[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
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
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.
                       RICHARD SYMPSON

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 vice.
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
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
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 prosperous.
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 sunrise 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 four-score 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 him.]
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, (1) 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 horse-back 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
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 follows:
"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 though 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


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
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 pack-thread 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
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
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 wars.]
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 you.".
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

[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 me.
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
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
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 England.
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. (2)
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
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
The pension from each family for the education and entertainment
of a child, upon failure of due payment, is levied by the emperor's
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 eleven.
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

[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
"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
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

"'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
"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
"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 apartment.
"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

[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
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
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 sailor.
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 young.
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 fleeces.
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 halloo 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
back-wards 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,

[A description of the farmer's daughter. The author carried to a
market-town, and then to the metropolis. The particulars of his
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 distress.
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 town.
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

[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
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
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 habit.
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
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 sea-port 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
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
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 expense..

[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
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
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 earth.".

[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
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
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 duty..

[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
seashore. 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 last.
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
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
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 captain.
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
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
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
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 afford.
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 well.
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.]
Ay 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 pulleys.
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 occasion..
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 bodies.
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 child-bearing..

[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 acknowledgment..
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 manner.
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
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 converse.
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
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
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 metropolis.
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, (3) by the natives
called Langdon, (4) 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. (5)
"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
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
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
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 drinking.".
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
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 business."
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
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 merit.
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
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
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
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 Luggnagg.
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 expenses.
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

[The Luggnaggians commended. A particular description of the
Struldbrugs, with many conversations between the author and
some eminent persons upon that subject.]
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 STRULDBRUG.".
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 year.
"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
"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
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 wife.
"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 allowance.
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 four-score 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
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 public..

[The author leaves Luggnagg, and sails to Japan. From thence he
returns in a Dutch ship to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to
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
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
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 phenomenon.
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 capacity.
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
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
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

[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 voyage.]
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 it."
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 cold..
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 diverting."
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
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 hither."
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 English..
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 Europe."
"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
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
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 able."
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

[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, seaweed, 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 princes."
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." (6).

[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 nature.]
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
"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
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 disdain."
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
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 adventure.
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
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 loss..

[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
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, and an ill-contrived house YNHOLMHNMROHLNW

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
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

[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. (7).
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 horror.
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 hearer.

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 YAHOOS.
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.

(1) A stang is a pole or perch; sixteen feet and a half.

(2) An act of parliament has been since passed by which some
breaches of trust have been made capital.

(3) Britannia. -SIR W. SCOTT.

(4) London. -SIR W. SCOTT.

(5) 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.

(6) This paragraph is not in the original editions..

(7) 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.

Last-modified: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 06:03:22 GMT