proposition with
+more compliance than is usual among writers, especially those of the projecting
+species, professing "he would be glad to receive further information."
+I told him, "that in the kingdom of Tribnia,~^ by the natives called Langdon,~^
+where I had sojourned some time in my travels, the bulk of the people consist
+in a manner wholly of discoverers, witnesses, informers, accusers, prosecutors,
+evidences, swearers, together with their several subservient and subaltern
+instruments, all under the colours, the conduct, and the pay of ministers of
+state, and their deputies. The plots, in that kingdom, are usually the
+workmanship of those persons who desire to raise their own characters of
+profound politicians; to restore new vigour to a crazy administration; to
+stifle or divert general discontents; to fill their coffers with forfeitures;
+and raise, or sink the opinion of public credit, as either shall best answer
+their private advantage. It is first agreed and settled among them, what
+suspected persons shall be accused of a plot; then, effectual care is taken to
+secure all their letters and papers, and put the owners in chains. These papers
+are delivered to a set of artists, very dexterous in finding out the mysterious
+meanings of words, syllables, and letters: for instance, they can discover a
+close stool, to signify a privy council; a flock of geese, a senate; a lame
+dog, an invader; the plague, a standing army; a buzzard, a prime minister; the
+gout, a high priest; a gibbet, a secretary of state; a chamber pot, a committee
+of grandees; a sieve, a court lady; a broom, a revolution; a mouse-trap, an
+employment; a bottomless pit, a treasury; a sink, a court; a cap and bells, a
+favourite; a broken reed, a court of justice; an empty tun, a general; a
+running sore, the administration.~^
+"When this method fails, they have two others more effectual, which the learned
+among them call acrostics and anagrams. First, they can decipher all initial
+letters into political meanings. Thus N, shall signify a plot; B, a regiment of
+horse; L, a fleet at sea; or, secondly, by transposing the letters of the
+alphabet in any suspected paper, they can lay open the deepest designs of a
+discontented party. So, for example, if I should say, in a letter to a friend,
+'Our brother Tom has just got the piles,' a skilful decipherer would discover,
+that the same letters which compose that sentence, may be analysed into the
+following words, 'Resist -, a plot is brought home--The tour.' And this is the
+anagrammatic method."
+The professor made me great acknowledgments for communicating these
+observations, and promised to make honourable mention of me in his treatise.
+I saw nothing in this country that could invite me to a longer continuance, and
+began to think of returning home to England.
+[The author leaves Lagado: arrives at Maldonada. No ship ready. He takes a
+short voyage to Glubbdubdrib. His reception by the governor.]
+The continent, of which this kingdom is apart, extends itself, as I have reason
+to believe, eastward, to that unknown tract of America westward of California;
+and north, to the Pacific Ocean, which is not above a hundred and fifty miles
+from Lagado; where there is a good port, and much commerce with the great
+island of Luggnagg, situated to the north-west about 29 degrees north latitude,
+and 140 longitude. This island of Luggnagg stands south-eastward of Japan,
+about a hundred leagues distant. There is a strict alliance between the
+Japanese emperor and the king of Luggnagg; which affords frequent opportunities
+of sailing from one island to the other. I determined therefore to direct my
+course this way, in order to my return to Europe. I hired two mules, with a
+guide, to show me the way, and carry my small baggage. I took leave of my noble
+protector, who had shown me so much favour, and made me a generous present at
+my departure.
+My journey was without any accident or adventure worth relating. When I arrived
+at the port of Maldonada (for so it is called) there was no ship in the harbour
+bound for Luggnagg, nor likely to be in some time. The town is about as large
+as Portsmouth. I soon fell into some acquaintance, and was very hospitably
+received. A gentleman of distinction said to me, "that since the ships bound
+for Luggnagg could not be ready in less than a month, it might be no
+disagreeable amusement for me to take a trip to the little island of
+Glubbdubdrib, about five leagues off to the south-west." He offered himself and
+a friend to accompany me, and that I should be provided with a small convenient
+bark for the voyage.
+Glubbdubdrib, as nearly as I can interpret the word, signifies the island of
+sorcerers or magicians. It is about one third as large as the Isle of Wight,
+and extremely fruitful: it is governed by the head of a certain tribe, who are
+all magicians. This tribe marries only among each other, and the eldest in
+succession is prince or governor. He has a noble palace, and a park of about
+three thousand acres, surrounded by a wall of hewn stone twenty feet high. In
+this park are several small enclosures for cattle, corn, and gardening.
+The governor and his family are served and attended by domestics of a kind
+somewhat unusual. By his skill in necromancy he has a power of calling whom he
+pleases from the dead, and commanding their service for twenty-four hours, but
+no longer; nor can he call the same persons up again in less than three months,
+except upon very extraordinary occasions.
+When we arrived at the island, which was about eleven in the morning, one of
+the gentlemen who accompanied me went to the governor, and desired admittance
+for a stranger, who came on purpose to have the honour of attending on his
+highness. This was immediately granted, and we all three entered the gate of
+the palace between two rows of guards, armed and dressed after a very antic
+manner, and with something in their countenances that made my flesh creep with
+a horror I cannot express. We passed through several apartments, between
+servants of the same sort, ranked on each side as before, till we came to the
+chamber of presence; where, after three profound obeisances, and a few general
+questions, we were permitted to sit on three stools, near the lowest step of
+his highness's throne. He understood the language of Balnibarbi, although it
+was different from that of this island. He desired me to give him some account
+of my travels; and, to let me see that I should be treated without ceremony, he
+dismissed all his attendants with a turn of his finger; at which, to my great
+astonishment, they vanished in an instant, like visions in a dream when we
+awake on a sudden. I could not recover myself in some time, till the governor
+assured me, "that I should receive no hurt:" and observing my two companions to
+be under no concern, who had been often entertained in the same manner, I began
+to take courage, and related to his highness a short history of my several
+adventures; yet not without some hesitation, and frequently looking behind me
+to the place where I had seen those domestic spectres. I had the honour to dine
+with the governor, where a new set of ghosts served up the meat, and waited at
+table. I now observed myself to be less terrified than I had been in the
+morning. I stayed till sunset, but humbly desired his highness to excuse me for
+not accepting his invitation of lodging in the palace. My two friends and I lay
+at a private house in the town adjoining, which is the capital of this little
+island; and the next morning we returned to pay our duty to the governor, as he
+was pleased to command us.
+After this manner we continued in the island for ten days, most part of every
+day with the governor, and at night in our lodging. I soon grew so familiarized
+to the sight of spirits, that after the third or fourth time they gave me no
+emotion at all: or, if I had any apprehensions left, my curiosity prevailed
+over them. For his highness the governor ordered me "to call up whatever
+persons I would choose to name, and in whatever numbers, among all the dead
+from the beginning of the world to the present time, and command them to answer
+any questions I should think fit to ask; with this condition, that my questions
+must be confined within the compass of the times they lived in. And one thing I
+might depend upon, that they would certainly tell me the truth, for lying was a
+talent of no use in the lower world."
+I made my humble acknowledgments to his highness for so great a favour. We were
+in a chamber, from whence there was a fair prospect into the park. And because
+my first inclination was to be entertained with scenes of pomp and
+magnificence, I desired to see Alexander the Great at the head of his army,
+just after the battle of Arbela: which, upon a motion of the governor's finger,
+immediately appeared in a large field, under the window where we stood.
+Alexander was called up into the room: it was with great difficulty that I
+understood his Greek, and had but little of my own. He assured me upon his
+honour "that he was not poisoned, but died of a bad fever by excessive
+Next, I saw Hannibal passing the Alps, who told me "he had not a drop of
+vinegar in his camp."
+I saw Caesar and Pompey at the head of their troops, just ready to engage. I
+saw the former, in his last great triumph. I desired that the senate of Rome
+might appear before me, in one large chamber, and an assembly of somewhat a
+later age in counterview, in another. The first seemed to be an assembly of
+heroes and demigods; the other, a knot of pedlars, pick-pockets, highwayman,
+and bullies.
+The governor, at my request, gave the sign for Caesar and Brutus to advance
+towards us. I was struck with a profound veneration at the sight of Brutus, and
+could easily discover the most consummate virtue, the greatest intrepidity and
+firmness of mind, the truest love of his country, and general benevolence for
+mankind, in every lineament of his countenance. I observed, with much pleasure,
+that these two persons were in good intelligence with each other; and Caesar
+freely confessed to me, "that the greatest actions of his own life were not
+equal, by many degrees, to the glory of taking it away." I had the honour to
+have much conversation with Brutus; and was told, "that his ancestor Junius,
+Socrates, Epaminondas, Cato the younger, Sir Thomas More, and himself were
+perpetually together:" a sextumvirate, to which all the ages of the world
+cannot add a seventh.
+It would be tedious to trouble the reader with relating what vast numbers of
+illustrious persons were called up to gratify that insatiable desire I had to
+see the world in every period of antiquity placed before me. I chiefly fed mine
+eyes with beholding the destroyers of tyrants and usurpers, and the restorers
+of liberty to oppressed and injured nations. But it is impossible to express
+the satisfaction I received in my own mind, after such a manner as to make it a
+suitable entertainment to the reader.
+[A further account of Glubbdubdrib. Ancient and modern history corrected.]
+Having a desire to see those ancients who were most renowned for wit and
+learning, I set apart one day on purpose. I proposed that Homer and Aristotle
+might appear at the head of all their commentators; but these were so numerous,
+that some hundreds were forced to attend in the court, and outward rooms of the
+palace. I knew, and could distinguish those two heroes, at first sight, not
+only from the crowd, but from each other. Homer was the taller and comelier
+person of the two, walked very erect for one of his age, and his eyes were the
+most quick and piercing I ever beheld. Aristotle stooped much, and made use of
+a staff. His visage was meagre, his hair lank and thin, and his voice hollow. I
+soon discovered that both of them were perfect strangers to the rest of the
+company, and had never seen or heard of them before; and I had a whisper from a
+ghost who shall be nameless, "that these commentators always kept in the most
+distant quarters from their principals, in the lower world, through a
+consciousness of shame and guilt, because they had so horribly misrepresented
+the meaning of those authors to posterity." I introduced Didymus and Eustathius
+to Homer, and prevailed on him to treat them better than perhaps they deserved,
+for he soon found they wanted a genius to enter into the spirit of a poet. But
+Aristotle was out of all patience with the account I gave him of Scotus and
+Ramus, as I presented them to him; and he asked them, "whether the rest of the
+tribe were as great dunces as themselves?"
+I then desired the governor to call up Descartes and Gassendi, with whom I
+prevailed to explain their systems to Aristotle. This great philosopher freely
+acknowledged his own mistakes in natural philosophy, because he proceeded in
+many things upon conjecture, as all men must do; and he found that Gassendi,
+who had made the doctrine of Epicurus as palatable as he could, and the
+vortices of Descartes, were equally to be exploded. He predicted the same fate
+to ATTRACTION, whereof the present learned are such zealous asserters. He said,
+"that new systems of nature were but new fashions, which would vary in every
+age; and even those, who pretend to demonstrate them from mathematical
+principles, would flourish but a short period of time, and be out of vogue when
+that was determined."
+I spent five days in conversing with many others of the ancient learned. I saw
+most of the first Roman emperors. I prevailed on the governor to call up
+Heliogabalus's cooks to dress us a dinner, but they could not show us much of
+their skill, for want of materials. A helot of Agesilaus made us a dish of
+Spartan broth, but I was not able to get down a second spoonful.
+The two gentlemen, who conducted me to the island, were pressed by their
+private affairs to return in three days, which I employed in seeing some of the
+modern dead, who had made the greatest figure, for two or three hundred years
+past, in our own and other countries of Europe; and having been always a great
+admirer of old illustrious families, I desired the governor would call up a
+dozen or two of kings, with their ancestors in order for eight or nine
+generations. But my disappointment was grievous and unexpected. For, instead of
+a long train with royal diadems, I saw in one family two fiddlers, three spruce
+courtiers, and an Italian prelate. In another, a barber, an abbot, and two
+cardinals. I have too great a veneration for crowned heads, to dwell any longer
+on so nice a subject. But as to counts, marquises, dukes, earls, and the like,
+I was not so scrupulous. And I confess, it was not without some pleasure, that
+I found myself able to trace the particular features, by which certain families
+are distinguished, up to their originals. I could plainly discover whence one
+family derives a long chin; why a second has abounded with knaves for two
+generations, and fools for two more; why a third happened to be crack-brained,
+and a fourth to be sharpers; whence it came, what Polydore Virgil says of a
+certain great house, Nec vir fortis, nec foemina casta; how cruelty, falsehood,
+and cowardice, grew to be characteristics by which certain families are
+distinguished as much as by their coats of arms; who first brought the pox into
+a noble house, which has lineally descended scrofulous tumours to their
+posterity. Neither could I wonder at all this, when I saw such an interruption
+of lineages, by pages, lackeys, valets, coachmen, gamesters, fiddlers, players,
+captains, and pickpockets.
+I was chiefly disgusted with modern history. For having strictly examined all
+the persons of greatest name in the courts of princes, for a hundred years
+past, I found how the world had been misled by prostitute writers, to ascribe
+the greatest exploits in war, to cowards; the wisest counsel, to fools;
+sincerity, to flatterers; Roman virtue, to betrayers of their country; piety,
+to atheists; chastity, to sodomites; truth, to informers: how many innocent and
+excellent persons had been condemned to death or banishment by the practising
+of great ministers upon the corruption of judges, and the malice of factions:
+how many villains had been exalted to the highest places of trust, power,
+dignity, and profit: how great a share in the motions and events of courts,
+councils, and senates might be challenged by bawds, whores, pimps, parasites,
+and buffoons. How low an opinion I had of human wisdom and integrity, when I
+was truly informed of the springs and motives of great enterprises and
+revolutions in the world, and of the contemptible accidents to which they owed
+their success.
+Here I discovered the roguery and ignorance of those who pretend to write
+anecdotes, or secret history; who send so many kings to their graves with a cup
+of poison; will repeat the discourse between a prince and chief minister, where
+no witness was by; unlock the thoughts and cabinets of ambassadors and
+secretaries of state; and have the perpetual misfortune to be mistaken. Here I
+discovered the true causes of many great events that have surprised the world;
+how a whore can govern the back-stairs, the back-stairs a council, and the
+council a senate. A general confessed, in my presence, "that he got a victory
+purely by the force of cowardice and ill conduct;" and an admiral, "that, for
+want of proper intelligence, he beat the enemy, to whom he intended to betray
+the fleet." Three kings protested to me, "that in their whole reigns they never
+did once prefer any person of merit, unless by mistake, or treachery of some
+minister in whom they confided; neither would they do it if they were to live
+again:" and they showed, with great strength of reason, "that the royal throne
+could not be supported without corruption, because that positive, confident,
+restiff temper, which virtue infused into a man, was a perpetual clog to public
+I had the curiosity to inquire in a particular manner, by what methods great
+numbers had procured to themselves high titles of honour, and prodigious
+estates; and I confined my inquiry to a very modern period: however, without
+grating upon present times, because I would be sure to give no offence even to
+foreigners (for I hope the reader need not be told, that I do not in the least
+intend my own country, in what I say upon this occasion,) a great number of
+persons concerned were called up; and, upon a very slight examination,
+discovered such a scene of infamy, that I cannot reflect upon it without some
+seriousness. Perjury, oppression, subornation, fraud, pandarism, and the like
+infirmities, were among the most excusable arts they had to mention; and for
+these I gave, as it was reasonable, great allowance. But when some confessed
+they owed their greatness and wealth to sodomy, or incest; others, to the
+prostituting of their own wives and daughters; others, to the betraying of
+their country or their prince; some, to poisoning; more to the perverting of
+justice, in order to destroy the innocent, I hope I may be pardoned, if these
+discoveries inclined me a little to abate of that profound veneration, which I
+am naturally apt to pay to persons of high rank, who ought to be treated with
+the utmost 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 has represented as the vilest of 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 Antony'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 boy 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
+I was surprised to find corruption grown so high and so quick in that empire,
+by the force of luxury so lately introduced; which made me less wonder at many
+parallel cases in other countries, where vices of all kinds have reigned so
+much longer, and where the whole praise, as well as pillage, has been engrossed
+by the chief commander, who perhaps had the least title to either.
+As every person called up made exactly the same appearance he had done in the
+world, it gave me melancholy reflections to observe how much the race of human
+kind was degenerated among us within these hundred years past; how the pox,
+under all its consequences and denominations had altered every lineament of an
+English countenance; shortened the size of bodies, unbraced the nerves, relaxed
+the sinews and muscles, introduced a sallow complexion, and rendered the flesh
+loose and rancid.
+I descended so low, as to desire some English yeoman of the old stamp might be
+summoned to appear; once so famous for the simplicity of their manners, diet,
+and dress; for justice in their dealings; for their true spirit of liberty; for
+their valour, and love of their country. Neither could I be wholly unmoved,
+after comparing the living with the dead, when I considered how all these pure
+native virtues were prostituted for a piece of money by their grand-children;
+who, in selling their votes and managing at elections, have acquired every vice
+and corruption that can possibly be learned in a court.
+[The author returns to Maldonada. Sails to the kingdom of Luggnagg. The author
+confined. He is sent for to court. The manner of his admittance. The king's
+great lenity to his subjects.]
+The day of our departure being come, I took leave of his highness, the Governor
+of Glubbdubdrib, and returned with my two companions to Maldonada, where, after
+a fortnight's waiting, a ship was ready to sail for Luggnagg. The two
+gentlemen, and some others, were so generous and kind as to furnish me with
+provisions, and see me on board. I was a month in this voyage. We had one
+violent storm, and were under a necessity of steering westward to get into the
+trade wind, which holds for above sixty leagues. On the 21st of April, 1708, we
+sailed into the river of Clumegnig, which is a seaport town, at the south-east
+point of Luggnagg. We cast anchor within a league of the town, and made a
+signal for a pilot. Two of them came on board in less than half an hour, by
+whom we were guided between certain shoals and rocks, which are very dangerous
+in the passage, to a large basin, where a fleet may ride in safety within a
+cable's length of the town-wall.
+Some of our sailors, whether out of treachery or inadvertence, had informed the
+pilots "that I was a stranger, and great traveller;" whereof these gave notice
+to a custom-house officer, by whom I was examined very strictly upon my
+landing. This officer spoke to me in the language of Balnibarbi, which, by the
+force of much commerce, is generally understood in that town, especially by
+seamen and those employed in the customs. I gave him a short account of some
+particulars, and made my story as plausible and consistent as I could; but I
+thought it necessary to disguise my country, and call myself a Hollander;
+because my intentions were for Japan, and I knew the Dutch were the only
+Europeans permitted to enter into that kingdom. I therefore told the officer,
+"that having been shipwrecked on the coast of Balnibarbi, and cast on a rock, I
+was received up into Laputa, or the flying island (of which he had often
+heard), and was now endeavouring to get to Japan, whence I might find a
+convenience of returning to my own country." The officer said, "I must be
+confined till he could receive orders from court, for which he would write
+immediately, and hoped to receive an answer in a fortnight." I was carried to a
+convenient lodging with a sentry placed at the door; however, I had the liberty
+of a large garden, and was treated with humanity enough, being maintained all
+the time at the king's charge. I was invited by several persons, chiefly out of
+curiosity, because it was reported that I came from countries very remote, of
+which they had never heard.
+I hired a young man, who came in the same ship, to be an interpreter; he was a
+native of Luggnagg, but had lived some years at Maldonada, and was a perfect
+master of both languages. By his assistance, I was able to hold a conversation
+with those who came to visit me; but this consisted only of their questions,
+and my answers.
+The despatch came from court about the time we expected. It contained a warrant
+for conducting me and my retinue to Traldragdubh, or Trildrogdrib (for it is
+pronounced both ways as near as I can remember), by a party of ten horse. All
+my retinue was that poor lad for an interpreter, whom I persuaded into my
+service, and, at my humble request, we had each of us a mule to ride on. A
+messenger was despatched half a day's journey before us, to give the king
+notice of my approach, and to desire, "that his majesty would please to appoint
+a day and hour, when it would by his gracious pleasure that I might have the
+honour to lick the dust before his footstool." This is the court style, and I
+found it to be more than matter of form: for, upon my admittance two days after
+my arrival, I was commanded to crawl upon my belly, and lick the floor as I
+advanced; but, on account of my being a stranger, care was taken to have it
+made so clean, that the dust was not offensive. However, this was a peculiar
+grace, not allowed to any but persons of the highest rank, when they desire an
+admittance. Nay, sometimes the floor is strewed with dust on purpose, when the
+person to be admitted happens to have powerful enemies at court; and I have
+seen a great lord with his mouth so crammed, that when he had crept to the
+proper distance from the throne; he was not able to speak a word. Neither is
+there any remedy; because it is capital for those, who receive an audience to
+spit or wipe their mouths in his majesty's presence. There is indeed another
+custom, which I cannot altogether approve of: when the king has a mind to put
+any of his nobles to death in a gentle indulgent manner, he commands the floor
+to be strewed with a certain brown powder of a deadly composition, which being
+licked up, infallibly kills him in twenty-four hours. But in justice to this
+prince's great clemency, and the care he has of his subjects' lives (wherein it
+were much to be wished that the Monarchs of Europe would imitate him), it must
+be mentioned for his honour, that strict orders are given to have the infected
+parts of the floor well washed after every such execution, which, if his
+domestics neglect, they are in danger of incurring his royal displeasure. I
+myself heard him give directions, that one of his pages should be whipped,
+whose turn it was to give notice about washing the floor after an execution,
+but maliciously had omitted it; by which neglect a young lord of great hopes,
+coming to an audience, was unfortunately poisoned, although the king at that
+time had no design against his life. But this good prince was so gracious as to
+forgive the poor page his whipping, upon promise that he would do so no more,
+without special orders.
+To return from this digression. When I had crept within four yards of the
+throne, I raised myself gently upon my knees, and then striking my forehead
+seven times against the ground, I pronounced the following words, as they had
+been taught me the night before, Inckpling gloffthrobb squut serummblhiop
+mlashnalt zwin tnodbalkuffh slhiophad gurdlubh asht. This is the compliment,
+established by the laws of the land, for all persons admitted to the king's
+presence. It may be rendered into English thus: "May your celestial majesty
+outlive the sun, eleven moons and a half!" To this the king returned some
+answer, which, although I could not understand, yet I replied as I had been
+directed: Fluft drin yalerick dwuldom prastrad mirpush, which properly
+signifies, "My tongue is in the mouth of my friend;" and by this expression was
+meant, that I desired leave to bring my interpreter; whereupon the young man
+already mentioned was accordingly introduced, by whose intervention I answered
+as many questions as his majesty could put in above an hour. I spoke in the
+Balnibarbian tongue, and my interpreter delivered my meaning in that of
+The king was much delighted with my company, and ordered his bliffmarklub, or
+high-chamberlain, to appoint a lodging in the court for me and my interpreter;
+with a daily allowance for my table, and a large purse of gold for my common
+I staid three months in this country, out of perfect obedience to his majesty;
+who was pleased highly to favour me, and made me very honourable offers. But I
+thought it more consistent with prudence and justice to pass the remainder of
+my days with my wife and family.
+[The Luggnaggians commended. A particular description of the Struldbrugs, with
+many conversations between the author and some eminent persons upon that
+The Luggnaggians are a polite and generous people; and although they are not
+without some share of that pride which is peculiar to all Eastern countries,
+yet they show themselves courteous to strangers, especially such who are
+countenanced by the court. I had many acquaintance, and among persons of the
+best fashion; and being always attended by my interpreter, the conversation we
+had was not disagreeable.
+One day, in much good company, I was asked by a person of quality, "whether I
+had seen any of their struldbrugs, or immortals?" I said, "I had not;" and
+desired he would explain to me "what he meant by such an appellation, applied
+to a mortal creature." He told me "that sometimes, though very rarely, a child
+happened to be born in a family, with a red circular spot in the forehead,
+directly over the left eyebrow, which was an infallible mark that it should
+never die." The spot, as he described it, "was about the compass of a silver
+threepence, but in the course of time grew larger, and changed its colour; for
+at twelve years old it became green, so continued till five and twenty, then
+turned to a deep blue: at five and forty it grew coal black, and as large as an
+English shilling; but never admitted any further alteration." He said, "these
+births were so rare, that he did not believe there could be above eleven
+hundred struldbrugs, of both sexes, in the whole kingdom; of which he computed
+about fifty in the metropolis, and, among the rest, a young girl born; about
+three years ago: that these productions were not peculiar to any family, but a
+mere effect of chance; and the children of the struldbrugs themselves were
+equally mortal with the rest of the people."
+I freely own myself to have been struck with inexpressible delight, upon
+hearing this account: and the person who gave it me happening to understand the
+Balnibarbian language, which I spoke very well, I could not forbear breaking
+out into expressions, perhaps a little too extravagant. I cried out, as in a
+rapture, "Happy nation, where every child hath at least a chance for being
+immortal! Happy people, who enjoy so many living examples of ancient virtue,
+and have masters ready to instruct them in the wisdom of all former ages! but
+happiest, beyond all comparison, are those excellent struldbrugs, who, being
+born exempt from that universal calamity of human nature, have their minds free
+and disengaged, without the weight and depression of spirits caused by the
+continual apprehensions of death!" I discovered my admiration that I had not
+observed any of these illustrious persons at court; the black spot on the
+forehead being so remarkable a distinction, that I could not have easily
+overlooked it: and it was impossible that his majesty, a most judicious prince,
+should not provide himself with a good number of such wise and able
+counsellors. Yet perhaps the virtue of those reverend sages was too strict for
+the corrupt and libertine manners of a court: and we often find by experience,
+that young men are too opinionated and volatile to be guided by the sober
+dictates of their seniors. However, since the king was pleased to allow me
+access to his royal person, I was resolved, upon the very first occasion, to
+deliver my opinion to him on this matter freely and at large, by the help of my
+interpreter; and whether he would please to take my advice or not, yet in one
+thing I was determined, that his majesty having frequently offered me an
+establishment in this country, I would, with great thankfulness, accept the
+favour, and pass my life here in the conversation of those superior beings the
+struldbrugs, if they would please to admit me."
+The gentleman to whom I addressed my discourse, because (as I have already
+observed) he spoke the language of Balnibarbi, said to me, with a sort of a
+smile which usually arises from pity to the ignorant, "that he was glad of any
+occasion to keep me among them, and desired my permission to explain to the
+company what I had spoke." He did so, and they talked together for some time in
+their own language, whereof I understood not a syllable, neither could I
+observe by their countenances, what impression my discourse had made on them.
+After a short silence, the same person told me, "that his friends and mine (so
+he thought fit to express himself) were very much pleased with the judicious
+remarks I had made on the great happiness and advantages of immortal life, and
+they were desirous to know, in a particular manner, what scheme of living I
+should have formed to myself, if it had fallen to my lot to have been born a
+I answered, "it was easy to be eloquent on so copious and delightful a subject,
+especially to me, who had been often apt to amuse myself with visions of what I
+should do, if I were a king, a general, or a great lord: and upon this very
+case, I had frequently run over the whole system how I should employ myself,
+and pass the time, if I were sure to live for ever.
+"That, if it had been my good fortune to come into the world a struldbrug, as
+soon as I could discover my own happiness, by understanding the difference
+between life and death, I would first resolve, by all arts and methods,
+whatsoever, to procure myself riches. In the pursuit of which, by thrift and
+management, I might reasonably expect, in about two hundred years, to be the
+wealthiest man in the kingdom. In the second place, I would, from my earliest
+youth, apply myself to the study of arts and sciences, by which I should arrive
+in time to excel all others in learning. Lastly, I would carefully record every
+action and event of consequence, that happened in the public, impartially draw
+the characters of the several successions of princes and great ministers of
+state, with my own observations on every point. I would exactly set down the
+several changes in customs, language, fashions of dress, diet, and diversions.
+By all which acquirements, I should be a living treasure of knowledge and
+wisdom, and certainly become the oracle of the nation.
+"I would never marry after threescore, but live in a hospitable manner, yet
+still on the saving side. I would entertain myself in forming and directing the
+minds of hopeful young men, by convincing them, from my own remembrance,
+experience, and observation, fortified by numerous examples, of the usefulness
+of virtue in public and private life. But my choice and constant companions
+should be a set of my own immortal brotherhood; among whom, I would elect a
+dozen from the most ancient, down to my own contemporaries. Where any of these
+wanted fortunes, I would provide them with convenient lodges round my own
+estate, and have some of them always at my table; only mingling a few of the
+most valuable among you mortals, whom length of time would harden me to lose
+with little or no reluctance, and treat your posterity after the same manner;
+just as a man diverts himself with the annual succession of pinks and tulips in
+his garden, without regretting the loss of those which withered the preceding
+"These struldbrugs and I would mutually communicate our observations and
+memorials, through the course of time; remark the several gradations by which
+corruption steals into the world, and oppose it in every step, by giving
+perpetual warning and instruction to mankind; which, added to the strong
+influence of our own example, would probably prevent that continual degeneracy
+of human nature so justly complained of in all ages.
+"Add to this, the pleasure of seeing the various revolutions of states and
+empires; the changes in the lower and upper world; ancient cities in ruins, and
+obscure villages become the seats of kings; famous rivers lessening into
+shallow brooks; the ocean leaving one coast dry, and overwhelming another; the
+discovery of many countries yet unknown; barbarity overrunning the politest
+nations, and the most barbarous become civilized. I should then see the
+discovery of the longitude, the perpetual motion, the universal medicine, and
+many other great inventions, brought to the utmost perfection.
+"What wonderful discoveries should we make in astronomy, by outliving and
+confirming our own predictions; by observing the progress and return of comets,
+with the changes of motion in the sun, moon, and stars!"
+I enlarged upon many other topics, which the natural desire of endless life,
+and sublunary happiness, could easily furnish me with. When I had ended, and
+the sum of my discourse had been interpreted, as before, to the rest of the
+company, there was a good deal of talk among them in the language of the
+country, not without some laughter at my expense. At last, the same gentleman
+who had been my interpreter, said, "he was desired by the rest to set me right
+in a few mistakes, which I had fallen into through the common imbecility of
+human nature, and upon that allowance was less answerable for them. That this
+breed of struldbrugs was peculiar to their country, for there were no such
+people either in Balnibarbi or Japan, where he had the honour to be ambassador
+from his majesty, and found the natives in both those kingdoms very hard to
+believe that the fact was possible: and it appeared from my astonishment when
+he first mentioned the matter to me, that I received it as a thing wholly new,
+and scarcely to be credited. That in the two kingdoms above mentioned, where,
+during his residence, he had conversed very much, he observed long life to be
+the universal desire and wish of mankind. That whoever had one foot in the
+grave was sure to hold back the other as strongly as he could. That the oldest
+had still hopes of living one day longer, and looked on death as the greatest
+evil, from which nature always prompted him to retreat. Only in this island of
+Luggnagg the appetite for living was not so eager, from the continual example
+of the struldbrugs before their eyes.
+"That the system of living contrived by me, was unreasonable and unjust;
+because it supposed a perpetuity of youth, health, and vigour, which no man
+could be so foolish to hope, however extravagant he may be in his wishes. That
+the question therefore was not, whether a man would choose to be always in the
+prime of youth, attended with prosperity and health; but how he would pass a
+perpetual life under all the usual disadvantages which old age brings along
+with it. For although few men will avow their desires of being immortal, upon
+such hard conditions, yet in the two kingdoms before mentioned, of Balnibarbi
+and Japan, he observed that every man desired to put off death some time
+longer, let it approach ever so late: and he rarely heard of any man who died
+willingly, except he were incited by the extremity of grief or torture. And he
+appealed to me, whether in those countries I had travelled, as well as my own,
+I had not observed the same general disposition."
+After this preface, he gave me a particular account of the struldbrugs among
+them. He said, "they commonly acted like mortals till about thirty years old;
+after which, by degrees, they grew melancholy and dejected, increasing in both
+till they came to fourscore. This he learned from their own confession: for
+otherwise, there not being above two or three of that species born in an age,
+they were too few to form a general observation by. When they came to fourscore
+years, which is reckoned the extremity of living in this country, they had not
+only all the follies and infirmities of other old men, but many more which
+arose from the dreadful prospect of never dying. They were not only
+opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain, talkative, but incapable of
+friendship, and dead to all natural affection, which never descended below
+their grandchildren. Envy and impotent desires are their prevailing passions.
+But those objects against which their envy seems principally directed, are the
+vices of the younger sort and the deaths of the old. By reflecting on the
+former, they find themselves cut off from all possibility of pleasure; and
+whenever they see a funeral, they lament and repine that others have gone to a
+harbour of rest to which they themselves never can hope to arrive. They have no
+remembrance of anything but what they learned and observed in their youth and
+middle-age, and even that is very imperfect; and for the truth or particulars
+of any fact, it is safer to depend on common tradition, than upon their best
+recollections. The least miserable among them appear to be those who turn to
+dotage, and entirely lose their memories; these meet with more pity and
+assistance, because they want many bad qualities which abound in others.
+"If a struldbrug happen to marry one of his own kind, the marriage is dissolved
+of course, by the courtesy of the kingdom, as soon as the younger of the two
+comes to be fourscore; for the law thinks it a reasonable indulgence, that
+those who are condemned, without any fault of their own, to a perpetual
+continuance in the world, should not have their misery doubled by the load of a
+"As soon as they have completed the term of eighty years, they are looked on as
+dead in law; their heirs immediately succeed to their estates; only a small
+pittance is reserved for their support; and the poor ones are maintained at the
+public charge. After that period, they are held incapable of any employment of
+trust or profit; they cannot purchase lands, or take leases; neither are they
+allowed to be witnesses in any cause, either civil or criminal, not even for
+the decision of meers and bounds.
+"At ninety, they lose their teeth and hair; they have at that age no
+distinction of taste, but eat and drink whatever they can get, without relish
+or appetite. The diseases they were subject to still continue, without
+increasing or diminishing. In talking, they forget the common appellation of
+things, and the names of persons, even of those who are their nearest friends
+and relations. For the same reason, they never can amuse themselves with
+reading, because their memory will not serve to carry them from the beginning
+of a sentence to the end; and by this defect, they are deprived of the only
+entertainment whereof they might otherwise be capable.
+The language of this country being always upon the flux, the struldbrugs of one
+age do not understand those of another; neither are they able, after two
+hundred years, to hold any conversation (farther than by a few general words)
+with their neighbours the mortals; and thus they lie under the disadvantage of
+living like foreigners in their own country."
+This was the account given me of the struldbrugs, as near as I can remember. I
+afterwards saw five or six of different ages, the youngest not above two
+hundred years old, who were brought to me at several times by some of my
+friends; but although they were told, "that I was a great traveller, and had
+seen all the world," they had not the least curiosity to ask me a question;
+only desired "I would give them slumskudask," or a token of remembrance; which
+is a modest way of begging, to avoid the law, that strictly forbids it, because
+they are provided for by the public, although indeed with a very scanty
+They are despised and hated by all sorts of people. When one of them is born,
+it is reckoned ominous, and their birth is recorded very particularly so that
+you may know their age by consulting the register, which, however, has not been
+kept above a thousand years past, or at least has been destroyed by time or
+public disturbances. But the usual way of computing how old they are, is by
+asking them what kings or great persons they can remember, and then consulting
+history; for infallibly the last prince in their mind did not begin his reign
+after they were fourscore years old.
+They were the most mortifying sight I ever beheld; and the women more horrible
+than the men. Besides the usual deformities in extreme old age, they acquired
+an additional ghastliness, in proportion to their number of years, which is not
+to be described; and among half a dozen, I soon distinguished which was the
+eldest, although there was not above a century or two between them.
+The reader will easily believe, that from what I had hear and seen, my keen
+appetite for perpetuity of life was much abated. I grew heartily ashamed of the
+pleasing visions I had formed; and thought no tyrant could invent a death into
+which I would not run with pleasure, from such a life. The king heard of all
+that had passed between me and my friends upon this occasion, and rallied me
+very pleasantly; wishing I could send a couple of struldbrugs to my own
+country, to arm our people against the fear of death; but this, it seems, is
+forbidden by the fundamental laws of the kingdom, or else I should have been
+well content with the trouble and expense of transporting them.
+I could not but agree, that the laws of this kingdom relative to the
+struldbrugs were founded upon the strongest reasons, and such as any other
+country would be under the necessity of enacting, in the like circumstances.
+Otherwise, as avarice is the necessary consequence of old age, those immortals
+would in time become proprietors of the whole nation, and engross the civil
+power, which, for want of abilities to manage, must end in the ruin of the
+[The author leaves Luggnagg, and sails to Japan. From thence he returns in a
+Dutch ship to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to England.]
+I thought this account of the struldbrugs might be some entertainment to the
+reader, because it seems to be a little out of the common way; at least I do
+not remember to have met the like in any book of travels that has come to my
+hands: and if I am deceived, my excuse must be, that it is necessary for
+travellers who describe the same country, very often to agree in dwelling on
+the same particulars, without deserving the censure of having borrowed or
+transcribed from those who wrote before them.
+There is indeed a perpetual commerce between this kingdom and the great empire
+of Japan; and it is very probable, that the Japanese authors may have given
+some account of the struldbrugs; but my stay in Japan was so short, and I was
+so entirely a stranger to the language, that I was not qualified to make any
+inquiries. But I hope the Dutch, upon this notice, will be curious and able
+enough to supply my defects.
+His majesty having often pressed me to accept some employment in his court, and
+finding me absolutely determined to return to my native country, was pleased to
+give me his license to depart; and honoured me with a letter of recommendation,
+under his own hand, to the Emperor of Japan. He likewise presented me with four
+hundred and forty-four large pieces of gold (this nation delighting in even
+numbers), and a red diamond, which I sold in England for eleven hundred pounds.
+On the 6th of May, 1709, I took a solemn leave of his majesty, and all my
+friends. This prince was so gracious as to order a guard to conduct me to
+Glanguenstald, which is a royal port to the south- west part of the island. In
+six days I found a vessel ready to carry me to Japan, and spent fifteen days in
+the voyage. We landed at a small port-town called Xamoschi, situated on the
+south-east part of Japan; the town lies on the western point, where there is a
+narrow strait leading northward into along arm of the sea, upon the north-west
+part of which, Yedo, the metropolis, stands. At landing, I showed the
+custom-house officers my letter from the king of Luggnagg to his imperial
+majesty. They knew the seal perfectly well; it was as broad as the palm of my
+hand. The impression was, A KING LIFTING UP A LAME BEGGAR FROM THE EARTH. The
+magistrates of the town, hearing of my letter, received me as a public
+minister. They provided me with carriages and servants, and bore my charges to
+Yedo; where I was admitted to an audience, and delivered my letter, which was
+opened with great ceremony, and explained to the Emperor by an interpreter, who
+then gave me notice, by his majesty's order, "that I should signify my request,
+and, whatever it were, it should be granted, for the sake of his royal brother
+of Luggnagg." This interpreter was a person employed to transact affairs with
+the Hollanders. He soon conjectured, by my countenance, that I was a European,
+and therefore repeated his majesty's commands in Low Dutch, which he spoke
+perfectly well. I answered, as I had before determined, "that I was a Dutch
+merchant, shipwrecked in a very remote country, whence I had travelled by sea
+and land to Luggnagg, and then took shipping for Japan; where I knew my
+countrymen often traded, and with some of these I hoped to get an opportunity
+of returning into Europe: I therefore most humbly entreated his royal favour,
+to give order that I should be conducted in safety to Nangasac." To this I
+added another petition, "that for the sake of my patron the king of Luggnagg,
+his majesty would condescend to excuse my performing the ceremony imposed on my
+countrymen, of trampling upon the crucifix: because I had been thrown into his
+kingdom by my misfortunes, without any intention of trading." When this latter
+petition was interpreted to the Emperor, he seemed a little surprised; and
+said, "he believed I was the first of my countrymen who ever made any scruple
+in this point; and that he began to doubt, whether I was a real Hollander, or
+not; but rather suspected I must be a Christian. However, for the reasons I had
+offered, but chiefly to gratify the king of Luggnagg by an uncommon mark of his
+favour, he would comply with the singularity of my humour; but the affair must
+be managed with dexterity, and his officers should be commanded to let me pass,
+as it were by forgetfulness. For he assured me, that if the secret should be
+discovered by my countrymen the Dutch, they would cut my throat in the voyage."
+I returned my thanks, by the interpreter, for so unusual a favour; and some
+troops being at that time on their march to Nangasac, the commanding officer
+had orders to convey me safe thither, with particular instructions about the
+business of the crucifix.
+On the 9th day of June, 1709, I arrived at Nangasac, after a very long and
+troublesome journey. I soon fell into the company of some Dutch sailors
+belonging to the Amboyna, of Amsterdam, a stout ship of 450 tons. I had lived
+long in Holland, pursuing my studies at Leyden, and I spoke Dutch well. The
+seamen soon knew whence I came last: they were curious to inquire into my
+voyages and course of life. I made up a story as short and probable as I could,
+but concealed the greatest part. I knew many persons in Holland. I was able to
+invent names for my parents, whom I pretended to be obscure people in the
+province of Gelderland. I would have given the captain (one Theodorus Vangrult)
+what he pleased to ask for my voyage to Holland; but understanding I was a
+surgeon, he was contented to take half the usual rate, on condition that I
+would serve him in the way of my calling. Before we took shipping, I was often
+asked by some of the crew, whether I had performed the ceremony above
+mentioned? I evaded the question by general answers; "that I had satisfied the
+Emperor and court in all particulars." However, a malicious rogue of a skipper
+went to an officer, and pointing to me, told him, "I had not yet trampled on
+the crucifix;" but the other, who had received instructions to let me pass,
+gave the rascal twenty strokes on the shoulders with a bamboo; after which I
+was no more troubled with such questions.
+Nothing happened worth mentioning in this voyage. We sailed with a fair wind to
+the Cape of Good Hope, where we staid only to take in fresh water. On the 10th
+of April, 1710, we arrived safe at Amsterdam, having lost only three men by
+sickness in the voyage, and a fourth, who fell from the foremast into the sea,
+not far from the coast of Guinea. From Amsterdam I soon after set sail for
+England, in a small vessel belonging to that city.
+On the 16th of April we put in at the Downs. I landed next morning, and saw
+once more my native country, after an absence of five years and six months
+complete. I went straight to Redriff, where I arrived the same day at two in
+the afternoon, and found my wife and family in good health.
+[The author sets out as captain of a ship. His men conspire against him,
+confine him a long time to his cabin, and set him on shore in an unknown land.
+He travels up into the country. The Yahoos, a strange sort of animal,
+described. The author meets two Houyhnhnms.]
+I continued at home with my wife and children about five months, in a very
+happy condition, if I could have learned the lesson of knowing when I was well.
+I left my poor wife big with child, and accepted an advantageous offer made me
+to be captain of the Adventurer, a stout merchantman of 350 tons: for I
+understood navigation well, and being grown weary of a surgeon's employment at
+sea, which, however, I could exercise upon occasion, I took a skilful young man
+of that calling, one Robert Purefoy, into my ship. We set sail from Portsmouth
+upon the 7th day of September, 1710; on the 14th we met with Captain Pocock, of
+Bristol, at Teneriffe, who was going to the bay of Campechy to cut logwood. On
+the 16th, he was parted from us by a storm; I heard since my return, that his
+ship foundered, and none escaped but one cabin boy. He was an honest man, and a
+good sailor, but a little too positive in his own opinions, which was the cause
+of his destruction, as it has been with several others; for if he had followed
+my advice, he might have been safe at home with his family at this time, as
+well as myself.
+I had several men who died in my ship of calentures, so that I was forced to
+get recruits out of Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands, where I touched, by the
+direction of the merchants who employed me; which I had soon too much cause to
+repent: for I found afterwards, that most of them had been buccaneers. I had
+fifty hands onboard; and my orders were, that I should trade with the Indians
+in the South-Sea, and make what discoveries I could. These rogues, whom I had
+picked up, debauched my other men, and they all formed a conspiracy to seize
+the ship, and secure me; which they did one morning, rushing into my cabin, and
+binding me hand and foot, threatening to throw me overboard, if I offered to
+stir. I told them, "I was their prisoner, and would submit." This they made me
+swear to do, and then they unbound me, only fastening one of my legs with a
+chain, near my bed, and placed a sentry at my door with his piece charged, who
+was commanded to shoot me dead if I attempted my liberty. They sent me own
+victuals and drink, and took the government of the ship to themselves. Their
+design was to turn pirates and, plunder the Spaniards, which they could not do
+till they got more men. But first they resolved to sell the goods the ship, and
+then go to Madagascar for recruits, several among them having died since my
+confinement. They sailed many weeks, and traded with the Indians; but I knew
+not what course they took, being kept a close prisoner in my cabin, and
+expecting nothing less than to be murdered, as they often threatened me.
+Upon the 9th day of May, 1711, one James Welch came down to my cabin, and said,
+"he had orders from the captain to set me ashore." I expostulated with him, but
+in vain; neither would he so much as tell me who their new captain was. They
+forced me into the long- boat, letting me put on my best suit of clothes, which
+were as good as new, and take a small bundle of linen, but no arms, except my
+hanger; and they were so civil as not to search my pockets, into which I
+conveyed what money I had, with some other little necessaries. They rowed about
+a league, and then set me down on a strand. I desired them to tell me what
+country it was. They all swore, "they knew no more than myself;" but said,
+"that the captain" (as they called him) "was resolved, after they had sold the
+lading, to get rid of me in the first place where they could discover land."
+They pushed off immediately, advising me to make haste for fear of being
+overtaken by the tide, and so bade me farewell.
+In this desolate condition I advanced forward, and soon got upon firm ground,
+where I sat down on a bank to rest myself, and consider what I had best do.
+When I was a little refreshed, I went up into the country, resolving to deliver
+myself to the first savages I should meet, and purchase my life from them by
+some bracelets, glass rings, and other toys, which sailors usually provide
+themselves with in those voyages, and whereof I had some about me. The land was
+divided by long rows of trees, not regularly planted, but naturally growing;
+there was great plenty of grass, and several fields of oats. I walked very
+circumspectly, for fear of being surprised, or suddenly shot with an arrow from
+behind, or on either side. I fell into a beaten road, where I saw many tracts
+of human feet, and some of cows, but most of horses. At last I beheld several
+animals in a field, and one or two of the same kind sitting in trees. Their
+shape was very singular and deformed, which a little discomposed me, so that I
+lay down behind a thicket to observe them better. Some of them coming forward
+near the place where I lay, gave me an opportunity of distinctly marking their
+form. Their heads and breasts were covered with a thick hair, some frizzled,
+and others lank; they had beards like goats, and a long ridge of hair down
+their backs, and the fore parts of their legs and feet; but the rest of their
+bodies was bare, so that I might see their skins, which were of a brown buff
+colour. They had no tails, nor any hair at all on their buttocks, except about
+the anus, which, I presume, nature had placed there to defend them as they sat
+on the ground, for this posture they used, as well as lying down, and often
+stood on their hind feet. They climbed high trees as nimbly as a squirrel, for
+they had strong extended claws before and behind, terminating in sharp points,
+and hooked. They would often spring, and bound, and leap, with prodigious
+agility. The females were not so large as the males; they had long lank hair on
+their heads, but none on their faces, nor any thing more than a sort of down on
+the rest of their bodies, except about the anus and pudenda. The dugs hung
+between their fore feet, and often reached almost to the ground as they walked.
+The hair of both sexes was of several colours, brown, red, black, and yellow.
+Upon the whole, I never beheld, in all my travels, so disagreeable an animal,
+or one against which I naturally conceived so strong an antipathy. So that,
+thinking I had seen enough, full of contempt and aversion, I got up, and
+pursued the beaten road, hoping it might direct me to the cabin of some Indian.
+I had not got far, when I met one of these creatures full in my way, and coming
+up directly to me. The ugly monster, when he saw me, distorted several ways,
+every feature of his visage, and stared, as at an object he had never seen
+before; then approaching nearer, lifted up his fore-paw, whether out of
+curiosity or mischief I could not tell; but I drew my hanger, and gave him a
+good blow with the flat side of it, for I durst not strike with the edge,
+fearing the inhabitants might be provoked against me, if they should come to
+know that I had killed or maimed any of their cattle. When the beast felt the
+smart, he drew back, and roared so loud, that a herd of at least forty came
+flocking about me from the next field, howling and making odious faces; but I
+ran to the body of a tree, and leaning my back against it, kept them off by
+waving my hanger. Several of this cursed brood, getting hold of the branches
+behind, leaped up into the tree, whence they began to discharge their
+excrements on my head; however, I escaped pretty well by sticking close to the
+stem of the tree, but was almost stifled with the filth, which fell about me on
+every side.
+In the midst of this distress, I observed them all to run away on a sudden as
+fast as they could; at which I ventured to leave the tree and pursue the road,
+wondering what it was that could put them into this fright. But looking on my
+left hand, I saw a horse walking softly in the field; which my persecutors
+having sooner discovered, was the cause of their flight. The horse started a
+little, when he came near me, but soon recovering himself, looked full in my
+face with manifest tokens of wonder; he viewed my hands and feet, walking round
+me several times. I would have pursued my journey, but he placed himself
+directly in the way, yet looking with a very mild aspect, never offering the
+least violence. We stood gazing at each other for some time; at last I took the
+boldness to reach my hand towards his neck with a design to stroke it, using
+the common style and whistle of jockeys, when they are going to handle a
+strange horse. But this animal seemed to receive my civilities with disdain,
+shook his head, and bent his brows, softly raising up his right fore-foot to
+remove my hand. Then he neighed three or four times, but in so different a
+cadence, that I almost began to think he was speaking to himself, in some
+language of his own.
+While he and I were thus employed, another horse came up; who applying himself
+to the first in a very formal manner, they gently struck each other's right
+hoof before, neighing several times by turns, and varying the sound, which
+seemed to be almost articulate. They went some paces off, as if it were to
+confer together, walking side by side, backward and forward, like persons
+deliberating upon some affair of weight, but often turning their eyes towards
+me, as it were to watch that I might not escape. I was amazed to see such
+actions and behaviour in brute beasts; and concluded with myself, that if the
+inhabitants of this country were endued with a proportionable degree of reason,
+they must needs be the wisest people upon earth. This thought gave me so much
+comfort, that I resolved to go forward, until I could discover some house or
+village, or meet with any of the natives, leaving the two horses to discourse
+together as they pleased. But the first, who was a dapple gray, observing me to
+steal off, neighed after me in so expressive a tone, that I fancied myself to
+understand what he meant; whereupon I turned back, and came near to him to
+expect his farther commands: but concealing my fear as much as I could, for I
+began to be in some pain how this adventure might terminate; and the reader
+will easily believe I did not much like my present situation.
+The two horses came up close to me, looking with great earnestness upon my face
+and hands. The gray steed rubbed my hat all round with his right fore-hoof, and
+discomposed it so much that I was forced to adjust it better by taking it off
+and settling it again; whereat, both he and his companion (who was a brown bay)
+appeared to be much surprised: the latter felt the lappet of my coat, and
+finding it to hang loose about me, they both looked with new signs of wonder.
+He stroked my right hand, seeming to admire the softness and colour; but he
+squeezed it so hard between his hoof and his pastern, that I was forced to
+roar; after which they both touched me with all possible tenderness. They were
+under great perplexity about my shoes and stockings, which they felt very
+often, neighing to each other, and using various gestures, not unlike those of
+a philosopher, when he would attempt to solve some new and difficult
+Upon the whole, the behaviour of these animals was so orderly and rational, so
+acute and judicious, that I at last concluded they must needs be magicians, who
+had thus metamorphosed themselves upon some design, and seeing a stranger in
+the way, resolved to divert themselves with him; or, perhaps, were really
+amazed at the sight of a man so very different in habit, feature, and
+complexion, from those who might probably live in so remote a climate. Upon the
+strength of this reasoning, I ventured to address them in the following manner:
+"Gentlemen, if you be conjurers, as I have good cause to believe, you can
+understand my language; therefore I make bold to let your worships know that I
+am a poor distressed Englishman, driven by his misfortunes upon your coast; and
+I entreat one of you to let me ride upon his back, as if he were a real horse,
+to some house or village where I can be relieved. In return of which favour, I
+will make you a present of this knife and bracelet," taking them out of my
+pocket. The two creatures stood silent while I spoke, seeming to listen with
+great attention, and when I had ended, they neighed frequently towards each
+other, as if they were engaged in serious conversation. I plainly observed that
+their language expressed the passions very well, and the words might, with
+little pains, be resolved into an alphabet more easily than the Chinese.
+I could frequently distinguish the word Yahoo, which was repeated by each of
+them several times: and although it was impossible for me to conjecture what it
+meant, yet while the two horses were busy in conversation, I endeavoured to
+practise this word upon my tongue; and as soon as they were silent, I boldly
+pronounced Yahoo in a loud voice, imitating at the same time, as near as I
+could, the neighing of a horse; at which they were both visibly surprised; and
+the gray repeated the same word twice, as if he meant to teach me the right
+accent; wherein I spoke after him as well as I could, and found myself
+perceivably to improve every time, though very far from any degree of
+perfection. Then the bay tried me with a second word, much harder to be
+pronounced; but reducing it to the English orthography, may be spelt thus,
+Houyhnhnm. I did not succeed in this so well as in the former; but after two or
+three farther trials, I had better fortune; and they both appeared amazed at my
+After some further discourse, which I then conjectured might relate to me, the
+two friends took their leaves, with the same compliment of striking each
+other's hoof; and the gray made me signs that I should walk before him; wherein
+I thought it prudent to comply, till I could find a better director. When I
+offered to slacken my pace, he would cry hhuun hhuun: I guessed his meaning,
+and gave him to understand, as well as I could, "that I was weary, and not able
+to walk faster;" upon which he would stand awhile to let me rest.
+[The author conducted by a Houyhnhnm to his house. The house described. The
+author's reception. The food of the Houyhnhnms. The author in distress for want
+of meat. Is at last relieved. His manner of feeding in this country.]
+Having travelled about three miles, we came to a long kind of building, made of
+timber stuck in the ground, and wattled across; the roof was low and covered
+with straw. I now began to be a little comforted; and took out some toys, which
+travellers usually carry for presents to the savage Indians of America, and
+other parts, in hopes the people of the house would be thereby encouraged to
+receive me kindly. The horse made me a sign to go in first; it was a large room
+with a smooth clay floor, and a rack and manger, extending the whole length on
+one side. There were three nags and two mares, not eating, but some of them
+sitting down upon their hams, which I very much wondered at; but wondered more
+to see the rest employed in domestic business; these seemed but ordinary
+cattle. However, this confirmed my first opinion, that a people who could so
+far civilise brute animals, must needs excel in wisdom all the nations of the
+world. The gray came in just after, and thereby prevented any ill treatment
+which the others might have given me. He neighed to them several times in a
+style of authority, and received answers.
+Beyond this room there were three others, reaching the length of the house, to
+which you passed through three doors, opposite to each other, in the manner of
+a vista. We went through the second room towards the third. Here the gray
+walked in first, beckoning me to attend: I waited in the second room, and got
+ready my presents for the master and mistress of the house; they were two
+knives, three bracelets of false pearls, a small looking-glass, and a bead
+necklace. The horse neighed three or four times, and I waited to hear some
+answers in a human voice, but I heard no other returns than in the same
+dialect, only one or two a little shriller than his. I began to think that this
+house must belong to some person of great note among them, because there
+appeared so much ceremony before I could gain admittance. But, that a man of
+quality should be served all by horses, was beyond my comprehension. I feared
+my brain was disturbed by my sufferings and misfortunes. I roused myself, and
+looked about me in the room where I was left alone: this was furnished like the
+first, only after a more elegant manner. I rubbed my eyes often, but the same
+objects still occurred. I pinched my arms and sides to awake myself, hoping I
+might be in a dream. I then absolutely concluded, that all these appearances
+could be nothing else but necromancy and magic. But I had no time to pursue
+these reflections; for the gray horse came to the door, and made me a sign to
+follow him into the third room where I saw a very comely mare, together with a
+colt and foal, sitting on their haunches upon mats of straw, not unartfully
+made, and perfectly neat and clean.
+The mare soon after my entrance rose from her mat, and coming up close, after
+having nicely observed my hands and face, gave me a most contemptuous look; and
+turning to the horse, I heard the word Yahoo often repeated betwixt them; the
+meaning of which word I could not then comprehend, although it was the first I
+had learned to pronounce. But I was soon better informed, to my everlasting
+mortification; for the horse, beckoning to me with his head, and repeating the
+hhuun, hhuun, as he did upon the road, which I understood was to attend him,
+led me out into a kind of court, where was another building, at some distance
+from the house. Here we entered, and I saw three of those detestable creatures,
+which I first met after my landing, feeding upon roots, and the flesh of some
+animals, which I afterwards found to be that of asses and dogs, and now and
+then a cow, dead by accident or disease. They were all tied by the neck with
+strong withes fastened to a beam; they held their food between the claws of
+their fore feet, and tore it with their teeth.
+The master horse ordered a sorrel nag, one of his servants, to untie the
+largest of these animals, and take him into the yard. The beast and I were
+brought close together, and by our countenances diligently compared both by
+master and servant, who thereupon repeated several times the word Yahoo. My
+horror and astonishment are not to be described, when I observed in this
+abominable animal, a perfect human figure: the face of it indeed was flat and
+broad, the nose depressed, the lips large, and the mouth wide; but these
+differences are common to all savage nations, where the lineaments of the
+countenance are distorted, by the natives suffering their infants to lie
+grovelling on the earth, or by carrying them on their backs, nuzzling with
+their face against the mothers' shoulders. The fore-feet of the Yahoo differed
+from my hands in nothing else but the length of the nails, the coarseness and
+brownness of the palms, and the hairiness on the backs. There was the same
+resemblance between our feet, with the same differences; which I knew very
+well, though the horses did not, because of my shoes and stockings; the same in
+every part of our bodies except as to hairiness and colour, which I have
+already described.
+The great difficulty that seemed to stick with the two horses, was to see the
+rest of my body so very different from that of a Yahoo, for which I was obliged
+to my clothes, whereof they had no conception. The sorrel nag offered me a
+root, which he held (after their manner, as we shall describe in its proper
+place) between his hoof and pastern; I took it in my hand, and, having smelt
+it, returned it to him again as civilly as I could. He brought out of the
+Yahoos' kennel a piece of ass's flesh; but it smelt so offensively that I
+turned from it with loathing: he then threw it to the Yahoo, by whom it was
+greedily devoured. He afterwards showed me a wisp of hay, and a fetlock full of
+oats; but I shook my head, to signify that neither of these were food for me.
+And indeed I now apprehended that I must absolutely starve, if I did not get to
+some of my own species; for as to those filthy Yahoos, although there were few
+greater lovers of mankind at that time than myself, yet I confess I never saw
+any sensitive being so detestable on all accounts; and the more I came near
+them the more hateful they grew, while I stayed in that country. This the
+master horse observed by my behaviour, and therefore sent the Yahoo back to his
+kennel. He then put his fore-hoof to his mouth, at which I was much surprised,
+although he did it with ease, and with a motion that appeared perfectly
+natural, and made other signs, to know what I would eat; but I could not return
+him such an answer as he was able to apprehend; and if he had understood me, I
+did not see how it was possible to contrive any way for finding myself
+nourishment. While we were thus engaged, I observed a cow passing by, whereupon
+I pointed to her, and expressed a desire to go and milk her. This had its
+effect; for he led me back into the house, and ordered a mare-servant to open a
+room, where a good store of milk lay in earthen and wooden vessels, after a
+very orderly and cleanly manner. She gave me a large bowlful, of which I drank
+very heartily, and found myself well refreshed.
+About noon, I saw coming towards the house a kind of vehicle drawn like a
+sledge by four Yahoos. There was in it an old steed, who seemed to be of
+quality; he alighted with his hind-feet forward, having by accident got a hurt
+in his left fore-foot. He came to dine with our horse, who received him with
+great civility. They dined in the best room, and had oats boiled in milk for
+the second course, which the old horse ate warm, but the rest cold. Their
+mangers were placed circular in the middle of the room, and divided into
+several partitions, round which they sat on their haunches, upon bosses of
+straw. In the middle was a large rack, with angles answering to every partition
+of the manger; so that each horse and mare ate their own hay, and their own
+mash of oats and milk, with much decency and regularity. The behaviour of the
+young colt and foal appeared very modest, and that of the master and mistress
+extremely cheerful and complaisant to their guest. The gray ordered me to stand
+by him; and much discourse passed between him and his friend concerning me, as
+I found by the stranger's often looking on me, and the frequent repetition of
+the word Yahoo.
+I happened to wear my gloves, which the master gray observing, seemed
+perplexed, discovering signs of wonder what I had done to my fore-feet. He put
+his hoof three or four times to them, as if he would signify, that I should
+reduce them to their former shape, which I presently did, pulling off both my
+gloves, and putting them into my pocket. This occasioned farther talk; and I
+saw the company was pleased with my behaviour, whereof I soon found the good
+effects. I was ordered to speak the few words I understood; and while they were
+at dinner, the master taught me the names for oats, milk, fire, water, and some
+others, which I could readily pronounce after him, having from my youth a great
+facility in learning languages.
+When dinner was done, the master horse took me aside, and by signs and words
+made me understand the concern he was in that I had nothing to eat. Oats in
+their tongue are called hlunnh. This word I pronounced two or three times; for
+although I had refused them at first, yet, upon second thoughts, I considered
+that I could contrive to make of them a kind of bread, which might be
+sufficient, with milk, to keep me alive, till I could make my escape to some
+other country, and to creatures of my own species. The horse immediately
+ordered a white mare servant of his family to bring me a good quantity of oats
+in a sort of wooden tray. These I heated before the fire, as well as I could,
+and rubbed them till the husks came off, which I made a shift to winnow from
+the grain. I ground and beat them between two stones; then took water, and made
+them into a paste or cake, which I toasted at the fire and eat warm with milk.
+It was at first a very insipid diet, though common enough in many parts of
+Europe, but grew tolerable by time; and having been often reduced to hard fare
+in my life, this was not the first experiment I had made how easily nature is
+satisfied. And I cannot but observe, that I never had one hours sickness while
+I stayed in this island. It is true, I sometimes made a shift to catch a
+rabbit, or bird, by springs made of Yahoo's hairs; and I often gathered
+wholesome herbs, which I boiled, and ate as salads with my bread; and now and
+then, for a rarity, I made a little butter, and drank the whey. I was at first
+at a great loss for salt, but custom soon reconciled me to the want of it; and
+I am confident that the frequent use of salt among us is an effect of luxury,
+and was first introduced only as a provocative to drink, except where it is
+necessary for preserving flesh in long voyages, or in places remote from great
+markets; for we observe no animal to be fond of it but man, and as to myself,
+when I left this country, it was a great while before I could endure the taste
+of it in anything that I ate.
+This is enough to say upon the subject of my diet, wherewith other travellers
+fill their books, as if the readers were personally concerned whether we fare
+well or ill. However, it was necessary to mention this matter, lest the world
+should think it impossible that I could find sustenance for three years in such
+a country, and among such inhabitants.
+When it grew towards evening, the master horse ordered a place for me to lodge
+in; it was but six yards from the house and separated from the stable of the
+Yahoos. Here I got some straw, and covering myself with my own clothes, slept
+very sound. But I was in a short time better accommodated, as the reader shall
+know hereafter, when I come to treat more particularly about my way of living.
+[The author studies to learn the language. The Houyhnhnm, his master, assists
+in teaching him. The language described. Several Houyhnhnms of quality come out
+of curiosity to see the author. He gives his master a short account of his
+My principal endeavour was to learn the language, which my master (for so I
+shall henceforth call him), and his children, and every servant of his house,
+were desirous to teach me; for they looked upon it as a prodigy, that a brute
+animal should discover such marks of a rational creature. I pointed to every
+thing, and inquired the name of it, which I wrote down in my journal-book when
+I was alone, and corrected my bad accent by desiring those of the family to
+pronounce it often. In this employment, a sorrel nag, one of the
+under-servants, was very ready to assist me.
+In speaking, they pronounced through the nose and throat, and their language
+approaches nearest to the High-Dutch, or German, of any I know in Europe; but
+is much more graceful and significant. The emperor Charles V. made almost the
+same observation, when he said "that if he were to speak to his horse, it
+should be in High- Dutch."
+The curiosity and impatience of my master were so great, that he spent many
+hours of his leisure to instruct me. He was convinced (as he afterwards told
+me) that I must be a Yahoo; but my teachableness, civility, and cleanliness,
+astonished him; which were qualities altogether opposite to those animals. He
+was most perplexed about my clothes, reasoning sometimes with himself, whether
+they were a part of my body: for I never pulled them off till the family were
+asleep, and got them on before they waked in the morning. My master was eager
+to learn "whence I came; how I acquired those appearances of reason, which I
+discovered in all my actions; and to know my story from my own mouth, which he
+hoped he should soon do by the great proficiency I made in learning and
+pronouncing their words and sentences." To help my memory, I formed all I
+learned into the English alphabet, and writ the words down, with the
+translations. This last, after some time, I ventured to do in my master's
+presence. It cost me much trouble to explain to him what I was doing; for the
+inhabitants have not the least idea of books or literature.
+In about ten weeks time, I was able to understand most of his questions; and in
+three months, could give him some tolerable answers. He was extremely curious
+to know "from what part of the country I came, and how I was taught to imitate
+a rational creature; because the Yahoos (whom he saw I exactly resembled in my
+head, hands, and face, that were only visible), with some appearance of
+cunning, and the strongest disposition to mischief, were observed to be the
+most unteachable of all brutes." I answered, "that I came over the sea, from a
+far place, with many others of my own kind, in a great hollow vessel made of
+the bodies of trees: that my companions forced me to land on this coast, and
+then left me to shift for myself." It was with some difficulty, and by the help
+of many signs, that I brought him to understand me. He replied, "that I must
+needs be mistaken, or that I said the thing which was not;" for they have no
+word in their language to express lying or falsehood. "He knew it was
+impossible that there could be a country beyond the sea, or that a parcel of
+brutes could move a wooden vessel whither they pleased upon water. He was sure
+no Houyhnhnm alive could make such a vessel, nor would trust Yahoos to manage
+The word Houyhnhnm, in their tongue, signifies a HORSE, and, in its etymology,
+the PERFECTION OF NATURE. I told my master, "that I was at a loss for
+expression, but would improve as fast as I could; and hoped, in a short time, I
+should be able to tell him wonders." He was pleased to direct his own mare, his
+colt, and foal, and the servants of the family, to take all opportunities of
+instructing me; and every day, for two or three hours, he was at the same pains
+himself. Several horses and mares of quality in the neighbourhood came often to
+our house, upon the report spread of "a wonderful Yahoo, that could speak like
+a Houyhnhnm, and seemed, in his words and actions, to discover some glimmerings
+of reason." These delighted to converse with me: they put many questions, and
+received such answers as I was able to return. By all these advantages I made
+so great a progress, that, in five months from my arrival I understood whatever
+was spoken, and could express myself tolerably well.
+The Houyhnhnms, who came to visit my master out of a design of seeing and
+talking with me, could hardly believe me to be a right Yahoo, because my body
+had a different covering from others of my kind. They were astonished to
+observe me without the usual hair or skin, except on my head, face, and hands;
+but I discovered that secret to my master upon an accident which happened about
+a fortnight before.
+I have already told the reader, that every night, when the family were gone to
+bed, it was my custom to strip, and cover myself with my clothes. It happened,
+one morning early, that my master sent for me by the sorrel nag, who was his
+valet. When he came I was fast asleep, my clothes fallen off on one side, and
+my shirt above my waist. I awaked at the noise he made, and observed him to
+deliver his message in some disorder; after which he went to my master, and in
+a great fright gave him a very confused account of what he had seen. This I
+presently discovered, for, going as soon as I was dressed to pay my attendance
+upon his honour, he asked me "the meaning of what his servant had reported,
+that I was not the same thing when I slept, as I appeared to be at other times;
+that his vale assured him, some part of me was white, some yellow, at least not
+so white, and some brown."
+I had hitherto concealed the secret of my dress, in order to distinguish
+myself, as much as possible, from that cursed race of Yahoos; but now I found
+it in vain to do so any longer. Besides, I considered that my clothes and shoes
+would soon wear out, which already were in a declining condition, and must be
+supplied by some contrivance from the hides of Yahoos, or other brutes; whereby
+the whole secret would be known. I therefore told my master, "that in the
+country whence I came, those of my kind always covered their bodies with the
+hairs of certain animals prepared by art, as well for decency as to avoid the
+inclemencies of air, both hot and cold; of which, as to my own person, I would
+give him immediate conviction, if he pleased to command me: only desiring his
+excuse, if I did not expose those parts that nature taught us to conceal." He
+said, "my discourse was all very strange, but especially the last part; for he
+could not understand, why nature should teach us to conceal what nature had
+given; that neither himself nor family were ashamed of any parts of their
+bodies; but, however, I might do as I pleased." Whereupon I first unbuttoned my
+coat, and pulled it off. I did the same with my waistcoat. I drew off my shoes,
+stockings, and breeches. I let my shirt down to my waist, and drew up the
+bottom; fastening it like a girdle about my middle, to hide my nakedness.
+My master observed the whole performance with great signs of curiosity and
+admiration. He took up all my clothes in his pastern, one piece after another,
+and examined them diligently; he then stroked my body very gently, and looked
+round me several times; after which, he said, it was plain I must be a perfect
+Yahoo; but that I differed very much from the rest of my species in the
+softness, whiteness, and smoothness of my skin; my want of hair in several
+parts of my body; the shape and shortness of my claws behind and before; and my
+affectation of walking continually on my two hinder feet. He desired to see no
+more; and gave me leave to put on my clothes again, for I was shuddering with
+I expressed my uneasiness at his giving me so often the appellation of Yahoo,
+an odious animal, for which I had so utter a hatred and contempt: I begged he
+would forbear applying that word to me, and make the same order in his family
+and among his friends whom he suffered to see me. I requested likewise, "that
+the secret of my having a false covering to my body, might be known to none but
+himself, at least as long as my present clothing should last; for as to what
+the sorrel nag, his valet, had observed, his honour might command him to
+conceal it."
+All this my master very graciously consented to; and thus the secret was kept
+till my clothes began to wear out, which I was forced to supply by several
+contrivances that shall hereafter be mentioned. In the meantime, he desired "I
+would go on with my utmost diligence to learn their language, because he was
+more astonished at my capacity for speech and reason, than at the figure of my
+body, whether it were covered or not;" adding, "that he waited with some
+impatience to hear the wonders which I promised to tell him."
+Thenceforward he doubled the pains he had been at to instruct me: he brought me
+into all company, and made them treat me with civility; "because," as he told
+them, privately, "this would put me into good humour, and make me more
+Every day, when I waited on him, beside the trouble he was at in teaching, he
+would ask me several questions concerning myself, which I answered as well as I
+could, and by these means he had already received some general ideas, though
+very imperfect. It would be tedious to relate the several steps by which I
+advanced to a more regular conversation; but the first account I gave of myself
+in any order and length was to this purpose:
+"That I came from a very far country, as I already had attempted to tell him,
+with about fifty more of my own species; that we travelled upon the seas in a
+great hollow vessel made of wood, and larger than his honour's house. I
+described the ship to him in the best terms I could, and explained, by the help
+of my handkerchief displayed, how it was driven forward by the wind. That upon
+a quarrel among us, I was set on shore on this coast, where I walked forward,
+without knowing whither, till he delivered me from the persecution of those
+execrable Yahoos." He asked me, "who made the ship, and how it was possible
+that the Houyhnhnms of my country would leave it to the management of brutes?"
+My answer was, "that I durst proceed no further in my relation, unless he would
+give me his word and honour that he would not be offended, and then I would
+tell him the wonders I had so often promised." He agreed; and I went on by
+assuring him, that the ship was made by creatures like myself; who, in all the
+countries I had travelled, as well as in my own, were the only governing
+rational animals; and that upon my arrival hither, I was as much astonished to
+see the Houyhnhnms act like rational beings, as he, or his friends, could be,
+in finding some marks of reason in a creature he was pleased to call a Yahoo;
+to which I owned my resemblance in every part, but could not account for their
+degenerate and brutal nature. I said farther, "that if good fortune ever
+restored me to my native country, to relate my travels hither, as I resolved to
+do, everybody would believe, that I said the thing that was not, that I
+invented the story out of my own head; and (with all possible respect to
+himself, his family, and friends, and under his promise of not being offended)
+our countrymen would hardly think it probable that a Houyhnhnm should be the
+presiding creature of a nation, and a Yahoo the brute."
+[The Houyhnhnm's notion of truth and falsehood. The author's discourse
+disapproved by his master. The author gives a more particular account of
+himself, and the accidents of his voyage.]
+My master heard me with great appearances of uneasiness in his countenance;
+because doubting, or not believing, are so little known in this country, that
+the inhabitants cannot tell how to behave themselves under such circumstances.
+And I remember, in frequent discourses with my master concerning the nature of
+manhood in other parts of the world, having occasion to talk of lying and false
+representation, it was with much difficulty that he comprehended what I meant,
+although he had otherwise a most acute judgment. For he argued thus: "that the
+use of speech was to make us understand one another, and to receive information
+of facts; now, if any one said the thing which was not, these ends were
+defeated, because I cannot properly be said to understand him; and I am so far
+from receiving information, that he leaves me worse than in ignorance; for I am
+led to believe a thing black, when it is white, and short, when it is long."
+And these were all the notions he had concerning that faculty of lying, so
+perfectly well understood, and so universally practised, among human creatures.
+To return from this digression. When I asserted that the Yahoos were the only
+governing animals in my country, which my master said was altogether past his
+conception, he desired to know, "whether we had Houyhnhnms among us, and what
+was their employment?" I told him, "we had great numbers; that in summer they
+grazed in the fields, and in winter were kept in houses with hay and oats,
+where Yahoo servants were employed to rub their skins smooth, comb their manes,
+pick their feet, serve them with food, and make their beds." "I understand you
+well," said my master: "it is now very plain, from all you have spoken, that
+whatever share of reason the Yahoos pretend to, the Houyhnhnms are your
+masters; I heartily wish our Yahoos would be so tractable." I begged "his
+honour would please to excuse me from proceeding any further, because I was
+very certain that the account he expected from me would be highly displeasing."
+But he insisted in commanding me to let him know the best and the worst. I told
+him "he should be obeyed." I owned "that the Houyhnhnms among us, whom we
+called horses, were the most generous and comely animals we had; that they
+excelled in strength and swiftness; and when they belonged to persons of
+quality, were employed in travelling, racing, or drawing chariots; they were
+treated with much kindness and care, till they fell into diseases, or became
+foundered in the feet; but then they were sold, and used to all kind of
+drudgery till they died; after which their skins were stripped, and sold for
+what they were worth, and their bodies left to be devoured by dogs and birds of
+prey. But the common race of horses had not so good fortune, being kept by
+farmers and carriers, and other mean people, who put them to greater labour,
+and fed them worse." I described, as well as I could, our way of riding; the
+shape and use of a bridle, a saddle, a spur, and a whip; of harness and wheels.
+I added, "that we fastened plates of a certain hard substance, called iron, at
+the bottom of their feet, to preserve their hoofs from being broken by the
+stony ways, on which we often travelled."
+My master, after some expressions of great indignation, wondered "how we dared
+to venture upon a Houyhnhnm's back; for he was sure, that the weakest servant
+in his house would be able to shake off the strongest Yahoo; or by lying down
+and rolling on his back, squeeze the brute to death." I answered "that our
+horses were trained up, from three or four years old, to the several uses we
+intended them for; that if any of them proved intolerably vicious, they were
+employed for carriages; that they were severely beaten, while they were young,
+for any mischievous tricks; that the males, designed for the common use of
+riding or draught, were generally castrated about two years after their birth,
+to take down their spirits, and make them more tame and gentle; that they were
+indeed sensible of rewards and punishments; but his honour would please to
+consider, that they had not the least tincture of reason, any more than the
+Yahoos in this country."
+It put me to the pains of many circumlocutions, to give my master a right idea
+of what I spoke; for their language does not abound in variety of words,
+because their wants and passions are fewer than among us. But it is impossible
+to express his noble resentment at our savage treatment of the Houyhnhnm race;
+particularly after I had explained the manner and use of castrating horses
+among us, to hinder them from propagating their kind, and to render them more
+servile. He said, "if it were possible there could be any country where Yahoos
+alone were endued with reason, they certainly must be the governing animal;
+because reason in time will always prevail against brutal strength. But,
+considering the frame of our bodies, and especially of mine, he thought no
+creature of equal bulk was so ill-contrived for employing that reason in the
+common offices of life;" whereupon he desired to know whether those among whom
+I lived resembled me, or the Yahoos of his country?" I assured him, "that I was
+as well shaped as most of my age; but the younger, and the females, were much
+more soft and tender, and the skins of the latter generally as white as milk."
+He said, "I differed indeed from other Yahoos, being much more cleanly, and not
+altogether so deformed; but, in point of real advantage, he thought I differed
+for the worse: that my nails were of no use either to my fore or hinder feet;
+as to my fore feet, he could not properly call them by that name, for he never
+observed me to walk upon them; that they were too soft to bear the ground; that
+I generally went with them uncovered; neither was the covering I sometimes wore
+on them of the same shape, or so strong as that on my feet behind: that I could
+not walk with any security, for if either of my hinder feet slipped, I must
+inevitably fail." He then began to find fault with other parts of my body: "the
+flatness of my face, the prominence of my nose, mine eyes placed directly in
+front, so that I could not look on either side without turning my head: that I
+was not able to feed myself, without lifting one of my fore-feet to my mouth:
+and therefore nature had placed those joints to answer that necessity. He knew
+not what could be the use of those several clefts and divisions in my feet
+behind; that these were too soft to bear the hardness and sharpness of stones,
+without a covering made from the skin of some other brute; that my whole body
+wanted a fence against heat and cold, which I was forced to put on and off
+every day, with tediousness and trouble: and lastly, that he observed every
+animal in this country naturally to abhor the Yahoos, whom the weaker avoided,
+and the stronger drove from them. So that, supposing us to have the gift of
+reason, he could not see how it were possible to cure that natural antipathy,
+which every creature discovered against us; nor consequently how we could tame
+and render them serviceable. However, he would," as he said, "debate the matter
+no farther, because he was more desirous to know my own story, the country
+where I was born, and the several actions and events of my life, before I came
+I assured him, "how extremely desirous I was that he should be satisfied on
+every point; but I doubted much, whether it would be possible for me to explain
+myself on several subjects, whereof his honour could have no conception;
+because I saw nothing in his country to which I could resemble them; that,
+however, I would do my best, and strive to express myself by similitudes,
+humbly desiring his assistance when I wanted proper words;" which he was
+pleased to promise me.
+I said, "my birth was of honest parents, in an island called England; which was
+remote from his country, as many days' journey as the strongest of his honour's
+servants could travel in the annual course of the sun; that I was bred a
+surgeon, whose trade it is to cure wounds and hurts in the body, gotten by
+accident or violence; that my country was governed by a female man, whom we
+called queen; that I left it to get riches, whereby I might maintain myself and
+family, when I should return; that, in my last voyage, I was commander of the
+ship, and had about fifty Yahoos under me, many of which died at sea, and I was
+forced to supply them by others picked out from several nations; that our ship
+was twice in danger of being sunk, the first time by a great storm, and the
+second by striking against a rock." Here my master interposed, by asking me,
+"how I could persuade strangers, out of different countries, to venture with
+me, after the losses I had sustained, and the hazards I had run?" I said, "they
+were fellows of desperate fortunes, forced to fly from the places of their
+birth on account of their poverty or their crimes. Some were undone by
+lawsuits; others spent all they had in drinking, whoring, and gaming; others
+fled for treason; many for murder, theft, poisoning, robbery, perjury, forgery,
+coining false money, for committing rapes, or sodomy; for flying from their
+colours, or deserting to the enemy; and most of them had broken prison; none of
+these durst return to their native countries, for fear of being hanged, or of
+starving in a jail; and therefore they were under the necessity of seeking a
+livelihood in other places."
+During this discourse, my master was pleased to interrupt me several times. I
+had made use of many circumlocutions in describing to him the nature of the
+several crimes for which most of our crew had been forced to fly their country.
+This labour took up several days' conversation, before he was able to
+comprehend me. He was wholly at a loss to know what could be the use or
+necessity of practising those vices. To clear up which, I endeavoured to give
+some ideas of the desire of power and riches; of the terrible effects of lust,
+intemperance, malice, and envy. All this I was forced to define and describe by
+putting cases and making suppositions. After which, like one whose imagination
+was struck with something never seen or heard of before, he would lift up his
+eyes with amazement and indignation. Power, government, war, law, punishment,
+and a thousand other things, had no terms wherein that language could express
+them, which made the difficulty almost insuperable, to give my master any
+conception of what I meant. But being of an excellent understanding, much
+improved by contemplation and converse, he at last arrived at a competent
+knowledge of what human nature, in our parts of the world, is capable to
+perform, and desired I would give him some particular account of that land
+which we call Europe, but especially of my own country.
+[The author at his master's command, informs him of the state of England. The
+causes of war among the princes of Europe. The author begins to explain the
+English constitution.]
+The reader may please to observe, that the following extract of many
+conversations I had with my master, contains a summary of the most material
+points which were discoursed at several times for above two years; his honour
+often desiring fuller satisfaction, as I farther improved in the Houyhnhnm
+tongue. I laid before him, as well as I could, the whole state of Europe; I
+discoursed of trade and manufactures, of arts and sciences; and the answers I
+gave to all the questions he made, as they arose upon several subjects, were a
+fund of conversation not to be exhausted. But I shall here only set down the
+substance of what passed between us concerning my own country, reducing it in
+order as well as I can, without any regard to time or other circumstances,
+while I strictly adhere to truth. My only concern is, that I shall hardly be
+able to do justice to my master's arguments and expressions, which must needs
+suffer by my want of capacity, as well as by a translation into our barbarous
+In obedience, therefore, to his honour's commands, I related to him the
+Revolution under the Prince of Orange; the long war with France, entered into
+by the said prince, and renewed by his successor, the present queen, wherein
+the greatest powers of Christendom were engaged, and which still continued: I
+computed, at his request, "that about a million of Yahoos might have been
+killed in the whole progress of it; and perhaps a hundred or more cities taken,
+and five times as many ships burnt or sunk."
+He asked me, "what were the usual causes or motives that made one country go to
+war with another?" I answered "they were innumerable; but I should only mention
+a few of the chief. Sometimes the ambition of princes, who never think they
+have land or people enough to govern; sometimes the corruption of ministers,
+who engage their master in a war, in order to stifle or divert the clamour of
+the subjects against their evil administration. Difference in opinions has cost
+many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be
+flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine; whether whistling
+be a vice or a virtue; whether it be better to kiss a post, or throw it into
+the fire; what is the best colour for a coat, whether black, white, red, or
+gray; and whether it should be long or short, narrow or wide, dirty or clean;
+with many more. Neither are any wars so furious and bloody, or of so long a
+continuance, as those occasioned by difference in opinion, especially if it be
+in things indifferent.
+"Sometimes the quarrel between two princes is to decide which of them shall
+dispossess a third of his dominions, where neither of them pretend to any
+right. Sometimes one prince quarrels with another for fear the other should
+quarrel with him. Sometimes a war is entered upon, because the enemy is too
+strong; and sometimes, because he is too weak. Sometimes our neighbours want
+the things which we have, or have the things which we want, and we both fight,
+till they take ours, or give us theirs. It is a very justifiable cause of a
+war, to invade a country after the people have been wasted by famine, destroyed
+by pestilence, or embroiled by factions among themselves. It is justifiable to
+enter into war against our nearest ally, when one of his towns lies convenient
+for us, or a territory of land, that would render our dominions round and
+complete. If a prince sends forces into a nation, where the people are poor and
+ignorant, he may lawfully put half of them to death, and make slaves of the
+rest, in order to civilize and reduce them from their barbarous way of living.
+It is a very kingly, honourable, and frequent practice, when one prince desires
+the assistance of another, to secure him against an invasion, that the
+assistant, when he has driven out the invader, should seize on the dominions
+himself, and kill, imprison, or banish, the prince he came to relieve. Alliance
+by blood, or marriage, is a frequent cause of war between princes; and the
+nearer the kindred is, the greater their disposition to quarrel; poor nations
+are hungry, and rich nations are proud; and pride and hunger will ever be at
+variance. For these reasons, the trade of a soldier is held the most honourable
+of all others; because a soldier is a Yahoo hired to kill, in cold blood, as
+many of his own species, who have never offended him, as possibly he can.
+"There is likewise a kind of beggarly princes in Europe, not able to make war
+by themselves, who hire out their troops to richer nations, for so much a day
+to each man; of which they keep three- fourths to themselves, and it is the
+best part of their maintenance: such are those in many northern parts of
+"What you have told me," said my master, "upon the subject of war, does indeed
+discover most admirably the effects of that reason you pretend to: however, it
+is happy that the shame is greater than the danger; and that nature has left
+you utterly incapable of doing much mischief. For, your mouths lying flat with
+your faces, you can hardly bite each other to any purpose, unless by consent.
+Then as to the claws upon your feet before and behind, they are so short and
+tender, that one of our Yahoos would drive a dozen of yours before him. And
+therefore, in recounting the numbers of those who have been killed in battle, I
+cannot but think you have said the thing which is not."
+I could not forbear shaking my head, and smiling a little at his ignorance. And
+being no stranger to the art of war, I gave him a description of cannons,
+culverins, muskets, carabines, pistols, bullets, powder, swords, bayonets,
+battles, sieges, retreats, attacks, undermines, countermines, bombardments, sea
+fights, ships sunk with a thousand men, twenty thousand killed on each side,
+dying groans, limbs flying in the air, smoke, noise, confusion, trampling to
+death under horses' feet, flight, pursuit, victory; fields strewed 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
+drop 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. I 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 loss how it should come to pass, that the law, which was
+intended for every man's preservation, should be any man's ruin. Therefore he
+desired to be further satisfied what I meant by law, and the dispensers
+thereof, according to the present practice in my own country; because he
+thought nature and reason were sufficient guides for a reasonable animal, as we
+pretended to be, in showing us what he ought to do, and what to avoid."
+I assured his honour, "that the law was a science in which I had not much
+conversed, further than by employing advocates, in vain, upon some injustices
+that had been done me: however, I would give him all the satisfaction I was
+I said, "there was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the
+art of proving, by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and
+black is white, according as they are paid. To this society all the rest of the
+people are slaves. For example, if my neighbour has a mind to my cow, he has a
+lawyer to prove that he ought to have my cow from me. I must then hire another
+to defend my right, it being against all rules of law that any man should be
+allowed to speak for himself. Now, in this case, I, who am the right owner, lie
+under two great disadvantages: first, my lawyer, being practised almost from
+his cradle in defending falsehood, is quite out of his element when he would be
+an advocate for justice, which is an unnatural office he always attempts with
+great awkwardness, if not with ill-will. The second disadvantage is, that my
+lawyer must proceed with great caution, or else he will be reprimanded by the
+judges, and abhorred by his brethren, as one that would lessen the practice of
+the law. And therefore I have but two methods to preserve my cow. The first is,
+to gain over my adversary's lawyer with a double fee, who will then betray his
+client by insinuating that he hath justice on his side. The second way is for
+my lawyer to make my cause appear as unjust as he can, by allowing the cow to
+belong to my adversary: and this, if it be skilfully done, will certainly
+bespeak the favour of the bench. Now your honour is to know, that these judges
+are persons appointed to decide all controversies of property, as well as for
+the trial of criminals, and picked out from the most dexterous lawyers, who are
+grown old or lazy; and having been biassed all their lives against truth and
+equity, lie under such a fatal necessity of favouring fraud, perjury, and
+oppression, that I have known some of them refuse a large bribe from the side
+where justice lay, rather than injure the faculty, by doing any thing
+unbecoming their nature or their office.
+"It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever has been done before, may
+legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the
+decisions formerly made against common justice, and the general reason of
+mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities to
+justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of directing
+"In pleading, they studiously avoid entering into the merits of the cause; but
+are loud, violent, and tedious, in dwelling upon all circumstances which are
+not to the purpose. For instance, in the case already mentioned; they never
+desire to know what claim or title my adversary has to my cow; but whether the
+said cow were red or black; her horns long or short; whether the field I graze
+her in be round or square; whether she was milked at home or abroad; what
+diseases she is subject to, and the like; after which they consult precedents,
+adjourn the cause from time to time, and in ten, twenty, or thirty years, come
+to an issue.
+"It is likewise to be observed, that this society has a peculiar cant and
+jargon of their own, that no other mortal can understand, and wherein all their
+laws are written, which they take special care to multiply; whereby they have
+wholly confounded the very essence of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong;
+so that it will take thirty years to decide, whether the field left me by my
+ancestors for six generations belongs to me, or to a stranger three hundred
+miles off.
+"In the trial of persons accused for crimes against the state, the method is
+much more short and commendable: the judge first sends to sound the disposition
+of those in power, after which he can easily hang or save a criminal, strictly
+preserving all due forms of law."
+Here my master interposing, said, "it was a pity, that creatures endowed with
+such prodigious abilities of mind, as these lawyers, by the description I gave
+of them, must certainly be, were not rather encouraged to be instructors of
+others in wisdom and knowledge." In answer to which I assured his honour, "that
+in all points out of their own trade, they were usually the most ignorant and
+stupid generation among us, the most despicable in common conversation, avowed
+enemies to all knowledge and learning, and equally disposed to pervert the
+general reason of mankind in every other subject of discourse as in that of
+their own profession."
+[A continuation of the state of England under Queen Anne. The character of a
+first minister of state in European courts.]
+My master was yet wholly at a loss to understand what motives could incite this
+race of lawyers to perplex, disquiet, and weary themselves, and engage in a
+confederacy of injustice, merely for the sake of injuring their fellow-animals;
+neither could he comprehend what I meant in saying, they did it for hire.
+Whereupon I was at much pains to describe to him the use of money, the
+materials it was made of, and the value of the metals; "that when a Yahoo had
+got a great store of this precious substance, he was able to purchase whatever
+he had a mind to; the finest clothing, the noblest houses, great tracts of
+land, the most costly meats and drinks, and have his choice of the most
+beautiful females. Therefore since money alone was able to perform all these
+feats, our Yahoos thought they could never have enough of it to spend, or to
+save, as they found themselves inclined, from their natural bent either to
+profusion or avarice; that the rich man enjoyed the fruit of the poor man's
+labour, and the latter were a thousand to one in proportion to the former; that
+the bulk of our people were forced to live miserably, by labouring every day
+for small wages, to make a few live plentifully."
+I enlarged myself much on these, and many other particulars to the same
+purpose; but his honour was still to seek; for he went upon a supposition, that
+all animals had a title to their share in the productions of the earth, and
+especially those who presided over the rest. Therefore he desired I would let
+him know, "what these costly meats were, and how any of us happened to want
+them?" Whereupon I enumerated as many sorts as came into my head, with the
+various methods of dressing them, which could not be done without sending
+vessels by sea to every part of the world, as well for liquors to drink as for
+sauces and innumerable other conveniences. I assured him "that this whole globe
+of earth must be at least three times gone round before one of our better
+female Yahoos could get her breakfast, or a cup to put it in." He said "that
+must needs be a miserable country which cannot furnish food for its own
+inhabitants. But what he chiefly wondered at was, how such vast tracts of
+ground as I described should be wholly without fresh water, and the people put
+to the necessity of sending over the sea for drink." I replied "that England
+(the dear place of my nativity) was computed to produce three times the
+quantity of food more than its inhabitants are able to consume, as well as
+liquors extracted from grain, or pressed out of the fruit of certain trees,
+which made excellent drink, and the same proportion in every other convenience
+of life. But, in order to feed the luxury and intemperance of the males, and
+the vanity of the females, we sent away the greatest part of our necessary
+things to other countries, whence, in return, we brought the materials of
+diseases, folly, and vice, to spend among ourselves. Hence it follows of
+necessity, that vast numbers of our people are compelled to seek their
+livelihood by begging, robbing, stealing, cheating, pimping, flattering,
+suborning, forswearing, forging, gaming, lying, fawning, hectoring, voting,
+scribbling, star-gazing, poisoning, whoring, canting, libelling, freethinking,
+and the like occupations:" every one of which terms I was at much pains to make
+him understand.
+"That wine was not imported among us from foreign countries to supply the want
+of water or other drinks, but because it was a sort of liquid which made us
+merry by putting us out of our senses, diverted all melancholy thoughts, begat
+wild extravagant imaginations in the brain, raised our hopes and banished our
+fears, suspended every office of reason for a time, and deprived us of the use
+of our limbs, till we fell into a profound sleep; although it must be
+confessed, that we always awaked sick and dispirited; and that the use of this
+liquor filled us with diseases which made our lives uncomfortable and short.
+"But beside all this, the bulk of our people supported themselves by furnishing
+the necessities or conveniences of life to the rich and to each other. For
+instance, when I am at home, and dressed as I ought to be, I carry on my body
+the workmanship of a hundred tradesmen; the building and furniture of my house
+employ as many more, and five times the number to adorn my wife."
+I was going on to tell him of another sort of people, who get their livelihood
+by attending the sick, having, upon some occasions, informed his honour that
+many of my crew had died of diseases. But here it was with the utmost
+difficulty that I brought him to apprehend what I meant. "He could easily
+conceive, that a Houyhnhnm, grew weak and heavy a few days before his death, or
+by some accident might hurt a limb; but that nature, who works all things to
+perfection, should suffer any pains to breed in our bodies, he thought
+impossible, and desired to know the reason of so unaccountable an evil."
+I told him "we fed on a thousand things which operated contrary to each other;
+that we ate when we were not hungry, and drank without the provocation of
+thirst; that we sat whole nights drinking strong liquors, without eating a bit,
+which disposed us to sloth, inflamed our bodies, and precipitated or prevented
+digestion; that prostitute female Yahoos acquired a certain malady, which bred
+rottenness in the bones of those who fell into their embraces; that this, and
+many other diseases, were propagated from father to son; so that great numbers
+came into the world with complicated maladies upon them; that it would be
+endless to give him a catalogue of all diseases incident to human bodies, for
+they would not be fewer than five or six hundred, spread over every limb and
+joint--in short, every part, external and intestine, having diseases
+appropriated to itself. To remedy which, there was a sort of people bred up
+among us in the profession, or pretence, of curing the sick. And because I had
+some skill in the faculty, I would, in gratitude to his honour, let him know
+the whole mystery and method by which they proceed.
+"Their fundamental is, that all diseases arise from repletion; whence they
+conclude, that a great evacuation of the body is necessary, either through the
+natural passage or upwards at the mouth. Their next business is from herbs,
+minerals, gums, oils, shells, salts, juices, sea-weed, excrements, barks of
+trees, serpents, toads, frogs, spiders, dead men's flesh and bones, birds,
+beasts, and fishes, to form a composition, for smell and taste, the most
+abominable, nauseous, and detestable, they can possibly contrive, which the
+stomach immediately rejects with loathing, and this they call a vomit; or else,
+from the same store-house, with some other poisonous additions, they command us
+to take in at the orifice above or below (just as the physician then happens to
+be disposed) a medicine equally annoying and disgustful to the bowels; which,
+relaxing the belly, drives down all before it; and this they call a purge, or a
+clyster. For nature (as the physicians allege) having intended the superior
+anterior orifice only for the intromission of solids and liquids, and the
+inferior posterior for ejection, these artists ingeniously considering that in
+all diseases nature is forced out of her seat, therefore, to replace her in it,
+the body must be treated in a manner directly contrary, by interchanging the
+use of each orifice; forcing solids and liquids in at the anus, and making
+evacuations at the mouth.
+"But, besides real diseases, we are subject to many that are only imaginary,
+for which the physicians have invented imaginary cures; these have their
+several names, and so have the drugs that are proper for them; and with these
+our female Yahoos are always infested.
+"One great excellency in this tribe, is their skill at prognostics, wherein
+they seldom fail; their predictions in real diseases, when they rise to any
+degree of malignity, generally portending death, which is always in their
+power, when recovery is not: and therefore, upon any unexpected signs of
+amendment, after they have pronounced their sentence, rather than be accused as
+false prophets, they know how to approve their sagacity to the world, by a
+seasonable dose.
+"They are likewise of special use to husbands and wives who are grown weary of
+their mates; to eldest sons, to great ministers of state, and often to
+I had formerly, upon occasion, discoursed with my master upon the nature of
+government in general, and particularly of our own excellent constitution,
+deservedly the wonder and envy of the whole world. But having here accidentally
+mentioned a minister of state, he commanded me, some time after, to inform him,
+"what species of Yahoo I particularly meant by that appellation."
+I told him, "that a first or chief minister of state, who was the person I
+intended to describe, was the creature wholly exempt from joy and grief, love
+and hatred, pity and anger; at least, makes use of no other passions, but a
+violent desire of wealth, power, and titles; that he applies his words to all
+uses, except to the indication of his mind; that he never tells a truth but
+with an intent that you should take it for a lie; nor a lie, but with a design
+that you should take it for a truth; that those he speaks worst of behind their
+backs are in the surest way of preferment; and whenever he begins to praise you
+to others, or to yourself, you are from that day forlorn. The worst mark you
+can receive is a promise, especially when it is confirmed with an oath; after
+which, every wise man retires, and gives over all hopes.
+"There are three methods, by which a man may rise to be chief minister. The
+first is, by knowing how, with prudence, to dispose of a wife, a daughter, or a
+sister; the second, by betraying or undermining his predecessor; and the third
+is, by a furious zeal, in public assemblies, against the corruption's of the
+court. But a wise prince would rather choose to employ those who practise the
+last of these methods; because such zealots prove always the most obsequious
+and subservient to the will and passions of their master. That these ministers,
+having all employments at their disposal, preserve themselves in power, by
+bribing the majority of a senate or great council; and at last, by an
+expedient, called an act of indemnity" (whereof I described the nature to him),
+"they secure themselves from after-reckonings, and retire from the public laden
+with the spoils of the nation.
+"The palace of a chief minister is a seminary to breed up others in his own
+trade: the pages, lackeys, and porters, by imitating their master, become
+ministers of state in their several districts, and learn to excel in the three
+principal ingredients, of insolence, lying, and bribery. Accordingly, they have
+a subaltern court paid to them by persons of the best rank; and sometimes by
+the force of dexterity and impudence, arrive, through several gradations, to be
+successors to their lord.
+"He is usually governed by a decayed wench, or favourite footman, who are the
+tunnels through which all graces are conveyed, and may properly be called, in
+the last resort, the governors of the kingdom."
+One day, in discourse, my master, having heard me mention the nobility of my
+country, was pleased to make me a compliment which I could not pretend to
+deserve: "that he was sure I must have been born of some noble family, because
+I far exceeded in shape, colour, and cleanliness, all the Yahoos of his nation,
+although I seemed to fail in strength and agility, which must be imputed to my
+different way of living from those other brutes; and besides I was not only
+endowed with the faculty of speech, but likewise with some rudiments of reason,
+to a degree that, with all his acquaintance, I passed for a prodigy."
+He made me observe, "that among the Houyhnhnms, the white, the sorrel, and the
+iron-gray, were not so exactly shaped as the bay, the dapple-gray, and the
+black; nor born with equal talents of mind, or a capacity to improve them; and
+therefore continued always in the condition of servants, without ever aspiring
+to match out of their own race, which in that country would be reckoned
+monstrous and unnatural."
+I made his honour my most humble acknowledgments for the good opinion he was
+pleased to conceive of me, but assured him at the same time, "that my birth was
+of the lower sort, having been born of plain honest parents, who were just able
+to give me a tolerable education; that nobility, among us, was altogether a
+different thing from the idea he had of it; that our young noblemen are bred
+from their childhood in idleness and luxury; that, as soon as years will
+permit, they consume their vigour, and contract odious diseases among lewd
+females; and when their fortunes are almost ruined, they marry some woman of
+mean birth, disagreeable person, and unsound constitution (merely for the sake
+of money), whom they hate and despise. That the productions of such marriages
+are generally scrofulous, rickety, or deformed children; by which means the
+family seldom continues above three generations, unless the wife takes care to
+provide a healthy father, among her neighbours or domestics, in order to
+improve and continue the breed. That a weak diseased body, a meagre
+countenance, and sallow complexion, are the true marks of noble blood; and a
+healthy robust appearance is so disgraceful in a man of quality, that the world
+concludes his real father to have been a groom or a coachman. The imperfections
+of his mind run parallel with those of his body, being a composition of spleen,
+dullness, ignorance, caprice, sensuality, and pride.
+"Without the consent of this illustrious body, no law can be enacted, repealed,
+or altered: and these nobles have likewise the decision of all our possessions,
+without appeal."~^
+[The author's great love of his native country. His master's observations upon
+the constitution and administration of England, as described by the author,
+with parallel cases and comparisons. His master's observations upon human
+The reader may be disposed to wonder how I could prevail on myself to give so
+free a representation of my own species, among a race of mortals who are
+already too apt to conceive the vilest opinion of humankind, from that entire
+congruity between me and their Yahoos. But I must freely confess, that the many
+virtues of those excellent quadrupeds, placed in opposite view to human
+corruptions, had so far opened my eyes and enlarged my understanding, that I
+began to view the actions and passions of man in a very different light, and to
+think the honour of my own kind not worth managing; which, besides, it was
+impossible for me to do, before a person of so acute a judgment as my master,
+who daily convinced me of a thousand faults in myself, whereof I had not the
+least perception before, and which, with us, would never be numbered even among
+human infirmities. I had likewise learned, from his example, an utter
+detestation of all falsehood or disguise; and truth appeared so amiable to me,
+that I determined upon sacrificing every thing to it.
+Let me deal so candidly with the reader as to confess that there was yet a much
+stronger motive for the freedom I took in my representation of things. I had
+not yet been a year in this country before I contracted such a love and
+veneration for the inhabitants, that I entered on a firm resolution never to
+return to humankind, but to pass the rest of my life among these admirable
+Houyhnhnms, in the contemplation and practice of every virtue, where I could
+have no example or incitement to vice. But it was decreed by fortune, my
+perpetual enemy, that so great a felicity should not fall to my share. However,
+it is now some comfort to reflect, that in what I said of my countrymen, I
+extenuated their faults as much as I durst before so strict an examiner; and
+upon every article gave as favourable a turn as the matter would bear. For,
+indeed, who is there alive that will not be swayed by his bias and partiality
+to the place of his birth?
+I have related the substance of several conversations I had with my master
+during the greatest part of the time I had the honour to be in his service; but
+have, indeed, for brevity sake, omitted much more than is here set down.
+When I had answered all his questions, and his curiosity seemed to be fully
+satisfied, he sent for me one morning early, and commanded me to sit down at
+some distance (an honour which he had never before conferred upon me). He said,
+"he had been very seriously considering my whole story, as far as it related
+both to myself and my country; that he looked upon us as a sort of animals, to
+whose share, by what accident he could not conjecture, some small pittance of
+reason had fallen, whereof we made no other use, than by its assistance, to
+aggravate our natural corruptions, and to acquire new ones, which nature had
+not given us; that we disarmed ourselves of the few abilities she had bestowed;
+had been very successful in multiplying our original wants, and seemed to spend
+our whole lives in vain endeavours to supply them by our own inventions; that,
+as to myself, it was manifest I had neither the strength nor agility of a
+common Yahoo; that I walked infirmly on my hinder feet; had found out a
+contrivance to make my claws of no use or defence, and to remove the hair from
+my chin, which was intended as a shelter from the sun and the weather: lastly,
+that I could neither run with speed, nor climb trees like my brethren," as he
+called them, "the Yahoos in his country.
+"That our institutions of government and law were plainly owing to our gross
+defects in reason, and by consequence in virtue; because reason alone is
+sufficient to govern a rational creature; which was, therefore, a character we
+had no pretence to challenge, even from the account I had given of my own
+people; although he manifestly perceived, that, in order to favour them, I had
+concealed many particulars, and often said the thing which was not.
+"He was the more confirmed in this opinion, because, he observed, that as I
+agreed in every feature of my body with other Yahoos, except where it was to my
+real disadvantage in point of strength, speed, and activity, the shortness of
+my claws, and some other particulars where nature had no part; so from the
+representation I had given him of our lives, our manners, and our actions, he
+found as near a resemblance in the disposition of our minds." He said, "the
+Yahoos were known to hate one another, more than they did any different species
+of animals; and the reason usually assigned was, the odiousness of their own
+shapes, which all could see in the rest, but not in themselves. He had
+therefore begun to think it not unwise in us to cover our bodies, and by that
+invention conceal many of our deformities from each other, which would else be
+hardly supportable. But he now found he had been mistaken, and that the
+dissensions of those brutes in his country were owing to the same cause with
+ours, as I had described them. For if," said he, "you throw among five Yahoos
+as much food as would be sufficient for fifty, they will, instead of eating
+peaceably, fall together by the ears, each single one impatient to have all to
+itself; and therefore a servant was usually employed to stand by while they
+were feeding abroad, and those kept at home were tied at a distance from each
+other: that if a cow died of age or accident, before a Houyhnhnm could secure
+it for his own Yahoos, those in the neighbourhood would come in herds to seize
+it, and then would ensue such a battle as I had described, with terrible wounds
+made by their claws on both sides, although they seldom were able to kill one
+another, for want of such convenient instruments of death as we had invented.
+At other times, the like battles have been fought between the Yahoos of several
+neighbourhoods, without any visible cause; those of one district watching all
+opportunities to surprise the next, before they are prepared. But if they find
+their project has miscarried, they return home, and, for want of enemies,
+engage in what I call a civil war among themselves.
+"That in some fields of his country there are certain shining stones of several
+colours, whereof the Yahoos are violently fond: and when part of these stones
+is fixed in the earth, as it sometimes happens, they will dig with their claws
+for whole days to get them out; then carry them away, and hide them by heaps in
+their kennels; but still looking round with great caution, for fear their
+comrades should find out their treasure." My master said, "he could never
+discover the reason of this unnatural appetite, or how these stones could be of
+any use to a Yahoo; but now he believed it might proceed from the same
+principle of avarice which I had ascribed to mankind. That he had once, by way
+of experiment, privately removed a heap of these stones from the place where
+one of his Yahoos had buried it; whereupon the sordid animal, missing his
+treasure, by his loud lamenting brought the whole herd to the place, there
+miserably howled, then fell to biting and tearing the rest, began to pine away,
+would neither eat, nor sleep, nor work, till he ordered a servant privately to
+convey the stones into the same hole, and hide them as before; which, when his
+Yahoo had found, he presently recovered his spirits and good humour, but took
+good care to remove them to a better hiding place, and has ever since been a
+very serviceable brute."
+My master further assured me, which I also observed myself, "that in the fields
+where the shining stones abound, the fiercest and most frequent battles are
+fought, occasioned by perpetual inroads of the neighbouring Yahoos."
+He said, "it was common, when two Yahoos discovered such a stone in a field,
+and were contending which of them should be the proprietor, a third would take
+the advantage, and carry it away from them both;" which my master would needs
+contend to have some kind of resemblance with our suits at law; wherein I
+thought it for our credit not to undeceive him; since the decision he mentioned
+was much more equitable than many decrees among us; because the plaintiff and
+defendant there lost nothing beside the stone they contended for: whereas our
+courts of equity would never have dismissed the cause, while either of them had
+any thing left.
+My master, continuing his discourse, said, "there was nothing that rendered the
+Yahoos more odious, than their undistinguishing appetite to devour every thing
+that came in their way, whether herbs, roots, berries, the corrupted flesh of
+animals, or all mingled together: and it was peculiar in their temper, that
+they were fonder of what they could get by rapine or stealth, at a greater
+distance, than much better food provided for them at home. If their prey held
+out, they would eat till they were ready to burst; after which, nature had
+pointed out to them a certain root that gave them a general evacuation.
+"There was also another kind of root, very juicy, but somewhat rare and
+difficult to be found, which the Yahoos sought for with much eagerness, and
+would suck it with great delight; it produced in them the same effects that
+wine has upon us. It would make them sometimes hug, and sometimes tear one
+another; they would howl, and grin, and chatter, and reel, and tumble, and then
+fall asleep in the mud."
+I did indeed observe that the Yahoos were the only animals in this country
+subject to any diseases; which, however, were much fewer than horses have among
+us, and contracted, not by any ill-treatment they meet with, but by the
+nastiness and greediness of that sordid brute. Neither has their language any
+more than a general appellation for those maladies, which is borrowed from the
+name of the beast, and called hnea-yahoo, or Yahoo's evil; and the cure
+prescribed is a mixture of their own dung and urine, forcibly put down the
+Yahoo's throat. This I have since often known to have been taken with success,
+and do here freely recommend it to my countrymen for the public good, as an
+admirable specific against all diseases produced by repletion.
+"As to learning, government, arts, manufactures, and the like," my master
+confessed, "he could find little or no resemblance between the Yahoos of that
+country and those in ours; for he only meant to observe what parity there was
+in our natures. He had heard, indeed, some curious Houyhnhnms observe, that in
+most herds there was a sort of ruling Yahoo (as among us there is generally
+some leading or principal stag in a park), who was always more deformed in
+body, and mischievous in disposition, than any of the rest; that this leader
+had usually a favourite as like himself as he could get, whose employment was
+to lick his master's feet and posteriors, and drive the female Yahoos to his
+kennel; for which he was now and then rewarded with a piece of ass's flesh.
+This favourite is hated by the whole herd, and therefore, to protect himself,
+keeps always near the person of his leader. He usually continues in office till
+a worse can be found; but the very moment he is discarded, his successor, at
+the head of all the Yahoos in that district, young and old, male and female,
+come in a body, and discharge their excrements upon him from head to foot. But
+how far this might be applicable to our courts, and favourites, and ministers
+of state, my master said I could best determine."
+I durst make no return to this malicious insinuation, which debased human
+understanding below the sagacity of a common hound, who has judgment enough to
+distinguish and follow the cry of the ablest dog in the pack, without being
+ever mistaken.
+My master told me, "there were some qualities remarkable in the Yahoos, which
+he had not observed me to mention, or at least very slightly, in the accounts I
+had given of humankind." He said, "those animals, like other brutes, had their
+females in common; but in this they differed, that the she Yahoo would admit
+the males while she was pregnant; and that the hes would quarrel and fight with
+the females, as fiercely as with each other; both which practices were such
+degrees of infamous brutality, as no other sensitive creature ever arrived at.
+"Another thing he wondered at in the Yahoos, was their strange disposition to
+nastiness and dirt; whereas there appears to be a natural love of cleanliness
+in all other animals." As to the two former accusations, I was glad to let them
+pass without any reply, because I had not a word to offer upon them in defence
+of my species, which otherwise I certainly had done from my own inclinations.
+But I could have easily vindicated humankind from the imputation of singularity
+upon the last article, if there had been any swine in that country (as
+unluckily for me there were not), which, although it may be a sweeter quadruped
+than a Yahoo, cannot, I humbly conceive, in justice, pretend to more
+cleanliness; and so his honour himself must have owned, if he had seen their
+filthy way of feeding, and their custom of wallowing and sleeping in the mud.
+My master likewise mentioned another quality which his servants had discovered
+in several Yahoos, and to him was wholly unaccountable. He said, "a fancy would
+sometimes take a Yahoo to retire into a corner, to lie down, and howl, and
+groan, and spurn away all that came near him, although he were young and fat,
+wanted neither food nor water, nor did the servant imagine what could possibly
+ail him. And the only remedy they found was, to set him to hard work, after
+which he would infallibly come to himself." To this I was silent out of
+partiality to my own kind; yet here I could plainly discover the true seeds of
+spleen, which only seizes on the lazy, the luxurious, and the rich; who, if
+they were forced to undergo the same regimen, I would undertake for the cure.
+His honour had further observed, "that a female Yahoo would often stand behind
+a bank or a bush, to gaze on the young males passing by, and then appear, and
+hide, using many antic gestures and grimaces, at which time it was observed
+that she had a most offensive smell; and when any of the males advanced, would
+slowly retire, looking often back, and with a counterfeit show of fear, run off
+into some convenient place, where she knew the male would follow her.
+"At other times, if a female stranger came among them, three or four of her own
+sex would get about her, and stare, and chatter, and grin, and smell her all
+over; and then turn off with gestures, that seemed to express contempt and
+Perhaps my master might refine a little in these speculations, which he had
+drawn from what he observed himself, or had been told him by others; however, I
+could not reflect without some amazement, and much sorrow, that the rudiments
+of lewdness, coquetry, censure, and scandal, should have place by instinct in
+I expected every moment that my master would accuse the Yahoos of those
+unnatural appetites in both sexes, so common among us. But nature, it seems,
+has not been so expert a school-mistress; and these politer pleasures are
+entirely the productions of art and reason on our side of the globe.
+[The author relates several particulars of the Yahoos. The great virtues of the
+Houyhnhnms. The education and exercise of their youth. Their general assembly.]
+As I ought to have understood human nature much better than I supposed it
+possible for my master to do, so it was easy to apply the character he gave of
+the Yahoos to myself and my countrymen; and I believed I could yet make further
+discoveries, from my own observation. I therefore often begged his honour to
+let me go among the herds of Yahoos in the neighbourhood; to which he always
+very graciously consented, being perfectly convinced that the hatred I bore
+these brutes would never suffer me to be corrupted by them; and his honour
+ordered one of his servants, a strong sorrel nag, very honest and good-natured,
+to be my guard; without whose protection I durst not undertake such adventures.
+For I have already told the reader how much I was pestered by these odious
+animals, upon my first arrival; and I afterwards failed very narrowly, three or
+four times, of falling into their clutches, when I happened to stray at any
+distance without my hanger. And I have reason to believe they had some
+imagination that I was of their own species, which I often assisted myself by
+stripping up my sleeves, and showing my naked arms and breasts in their sight,
+when my protector was with me. At which times they would approach as near as
+they durst, and imitate my actions after the manner of monkeys, but ever with
+great signs of hatred; as a tame jackdaw with cap and stockings is always
+persecuted by the wild ones, when he happens to be got among them.
+They are prodigiously nimble from their infancy. However, I once caught a young
+male of three years old, and endeavoured, by all marks of tenderness, to make
+it quiet; but the little imp fell a squalling, and scratching, and biting with
+such violence, that I was forced to let it go; and it was high time, for a
+whole troop of old ones came about us at the noise, but finding the cub was
+safe (for away it ran), and my sorrel nag being by, they durst not venture near
+us. I observed the young animal's flesh to smell very rank, and the stink was
+somewhat between a weasel and a fox, but much more disagreeable. I forgot
+another circumstance (and perhaps I might have the reader's pardon if it were
+wholly omitted), that while I held the odious vermin in my hands, it voided its
+filthy excrements of a yellow liquid substance all over my clothes; but by good
+fortune there was a small brook hard by, where I washed myself as clean as I
+could; although I durst not come into my master's presence until I were
+sufficiently aired.
+By what I could discover, the Yahoos appear to be the most unteachable of all
+animals: their capacity never reaching higher than to draw or carry burdens.
+Yet I am of opinion, this defect arises chiefly from a perverse, restive
+disposition; for they are cunning, malicious, treacherous, and revengeful. They
+are strong and hardy, but of a cowardly spirit, and, by consequence, insolent,
+abject, and cruel. It is observed, that the red haired of both sexes are more
+libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in strength
+and activity.
+The Houyhnhnms keep the Yahoos for present use in huts not far from the house;
+but the rest are sent abroad to certain fields, where they dig up roots, eat
+several kinds of herbs, and search about for carrion, or sometimes catch
+weasels and luhimuhs (a sort of wild rat), which they greedily devour. Nature
+has taught them to dig deep holes with their nails on the side of a rising
+ground, wherein they lie by themselves; only the kennels of the females are
+larger, sufficient to hold two or three cubs.
+They swim from their infancy like frogs, and are able to continue long under
+water, where they often take fish, which the females carry home to their young.
+And, upon this occasion, I hope the reader will pardon my relating an odd
+Being one day abroad with my protector the sorrel nag, and the weather
+exceeding hot, I entreated him to let me bathe in a river that was near. He
+consented, and I immediately stripped myself stark naked, and went down softly
+into the stream. It happened that a young female Yahoo, standing behind a bank,
+saw the whole proceeding, and inflamed by desire, as the nag and I conjectured,
+came running with all speed, and leaped into the water, within five yards of
+the place where I bathed. I was never in my life so terribly frightened. The
+nag was grazing at some distance, not suspecting any harm. She embraced me
+after a most fulsome manner. I roared as loud as I could, and the nag came
+galloping towards me, whereupon she quitted her grasp, with the utmost
+reluctancy, and leaped upon the opposite bank, where she stood gazing and
+howling all the time I was putting on my clothes.
+This was a matter of diversion to my master and his family, as well as of
+mortification to myself. For now I could no longer deny that I was a real Yahoo
+in every limb and feature, since the females had a natural propensity to me, as
+one of their own species. Neither was the hair of this brute of a red colour
+(which might have been some excuse for an appetite a little irregular), but
+black as a sloe, and her countenance did not make an appearance altogether so
+hideous as the rest of her kind; for I think she could not be above eleven
+years old.
+Having lived three years in this country, the reader, I suppose, will expect
+that I should, like other travellers, give him some account of the manners and
+customs of its inhabitants, which it was indeed my principal study to learn.
+As these noble Houyhnhnms are endowed by nature with a general disposition to
+all virtues, and have no conceptions or ideas of what is evil in a rational
+creature, so their grand maxim is, to cultivate reason, and to be wholly
+governed by it. Neither is reason among them a point problematical, as with us,
+where men can argue with plausibility on both sides of the question, but
+strikes you with immediate conviction; as it must needs do, where it is not
+mingled, obscured, or discoloured, by passion and interest. I remember it was
+with extreme difficulty that I could bring my master to understand the meaning
+of the word opinion, or how a point could be disputable; because reason taught
+us to affirm or deny only where we are certain; and beyond our knowledge we
+cannot do either. So that controversies, wranglings, disputes, and
+positiveness, in false or dubious propositions, are evils unknown among the
+Houyhnhnms. In the like manner, when I used to explain to him our several
+systems of natural philosophy, he would laugh, "that a creature pretending to
+reason, should value itself upon the knowledge of other people's conjectures,
+and in things where that knowledge, if it were certain, could be of no use."
+Wherein he agreed entirely with the sentiments of Socrates, as Plato delivers
+them; which I mention as the highest honour I can do that prince of
+philosophers. I have often since reflected, what destruction such doctrine
+would make in the libraries of Europe; and how many paths of fame would be then
+shut up in the learned world.
+Friendship and benevolence are the two principal virtues among the Houyhnhnms;
+and these not confined to particular objects, but universal to the whole race;
+for a stranger from the remotest part is equally treated with the nearest
+neighbour, and wherever he goes, looks upon himself as at home. They preserve
+decency and civility in the highest degrees, but are altogether ignorant of
+ceremony. They have no fondness for their colts or foals, but the care they
+take in educating them proceeds entirely from the dictates of reason. And I
+observed my master to show the same affection to his neighbour's issue, that he
+had for his own. They will have it that nature teaches them to love the whole
+species, and it is reason only that makes a distinction of persons, where there
+is a superior degree of virtue.
+When the matron Houyhnhnms have produced one of each sex, they no longer
+accompany with their consorts, except they lose one of their issue by some
+casualty, which very seldom happens; but in such a case they meet again; or
+when the like accident befalls a person whose wife is past bearing, some other
+couple bestow on him one of their own colts, and then go together again until
+the mother is pregnant. This caution is necessary, to prevent the country from
+being overburdened with numbers. But the race of inferior Houyhnhnms, bred up
+to be servants, is not so strictly limited upon this article: these are allowed
+to produce three of each sex, to be domestics in the noble families.
+In their marriages, they are exactly careful to choose such colours as will not
+make any disagreeable mixture in the breed. Strength is chiefly valued in the
+male, and comeliness in the female; not upon the account of love, but to
+preserve the race from degenerating; for where a female happens to excel in
+strength, a consort is chosen, with regard to comeliness.
+Courtship, love, presents, jointures, settlements have no place in their
+thoughts, or terms whereby to express them in their language. The young couple
+meet, and are joined, merely because it is the determination of their parents
+and friends; it is what they see done every day, and they look upon it as one
+of the necessary actions of a reasonable being. But the violation of marriage,
+or any other unchastity, was never heard of; and the married pair pass their
+lives with the same friendship and mutual benevolence, that they bear to all
+others of the same species who come in their way, without jealousy, fondness,
+quarrelling, or discontent.
+In educating the youth of both sexes, their method is admirable, and highly
+deserves our imitation. These are not suffered to taste a grain of oats, except
+upon certain days, till eighteen years old; nor milk, but very rarely; and in
+summer they graze two hours in the morning, and as many in the evening, which
+their parents likewise observe; but the servants are not allowed above half
+that time, and a great part of their grass is brought home, which they eat at
+the most convenient hours, when they can be best spared from work.
+Temperance, industry, exercise, and cleanliness, are the lessons equally
+enjoined to the young ones of both sexes: and my master thought it monstrous in
+us, to give the females a different kind of education from the males, except in
+some articles of domestic management; whereby, as he truly observed, one half
+of our natives were good for nothing but bringing children into the world; and
+to trust the care of our children to such useless animals, he said, was yet a
+greater instance of brutality.
+But the Houyhnhnms train up their youth to strength, speed, and hardiness, by
+exercising them in running races up and down steep hills, and over hard stony
+grounds; and when they are all in a sweat, they are ordered to leap over head
+and ears into a pond or river. Four times a year the youth of a certain
+district meet to show their proficiency in running and leaping, and other feats
+of strength and agility; where the victor is rewarded with a song in his or her
+praise. On this festival, the servants drive a herd of Yahoos into the field,
+laden with hay, and oats, and milk, for a repast to the Houyhnhnms; after
+which, these brutes are immediately driven back again, for fear of being
+noisome to the assembly.
+Every fourth year, at the vernal equinox, there is a representative council of
+the whole nation, which meets in a plain about twenty miles from our house, and
+continues about five or six days. Here they inquire into the state and
+condition of the several districts; whether they abound or be deficient in hay
+or oats, or cows, or Yahoos; and wherever there is any want (which is but
+seldom) it is immediately supplied by unanimous consent and contribution. Here
+likewise the regulation of children is settled: as for instance, if a Houyhnhnm
+has two males, he changes one of them with another that has two females; and
+when a child has been lost by any casualty, where the mother is past breeding,
+it is determined what family in the district shall breed another to supply the
+[A grand debate at the general assembly of the Houyhnhnms, and how it was
+determined. The learning of the Houyhnhnms. Their buildings. Their manner of
+burials. The defectiveness of their language.]
+One of these grand assemblies was held in my time, about three months before my
+departure, whither my master went as the representative of our district. In
+this council was resumed their old debate, and indeed the only debate that ever
+happened in their country; whereof my master, after his return, give me a very
+particular account.
+The question to be debated was, "whether the Yahoos should be exterminated from
+the face of the earth?" One of the members for the affirmative offered several
+arguments of great strength and weight, alleging, "that as the Yahoos were the
+most filthy, noisome, and deformed animals which nature ever produced, so they
+were the most restive and indocible, mischievous and malicious; they would
+privately suck the teats of the Houyhnhnms' cows, kill and devour their cats,
+trample down their oats and grass, if they were not continually watched, and
+commit a thousand other extravagancies." He took notice of a general tradition,
+"that Yahoos had not been always in their country; but that many ages ago, two
+of these brutes appeared together upon a mountain; whether produced by the heat
+of the sun upon corrupted mud and slime, or from the ooze and froth of the sea,
+was never known; that these Yahoos engendered, and their brood, in a short
+time, grew so numerous as to overrun and infest the whole nation; that the
+Houyhnhnms, to get rid of this evil, made a general hunting, and at last
+enclosed the whole herd; and destroying the elder, every Houyhnhnm kept two
+young ones in a kennel, and brought them to such a degree of tameness, as an
+animal, so savage by nature, can be capable of acquiring, using them for
+draught and carriage; that there seemed to be much truth in this tradition, and
+that those creatures could not be yinhniamshy (or aborigines of the land),
+because of the violent hatred the Houyhnhnms, as well as all other animals,
+bore them, which, although their evil disposition sufficiently deserved, could
+never have arrived at so high a degree if they had been aborigines, or else
+they would have long since been rooted out; that the inhabitants, taking a
+fancy to use the service of the Yahoos, had, very imprudently, neglected to
+cultivate the breed of asses, which are a comely animal, easily kept, more tame
+and orderly, without any offensive smell, strong enough for labour, although
+they yield to the other in agility of body, and if their braying be no
+agreeable sound, it is far preferable to the horrible howlings of the Yahoos."
+Several others declared their sentiments to the same purpose, when my master
+proposed an expedient to the assembly, whereof he had indeed borrowed the hint
+from me. "He approved of the tradition mentioned by the honourable member who
+spoke before, and affirmed, that the two Yahoos said to be seen first among
+them, had been driven thither over the sea; that coming to land, and being
+forsaken by their companions, they retired to the mountains, and degenerating
+by degrees, became in process of time much more savage than those of their own
+species in the country whence these two originals came. The reason of this
+assertion was, that he had now in his possession a certain wonderful Yahoo
+(meaning myself) which most of them had heard of, and many of them had seen. He
+then related to them how he first found me; that my body was all covered with
+an artificial composure of the skins and hairs of other animals; that I spoke
+in a language of my own, and had thoroughly learned theirs; that I had related
+to him the accidents which brought me thither; that when he saw me without my
+covering, I was an exact Yahoo in every part, only of a whiter colour, less
+hairy, and with shorter claws. He added, how I had endeavoured to persuade him,
+that in my own and other countries, the Yahoos acted as the governing, rational
+animal, and held the Houyhnhnms in servitude; that he observed in me all the
+qualities of a Yahoo, only a little more civilized by some tincture of reason,
+which, however, was in a degree as far inferior to the Houyhnhnm race, as the
+Yahoos of their country were to me; that, among other things, I mentioned a
+custom we had of castrating Houyhnhnms when they were young, in order to render
+them tame; that the operation was easy and safe; that it was no shame to learn
+wisdom from brutes, as industry is taught by the ant, and building by the
+swallow (for so I translate the word lyhannh, although it be a much larger
+fowl); that this invention might be practised upon the younger Yahoos here,
+which besides rendering them tractable and fitter for use, would in an age put
+an end to the whole species, without destroying life; that in the mean time the
+Houyhnhnms should be exhorted to cultivate the breed of asses, which, as they
+are in all respects more valuable brutes, so they have this advantage, to be
+fit for service at five years old, which the others are not till twelve."
+This was all my master thought fit to tell me, at that time, of what passed in
+the grand council. But he was pleased to conceal one particular, which related
+personally to myself, whereof I soon felt the unhappy effect, as the reader
+will know in its proper place, and whence I date all the succeeding misfortunes
+of my life.
+The Houyhnhnms have no letters, and consequently their knowledge is all
+traditional. But there happening few events of any moment among a people so
+well united, naturally disposed to every virtue, wholly governed by reason, and
+cut off from all commerce with other nations, the historical part is easily
+preserved without burdening their memories. I have already observed that they
+are subject to no diseases, and therefore can have no need of physicians.
+However, they have excellent medicines, composed of herbs, to cure accidental
+bruises and cuts in the pastern or frog of the foot, by sharp stones, as well
+as other maims and hurts in the several parts of the body.
+They calculate the year by the revolution of the sun and moon, but use no
+subdivisions into weeks. They are well enough acquainted with the motions of
+those two luminaries, and understand the nature of eclipses; and this is the
+utmost progress of their astronomy.
+In poetry, they must be allowed to excel all other mortals; wherein the
+justness of their similes, and the minuteness as well as exactness of their
+descriptions, are indeed inimitable. Their verses abound very much in both of
+these, and usually contain either some exalted notions of friendship and
+benevolence or the praises of those who were victors in races and other bodily
+exercises. Their buildings, although very rude and simple, are not
+inconvenient, but well contrived to defend them from all injuries of and heat.
+They have a kind of tree, which at forty years old loosens in the root, and
+falls with the first storm: it grows very straight, and being pointed like
+stakes with a sharp stone (for the Houyhnhnms know not the use of iron), they
+stick them erect in the ground, about ten inches asunder, and then weave in oat
+straw, or sometimes wattles, between them. The roof is made after the same
+manner, and so are the doors.
+The Houyhnhnms use the hollow part, between the pastern and the hoof of their
+fore-foot, as we do our hands, and this with greater dexterity than I could at
+first imagine. I have seen a white mare of our family thread a needle (which I
+lent her on purpose) with that joint. They milk their cows, reap their oats,
+and do all the work which requires hands, in the same manner. They have a kind
+of hard flints, which, by grinding against other stones, they form into
+instruments, that serve instead of wedges, axes, and hammers. With tools made
+of these flints, they likewise cut their hay, and reap their oats, which there
+grow naturally in several fields; the Yahoos draw home the sheaves in
+carriages, and the servants tread them in certain covered huts to get out the
+grain, which is kept in stores. They make a rude kind of earthen and wooden
+vessels, and bake the former in the sun.
+If they can avoid casualties, they die only of old age, and are buried in the
+obscurest places that can be found, their friends and relations expressing
+neither joy nor grief at their departure; nor does the dying person discover
+the least regret that he is leaving the world, any more than if he were upon
+returning home from a visit to one of his neighbours. I remember my master
+having once made an appointment with a friend and his family to come to his
+house, upon some affair of importance: on the day fixed, the mistress and her
+two children came very late; she made two excuses, first for her husband, who,
+as she said, happened that very morning to shnuwnh. The word is strongly
+expressive in their language, but not easily rendered into English; it
+signifies, "to retire to his first mother." Her excuse for not coming sooner,
+was, that her husband dying late in the morning, she was a good while
+consulting her servants about a convenient place where his body should be laid;
+and I observed, she behaved herself at our house as cheerfully as the rest. She
+died about three months after.
+They live generally to seventy, or seventy-five years, very seldom to
+fourscore. Some weeks before their death, they feel a gradual decay; but
+without pain. During this time they are much visited by their friends, because
+they cannot go abroad with their usual ease and satisfaction. However, about
+ten days before their death, which they seldom fail in computing, they return
+the visits that have been made them by those who are nearest in the
+neighbourhood, being carried in a convenient sledge drawn by Yahoos; which
+vehicle they use, not only upon this occasion, but when they grow old, upon
+long journeys, or when they are lamed by any accident: and therefore when the
+dying Houyhnhnms return those visits, they take a solemn leave of their
+friends, as if they were going to some remote part of the country, where they
+designed to pass the rest of their lives.
+I know not whether it may be worth observing, that the Houyhnhnms have no word
+in their language to express any thing that is evil, except what they borrow
+from the deformities or ill qualities of the Yahoos. Thus they denote the folly
+of a servant, an omission of a child, a stone that cuts their feet, a
+continuance of foul or unseasonable weather, and the like, by adding to each
+the epithet of Yahoo. For instance, hhnm Yahoo; whnaholm Yahoo, ynlhmndwihlma
+Yahoo, and an ill-contrived house ynholmhnmrohlnw Yahoo.
+I could, with great pleasure, enlarge further upon the manners and virtues of
+this excellent people; but intending in a short time to publish a volume by
+itself, expressly upon that subject, I refer the reader thither; and, in the
+mean time, proceed to relate my own sad catastrophe.
+[The author's economy, and happy life, among the Houyhnhnms. His great
+improvement in virtue by conversing with them. Their conversations. The author
+has notice given him by his master, that he must depart from the country. He
+falls into a swoon for grief; but submits. He contrives and finishes a canoe by
+the help of a fellow-servant, and puts to sea at a venture.]
+I had settled my little economy to my own heart's content. My master had
+ordered a room to be made for me, after their manner, about six yards from the
+house: the sides and floors of which I plastered with clay, and covered with
+rush-mats of my own contriving. I had beaten hemp, which there grows wild, and
+made of it a sort of ticking; this I filled with the feathers of several birds
+I had taken with springes made of Yahoos' hairs, and were excellent food. I had
+worked two chairs with my knife, the sorrel nag helping me in the grosser and
+more laborious part. When my clothes were worn to rags, I made myself others
+with the skins of rabbits, and of a certain beautiful animal, about the same
+size, called nnuhnoh, the skin of which is covered with a fine down. Of these I
+also made very tolerable stockings. I soled my shoes with wood, which I cut
+from a tree, and fitted to the upper-leather; and when this was worn out, I
+supplied it with the skins of Yahoos dried in the sun. I often got honey out of
+hollow trees, which I mingled with water, or ate with my bread. No man could
+more verify the truth of these two maxims, "That nature is very easily
+satisfied;" and, "That necessity is the mother of invention." I enjoyed perfect
+health of body, and tranquillity of mind; I did not feel the treachery or
+inconstancy of a friend, nor the injuries of a secret or open enemy. I had no
+occasion of bribing, flattering, or pimping, to procure the favour of any great
+man, or of his minion; I wanted no fence against fraud or oppression: here was
+neither physician to destroy my body, nor lawyer to ruin my fortune; no
+informer to watch my words and actions, or forge accusations against me for
+hire: here were no gibers, censurers, backbiters, pickpockets, highwaymen,
+housebreakers, attorneys, bawds, buffoons, gamesters, politicians, wits,
+splenetics, tedious talkers, controvertists, ravishers, murderers, robbers,
+virtuosos; no leaders, or followers, of party and faction; no encouragers to
+vice, by seducement or examples; no dungeon, axes, gibbets, whipping-posts, or
+pillories; no cheating shopkeepers or mechanics; no pride, vanity, or
+affectation; no fops, bullies, drunkards, strolling whores, or poxes; no
+ranting, lewd, expensive wives; no stupid, proud pedants; no importunate,
+overbearing, quarrelsome, noisy, roaring, empty, conceited, swearing
+companions; no scoundrels raised from the dust upon the merit of their vices,
+or nobility thrown into it on account of their virtues; no lords, fiddlers,
+judges, or dancing-masters.
+I had the favour of being admitted to several Houyhnhnms, who came to visit or
+dine with my master; where his honour graciously suffered me to wait in the
+room, and listen to their discourse. Both he and his company would often
+descend to ask me questions, and receive my answers. I had also sometimes the
+honour of attending my master in his visits to others. I never presumed to
+speak, except in answer to a question; and then I did it with inward regret,
+because it was a loss of so much time for improving myself; but I was
+infinitely delighted with the station of an humble auditor in such
+conversations, where nothing passed but what was useful, expressed in the
+fewest and most significant words; where, as I have already said, the greatest
+decency was observed, without the least degree of ceremony; where no person
+spoke without being pleased himself, and pleasing his companions; where there
+was no interruption, tediousness, heat, or difference of sentiments. They have
+a notion, that when people are met together, a short silence does much improve
+conversation: this I found to be true; for during those little intermissions of
+talk, new ideas would arise in their minds, which very much enlivened the
+discourse. Their subjects are, generally on friendship and benevolence, on
+order and economy; sometimes upon the visible operations of nature, or ancient
+traditions; upon the bounds and limits of virtue; upon the unerring rules of
+reason, or upon some determinations to be taken at the next great assembly: and
+often upon the various excellences of poetry. I may add, without vanity, that
+my presence often gave them sufficient matter for discourse, because it
+afforded my master an occasion of letting his friends into the history of me
+and my country, upon which they were all pleased to descant, in a manner not
+very advantageous to humankind: and for that reason I shall not repeat what
+they said; only I may be allowed to observe, that his honour, to my great
+admiration, appeared to understand the nature of Yahoos much better than
+myself. He went through all our vices and follies, and discovered many, which I
+had never mentioned to him, by only supposing what qualities a Yahoo of their
+country, with a small proportion of reason, might be capable of exerting; and
+concluded, with too much probability, "how vile, as well as miserable, such a
+creature must be."
+I freely confess, that all the little knowledge I have of any value, was
+acquired by the lectures I received from my master, and from hearing the
+discourses of him and his friends; to which I should be prouder to listen, than
+to dictate to the greatest and wisest assembly in Europe. I admired the
+strength, comeliness, and speed of the inhabitants; and such a constellation of
+virtues, in such amiable persons, produced in me the highest veneration. At
+first, indeed, I did not feel that natural awe, which the Yahoos and all other
+animals bear toward them; but it grew upon me by decrees, much sooner than I
+imagined, and was mingled with a respectful love and gratitude, that they would
+condescend to distinguish me from the rest of my species.
+When I thought of my family, my friends, my countrymen, or the human race in
+general, I considered them, as they really were, Yahoos in shape and
+disposition, perhaps a little more civilized, and qualified with the gift of
+speech; but making no other use of reason, than to improve and multiply those
+vices whereof their brethren in this country had only the share that nature
+allotted them. When I happened to behold the reflection of my own form in a
+lake or fountain, I turned away my face in horror and detestation of myself,
+and could better endure the sight of a common Yahoo than of my own person. By
+conversing with the Houyhnhnms, and looking upon them with delight, I fell to
+imitate their gait and gesture, which is now grown into a habit; and my friends
+often tell me, in a blunt way, "that I trot like a horse;" which, however, I
+take for a great compliment. Neither shall I disown, that in speaking I am apt
+to fall into the voice and manner of the Houyhnhnms, and hear myself ridiculed
+on that account, without the least mortification.
+In the midst of all this happiness, and when I looked upon myself to be fully
+settled for life, my master sent for me one morning a little earlier than his
+usual hour. I observed by his countenance that he was in some perplexity, and
+at a loss how to begin what he had to speak. After a short silence, he told me,
+"he did not know how I would take what he was going to say: that in the last
+general assembly, when the affair of the Yahoos was entered upon, the
+representatives had taken offence at his keeping a Yahoo (meaning myself) in
+his family, more like a Houyhnhnm than a brute animal; that he was known
+frequently to converse with me, as if he could receive some advantage or
+pleasure in my company; that such a practice was not agreeable to reason or
+nature, or a thing ever heard of before among them; the assembly did therefore
+exhort him either to employ me like the rest of my species, or command me to
+swim back to the place whence I came: that the first of these expedients was
+utterly rejected by all the Houyhnhnms who had ever seen me at his house or
+their own; for they alleged, that because I had some rudiments of reason, added
+to the natural pravity of those animals, it was to be feared I might be able to
+seduce them into the woody and mountainous parts of the country, and bring them
+in troops by night to destroy the Houyhnhnms' cattle, as being naturally of the
+ravenous kind, and averse from labour."
+My master added, "that he was daily pressed by the Houyhnhnms of the
+neighbourhood to have the assembly's exhortation executed, which he could not
+put off much longer. He doubted it would be impossible for me to swim to
+another country; and therefore wished I would contrive some sort of vehicle,
+resembling those I had described to him, that might carry me on the sea; in
+which work I should have the assistance of his own servants, as well as those
+of his neighbours." He concluded, "that for his own part, he could have been
+content to keep me in his service as long as I lived; because he found I had
+cured myself of some bad habits and dispositions, by endeavouring, as far as my
+inferior nature was capable, to imitate the Houyhnhnms."
+I should here observe to the reader, that a decree of the general assembly in
+this country is expressed by the word hnhloayn, which signifies an exhortation,
+as near as I can render it; for they have no conception how a rational creature
+can be compelled, but only advised, or exhorted; because no person can disobey
+reason, without giving up his claim to be a rational creature.
+I was struck with the utmost grief and despair at my master's discourse; and
+being unable to support the agonies I was under, I fell into a swoon at his
+feet. When I came to myself, he told me "that he concluded I had been dead;"
+for these people are subject to no such imbecilities of nature. I answered in a
+faint voice, "that death would have been too great a happiness; that although I
+could not blame the assembly's exhortation, or the urgency of his friends; yet,
+in my weak and corrupt judgment, I thought it might consist with reason to have
+been less rigorous; that I could not swim a league, and probably the nearest
+land to theirs might be distant above a hundred: that many materials, necessary
+for making a small vessel to carry me off, were wholly wanting in this country;
+which, however, I would attempt, in obedience and gratitude to his honour,
+although I concluded the thing to be impossible, and therefore looked on myself
+as already devoted to destruction; that the certain prospect of an unnatural
+death was the least of my evils; for, supposing I should escape with life by
+some strange adventure, how could I think with temper of passing my days among
+Yahoos, and relapsing into my old corruptions, for want of examples to lead and
+keep me within the paths of virtue? that I knew too well upon what solid
+reasons all the determinations of the wise Houyhnhnms were founded, not to be
+shaken by arguments of mine, a miserable Yahoo; and therefore, after presenting
+him with my humble thanks for the offer of his servants' assistance in making a
+vessel, and desiring a reasonable time for so difficult a work, I told him I
+would endeavour to preserve a wretched being; and if ever I returned to
+England, was not without hopes of being useful to my own species, by
+celebrating the praises of the renowned Houyhnhnms, and proposing their virtues
+to the imitation of mankind."
+My master, in a few words, made me a very gracious reply; allowed me the space
+of two months to finish my boat; and ordered the sorrel nag, my fellow-servant
+(for so, at this distance, I may presume to call him), to follow my
+instruction; because I told my master, "that his help would be sufficient, and
+I knew he had a tenderness for me."
+In his company, my first business was to go to that part of the coast where my
+rebellious crew had ordered me to be set on shore. I got upon a height, and
+looking on every side into the sea; fancied I saw a small island toward the
+north-east. I took out my pocket glass, and could then clearly distinguish it
+above five leagues off, as I computed; but it appeared to the sorrel nag to be
+only a blue cloud: for as he had no conception of any country beside his own,
+so he could not be as expert in distinguishing remote objects at sea, as we who
+so much converse in that element.
+After I had discovered this island, I considered no further; but resolved it
+should if possible, be the first place of my banishment, leaving the
+consequence to fortune.
+I returned home, and consulting with the sorrel nag, we went into a copse at
+some distance, where I with my knife, and he with a sharp flint, fastened very
+artificially after their manner, to a wooden handle, cut down several oak
+wattles, about the thickness of a walking-staff, and some larger pieces. But I
+shall not trouble the reader with a particular description of my own mechanics;
+let it suffice to say, that in six weeks time with the help of the sorrel nag,
+who performed the parts that required most labour, I finished a sort of Indian
+canoe, but much larger, covering it with the skins of Yahoos, well stitched
+together with hempen threads of my own making. My sail was likewise composed of
+the skins of the same animal; but I made use of the youngest I could get, the
+older being too tough and thick; and I likewise provided myself with four
+paddles. I laid in a stock of boiled flesh, of rabbits and fowls, and took with
+me two vessels, one filled with milk and the other with water.
+I tried my canoe in a large pond, near my master's house, and then corrected in
+it what was amiss; stopping all the chinks with Yahoos' tallow, till I found it
+staunch, and able to bear me and my freight; and, when it was as complete as I
+could possibly make it, I had it drawn on a carriage very gently by Yahoos to
+the sea-side, under the conduct of the sorrel nag and another servant.
+When all was ready, and the day came for my departure, I took leave of my
+master and lady and the whole family, my eyes flowing with tears, and my heart
+quite sunk with grief. But his honour, out of curiosity, and, perhaps, (if I
+may speak without vanity,) partly out of kindness, was determined to see me in
+my canoe, and got several of his neighbouring friends to accompany him. I was
+forced to wait above an hour for the tide; and then observing the wind very
+fortunately bearing toward the island to which I intended to steer my course, I
+took a second leave of my master: but as I was going to prostrate myself to
+kiss his hoof, he did me the honour to raise it gently to my mouth. I am not
+ignorant how much I have been censured for mentioning this last particular.
+Detractors are pleased to think it improbable, that so illustrious a person
+should descend to give so great a mark of distinction to a creature so inferior
+as I. Neither have I forgotten how apt some travellers are to boast of
+extraordinary favours they have received. But, if these censurers were better
+acquainted with the noble and courteous disposition of the Houyhnhnms, they
+would soon change their opinion.
+I paid my respects to the rest of the Houyhnhnms in his honour's company; then
+getting into my canoe, I pushed off from shore.
+[The author's dangerous voyage. He arrives at New Holland, hoping to settle
+there. Is wounded with an arrow by one of the natives. Is seized and carried by
+force into a Portuguese ship. The great civilities of the captain. The author
+arrives at England.]
+I began this desperate voyage on February 15, 1714-15, at nine o'clock in the
+morning. The wind was very favourable; however, I made use at first only of my
+paddles; but considering I should soon be weary, and that the wind might chop
+about, I ventured to set up my little sail; and thus, with the help of the
+tide, I went at the rate of a league and a half an hour, as near as I could
+guess. My master and his friends continued on the shore till I was almost out
+of sight; and I often heard the sorrel nag (who always loved me) crying out,
+"Hnuy illa nyha, majah Yahoo;" "Take care of thyself, gentle Yahoo."
+My design was, if possible, to discover some small island uninhabited, yet
+sufficient, by my labour, to furnish me with the necessaries of life, which I
+would have thought a greater happiness, than to be first minister in the
+politest court of Europe; so horrible was the idea I conceived of returning to
+live in the society, and under the government of Yahoos. For in such a solitude
+as I desired, I could at least enjoy my own thoughts, and reflect with delight
+on the virtues of those inimitable Houyhnhnms, without an opportunity of
+degenerating into the vices and corruptions of my own species.
+The reader may remember what I related, when my crew conspired against me, and
+confined me to my cabin; how I continued there several weeks without knowing
+what course we took; and when I was put ashore in the long-boat, how the
+sailors told me, with oaths, whether true or false, "that they knew not in what
+part of the world we were." However, I did then believe us to be about 10
+degrees southward of the Cape of Good Hope, or about 45 degrees southern
+latitude, as I gathered from some general words I overheard among them, being I
+supposed to the south-east in their intended voyage to Madagascar. And although
+this were little better than conjecture, yet I resolved to steer my course
+eastward, hoping to reach the south-west coast of New Holland, and perhaps some
+such island as I desired lying westward of it. The wind was full west, and by
+six in the evening I computed I had gone eastward at least eighteen leagues;
+when I spied a very small island about half a league off, which I soon reached.
+It was nothing but a rock, with one creek naturally arched by the force of
+tempests. Here I put in my canoe, and climbing a part of the rock, I could
+plainly discover land to the east, extending from south to north. I lay all
+night in my canoe; and repeating my voyage early in the morning, I arrived in
+seven hours to the south-east point of New Holland. This confirmed me in the
+opinion I have long entertained, that the maps and charts place this country at
+least three degrees more to the east than it really is; which thought I
+communicated many years ago to my worthy friend, Mr. Herman Moll, and gave him
+my reasons for it, although he has rather chosen to follow other authors.
+I saw no inhabitants in the place where I landed, and being unarmed, I was
+afraid of venturing far into the country. I found some shellfish on the shore,
+and ate them raw, not daring to kindle a fire, for fear of being discovered by
+the natives. I continued three days feeding on oysters and limpets, to save my
+own provisions; and I fortunately found a brook of excellent water, which gave
+me great relief.
+On the fourth day, venturing out early a little too far, I saw twenty or thirty
+natives upon a height not above five hundred yards from me. They were stark
+naked, men, women, and children, round a fire, as I could discover by the
+smoke. One of them spied me, and gave notice to the rest; five of them advanced
+toward me, leaving the women and children at the fire. I made what haste I
+could to the shore, and, getting into my canoe, shoved off: the savages,
+observing me retreat, ran after me: and before I could get far enough into the
+sea, discharged an arrow which wounded me deeply on the inside of my left knee:
+I shall carry the mark to my grave. I apprehended the arrow might be poisoned,
+and paddling out of the reach of their darts (being a calm day), I made a shift
+to suck the wound, and dress it as well as I could.
+I was at a loss what to do, for I durst not return to the same landing-place,
+but stood to the north, and was forced to paddle, for the wind, though very
+gentle, was against me, blowing north- west. As I was looking about for a
+secure landing-place, I saw a sail to the north-north-east, which appearing
+every minute more visible, I was in some doubt whether I should wait for them
+or not; but at last my detestation of the Yahoo race prevailed: and turning my
+canoe, I sailed and paddled together to the south, and got into the same creek
+whence I set out in the morning, choosing rather to trust myself among these
+barbarians, than live with European Yahoos. I drew up my canoe as close as I
+could to the shore, and hid myself behind a stone by the little brook, which,
+as I have already said, was excellent water.
+The ship came within half a league of this creek, and sent her long boat with
+vessels to take in fresh water (for the place, it seems, was very well known);
+but I did not observe it, till the boat was almost on shore; and it was too
+late to seek another hiding-place. The seamen at their landing observed my
+canoe, and rummaging it all over, easily conjectured that the owner could not
+be far off. Four of them, well armed, searched every cranny and lurking-hole,
+till at last they found me flat on my face behind the stone. They gazed awhile
+in admiration at my strange uncouth dress; my coat made of skins, my
+wooden-soled shoes, and my furred stockings; whence, however, they concluded, I
+was not a native of the place, who all go naked. One of the seamen, in
+Portuguese, bid me rise, and asked who I was. I understood that language very
+well, and getting upon my feet, said, "I was a poor Yahoo banished from the
+Houyhnhnms, and desired they would please to let me depart." They admired to
+hear me answer them in their own tongue, and saw by my complexion I must be a
+European; but were at a loss to know what I meant by Yahoos and Houyhnhnms; and
+at the same time fell a-laughing at my strange tone in speaking, which
+resembled the neighing of a horse. I trembled all the while betwixt fear and
+hatred. I again desired leave to depart, and was gently moving to my canoe; but
+they laid hold of me, desiring to know, "what country I was of? whence I came?"
+with many other questions. I told them "I was born in England, whence I came
+about five years ago, and then their country and ours were at peace. I
+therefore hoped they would not treat me as an enemy, since I meant them no
+harm, but was a poor Yahoo seeking some desolate place where to pass the
+remainder of his unfortunate life."
+When they began to talk, I thought I never heard or saw any thing more
+unnatural; for it appeared to me as monstrous as if a dog or a cow should speak
+in England, or a Yahoo in Houyhnhnmland. The honest Portuguese were equally
+amazed at my strange dress, and the odd manner of delivering my words, which,
+however, they understood very well. They spoke to me with great humanity, and
+said, "they were sure the captain would carry me gratis to Lisbon, whence I
+might return to my own country; that two of the seamen would go back to the
+ship, inform the captain of what they had seen, and receive his orders; in the
+mean time, unless I would give my solemn oath not to fly, they would secure me
+by force. I thought it best to comply with their proposal. They were very
+curious to know my story, but I gave them very little satisfaction, and they
+all conjectured that my misfortunes had impaired my reason. In two hours the
+boat, which went laden with vessels of water, returned, with the captain's
+command to fetch me on board. I fell on my knees to preserve my liberty; but
+all was in vain; and the men, having tied me with cords, heaved me into the
+boat, whence I was taken into the ship, and thence into the captain's cabin.
+His name was Pedro de Mendez; he was a very courteous and generous person. He
+entreated me to give some account of myself, and desired to know what I would
+eat or drink; said, "I should be used as well as himself;" and spoke so many
+obliging things, that I wondered to find such civilities from a Yahoo. However,
+I remained silent and sullen; I was ready to faint at the very smell of him and
+his men. At last I desired something to eat out of my own canoe; but he ordered
+me a chicken, and some excellent wine, and then directed that I should be put
+to bed in a very clean cabin. I would not undress myself, but lay on the
+bed-clothes, and in half an hour stole out, when I thought the crew was at
+dinner, and getting to the side of the ship, was going to leap into the sea,
+and swim for my life, rather than continue among Yahoos. But one of the seamen
+prevented me, and having informed the captain, I was chained to my cabin.
+After dinner, Don Pedro came to me, and desired to know my reason for so
+desperate an attempt; assured me, "he only meant to do me all the service he
+was able;" and spoke so very movingly, that at last I descended to treat him
+like an animal which had some little portion of reason. I gave him a very short
+relation of my voyage; of the conspiracy against me by my own men; of the
+country where they set me on shore, and of my five years residence there. All
+which he looked upon as if it were a dream or a vision; whereat I took great
+offence; for I had quite forgot the faculty of lying, so peculiar to Yahoos, in
+all countries where they preside, and, consequently, their disposition of
+suspecting truth in others of their own species. I asked him, "whether it were
+the custom in his country to say the thing which was not?" I assured him, "I
+had almost forgot what he meant by falsehood, and if I had lived a thousand
+years in Houyhnhnmland, I should never have heard a lie from the meanest
+servant; that I was altogether indifferent whether he believed me or not; but,
+however, in return for his favours, I would give so much allowance to the
+corruption of his nature, as to answer any objection he would please to make,
+and then he might easily discover the truth."
+The captain, a wise man, after many endeavours to catch me tripping in some
+part of my story, at last began to have a better opinion of my veracity. But he
+added, "that since I professed so inviolable an attachment to truth, I must
+give him my word and honour to bear him company in this voyage, without
+attempting any thing against my life; or else he would continue me a prisoner
+till we arrived at Lisbon." I gave him the promise he required; but at the same
+time protested, "that I would suffer the greatest hardships, rather than return
+to live among Yahoos."
+Our voyage passed without any considerable accident. In gratitude to the
+captain, I sometimes sat with him, at his earnest request, and strove to
+conceal my antipathy against human kind, although it often broke out; which he
+suffered to pass without observation. But the greatest part of the day I
+confined myself to my cabin, to avoid seeing any of the crew. The captain had
+often entreated me to strip myself of my savage dress, and offered to lend me
+the best suit of clothes he had. This I would not be prevailed on to accept,
+abhorring to cover myself with any thing that had been on the back of a Yahoo.
+I only desired he would lend me two clean shirts, which, having been washed
+since he wore them, I believed would not so much defile me. These I changed
+every second day, and washed them myself.
+We arrived at Lisbon, Nov. 5, 1715. At our landing, the captain forced me to
+cover myself with his cloak, to prevent the rabble from crowding about me. I
+was conveyed to his own house; and at my earnest request he led me up to the
+highest room backwards. I conjured him "to conceal from all persons what I had
+told him of the Houyhnhnms; because the least hint of such a story would not
+only draw numbers of people to see me, but probably put me in danger of being
+imprisoned, or burnt by the Inquisition." The captain persuaded me to accept a
+suit of clothes newly made; but I would not suffer the tailor to take my
+measure; however, Don Pedro being almost of my size, they fitted me well
+enough. He accoutred me with other necessaries, all new, which I aired for
+twenty-four hours before I would use them.
+The captain had no wife, nor above three servants, none of which were suffered
+to attend at meals; and his whole deportment was so obliging, added to very
+good human understanding, that I really began to tolerate his company. He
+gained so far upon me, that I ventured to look out of the back window. By
+degrees I was brought into another room, whence I peeped into the street, but
+drew my head back in a fright. In a week's time he seduced me down to the door.
+I found my terror gradually lessened, but my hatred and contempt seemed to
+increase. I was at last bold enough to walk the street in his company, but kept
+my nose well stopped with rue, or sometimes with tobacco.
+In ten days, Don Pedro, to whom I had given some account of my domestic
+affairs, put it upon me, as a matter of honour and conscience, "that I ought to
+return to my native country, and live at home with my wife and children." He
+told me, "there was an English ship in the port just ready to sail, and he
+would furnish me with all things necessary." It would be tedious to repeat his
+arguments, and my contradictions. He said, "it was altogether impossible to
+find such a solitary island as I desired to live in; but I might command in my
+own house, and pass my time in a manner as recluse as I pleased."
+I complied at last, finding I could not do better. I left Lisbon the 24th day
+of November, in an English merchantman, but who was the master I never
+inquired. Don Pedro accompanied me to the ship, and lent me twenty pounds. He
+took kind leave of me, and embraced me at parting, which I bore as well as I
+could. During this last voyage I had no commerce with the master or any of his
+men; but, pretending I was sick, kept close in my cabin. On the fifth of
+December, 1715, we cast anchor in the Downs, about nine in the morning, and at
+three in the afternoon I got safe to my house at Rotherhith.~^
+My wife and family received me with great surprise and joy, because they
+concluded me certainly dead; but I must freely confess the sight of them filled
+me only with hatred, disgust, and contempt; and the more, by reflecting on the
+near alliance I had to them. For although, since my unfortunate exile from the
+Houyhnhnm country, I had compelled myself to tolerate the sight of Yahoos, and
+to converse with Don Pedro de Mendez, yet my memory and imagination were
+perpetually filled with the virtues and ideas of those exalted Houyhnhnms. And
+when I began to consider that, by copulating with one of the Yahoo species I
+had become a parent of more, it struck me with the utmost shame, confusion, and
+As soon as I entered the house, my wife took me in her arms, and kissed me; at
+which, having not been used to the touch of that odious animal for so many
+years, I fell into a swoon for almost an hour. At the time I am writing, it is
+five years since my last return to England. During the first year, I could not
+endure my wife or children in my presence; the very smell of them was
+intolerable; much less could I suffer them to eat in the same room. To this
+hour they dare not presume to touch my bread, or drink out of the same cup,
+neither was I ever able to let one of them take me by the hand. The first money
+I laid out was to buy two young stone-horses, which I keep in a good stable;
+and next to them, the groom is my greatest favourite, for I feel my spirits
+revived by the smell he contracts in the stable. My horses understand me
+tolerably well; I converse with them at least four hours every day. They are
+strangers to bridle or saddle; they live in great amity with me and friendship
+to each other.
+[The author's veracity. His design in publishing this work. His censure of
+those travellers who swerve from the truth. The author clears himself from any
+sinister ends in writing. An objection answered. The method of planting
+colonies. His native country commended. The right of the crown to those
+countries described by the author is justified. The difficulty of conquering
+them. The author takes his last leave of the reader; proposes his manner of
+living for the future; gives good advice, and concludes.]
+Thus, gentle reader, I have given thee a faithful history of my travels for
+sixteen years and above seven months: wherein I have not been so studious of
+ornament as of truth. I could, perhaps, like others, have astonished thee with
+strange improbable tales; but I rather chose to relate plain matter of fact, in
+the simplest manner and style; because my principal design was to inform, and
+not to amuse thee.
+It is easy for us who travel into remote countries, which are seldom visited by
+Englishmen or other Europeans, to form descriptions of wonderful animals both
+at sea and land. Whereas a traveller's chief aim should be to make men wiser
+and better, and to improve their minds by the bad, as well as good, example of
+what they deliver concerning foreign places.
+I could heartily wish a law was enacted, that every traveller, before he were
+permitted to publish his voyages, should be obliged to make oath before the
+Lord High Chancellor, that all he intended to print was absolutely true to the
+best of his knowledge; for then the world would no longer be deceived, as it
+usually is, while some writers, to make their works pass the better upon the
+public, impose the grossest falsities on the unwary reader. I have perused
+several books of travels with great delight in my younger days; but having
+since gone over most parts of the globe, and been able to contradict many
+fabulous accounts from my own observation, it has given me a great disgust
+against this part of reading, and some indignation to see the credulity of
+mankind so impudently abused. Therefore, since my acquaintance were pleased to
+think my poor endeavours might not be unacceptable to my country, I imposed on
+myself, as a maxim never to be swerved from, that I would strictly adhere to
+truth; neither indeed can I be ever under the least temptation to vary from it,
+while I retain in my mind the lectures and example of my noble master and the
+other illustrious Houyhnhnms of whom I had so long the honour to be an humble
+- Nec si miserum Fortuna Sinonem Finxit, vanum etiam, mendacemque improba
+I know very well, how little reputation is to be got by writings which require
+neither genius nor learning, nor indeed any other talent, except a good memory,
+or an exact journal. I know likewise, that writers of travels, like
+dictionary-makers, are sunk into oblivion by the weight and bulk of those who
+come last, and therefore lie uppermost. And it is highly probable, that such
+travellers, who shall hereafter visit the countries described in this work of
+mine, may, by detecting my errors (if there be any), and adding many new
+discoveries of their own, justle me out of vogue, and stand in my place, making
+the world forget that ever I was an author. This indeed would be too great a
+mortification, if I wrote for fame: but as my sole intention was the public
+good, I cannot be altogether disappointed. For who can read of the virtues I
+have mentioned in the glorious Houyhnhnms, without being ashamed of his own
+vices, when he considers himself as the reasoning, governing animal of his
+country? I shall say nothing of those remote nations where Yahoos preside;
+among which the least corrupted are the Brobdingnagians; whose wise maxims in
+morality and government it would be our happiness to observe. But I forbear
+descanting further, and rather leave the judicious reader to his own remarks
+and application.
+I am not a little pleased that this work of mine can possibly meet with no
+censurers: for what objections can be made against a writer, who relates only
+plain facts, that happened in such distant countries, where we have not the
+least interest, with respect either to trade or negotiations? I have carefully
+avoided every fault with which common writers of travels are often too justly
+charged. Besides, I meddle not the least with any party, but write without
+passion, prejudice, or ill-will against any man, or number of men, whatsoever.
+I write for the noblest end, to inform and instruct mankind; over whom I may,
+without breach of modesty, pretend to some superiority, from the advantages I
+received by conversing so long among the most accomplished Houyhnhnms. I write
+without any view to profit or praise. I never suffer a word to pass that may
+look like reflection, or possibly give the least offence, even to those who are
+most ready to take it. So that I hope I may with justice pronounce myself an
+author perfectly blameless; against whom the tribes of Answerers, Considerers,
+Observers, Reflectors, Detectors, Remarkers, will never be able to find matter
+for exercising their talents.
+I confess, it was whispered to me, "that I was bound in duty, as a subject of
+England, to have given in a memorial to a secretary of state at my first coming
+over; because, whatever lands are discovered by a subject belong to the crown."
+But I doubt whether our conquests in the countries I treat of would be as easy
+as those of Ferdinando Cortez over the naked Americans. The Lilliputians, I
+think, are hardly worth the charge of a fleet and army to reduce them; and I
+question whether it might be prudent or safe to attempt the Brobdingnagians; or
+whether an English army would be much at their ease with the Flying Island over
+their heads. The Houyhnhnms indeed appear not to be so well prepared for war, a
+science to which they are perfect strangers, and especially against missive
+weapons. However, supposing myself to be a minister of state, I could never
+give my advice for invading them. Their prudence, unanimity, unacquaintedness
+with fear, and their love of their country, would amply supply all defects in
+the military art. Imagine twenty thousand of them breaking into the midst of an
+European army, confounding the ranks, overturning the carriages, battering the
+warriors' faces into mummy by terrible yerks from their hinder hoofs; for they
+would well deserve the character given to Augustus, Recalcitrat undique tutus.
+But, instead of proposals for conquering that magnanimous nation, I rather wish
+they were in a capacity, or disposition, to send a sufficient number of their
+inhabitants for civilizing Europe, by teaching us the first principles of
+honour, justice, truth, temperance, public spirit, fortitude, chastity,
+friendship, benevolence, and fidelity. The names of all which virtues are still
+retained among us in most languages, and are to be met with in modern, as well
+as ancient authors; which I am able to assert from my own small reading.
+But I had another reason, which made me less forward to enlarge his majesty's
+dominions by my discoveries. To say the truth, I had conceived a few scruples
+with relation to the distributive justice of princes upon those occasions. For
+instance, a crew of pirates are driven by a storm they know not whither; at
+length a boy discovers land from the topmast; they go on shore to rob and
+plunder, they see a harmless people, are entertained with kindness; they give
+the country a new name; they take formal possession of it for their king; they
+set up a rotten plank, or a stone, for a memorial; they murder two or three
+dozen of the natives, bring away a couple more, by force, for a sample; return
+home, and get their pardon. Here commences a new dominion acquired with a title
+by divine right. Ships are sent with the first opportunity; the natives driven
+out or destroyed; their princes tortured to discover their gold; a free license
+given to all acts of inhumanity and lust, the earth reeking with the blood of
+its inhabitants: and this execrable crew of butchers, employed in so pious an
+expedition, is a modern colony, sent to convert and civilize an idolatrous and
+barbarous people!
+But this description, I confess, does by no means affect the British nation,
+who may be an example to the whole world for their wisdom, care, and justice in
+planting colonies; their liberal endowments for the advancement of religion and
+learning; their choice of devout and able pastors to propagate Christianity;
+their caution in stocking their provinces with people of sober lives and
+conversations from this the mother kingdom; their strict regard to the
+distribution of justice, in supplying the civil administration through all
+their colonies with officers of the greatest abilities, utter strangers to
+corruption; and, to crown all, by sending the most vigilant and virtuous
+governors, who have no other views than the happiness of the people over whom
+they preside, and the honour of the king their master.
+But as those countries which I have described do not appear to have any desire
+of being conquered and enslaved, murdered or driven out by colonies, nor abound
+either in gold, silver, sugar, or tobacco, I did humbly conceive, they were by
+no means proper objects of our zeal, our valour, or our interest. However, if
+those whom it more concerns think fit to be of another opinion, I am ready to
+depose, when I shall be lawfully called, that no European did ever visit those
+countries before me. I mean, if the inhabitants ought to be believed, unless a
+dispute may arise concerning the two Yahoos, said to have been seen many years
+ago upon a mountain in Houyhnhnmland.
+But, as to the formality of taking possession in my sovereign's name, it never
+came once into my thoughts; and if it had, yet, as my affairs then stood, I
+should perhaps, in point of prudence and self-preservation, have put it off to
+a better opportunity.
+Having thus answered the only objection that can ever be raised against me as a
+traveller, I here take a final leave of all my courteous readers, and return to
+enjoy my own speculations in my little garden at Redriff; to apply those
+excellent lessons of virtue which I learned among the Houyhnhnms; to instruct
+the Yahoos of my own family, is far as I shall find them docible animals; to
+behold my figure often in a glass, and thus, if possible, habituate myself by
+time to tolerate the sight of a human creature; to lament the brutality to
+Houyhnhnms in my own country, but always treat their persons with respect, for
+the sake of my noble master, his family, his friends, and the whole Houyhnhnm
+race, whom these of ours have the honour to resemble in all their lineaments,
+however their intellectuals came to degenerate.
+I began last week to permit my wife to sit at dinner with me, at the farthest
+end of a long table; and to answer (but with the utmost brevity) the few
+questions I asked her. Yet, the smell of a Yahoo continuing very offensive, I
+always keep my nose well stopped with rue, lavender, or tobacco leaves. And,
+although it be hard for a man late in life to remove old habits, I am not
+altogether out of hopes, in some time, to suffer a neighbour Yahoo in my
+company, without the apprehensions I am yet under of his teeth or his claws.
+My reconcilement to the Yahoo kind in general might not be so difficult, if
+they would be content with those vices and follies only which nature has
+entitled them to. I am not in the least provoked at the sight of a lawyer, a
+pickpocket, a colonel, a fool, a lord, a gamester, a politician, a whoremonger,
+a physician, an evidence, a suborner, an attorney, a traitor, or the like; this
+is all according to the due course of things: but when I behold a lump of
+deformity and diseases, both in body and mind, smitten with pride, it
+immediately breaks all the measures of my patience; neither shall I be ever
+able to comprehend how such an animal, and such a vice, could tally together.
+The wise and virtuous Houyhnhnms, who abound in all excellences that can adorn
+a rational creature, have no name for this vice in their language, which has no
+terms to express any thing that is evil, except those whereby they describe the
+detestable qualities of their Yahoos, among which they were not able to
+distinguish this of pride, for want of thoroughly understanding human nature,
+as it shows itself in other countries where that animal presides. But I, who
+had more experience, could plainly observe some rudiments of it among the wild
+But the Houyhnhnms, who live under the government of reason, are no more proud
+of the good qualities they possess, than I should be for not wanting a leg or
+an arm; which no man in his wits would boast of, although he must be miserable
+without them. I dwell the longer upon this subject from the desire I have to
+make the society of an English Yahoo by any means not insupportable; and
+therefore I here entreat those who have any tincture of this absurd vice, that
+they will not presume to come in my sight.
+^~ A stang is a pole or perch; sixteen feet and a half.
+^~ An act of parliament has been since passed by which some breaches of trust
+have been made capital.
+^~ Britannia.--Sir W. Scott.
+^~ London.--Sir W. Scott.
+^~ This is the revised text adopted by Dr. Hawksworth (1766). The above
+paragraph in the original editions (1726) takes another form, commencing:- "I
+told him that should I happen to live in a kingdom where lots were in vogue,"
+&c. The names Tribnia and Langdon an not mentioned, and the "close stool" and
+its signification do not occur.
+^~ This paragraph is not in the original editions.
+^~ The original editions and Hawksworth's have Rotherhith here, though earlier
+in the work, Redriff is said to have been Gulliver's home in England.