GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
                               by Jonathan Swift

  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
direction to hire some young gentlemen 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 the late 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 as 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 offense; 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 called 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 on 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 these were brutes,
and those the rational creatures? And indeed, to avoid so monstrous
and detestable a sight was one principal motive of my retirement
  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 judgement,
in being prevailed upon by the entreaties and false reasonings 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 precepts or examples: and so it hath 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 hath
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 lawbooks; 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 states-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 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 hath been so careless as to
confound the times, and mistake the dates of my several voyages and
returns; neither assigning the true year, or the true month, or 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 visit me at my own house,
we neither of us are able to deliver our conceptions in a manner
intelligible to the other.
  If the censure of 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 my 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 city, who only differ from
their brother brutes in Houyhnhnm-land, because they use a sort of a
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 far
degenerated as to defend my veracity? Yahoo as I am, it is well
known through all Houyhnhnm-land, 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
  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 visionary
schemes for ever.

April 2, 1727.

  The author of these Travels, Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, is my ancient
and intimate friend; there is likewise some relation between us by 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 neighbors.
  Although Mr. Gulliver was born in Nottinghamshire, where his
father dwelt, yet I have heard him say his family came from
Oxfordshire; to confirm which, I have observed in the churchyard at
Banbury, in that county, several tombs and monuments of the Gullivers.
  Before he quitted Redriff, he left the custody of the following
papers in my hands, with the liberty to dispose of them as I should
think fit. I have carefully perused them three times: the style is
very plain and simple; and the only fault I find is, that the
author, after the manner of travelers, 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 neighbors at Redriff, when any one affirmed a thing,
to say it was as true as if Mr. Gulliver had spoke 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
the 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
traveler hath a curiosity to see the whole work at large, as it came
from the hand of the author, I shall 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.
                                     PART I
                              A VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT
                                  (SEE PLATE 1)

  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; and my father now and then sending me small
sums of money, I laid them out in learning navigation, and other parts
of the mathematics, useful to those who intend to travel, as I
always believed it would be some time or other my fortune to do.
When I left Mr. Bates, I went down to my father; where, by the
assistance of him and my uncle John, and some other relations, I got
forty pounds, and a promise of thirty pounds a year to maintain me
at Leyden: there I studied physic two years and seven months,
knowing it would be useful in long voyages.
  Soon after my return from Leyden, I was recommended, by my good
master Mr. Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, Captain Abraham
Pannell 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 Jury; 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, 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 jury 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 at first was 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 northwest 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
labor and ill food, the rest were in a very weak condition. On the
fifth 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 labor 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 remember to have done in my
life, and, as I reckoned, above nine hours; for when I awakened, it
was just daylight. I attempted to rise, but was not able to stir
for, as I happened to he 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 armpits 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 meantime, 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 I then 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 me 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 armies 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 on my mouth, to signify
that I wanted food. The Hurgo (for so they call a great lord, as I
afterwards learned) 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 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 toward 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 mivola, 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
honor I made them, for so I interpreted my submissive behavior, 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 dare 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 the 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 who conjecturing
by my motions 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 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 endeavored to kill me with
their spears and arrows while I was asleep, I should certainly have
awakened 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 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
whole 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
awaking so suddenly. We made a long march the remaining part of that
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 on as profane, and
therefore had been applied to common uses, 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 smiths conveyed
fourscore and eleven chains, like those that hang to a lady's watch in
Europe, and almost as large, which were locked to my left leg with six
and thirty padlocks. Over against this temple, on the other side of
the great highway, at twenty feet distance, there was a turret at
least five feet high. Here the Emperor ascended with many principal
lords of his court, to have an opportunity of viewing me, as I was
told, for I could not see them. It was reckoned that above a hundred
thousand inhabitants came out of the town upon the same errand; and in
spite of my guards, I believe there could not be fewer than ten
thousand, at several times, who mounted upon 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 semi-circle; but, being fixed within four inches
of the gate, allowed me to creep in, and lie at my full length in
the temple.

  When I found myself on my feet, I looked about me, and must
confess I never beheld a more entertaining prospect. The country round
appeared like a continued garden, and the inclosed fields, which
were generally forty feet square, resembled so many beds of flowers.
These fields were intermingled with woods of half a sting, 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
unburdened 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 wheelbarrows, by two servants appointed for that
purpose. I would not have dwelt so long upon a circumstance, that
perhaps at first sight may appear not very momentous, if I had not
thought it necessary to justify my character in point of cleanliness
to the world; which I am told some of my maligners have been
pleased, upon this and other occasions, to call in question.
  When this adventure was at an end, I came back out of my house,
having occasion for fresh air. The Emperor was already descended
from the tower, and advancing on horseback towards me, which had
like to have cost him dear; for the beast, though very well trained,
yet wholly unused to such a sight, which appeared as if a mountain
moved before him, he reared up on his 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
without 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 vehicle 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 on 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 dare, 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 forwards 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 obliged at this mark of my
clemency, which was represented very much to my advantage at court.
  Towards night I with some difficulty got 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 I.
  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 court; whereby the secretaries of state got
considerable fees.
  In the meantime, 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 looked upon to
be 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 dispatch 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 behavior to the six
criminals above mentioned, which made so favorable 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
honored 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 learned 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 apprehend it, was, that this must be a work of
time, not to be thought on without the advice of his council, and that
first I must Lumos kelmin pesso desmar lon Emposo; that is, swear a
peace with him and his kingdom. However, that I should be used with
all kindness; and he advised me to acquire, by my patience and
discreet behavior, 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 out 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; that 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 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 everything they saw;
and when they were through, desired I would set them down, that they
might deliver it to the Emperor. This inventory I afterwards
translated that 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 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 palisades 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 ranfu-lo, 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 to 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
fastened to that chain; which appeared to be a globe, half silver, and
half of some transparent metal: for on the transparent side we saw
certain strange figures circularly drawn, and thought we could touch
them, till we found our fingers stopped by that lucid substance. He
put this engine to our ears, which made an incessant noise like that
of a watermill: 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 anything
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 serve him for the same use: we found
therein several massy pieces of yellow metal, which, if they be real
gold, must be of immense value.
  Having thus, in obedience to your Majesty's commands, diligently
searched all his pockets, we observed a girdle about his waist made of
the hide of some prodigious animal; from which, on the left side, hung
a sword of the length of five men; and on the right, a bag or pouch
divided into two cells, each cell capable of holding three of your
Majesty's subjects. In one of these cells were several globes or balls
of a most ponderous metal, about the bigness of our heads, and
requiring a strong hand to lift them: the other cell contained a
heap of certain black grains, but of no great bulk or weight, for we
could hold above fifty of them in the palms of our hands.
  This is an exact inventory of what we found about the body of the
Man-Mountain, who used us with great civility, and due respect to your
Majesty's commission. Signed and sealed on the fourth day of the
eighty-ninth moon of your Majesty's auspicious reign.
                                   Clefren Frelock, Marsi Frelock.

  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 meantime 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 my 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 foot 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 in 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 the 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; and asked the opinions of his
learned men about him, 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 my eyes), a pocket perspective,
and several other little conveniences; which, being of no
consequence to the Emperor, I did not think myself bound in honor to
discover, and I apprehended they might be lost or spoiled if I
ventured them out of my possession.

  My gentleness and good behavior 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 favorable 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 last the boys and girls would venture to come and play at
hide and seek in my hair. I had now made good progress in
understanding and speaking their language. The Emperor had a mind
one day to entertain me with several of the country shows, wherein
they exceeded 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 practiced by those persons who are candidates
for great employments and high favors 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 the rope, which is
no thicker than a common packthread in England. My friend Reldresal,
principal Secretary for Private Affairs, is, in my opinion, if I am
not partial, the second after the Treasurer; the rest of the great
officers are much upon a par.
  These diversions are often attended with fatal accidents, whereof
great numbers are on record. I myself have seen two or three
candidates break a limb. But the danger is much greater when the
ministers themselves are commanded to show their dexterity; for by
contending to excell 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 have infallibly broken 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 favor. 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 old or the new 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 backwards and forwards 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-colored 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 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 as 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 horse, twentyfour 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, from whence 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 these kind of feats, 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 ground, 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 tunes: 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 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 wagoners arrived with it, but not in a very good condition;
they had bored two holes in the brim, within an inch and a 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 a
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 twentyfour in a breast, and the horse by sixteen, with drums
beating, colors flying, and pikes advanced. This body consisted of
three thousand foot, and a thousand horse. His Majesty gave orders,
upon pain of death, that every soldier in his march should observe the
strictest decency with regard to my person; which, however, could
not prevent some of the younger officers from turning up their eyes as
they passed under me. And, to confess the truth, my breeches were at
that time in so ill a condition, that they afforded some opportunities
for laughter and admiration.
  I had sent so many memorials and petitions for my liberty, that
his Majesty at length mentioned the matter, first in the cabinet,
and then in a full council; where it was opposed by none, except
Skyresh Bolgolam, who was pleased, without any provocation, to be my
mortal enemy. But it was carried against him by the whole board, and
confirmed by the Emperor. That minister was Galbet, or Admiral of
the Realm, very much in his master's confidence, and a person well
versed in affairs, but of a morose and sour complexion. However, he
was at length persuaded to comply; but prevailed that the articles and
conditions upon which I should be set free, and to which I must swear,
should be drawn up by himself. These articles were brought to me by
Skyresh Bolgolam in person, attended by two under-secretaries, and
several persons of distinction. After they were read, I was demanded
to swear to the performance of them; first in the manner of my own
country, and afterwards in the method prescribed by their laws;
which was to hold my right foot in my left hand, 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 perhaps be curious
to have some idea of the style and manner of expression peculiar to
that people, as well as to know the articles 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.

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
center, 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 to
our celestial dominions, the following articles, which by a solemn
oath he shall be obliged to perform.
  First, The Man-Mountain shall not depart from our dominions, without
our license under our great seal.
  2nd, 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 their doors.
  3rd, 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 said subjects into his
hands, without their own consent.
  5th, If an express requires extraordinary dispatch, 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
of 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 1,728 of our subjects, with
free access to our Royal Person, and other marks of our favor. 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 honorable 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 honor to
be by at the whole ceremony. I made my acknowledgments 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 favors he had already
conferred upon me, or might do for the future.
  The reader may please to observe, that in the last article for the
recovery of my liberty the Emperor stipulates to allow me a quantity
of meat and drink sufficient for the support of 1,728 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 1,728 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.

  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 Gate, and passed very gently, and sidering
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, that 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 cross and divide it into four quarters, are five feet wide. The
lanes and alleys, which I could not enter, but only viewed 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 distant 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 stepped over the buildings 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
  But I shall not anticipate the reader with farther 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 a long 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) of 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 hour's audience;
which I readily consented to, on account of his quality and personal
merits, as well as 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 labor 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 above 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 on 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 of only 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 one of his
heels 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 Blefuscu 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 however,
is thought to be a mere strain upon the text: for the words are these;
That all true believers shall 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 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 valor 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 Empire of Blefuscu is an island situated to the
north-northeast side of Lilliput, from whence 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 harbor 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 northeast coast over against Blefuscu; and
lying down behind a hillock, took out my small pocket 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 order (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, binding the
extremities into a hook. Having thus fixed fifty hooks to as many
cables, I went back to the northeast coast, and putting off my coat,
shoes, and stockings, walked into the sea in my leather 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
frighted 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 a 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 besides the excessive
smart, gave me much disturbance in my work. My greatest apprehension
was for my 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 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 hooks fixed to the ships, I
resolutely cut with my knife the cables that fastened the anchors,
receiving above 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 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, that 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 in more 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
Emperor 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 honor 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
unmeasurable 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 endeavored 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
it; 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 valor 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
honor to present my most humble respects to the Emperor their
master, the renown of whose 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
honor 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
plainly perceive, in a very cold manner; but could not guess the
reason, till I had a whisper from a certain person, that Flimnap and
Bolgolam had represented my intercourse with those ambassadors as a
mark of disaffection, from which I am sure my heart was wholly free.
And this was the first time I began to conceive some imperfect idea of
courts and ministers.
  It is to be observed, that these ambassadors spoke to me by an
interpreter, the languages of both empires differing as much from each
other as any two in Europe, and each nation priding itself upon the
antiquity, beauty, and energy of their own tongues, with an avowed
contempt for that of their neighbor; 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 both tongues; as I found some weeks after, when I went to
pay my respects to the Emperor of Blefuscu, which in the midst of
great misfortunes, through the malice of my enemies, proved a very
happy adventure to me, as I shall relate in its proper place.
  The reader may remember, that when I signed those articles upon
which I recovered my liberty, there were some which I disliked upon
account of their being too servile, neither could anything but an
extreme necessity have forced me to submit. But being now a Nardac, of
the highest rank in that empire, such offices were looked upon as
below my dignity, and the Emperor (to do him justice) never once
mentioned them to me. However, it was not long before I had an
opportunity of doing his Majesty, at least, as I then thought, a
most signal service. I was alarmed at midnight with the cries of
many hundred people at my door; by which being suddenly awaked, I
was in some kind of terror. I heard the word burglum repeated
incessantly: several of the Emperor's court, making their way
through the crowd, entreated me to come immediately to the Palace,
where her Imperial Majesty's apartment was on fire, by the
carelessness of a maid of honor, 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 a large thimble, 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 burned 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
laboring to quench them, made the wine begin to operate my 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 daylight, 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 confidants could not forbear vowing revenge.

  Although I intend to leave the description of this empire to a
particular treatise, yet in the meantime 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 a 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 had 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 had 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; nor from down to
up, like the Cascagians; but aslant from one corner of the paper to
the other, like ladies in England.
  They bury their dead with their heads directly downwards, 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 that 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 had been at in making his
defense. Or, if that fund be deficient, it is largely supplied by
the Crown. The Emperor does also confer on him some public mark of his
favor, and proclamation is made of his innocence through the whole
  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 fence 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. remember
when I was once interceding with the King 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 defense, the greatest aggravation of
the crime: and truly I had little to say in return, farther than the
common answer, that different nations had different customs; for, I
confess, I was heartily ashamed.
  Although we usually call reward and punishment the two hinges upon
which all government turns, yet I could never observe this maxim to be
put in practice by any nation except that of Lilliput. Whoever can
there bring sufficient proof that he has strictly observed the laws of
his country for seventy-three moons, has a claim to certain
privileges, according to his quality and 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
understandings 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 had
great abilities to manage, and 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 favor and
distinction by leaping over sticks and creeping under them, the reader
is to observe, that they were first introduced by the grandfather of
the Emperor now reigning, and grew to the present height by the
gradual increase of party and faction.
   Ingratitude is among them a capital crime, as we read it to have
been in some other countries; for they reason thus, that whoever makes
ill returns to his benefactor, must needs be a common enemy to the
rest of mankind, from whom he has received no obligation, and
therefore such a man is not fit to live.
  Their notions relating to the duties of parents and children
differ extremely from ours. For since the conjunction of male and
female is founded upon the great law of nature, in order to
propagate and continue the species, the Lilliputians will needs have
it, that men and women are joined together like other animals, by
the motives of concupiscence; and that their tenderness towards
their young proceeds from the like natural principle: for which reason
they will never allow, that a child is under any obligation to his
father for begetting him, or his mother for bringing him into the
world; which, considering the miseries of human life, was neither a
benefit 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 laborers, 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 to 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 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 honor, 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 attendants, 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 small or
greater numbers to take their diversions, and always in the presence
of a professor, or one of his deputies; whereby they avoid those early
bad impressions of folly and vice to which our children are subject.
Their parents are suffered to see them only twice a year; the visit is
to last but an hour. They are allowed to kiss the child at meeting and
parting; but a professor, who always stands by on those occasions,
will not suffer them to whisper, or use any fondling expressions, or
bring any presents of toys, sweetmeats, and the like.
  The pension from each family for the education and entertainment
of a child, upon failure of due payment, is levied by the Emperor's
  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 one and twenty 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 practiced 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 there 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 people 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
nine years old, the rest are to thirteen.
  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
burden 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 laborers 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 discased among them are supported by hospitals: for begging is a
trade unknown in this kingdom.
  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 seamstresses 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 seamstresses 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
the third measured the length of the cord with a rule 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 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 color.
  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 apiece. 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 bits 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 must 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 upon chairs of state on 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 honor 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 great discount; that exchequer bills would not
circulate under nine per cent below par; that in short 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, farther 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 moveable 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
their 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, 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
honor to be a Nardac, which the Treasurer himself is not; for all
the world knows he is only a Glumglum, a title inferior by one degree,
as that of a Marquis is to a Duke in England, although 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 Flimnap the Treasurer show his lady for some time an ill
countenance, and me a worse; and although he were 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 favorite.

  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 enquiring into the reason,
he desired I would hear him with patience in a matter that highly
concerned my honor and my life. His speech was to the following
effect, for I took notes of it as soon as he left me.
  You are to know, said he, that several Committees of Council have
been lately called in the most private manner on your account; and
it is but two days since his Majesty came to a full resolution.
  You are very sensible that Skyresh Bolgolam (Galbet, or High
Admiral) has been your mortal enemy almost ever since your arrival.
His original reasons I know not, but his hatred is much increased
since your great success against Blefuscu, by which his glory as
Admiral is obscured. This Lord, in conjunction with Flimnap the High
Treasurer, whose enmity against you is notorious on account of his
lady, Limtoc the General, Lalcon the Chamberlain, and Balmuff the
Grand Justiciary, have prepared articles of impeachment against you,
for treason, and other capital crimes.
  This preface made me so impatient, being conscious of my own
merits and innocence, that I was going to interrupt; when he entreated
me to be silent, and thus proceeded.
  Out of gratitude for the favors you have done me, I procured
information of the whole proceedings, and a copy of the articles,
wherein I venture my head for your service.

          Articles of Impeachment against Quinbus Flestrin
                        (the Man-Mountain)

                            ARTICLE I
  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, should be liable to the
pains and penalties of high treason; notwithstanding, the said Quinbus
Flestrin, in open breach of the said law, under color 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.

                            ARTICLE II.
  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 pretense of unwillingness to force the consciences, or destroy
the liberties and lives of an innocent people.

                            ARTICLE III.
  That, whereas certain ambassadors 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 open war against his said

                            ARTICLE IV.
  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 had received only verbal license from his
Imperial Majesty; and under color of the said license, doth falsely
and traitorously intend to take the said voyage, and hereby to aid,
comfort, and abet the Emperor of Blefuscu, so late an enemy, and in
open war with his Imperial Majesty aforesaid.

  There are some other articles, but these are the most important,
of which I have read you an abstract.
  In the several debates upon this impeachment, it must be confessed
that his Majesty gave many marks of his great lenity, often urging the
services you had done him, and endeavoring to extenuate your crimes.
The Treasurer and Admiral insisted that you should be put to the
most painful and ignominious death, by setting fire on 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, 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 honorable
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
order 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 honor 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
  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 dared 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, it would probably increase it, as it is manifest from the common
practice of blinding some kind of fowl, 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 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 food,
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 cartloads, 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 favor 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 practices of former times)
that after the court had decreed any cruel execution, either to
gratify the monarch's resentment, or the malice of a favorite, 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 through the
kingdom; nor did anything 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. And 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 favor 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 extenuations. But having in my life perused many state trials,
which I ever observed to terminate as the judges thought fit to
direct, I dared 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
favors 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 severities
quitted 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 my 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
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 brought 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
commands. 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 hand. I told his
Majesty that I had come according to my promise, and with the
license of the Emperor, my master, to have the honor of seeing so
mighty a monarch, and to offer him any service in my power, consistent
with my duty to my own prince; not mentioning a word of my disgrace,
because I had hitherto no regular information of it, and might suppose
myself wholly ignorant of any such design; neither could I
reasonably conceive that the Emperor would discover the secret while I
was out of his power: wherein, however, it soon appeared I was
  I shall not trouble the reader with the particular account of my
reception at this court, which was suitable to the generosity of so
great a prince; nor of the difficulties I was in for want of a house
and bed, being forced to lie on the ground, wrapped up in my coverlet.

  Three days after my arrival, walking out of curiosity to the
northeast coast of the island, I observed, about half a league off, in
the sea, something that looked like a boat overturned. I pulled off my
shoes and stockings, and wading 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 of 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
forepart of the boat, and the other end to a man of war; but I found
all my labor 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 forwards as often as I could, with one of my hands; and the
tide favoring 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 fastening
them first to the boat, and then to nine of the vessels which attended
me; the wind being favorable, the seamen towed, and I shoved till 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 from 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 afterwards 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 that
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 my 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 order 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 incumbrance.
  With this answer the envoy returned to Lilliput, and the monarch
of Blefuscu related to me all that had past, 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 acknowledgements for his favorable 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 in 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
fold 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 apiece, 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 honor 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
southeast, at six in the evening I descried a small island about
half a league to the northwest. I advanced forward, and cast anchor on
the leeside of the island, which seemed to be uninhabited. I then took
some refreshment, and went to my rest. I slept well, and I
conjecture 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 favorable, 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 northeast 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 southeast; 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 had left in it.
The ship slackened her sails, and I came up with her between five
and six in the evening, September 26; but my heart leaped within me to
see her English colors. 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 Biddle 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 know what place I came from last, and whither I
was bound; which I did in 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 hundred 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 on
shore, and set them 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
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 needlework. I took leave of my wife, and boy and girl, with
tears on both sides, and went on board the Adventure, a merchantship
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.

                       THE END OF THE FIRST PART
                                    PART II
                            A VOYAGE TO BROBDINGNAG
                                  (SEE PLATE 2)

  Having been condemned by nature and fortune to an 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 Cornishman, 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 a southern wind, called the southern
monsoon, began to set in.
  Finding it was likely to overblow, we took in our spritsail, and
stood by to hand the foresail; but making foul weather, we looked
the guns were all fast, and handed the mizzen. The ship lay very broad
off, so we thought it better spooning before the sea, than trying or
hulling. We reefed the foresail and set him, we hauled aft the
foresheet; the helm was hard aweather. 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 lanyard of the whipstaff, and helped
the man at 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
topmast 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 foresail and mainsail, and brought the ship to: then we
set the mizzen, main-topsail, and the fore-topsail. Our course was
east northeast, the wind was at southwest. We got the starboard
tacks aboard; we cast off our weather-braces and lifts; we set in
the leebraces, and hauled forward by the weatherbowlings, and hauled
them tight, and belayed them, and hauled over the mizzen 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
southwest, 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 northwest parts of Great Tartary, and into the frozen sea.
  On the 16th day of June, 1703, a boy on the topmost discovered land.
On the 17th we came in full view of a great island or continent (for
we knew not which) 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
longboat, 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 dared not stay to see the issue of
that 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 footpath 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 above twenty. I was endeavoring 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, from 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
size of six scythes. These people were not so well clad as the
first, whose servants or laborers 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 between 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 above a hundred yards behind me. Being quite dispirited with toil,
and wholly overcome by grief and despair, 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
willfulness 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 forever 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 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 a
while with the caution of one who endeavors to lay hold on a small
dangerous animal in such a manner that it shall not be able either
to scratch or to bite him, as I myself have sometimes done with a
weasel in England. At length he ventured to take me up behind by the
middle between his forefinger 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 about 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 my 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 meantime 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 supposed 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 hair 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 four, but I got immediately up, and walked
slowly backwards and forwards, 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
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 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 car 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
upwards, 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 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 behavior, 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 an
husbandman) in a dish of about twenty-four feet in diameter. The
company were the farmer and his wife, three children, and an old
grandmother. When they 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 eating, which gave them
exceeding delight. The mistress sent her maid for a small dram cup,
which held about three 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 gotten no mischief
by my fall. But advancing forwards toward my master (as I shall
henceforth call him), his youngest son who sat next 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' favorite 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
this 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 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 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 in his mouth, where
I roared so loud that the urchin was frightened, and let me drop;
and I should infallibly have broken 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 childs 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 color. It stood
prominent six feet, and could not be less than sixteen in
circumference. The nipple was about half the size of my head, and
the hue both of that and the dug so varified 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 colored.
  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 colors 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 sunburned 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 justice to say they are a comely race of people;
and particularly the features of my master's countenance, although
he were 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 laborers, and as I
could discover by his voice and gesture, gave his wife a 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, larger and coarser than the
mainsail of a man of war.
  I slept about two hours, and dreamed I was at home with my wife
and children, which aggravated my sorrows when I awakened 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 dare not presume to call, and if I had,
it would have been in vain, with such a voice as mine, at so great a
distance from the room where I lay to the kitchen where the family
kept. While I was under these circumstances, two rats crept up the
curtains, and ran smelling backwards and forwards on the bed. One of
them came up almost to my face, whereupon I rose in a fright, and drew
out my hanger to defend myself. These horrible animals had the
boldness to attack me on both sides, and one of them held his
fore-feet at my collar; but I had the good fortune to rip up his belly
before he could do me any mischief. He fell down at my feet, and the
other, seeing the fate of his comrade, made his escape, but not
without one good wound on the back, which I gave him as he fled, and
made the blood run trickling from him. After this exploit, I walked
gently to and fro on the bed, to recover my breath and loss of
spirits. These creatures were of the size of a large mastiff, but
infinitely more nimble and fierce, so that if I had taken off my
belt before I went to sleep, I must have infallibly been torn to
pieces and devoured. I measured the tail of the dead rat, and found it
to be two yards long, wanting an inch; but it went against my
stomach to drag the carcass off the bed, where it lay still
bleeding; I observed it had yet some life, but with a strong slash
cross the neck, I thoroughly dispatched 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 endeavored
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
grovelling 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 travelers are often, perhaps
not without justice, accused.

  My mistress had a daughter of nine years old, a child of forward
parts for her age, very dextrous at her needle, and skillful 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 stayed 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 anything, 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 I should be guilty
of great ingratitude if I omitted this honorable 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 neighborhood, that
my master had found a strange animal in the field, about the bigness
of a splacknuck, 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 twenty-two miles from our house. I
guessed there was some mischief contriving, when I observed my
master and his friend whispering long 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 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 honor, and what an
indignity I should conceive it to be exposed for money as a public
spectacle to the meanest of the people. She said, her papa and mamma
had promised that Grildrig should be hers, but now she found they
meant to serve her as they did last year, when they pretended to
give her a lamb, and yet, as soon as it was fat, sold it to a butcher.
For my own part, I may truly affirm that I was less concerned than
my nurse. I had a strong hope which never left me, that I should one
day recover my liberty; and as to the ignominy of being carried
about for a monster, I considered myself to be a perfect stranger in
the country, and that such a misfortune could never be charged upon me
as a reproach, if ever I should return to England; since the King of
Great Britain himself, in my condition, must have undergone the same
  My master, pursuant to the advice of his friend, carried me in a box
the next market day to the neighboring 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
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 were 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 further than from London to St. Albans. My
master alighted at an inn which he used to frequent; and after
consulting a while 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 splacknuck (an animal in that country
very finely shaped, about six foot 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 it after the manner of fencers in
England. My nurse gave me part of a straw, which I exercised as a
pike, having learned the art in my youth. I was that day shown to
twelve sets of company, and as often forced to go over again with
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 around the
table at such a distance as put me out of everybody's reach.
However, an unlucky schoolboy 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 pumpion: but I had the
satisfaction to see the young rogue well beaten, and turned out of the
  My master gave public notice that he would show me again the next
market day, and in the meantime he prepared a more 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 neighboring gentlemen from a
hundred miles around, 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, situated 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 palisadoed it around
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 learned their alphabet, and could make a shift to explain a
sentence here and there; for Glumdalclitch had been my instructor
while we were at home, and at leisure hours during our journey. She
carried a little book in her pocket, not much larger than a Sanson's
Atlas; it was a common treatise for the use of young girls, giving a
short account of their religion: out of this she taught me my letters,
and interpreted the words.

  The frequent labors 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 unsatiable he grew. I had quite lost my stomach, and was almost
reduced to a skeleton. The farmer observed it, and concluding I soon
must die, resolved to make as good a hand of me as he could. While
he was thus reasoning and resolving with himself, a Slardral, 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, behavior, and good sense. Her Majesty and those
who attended her were beyond measure delighted with my demeanor. I
fell on my knees, and begged the honor of kissing her Imperial foot;
but this gracious princess held out her little finger towards me
(after I was set on a 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 would
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 were 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 favor, 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 field; 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 perhaps 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 to 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 splacknuck; 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 humor, set me gently on my feet upon
the scrutore, 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, and 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 clockwork (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 higher price.
Upon this imagination he put several other questions to me, and
still received rational answers, no otherwise defective than by a
foreign accent, and an imperfect knowledge in the language, with
some rustic phrases which I had learned at the farmer's house, and did
not suit the polite style of a court.
  His Majesty sent for three great scholars who were then in their
weekly waiting, according to the custom in that country. These
gentlemen, after they had awhile 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 manifested 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 favorite
dwarf, the smallest ever known in that kingdom, was nearly 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 Artistotle endeavor in vain to disguise their
ignorance, have invented this wonderful solution of all
difficulties, to the unspeakable advancement of human knowledge.
  After this decisive conclusion, I entreated to be heard a word or
two. I applied myself to the King, and assured his Majesty, that I
came from a country which abounded with several millions of both
sexes, and of my own stature; where the animals, trees, and houses
were all in proportion, and where by consequence I might be as able to
defend myself, and to find sustenance, as any of his Majesty's
subjects could do here; which I took for a full answer to those
gentlemen's arguments. To this they only replied with a smile of
contempt, saying that the farmer had instructed me very well in my
lesson. The King, who had a much better understanding, dismissing
his learned men, sent for the farmer, who by good fortune was not
yet gone out of town. Having therefore first examined him privately,
and then confronted him with me and the young girl, his Majesty
began to think that what we told him might possibly be true. He
desired the Queen to order that a particular care should be taken of
me, and was of opinion that Glumdalclitch should still continue in her
office of tending me, because he observed we had a great affection for
each other. A convenient apartment was provided for her at court;
she had a sort of governess appointed to take care of her education, a
maid to dress her, and two other servants for menial offices; but
the care of me was wholly appropriated to herself. The Queen commanded
her own cabinet maker to contrive a box that might serve me for a
bedchamber, after the model that Glumdalclitch and I should agree
upon. This man was a most ingenious artist, and according to my
directions, 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 bedchamber. 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 upon 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 of the same kind in a London toy shop,
for the furniture of a babyhouse: 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 elder 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 crunch 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 these 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 before
observed, was 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 favorite; 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 an
hearty fit of laughing, asked me whether I were a Whig or a 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, said he, I dare
engage, these creatures have their titles and distinctions of honor,
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 color 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, honor
and truth, the pride and envy of the world, contemptuously treated.
  But as I was not in a condition to resent injuries, so, upon
mature thoughts, I began to doubt whether I were injured or not.
For, after having been accustomed several months to the sight and
converse of this people, and observed every object upon which I cast
my eyes to be of proportionable magnitude, the horror I had 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 best day clothes, acting their several parts in the most
courtly manner, of strutting, and bowing, and prating, to say the
truth, I should have been strongly tempted to laugh as much at them as
the King and his grandees did at me. Neither indeed could I forbear
smiling at myself, when the Queen used to place me upon her hand
towards a looking glass, by which both our persons appeared before
me in full view together! and there could be nothing more ridiculous
than the comparison; so that I really began to imagine myself dwindled
many degrees below my usual size.
  Nothing angered and mortified me so much as the Queen's dwarf, who
being of the lowest stature that was ever that country (for I verily
think he was not thirty feet high) became 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 usual 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 whipped, 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 favor; for soon after the
Queen bestowed him to a lady of high quality, so that I saw him no
more, to my very great satisfaction; for I could not tell to what
extremity 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 sideboard, mounted upon the stool 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 ray
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 my 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 my box
upon a window, as she usually did in fair days to give me air (for I
dared 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.

  I now intend to give the reader a short description of this country,
as far as I traveled in it, which was not above two thousand miles
round Lorbrulgrud, the metropolis. For the Queen, whom I always
attended, never went further when she accompanied the King in his
progresses, and there stayed until 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.
From 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 northwest parts of America, wherein I shall be
ready to lend them my assistance.
  The kingdom is a peninsula, terminated to the northeast by a ridge
of mountains thirty miles high, which are altogether impassable by
reason of the volcanoes upon the tops. Neither do the most learned
know what sort of mortals inhabit beyond those mountains, or whether
they be inhabited at all. On the three other sides it is bounded by
the ocean. There is not one seaport in the whole kingdom, and those
parts of the coasts into which the rivers issue are so full of pointed
rocks, and the sea generally so rough, that there is no venturing with
the smallest of their boats, so that these people are wholly
excluded from any commerce with the rest of the world. But the large
rivers are full of vessels, and abound with excellent fish, for they
seldom get any from the sea because the sea fish are of the same
size with those in Europe, and consequently not worth catching;
whereby it is manifest, that nature, in the production of plants and
animals of so extraordinary a bulk, is wholly confined to this
continent, of which I leave the reasons to be determined by
philosophers. However, now and then they take a whale that happens
to be dashed against the rocks, which the common people feed on
heartily. These whales I have known so large that a man could hardly
carry one upon his shoulders; and sometimes for curiosity they are
brought in hampers to Lorbrulgrud: I saw one of them in a dish at
the King's table, which passed for a rarity, but I did not observe
he was fond of it; for I think indeed the bigness disgusted him,
although I have seen one somewhat larger in Greenland.
  The country is well inhabited, for it contains fifty-one cities,
near a hundred walled towns, and a great number of villages. To
satisfy my curious reader, it may be sufficient to describe
Lorbrulgrud. This city stands upon almost two equal parts on each side
the river that passes through. It contains above eighty thousand
houses, and about six hundred thousand inhabitants. It is in length
three glonglungs (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
  The King's palace is no regular edifice, but a heap of building
about seven miles around: the chief rooms are generally two hundred
and forty feet high, and broad and long 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 spectacles that ever an English
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 an 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 proper instruments (which I unluckily left behind me in
the shop) 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 traveling, 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 traveling 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 in 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' favor, than any merit of my own. In
journeys, when I was weary of the coach, a servant on horseback
would buckle my box, and place it on 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 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 traveling
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 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 a 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
yards 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 travelers 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 militia
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.

  I should have lived happy enough in that country, if my littleness
had not exposed me to several ridiculous and troublesome accidents,
some of which I shall venture to relate. Glumdalclitch often carried
me into the gardens of the court in my smaller box, and would
sometimes take me out of it and hold me in her hand, or set me down to
walk. I remember, before the dwarf left the Queen, he followed us
one day into those gardens, and my nurse having set me down, he and
I being close together, near some dwarf apple trees, I must needs show
my wit by a silly allusion between him and the trees, which happens to
hold in their language as it does in ours. Whereupon, the malicious
rogue watching his opportunity, when I was walking under one of
them, shook it directly over my head, by which a dozen apples, each of
them near as large as a Bristol barrel, came tumbling about my ears;
one of them hit me on the back as I chanced to stoop, and knocked me
down flat on my face, but I received no other hurt, and the dwarf
was pardoned at my desire, because I had given the provocation.
  Another day Glumdalclitch left me on a smooth grass plot to divert
myself while she walked at some distance with her governess. In the
meantime there suddenly fell such a violent shower of hail, that I was
immediately by the force of it struck to the ground: and when I was
down, the hailstones gave me such cruel bangs all over the body, as if
I had been pelted with tennis balls; however, I made a shift to
creep on all fours, and shelter myself by lying flat on my face on the
lee side of a border of lemon thyme, but so bruised from head to
foot that I could not go abroad in ten days. Neither is this at all to
be wondered at, because nature in that country observing the same
proportion through all her operations, a hailstone is near eighteen
hundred times as large as one in Europe, which I can assert upon
experience, having been so curious 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 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 belonging 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 swoop 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 molehill, 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
piece 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, endeavoring to pick my fingers, which I dared 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 as near as I can remember, to
be somewhat larger than an English swan.
  The Maids of Honor 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 Honor,
when my nurse carried me to visit them, 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 colored, 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 further concerning the
rest of their persons. Neither did they at all scruple, while I was
by, to discharge what they had drunk, to the quantity of at least
two hogsheads, in a vessel that held above three tons. The
handsomest among these Maids of Honor, 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 a 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 the purpose, and his head cut off at a blow with a sword
of about forty foot 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 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 were 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 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 in
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 the pages would blow my sail forward
with their breath, while I showed my art steering starboard or
larboard as I pleased. When I had done, Glumdalclitch always carried
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 have infallibly 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 passed 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 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 seeking 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 got in, it hopped at once half the length
of the boat, and then over my head, backwards and forwards, 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 Glumdaclitch 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 stirred not 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 into 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 cloth, was very thick and strong) and dragged me
out. He took me up in his right forefoot, 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 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 fore-paws, 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 everybody 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 three
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 to 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 favors, 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 my own country. I told his Majesty that in Europe we had no
monkeys, except such as were brought for curiosities 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 upon 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 besides a
loud 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 endeavor doing himself honor among those
who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him. And
yet I have seen the moral of my own behavior 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 footpath in a field, and Glumdalclitch setting down my
traveling box, I went out of it to walk. There was a cow dung in the
path, and I must needs 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.

  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 distance 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 then 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 had me sit upon one of these chairs, but I absolutely
refused to obey her, protesting I would rather die a thousand deaths
than place a dishonorable 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 places 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
Glumdaclitch kept one in her chamber, and a master attended twice a
week to teach her: I call 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 labor, 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 a piece 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
  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 the mind 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 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 anything 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 counselors
born to the king and kingdom, to have a share in the legislature, to
be members of the highest Court of Judicature, from whence there could
be no appeal, and to be champions always ready for the defense of
their prince and country, by their valor, conduct, and fidelity.
That these were the ornament and bulwark of the kingdom, worthy
followers of their most renowned ancestors, whose honor had been the
reward of their virtue, from which their posterity were never once
known to degenerate. To these we joined several holy persons, as
part of that assembly, under the title of Bishops, whose peculiar
business it 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 counselors, 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 these two bodies make 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 valor 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
honor of my country. And I finished all with a brief historical
account of affairs and events in England for about a hundred years
  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
several questions he intended to ask me.
  When I had put an end to these long discourses, 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 part of
their lives. What course was taken to supply that assembly when any
noble family became extinct. What qualifications were in those who
were to be created new lords. Whether the humor of the prince, a sum
of money to a court lady, or a prime minister, or a design of
strengthening a party opposite to the public interest, ever happened
to be motives 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 practiced in electing those
whom I 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 neighborhood. 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 should find money to pay them. He wondered
to hear me talk of such chargeable and extensive wars; that
certainly we must be a quarrelsome people, or live among very bad
neighbors, 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. About 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 better be 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 have received, to learn and
practice that infamous dexterity upon others.
  He was perfectly astonished with the historical account I 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, or 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, may be sometimes the only
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 virtue is required towards 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 valor, 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 traveling, 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 wringed 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.

  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 most beloved country
was so injuriously treated. I am 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 favorable 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 a 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 endeavor in those many discourses I had with that
mighty monarch, although it unfortunately failed of success.
  But great allowances should be given to a King who lives wholly
secluded from the rest of the world, and must therefore be
altogether unacquainted with the manners and customs that most prevail
in other nations; the want of which knowledge will ever produce many
prejudices, and a certain narrowness of thinking, from which we and
the politer countries of Europe are wholly exempted. And it would be
hard indeed, if so remote a prince's notions of virtue and vice were
to be offered as a standard for all mankind.
  To confirm what I have now said, and further, to show the
miserable effects of a confined education, I shall here insert a
passage which will hardly obtain belief. In hopes to ingratiate myself
farther into his Majesty's favor, 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. 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 return of so many marks that I had
received of his royal favor 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 my life, never to
mention any more.
  A strange effect of narrow principles and short views that a
prince possessed of every quality which procures veneration, love, and
esteem; of strong parts, great wisdom, and profound learning, endued
with admirable talents for government, and almost adored by his
subjects, should from a nice unnecessary scruple, whereof in Europe we
can have no conception, let slip an opportunity to 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, they
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 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 of that country must exceed in words the number of letters in
their alphabet, which consists only of twenty-two. 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's which is reckoned the biggest, does not amount to above a
thousand volumes, placed in a gallery twelve hundred feet long, from
which 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
twenty-five 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 yards, according to the length
of the lines, till I had gotten a little below the level of my 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 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 showing how diminutive,
contemptible, and helpless an animal was man in his own nature; how
unable to defend himself from the 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 man 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 of 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 a hundred 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
  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 the kingdom, have been sometimes violated by each of the three
parties, and have once or more occasioned civil wars, the last whereof
was happily put an end to by this prince's grandfather by a general
composition; and the militia, then settled with common consent, has
been ever since kept in the strictest duty.

  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 favorite 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 human kind. 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 fear 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 coast of the kingdom. I was carried, as usual, in my
traveling 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, just over the middle of the
hammock, I ordered the joiner to cut out a hole a foot square, to give
me air in hot weather as I slept, which hole I shut at pleasure with a
board that drew backwards and forwards 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 foreboding of what was to happen.
The boy took me out in my box about half an hour's 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, that 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
afterwards 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 woeful 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 enable 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 of flutter of wings to
increase very fast, and my box was tossed up and down, like a sign
post on 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 of 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 my windows. I now perceived that I had 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 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 was defending 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 slipboard on the roof already
mentioned, contrived on purpose to let in air, for want of which I
found myself almost stifled.
  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
travelers have not been under greater difficulties and distress than I
was at this juncture, expecting every moment to see my box dashed in
pieces, or at least overset by the first violent blast, or a rising
wave. A breach in one single pane of glass would have been immediate
death: nor could anything have preserved the windows, but the strong
lattice wires placed on the outside against accidents in traveling.
I saw the water ooze in at several crannies, although the leaks were
not considerable, and I endeavored 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 beard 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 in 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 window, 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 anybody 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 is 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 an 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 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 from 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 my 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, from
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 had rather forget.
  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
longboat to discover what I 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 the 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 he called it) towards 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 pulley,
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 men 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 from where 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 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 on shore 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 the sailors, and afterwards to himself, in relation to my closet or
chest, as well as by my odd looks and behavior 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 candor 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 presence and showed him the small
collection of rarities I made in the country from where I had been
so strangely delivered. There was a 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 joiners' 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 of his civilities, which he
absolutely refused. I showed him a corn that I had cut off with my own
hand, from a maid of honor's toe; it was about the bigness of a
Kentish pippin, and grown so hard that when I returned to England, I
got it hollowed into a cup, and set in silver. Lastly, I desired him
to see the breeches I had then on, which were made of a mouse's skin.
  I could force nothing on him but a footman's tooth, which I observed
him to examine with great curiosity, and found he had a fancy for
it. He received it with abundance of thanks, more than such a trifle
could deserve. It was drawn by an unskillful surgeon, in a mistake,
from one of Glumdalclitch's men, who was afflicted with the toothache,
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
  The Captain was very well satisfied with plain relation I had
given him, and said he hoped when we returned to England I would
oblige the world by putting it in paper and making it public. My
answer was that I thought we were already 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 besides common events, without those
ornamental descriptions of strange plants, trees, birds, and other
animals, or of the barbarous customs and idolatry of savage people,
with which most writers abound. However, I thanked him for his good
opinion, and promised to take the matter into my thoughts.
  He said he wondered at one thing very much, which was, to bear 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 street 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 my 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 look at everything 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 the 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 my
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
  The Captain having been at Tonquin, was in his return to England
driven northeastward to the latitude of 44 degrees, and of longitude
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-southwest, and then south-southwest 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
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 traveler 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 enquire,
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 ran 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 voyages.

                THE END OF THE SECOND PART
                                    PART III
                                  (SEE PLATE 3)

  I had not been at home above ten days, when Captain William
Robinson, a Cornish man, Commander of the Hope-well, 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 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 besides 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 share
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 his proposal; the thirst I had
of seeing the world, notwithstanding my past misfortunes, continuing
as violent as ever. The only difficulty that remained, was to persuade
my wife, whose consent however I at last obtained by the prospect of
advantage she proposed to her children.
  We set out the 5th of August, 1706, and arrived at Fort St. George
the 11th of April 1707. We stayed there three weeks to refresh our
crew, many of whom were sick. From there 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 some 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 neighboring
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 for two months, while he transacted his affairs at Tonquin.
  We had not sailed more than three days, when a great storm
arising, we were driven five days to the north-northeast, 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 loaden,
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 a guard upon us, went to search the sloop.
  I observed among them a Dutchman, who seemed to be of some
authority, though he was not commander of either ship. He knew us by
our countenances to be Englishmen, and jabbering to us in his own
language, swore we should be tied back to back, and thrown into the
sea. I spoke Dutch tolerably well; I told him who we were, and
begged him in consideration of our being Christians and Protestants,
of neighboring 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
endeavored in vain to persuade both the Captains that I might be
thrown into the sea (which they would not yield to after the promise
made me, that I should not die), however prevailed so far as to have a
punishment inflicted on me, worse in all human appearance than death
itself. My men were sent by an equal division into both the pirate
ships, and my sloop new manned. As to myself, it was determined that I
should be set adrift in a small canoe, with paddles and a sail, and
four days' provisions, which last the Japanese Captain was so kind
to double out of his own stores, and would permit no man to search me.
I got down into the canoe, while the Dutchman standing upon the deck,
loaded me with all the curses and injurious terms his language could
  About an hour before we saw the pirates, I had taken an observation,
and found we were in the latitude of 46 N. and of longitude 183.
When I was at some distance from the pirates, I discovered by my
pocket glass several islands to the southeast. 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 seaweed, 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, strowing some heath
under me, and slept pretty well.
  The next day I sailed to another island, and then 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-southeast 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 around
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 seaweed 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 seaweed 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 I
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 a while 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 of a sudden it became obscured, 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 were doing, I was not able to distinguish.
  The natural love of life gave me some inward motions 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 a
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 a
while 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 towards 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 an hour the
island was moved and raised in such a manner, that the lowest
gallery appeared in a parallel of less than a hundred yards distance
from the height where I stood. I then put myself into the most
supplicating postures, 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
  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.

  At my alighting I was surrounded by 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 short
stick, which they carried in their hands. In each bladder was a
small quantity of dried pease, 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 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
jostling others, or being jostled 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 the stairs, to the
top of the island, and from there 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 started like one awakened 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 that I
could neither understand nor be understood, I was conducted by the
King's 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 honor 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 into 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 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 figures of planes 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 my 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 height 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 northeast 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 an 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 bevel 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
intellectuals 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 behavior 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 enquiring 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 hath 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 more curious and conceited in matters where
we have least concern, and for which we are least adapted either by
study or nature.
  These people are under continual disquietudes, never enjoying a
minute's 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 thirty-one 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 conceive 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 or 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 sprites 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
pretense 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
eatinghouse 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 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 honor 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.

  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 from 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 mold, ten or twelve feet deep. The
declivity of the upper surface, from the circumference to the
center, 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 center. 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 vapors, he can prevent the falling of dews and rains
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, from 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 deep, as many
thick, and twelve yards in diameter, placed horizontally, and
supported by eight adamantine feet, each six yards high. In the middle
of the concave side there is a groove twelve inches deep, in which the
extremities of the axle are lodged, and turned round as there is
  The stone cannot be moved 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.
                             (SEE PLATE 4)
  By this oblique motion the island is conveyed to different parts
of the monarch's dominions. To explain the manner of its progress, let
AB represent a line drawn cross the dominions of Balnibarbi, let the
line cd 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 the position cd, 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 EF, 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 point directly downwards. 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 yards among us,
and at the same time show the stars with greater clearness. This
advantage has enabled them to extend their discoveries much farther
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 center 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 center 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 parts 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 favorite has a very uncertain tenure, would never
consent to the enslaving 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 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
defense 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 lie all
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 pretense 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.
  About three years before my arrival among them, while the King was
in his progress over his dominions, there happened an extraordinary
accident which had like to have put a period to the fate of that
monarchy, at least as it is now instituted. Lindalino, the second city
in the kingdom, was the first his Majesty visited in his progress.
Three days after his departure the inhabitants, who had often
complained of great oppressions, shut the town gates, seized on the
governor, and with incredible speed and labor erected four large
towers, one at every corner of the city (which is an exact square),
equal in height to a strong pointed rock that stands directly in the
center of the city. Upon the top of each tower, as well as upon the
rock, they fixed a great loadstone, and in case their design should
fail, they had provided a vast quantity of the most combustible
fuel, hoping to burst therewith the adamantine bottom of the island,
if the loadstone project should miscarry.
  It was eight months before the King had perfect notice that the
Lindalinians were in rebellion. He then commanded that the island
should be wafted over the city. The people were unanimous, and had
laid in stores of provisions, and a great river runs through the
middle of the town. The King hovered over them several days to deprive
them of the sun and the rain. He ordered many packthreads to be let
down, yet not a person offered to send up a petition, but instead
thereof very bold demands, the redress of all their grievances,
great immunities, the choice of their own governor, and other like
exorbitances. Upon which his Majesty commanded all the inhabitants
of the island to cast great stones from the lower gallery into the
town; but the citizens had provided against this mischief by conveying
their persons and effects into the four towers, and other strong
buildings, and vaults underground.
  The King being now determined to reduce this proud people, ordered
that the island should descend gently within forty yards of the top of
the towers and rock. This was accordingly done; but the officers
employed in that work found the descent much speedier than usual,
and by turning the loadstone could not without great difficulty keep
it in a firm position, but found the island inclining to fall. They
sent the King immediate intelligence of this astonishing event, and
begged his Majesty's permission to raise the island higher; the King
consented, a general council was called, and the officers of the
loadstone ordered to attend. One of the oldest and most expert among
them obtained leave to try an experiment. He took a strong line of a
hundred yards, and the island being raised over the town above the
attracting power they had felt, he fastened a piece of adamant to
the end of his line, which had in it a mixture of iron mineral, of the
same nature with that whereof the bottom or lower surface of the
island is composed, and from the lower gallery let it down slowly
towards the top of the towers. The adamant was not descended four
yards, before the officer felt it drawn so strongly downward that he
could hardly pull it back. He then threw down several small pieces
of adamant, and observed that they were all violently attracted by the
top of the tower. The same experiment was made on the other three
towers, and on the rock with the same effect.
  This incident broke entirely the King's measures, and (to dwell no
longer on other circumstances) he was forced to give the town their
own conditions.
  I was assured by a great minister that if the island had descended
so near the town as not to be able to raise itself, the citizens
were determined to fix it for ever, to kill the King and all his
servants, and entirely change the government.
  By a fundamental law of this realm, neither the king, nor either
of his two elder sons, are permitted to leave the island; nor the
queen, till she is past child-bearing.

  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
  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 honor, 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 favor, often
did me the honor 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 traveled. 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 day 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 ended, 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 size 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 laborers
working with several sorts of tools in the ground, but was not able to
conjecture what they were about; neither did I observe any expectation
either of corn or grass, although the soil appeared to be excellent. I
could not forbear admiring at these odd appearances both in town and
country, and I made bold to desire my conductor, that he would be
pleased to explain to me what could be meant by so many busy heads,
hands, and faces, both in the streets and the fields, because I did
not discover any good effects they produced; but on the contrary, I
never knew a soil so unhappily cultivated, houses so ill contrived and
so ruinous, or a people whose countenances and habit expressed so much
misery and want.
  This Lord Munodi was a person of the first rank, and had been some
years Governor of Lagado, but by a cabal of ministers was discharged
for insufficiency. However, the King treated him with tenderness, as a
well-meaning man, but of a low contemptible understanding.
  When I gave that free censure of the country and its inhabitants, he
made no further answer than by telling me that I had not been long
enough among them to form a judgment, and that the different nations
of the world had different customs, with other common topics to the
same purpose. But when we returned to his palace, he asked me how I
liked the building, what absurdities I observed, and what quarrel I
had with the dress or looks of his domestics. This he might safely do,
because every thing about him was magnificent, regular, and polite.
I answered that his Excellency's prudence, quality, and fortune, had
exempted him from those defects which folly and beggary had produced
in others. He said if I would go with him to his country house,
about twenty miles distant, where his estate lay, there would be
more leisure for this kind of conversation. I told his Excellency that
I was entirely at his disposal, and accordingly we set out next
  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' traveling 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 willful,
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 thrown 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 humor 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 forever 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 meantime, 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 commonwealth'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 an 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
  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.

  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 meager 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 color. He had been
eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers,
which were to be put into vials hermetically sealed, and let out to
warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me he did not doubt
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 offense, which would
be highly resented, and therefore I dare 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 odor exhale, and off the saliva. He had a weekly allowance from
the society, of a vessel filled with human ordure about the size 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
downwards 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 colors 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
  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 plows, cattle, and labor. The method in 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 silk worms, 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 farther 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
colored, 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 sundial upon
the great weathercock on the townhouse, by adjusting the annual and
diurnal motions of the earth and sun, so as to answer and coincide
with all accidental turnings by 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 the 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 recover. 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 companions. The dog died on the spot, and we left the doctor
endeavoring 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 which 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 marbles 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 skillful 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. Everyone 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 labor, may write books in philosophy, poetry,
politics, law, 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 superficies 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 thirty-six 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 labor,
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.
                           (SEE PLATE 5)
  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 acknowledgement 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 upon 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 honor 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 nouns.
  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 lungs 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 the 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 ancestors; 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 streets, 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 civilized
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
  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 required.

  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
favorites 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 anything more evident, than that the health of both
must be preserved, and the cured by the same prescriptions? It is
allowed that senates and great councils are often troubled with
redundant, ebullient, and other peccant humors, 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 tumors 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 a senate, certain physicians should
attend at the three first days of their sitting, and at the close of
each day's debate, feel the pulses of every senator; after which,
having maturely considered, and consulted upon the nature of the
several maladies, and the methods of cure, they should on the fourth
day return to the senate house, attended by their apothecaries
stored with proper medicines; and before the members sat, administer
to each of them lenitives, aperitives, abstersives, corrosives,
restringents, palliatives, laxatives, cephalalgics, icterics,
apophlegmatics, acoustics, as their several cases required; and
according as these medicines should operate, repeat, alter, or omit
them at the next meeting.
  This project could not be of any great expense to the public, and
would, in my poor opinion, be of much use for the dispatch 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 favorites 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 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
defense of it, should be obliged to give his vote directly contrary;
because if that were done, the result would infallibly terminate in
the good of the public.
  When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonderful
contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this. You take a
hundred leaders of each party, you dispose them into couples of such
whose heads are nearest of a size; then let two nice operators saw off
the occiput of each couple at the same time, in such a manner that the
brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs thus cut off be
interchanged, applying each to the head of his opposite party-man.
It seems indeed to be a work that requires some exactness, but the
professor assured us that if it were dexterously performed the cure
would be infallible. For he argued thus; that the two half brains
being left to debate the matter between themselves within the space of
one skull, would soon come to a good understanding, and produce that
moderation, as well as regularity of thinking, so much to be wished
for in the heads of those who imagine they come into the world only to
watch and govern its motion: and as to the difference of brains in
quantity or quality among those who are directors in faction, the
doctor assured us from his own knowledge that it was a perfect trifle.
  I heard a very warm debate between two professors, about the most
commodious and effectual ways and means of raising money without
grieving the subject. The first affirmed the most just 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
neighbors. 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 favorites of
the other sex, and the assessments according to the number and natures
of the favors they have received; for which they are allowed to be
their own vouchers. Wit, valor, 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 honor, 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 neighbor, 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 employments, 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
raising 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 wiped their posteriors; to take a strict view
of their excrements, and, from the color, the odor, the taste, the
consistence, the crudeness of 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, by the natives called
Langden, 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
colors and conduct 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 vigor to a crazy administration, to stifle or divert
general discontents, to fill their pockets 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
criminals 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; a codshead, a ---; 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 mousetrap,
an employment; a bottomless pit, the treasury; a sink, the court; a
cap-and bells, a favorite; a broken reed, a court of justice; an empty
tun, a general; a running sore, the administration.
  When this method fails, they have two others more effectual, which
the learned among them call acrostics and anagrams. First they can
decipher all initial letters into political meanings. Thus, N. shall
signify a plot; B. a regiment of horse; L. a fleet at sea; or secondly
by transposing the letters of the alphabet in any suspected paper,
they can discover 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 skillful decipherer would discover that
the same letters which compose that sentence may be analyzed into
the following words: Resist -- a plot is brought home -- the tour. And
this is the anagrammatic method.
  The professor made me great acknowledgments for communicating
these observations, and promised to make honorable 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 continent of which this kingdom is a part extends itself, as I
have reason to believe, eastward to that unknown tract of America,
westward to 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 northwest about 29 degrees north latitude, and 140 longitude.
The island of Luggnagg stands southeastward 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 favor 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 harbor 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 southwest. He offered
himself and a friend to accompany me, and that I should be provided
with a small convenient barque for the voyage.
  Glubbdubdrib, as nearly as I can interpret the word, signifies the
Island of Sorcerers or Magicians. It is about one-third as large as
the Isle of Wight, and extremely fruitful; it is governed by the
head of a certain tribe, who are all magicians. This tribe marries
only among each other, and the eldest in succession is Prince or
Governor. He has a noble palace, and a park of about three thousand
acres, surrounded by a wall of hewn stone twenty feet high. In this
park are several small enclosures for cattle, corn, and gardening.
  The Governor and his family are served and attended by domestics
of a kind somewhat unusual. By his skill in necromancy, he has a power
of calling whom he pleases from the dead, and commanding their service
for twenty-four hours, but no longer; nor can he call the same persons
up again in less than three months, except upon very extraordinary
  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 honor 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
something in their countenances that made my flesh creep 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 were different from that of his 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 specters. I had the honor 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 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 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
favor. 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 notion 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 honor that
he was not poisoned, but died of a 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 latter age in counterview in another. The first
seemed to be an assembly of heroes and demigods; the other a knot of
pedlars, pickpockets, highway-men, 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
honor 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 my 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.

  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 meager, his hair lank and thin,
and his voice hollow. I soon discovered that both of 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 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 Eliogabalus'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 call up a dozen or two of kings
with their ancestors in order for eight or nine generations. But my
disappointment was grevious 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,
marquesses, 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 from
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 femina casta. How cruelty, falsehood, and cowardice grew
to be characteristics by which certain families are distinguished as
much as by their coat of arms. Who first brought the pox into a
noble house, which has lineally descended in scrofulous tumors to
their posterity. Neither could I wonder at all this, when I saw such
an interruption of lineages by pages, lackeys, valets, coachmen,
gamesters, 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, 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
secret causes of many great events that have surprised the world,
how a whore can govern the backstairs, the backstairs 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, restive temper, which virtue infused into man, was a
perpetual clog to public business.
  I had the curiosity to enquire in a particular manner, by what
method great numbers had procured to themselves high titles of
honor, 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 offense 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,
panderism, and the like infirmities, were amongst 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 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 rogues and traitors. As to the rest, I had never once heard
of them. They all appeared with dejected looks, and in the meanest
habit, most of them telling me they died in poverty and disgrace,
and the rest on a scaffold or a gibbet.
  Among the rest 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 of 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 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
youth who had never seen the sea, the son of Libertine, 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
favorite page of Publicola, the vice-admiral; whereupon he retired
to a poor farm at a great distance from Rome, and there ended his
life. I was so curious to know the truth of this story, that I desired
Agrippa might be called, who was admiral in that fight. He appeared,
and confirmed the whole account, but with much more advantage to the
captain, whose modesty had extenuated or concealed a great part of his
  I was surprised to find corruption grown so high and so quick in
that empire, by the force of luxury so lately introduced, which made
me less wonder at many parallel cases in other countries, where
vices of all kinds have reigned so much longer, and where the whole
praise as well as pillage has been engrossed by the chief commander,
who perhaps had the least title to either.
  As every person called up made exactly the same appearance he had
done in the world, it gave me melancholy reflections to observe how
much the race of human kind was degenerate 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 that some English yeomen 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 valor 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
grandchildren, who in selling their votes, and managing at
elections, have acquired every vice and corruption that can possibly
be learned in a court.

  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 tradewind, which
holds for above sixty leagues. On the 21st of April, 1709, we sailed
into the river of Clumegnig, which is a seaport town, at the southeast
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 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 a traveler, 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 an 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 endeavoring to get to Japan, from 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 visited by several persons, chiefly out of
curiosity, because it was reported that I came from countries very
remote of which they had never heard.
  I hired a young man who came in the same ship to be an
interpreter; he was a native of Luggnagg, but had lived some years
at Maldonada, and was a perfect master of both languages. By his
assistance I was able to hold a conversation with those who came to
visit me; but this consisted only of their questions, and my answers.
  The dispatch came from court about the time we expected. It
contained a warrant for conducting me and my retinue to Traldragdubb
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
dispatched half a day's journey before us, to give the King notice
of my approach, and to desire that his Majesty would please appoint
a day and hour, when it would be his gracious pleasure that I might
have the honor 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 on
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 strewn 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 to
have the floor strewn 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 subject's lives (wherein it were much to be wished that the
monarchs of Europe would imitate him), it must be mentioned for his
honor, that strict orders are given to have the infected parts of
the floor well 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 not 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 on the ground, I pronounced the following
words, as they had been taught me the night before, Ickpling
gloffthrobb squutserumm blhiop mlashnalt zwin tnodbalkguffh
slhiophad gurdlubh asht. This is the compliment established by the
laws of the land for all persons admitted to the King's presence. It
may be rendered into English thus: May your Celestial Majesty
outlive the sun, eleven moons and a half. To this the King returned
some answer, which although I could not understand, yet I replied as I
had been directed: Fluft drin yalerick dwuldom prastrad mirpush, which
properly signifies, My tongue is in the mouth of my friend, and by
this expression was meant that I desired leave to bring my
interpreter; whereupon the young man already mentioned was accordingly
introduced, by whose intervention I answered as many questions as
his Majesty could put in over 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 stayed three months in this country out of perfect obedience to
his Majesty, who was pleased highly to favor me, and made me very
honorable offers. But I thought it more consistent with prudence and
justice to pass the remainder of my days with my wife and family.

  The Luggnaggians 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 among persons of the best fashion, and being always
attended by my interpreter, the conversation we had was not
  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
color; for at twelve years old it became green, so continued till
twenty-five, then turned to a deep blue; at forty-five 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 apprehension 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 and it was
impossible that his Majesty, a most judicious prince, should not
provide himself with a good number of such wise and able counselors.
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 opinionative 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 favor, 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 have 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 an 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 excell 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 treasury of knowledge and
wisdom, and certainly become the oracle of the nation.
  I would never marry after threescore, but live in an 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 all 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 over-running 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
  What wonderful discoveries should we make in astronomy, by outliving
and confirming our own predictions, by observing the progress and
returns of comets, with the changes of motion in the sun, moon, and
  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 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 honor
to be ambassador from his Majesty, and found the natives in both those
kingdoms very hard to believe that the fact was possible; and it
appeared from my astonishment when he first mentioned the matter to
me, that I received it as a thing wholly new, and scarcely to be
credited. That in the two kingdoms above mentioned, where during his
residence he had conversed very much, he observed long life to be
the universal desire and wish of mankind. That whoever had one foot in
the grave was sure to hold back the other as strongly as he could.
That the oldest had still hopes of living one day longer, and looked
on death as the greatest evil, from which nature always prompted him
to retreat; only in this island of Luggnagg the appetite for living
was not so eager, from the continual example of the struldbrugs before
their eyes.
  That the system of living contrived by me was unreasonable and
unjust, because it supposed a perpetuity of youth, health, and
vigor, 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 for 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 traveled as well as my own, I had not observed
the same general disposition.
  After this preface he gave me a particular account of the
struldbrugs among them. He said they commonly acted like mortals, till
about thirty years old, after which by degrees they grew melancholy
and dejected, increasing in both till they came to fourscore. This
he learned from their own confession; for otherwise there not being
above two or three of that species born in an age, they were too few
to form a general observation by. When they came to fourscore years,
which is reckoned the extremity of living in this country, they had
not only all the follies and infirmities of other old men, but many
more which arose from the dreadful prospect of never dying. They
were not only opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain,
talkative, but uncapable 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 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 harbor 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 traditions 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 neighbors 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 traveler, and had seen all the world, they had not the least
curiosity to ask me a question; only desired I would give them
slumskudask, or a token of remembrance, which is a modest way of
begging, to avoid the law that strictly forbids it, because they are
provided for by the public, although indeed with a very scanty
  They are despised and hated by all sorts of people; when one of them
is born, it is reckoned ominous, and their birth is recorded very
particularly; so that you may know their age by consulting the
registry, which however hath not been kept above a thousand years
past, or at least hath been destroyed by time or public
disturbances. But the usual way of computing how old they are, is by
asking them what kings or great persons they can remember, and then
consulting history, for infallibly the last prince in their mind did
not begin his reign after they were fourscore years old.
  They were the most mortifying sight I ever beheld, and the women
more horrible than the men. Besides the usual deformities in extreme
old age, they acquired an additional ghastliness in proportion to
their number of years, which is not to be described; and among half
a dozen, I soon distinguished which was the eldest, although there
were not above a century or two between them.
  The reader will easily believe, that from what I had heard 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 would 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 relating 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
consequent 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.

  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 travelers, 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 that 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 honored
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 day 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 Glanguenstald, which is a royal port to the southwest
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 southeast part of Japan;
the town lies on the western point, where there is a narrow strait,
leading northward into a long arm of the sea, upon the northwest
part of which, Yedo the metropolis stands. At landing, I showed the
custom house officers my letter from the King of Luggnagg to his
Imperial Majesty. They knew the seal perfectly well; it was as broad
as the palm of my hand. The impression was, a King lifting up a lame
beggar from the earth. The magistrates of the town hearing of my
letter, received me as a public minister. They provided me with
carriages and servants, and bore my charges to Yedo, where I was
admitted to an audience, and delivered my letter, which was opened
with great ceremony, and explained to the Emperor by an interpreter,
who then gave me notice by his Majesty's order, that I should
signify my request, and, whatever it were, it should be granted for
the sake of his royal brother of Luggnagg. This interpreter was a
person employed to transact affairs with the Hollanders; he soon
conjectured by my countenance that I was a European, and therefore
repeated his Majesty's commands in Low Dutch, which he spoke perfectly
well. I answered (as I had before determined) that I was a Dutch
merchant, shipwrecked in a very remote country, from whence I traveled
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 favor, 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 favor, he
would comply with the singularity of my humor; 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 favor, 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
  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 from 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 stayed only to take in
fresh water. On the 10th of April 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, 1710, we put in at the Downs. I landed the
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 END OF THE THIRD PART
                                    PART IV
                           A VOYAGE TO THE HOUYHNHNMS
                                  (SEE PLATE 6)

  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 Adventure, 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 skillful young man of that calling,
one Robert Purefoy, into my ship. We set sail from Portsmouth upon the
seventh day of August, 1710; on the fourteenth we met with Captain
Pocock of Bristol, at Teneriffe, who was going to the bay of Campechy,
to cut logwood. On the sixteenth 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 of 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 die 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 on board, 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 down 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 in 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 ninth 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 longboat, letting
me put on my best suit of clothes, which were as good as new, and 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
  In this desolate condition I advanced forward, and soon got upon
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
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 tracks 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 foreparts of their legs
and feet, but the rest of their bodies were bare, so that I might
see their skins, which were of a brown buff color. 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 anything more than a sort of down on the rest of
their bodies, except about the anus, and pudenda. Their dugs hung
between their forefeet, and often reached almost to the ground as they
walked. The hair of both sexes was of several colors, brown, red,
black, and yellow. Upon the whole, I never beheld in all my travels so
disagreeable an animal, nor 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 forepaw, 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 dare not strike
him 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, from where 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 of
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 seeming to receive my civilities with disdain, shook his
head, and bent his brows, softly raising up his right forefoot 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 behavior 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 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 forehoof, 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 color; 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 behavior 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 the way, were 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 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 any 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 favor 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 endeavored to practice 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 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 leave, 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 a while to let me rest.

  Having traveled 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 travelers 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 civilize
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 pearl, 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. 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 unartfuUy 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; then 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 were 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 word 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 these detestable creatures, whom 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 discase. were all tied by the neck with
strong withes, fastened to a beam; they held their food between the
claws of their forefeet, 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 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 groveling on the earth, or by carrying them on their backs,
nuzzling with their face against the mother's 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 color, which I have
already described.
  The great difficulty that seemed to stick with the two horses, was
to see the rest of my body so very different from that of a Yahoo, for
which I was obliged to my clothes whereof they had no conception.
The sorrel nag offered me a root, which he held (after their manner,
as we shall describe in its proper place) between his hoof and
pastern; I took it in my hand, and having smelt it, returned it to him
again as civilly as I could. He brought out of the Yahoo's 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 behavior, 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 let me go
and milk her. This had its effect; for he led me back into the
house, and ordered a mareservant 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 bowl full, 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 behavior 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 behavior, 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 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 that 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 ate 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 hour's
sickness while I stayed in this island. 'Tis true, I sometimes made
a shift to catch a rabbit or bird by springes made of Yahoos' hairs,
and I often gathered wholesome herbs, which I boiled, or 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 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 of flesh in long voyages, or in places remote
from great markets. For we observe no animal to be fond of it but man:
and as to myself, when I left this country, it was a great while
before I could endure the taste of it in anything that I ate.
  This is enough to say upon the subject of my diet, wherewith other
travelers fill their books, as if the readers were personally
concerned whether we fared well or ill. However, it necessary to
mention this matter, lest the world should think it impossible that
I could find sustenance for three years in such a country, and among
such inhabitants.
  When it grew towards evening, the master horse ordered a place for
me to lodge in; it was but six yards from the house, and separated
from the stable of the Yahoos. Here I got some straw, and covering
myself with my own clothes, slept very sound. But I was in a short
time better accommodated, as the reader shall know hereafter, when I
come to treat more particularly about my way of living.

  My principal endeavor 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 ready to assist me.
  In speaking they pronounce 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 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 so 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 from where 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 wrote the words down with the translations. Ibis
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 neighborhood 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 spoke, and could express
myself tolerably well.
  The Houyhnhnms who came to visit my master with the 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 awakened 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 Honor, 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 valet 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 from which 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 and 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 hind 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 take 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 Honor 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.
  From 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 humor 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 traveled
upon the seas, in a great hollow vessel made of wood, and larger
than his Honor'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 dare proceed no further
in my relation, unless he would give me his word and honor 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 was myself, who in all the countries I
had traveled, as well as in my own, were the only governing,
rational animals; and that upon my arrival here I was as much
astonished to see the Houyhnhnms act like rational beings, as he or
his friends could be 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 here, as I resolved to do, everybody
would believe that I said the thing which 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.

  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 anyone 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 among human creatures.
  To return from this digression; when I asserted that the Yahoos were
the only governing animals in my country, which my master said was
altogether past his conception, he desired to know whether we had
Houyhnhnms among us, and what was their employment: I told him we
had great numbers, that in summer they grazed in the fields, and in
winter were kept in houses, with hay and oats, where Yahoo servants
were employed to rub their skins smooth, comb their manes, pick
their feet, serve them with food, and make their beds. I understand
you well, said my master, it is now very plain, from all you have
spoken, that whatever share of reason the Yahoos pretend to, the
Houyhnhnms are your masters; I heartily wish our Yahoos would be so
tractable. I begged his Honor would please to excuse me from
proceeding any farther, 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, employed in traveling, racing, or drawing
chariots, they were treated with much kindness and till they fell into
diseases or became foundered in the feet; and 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 great labor, 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 traveled.
  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 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 Honor 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 represent 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 will in time 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 hind 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 hind feet slipped, I must inevitably fall. He then began to find
fault with other parts of my body, the flatness of my face, the
prominence of my nose, my eyes placed directly in front, so that I
could not look on either side without turning my that I was not able
to feed myself without lifting one of my fore feet to my mouth; and
therefore nature had placed these 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
cold, which I was forced to put on and off every day with
tediousness and trouble. And lastly that he observed every animal in
this country naturally to abhor the Yahoos, whom the weaker avoided
and the stronger drove from them. So that supposing us to have the
gift of reason, he could not see how it were possible to cure that
natural antipathy which every creature discovered against us; nor
consequently, how we could tame and render them serviceable.
However, he would (as he said) debate the matter no farther, because
he was more desirous to know my own story, the country where I was
born, and the several actions and events of my life before I came
  I assured him how extremely desirous I was that he should be
satisfied on every point; but I doubted much whether it would be
possible for me to explain myself on several subjects whereof his
Honor 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
  I said my birth was of honest parents in an island called England,
which was remote from this country, as many days' journey as the
strongest of his Honor'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, got by accident or violence; that my country
was governed by a female man, whom we called a 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 colors, or deserting to the enemy, and
most of them had broken prison; none of these dared return to their
native countries for fear of being hanged, or of starving in a jail;
and therefore 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 labor 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 practicing those
vices. To clear up which I endeavored 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 of cases, and making of 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

  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 Honor 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 into 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 Honor'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 thrice 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 clamor 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 vice or a virtue; whether it be better to kiss
a post, or throw it into the fire; what is the best color 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 continuance, as
those occasioned by difference in opinion, especially if it be in
things indifferent.
  Sometimes the quarrel between two princes is to 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 neighbors 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, honorable, 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 is 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 honorable 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
  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 Germany and other northern parts of
  What you have told me (said my master) upon the subject of war, does
indeed discover most admirably the effects of that reason you
pretend to: however, it is happy that the shame is greater than the
danger; and that nature has left you utterly uncapable of doing much
  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 that 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 valor of my own dear countrymen, I assured him that I
had seen them blow up a hundred enemies at once in a siege, and as
many in a ship, and beheld the dead bodies come down in pieces from
the clouds, to the great diversion of the spectators.
  I was going on to more particulars, when my master commanded me
silence. He said whoever understood the nature of Yahoos might
easily believe it possible for so vile animals to be capable of
every action I had named, if their strength and cunning squalled their
malice. But as my discourse had increased his abhorrence of the
whole species, so he found it gave him a disturbance in his mind, to
which he was wholly a stranger before. He thought his ears being
used to such abominable words, might by degrees admit them with less
detestation. That although he hated the Yahoos of this country, yet he
no more blamed them for their odious qualities, than he did a gnnayh
(a bird of prey) for its cruelty, or a sharp stone for cutting his
hoof. But when a creature pretending to reason could be capable of
such enormities, he dreaded lest the corruption of that faculty
might be worse than brutality itself. He seemed therefore confident,
that instead of reason, we were only possessed of some quality
fitted to increase our natural vices; as the reflection from a
troubled stream returns the image of an ill-shapen body, not only
larger, but more distorted.
  He added, that he had heard too much upon the subject of war, both
in this and some former discourses. There was another point which a
little perplexed him at present. I had informed him, that some of
our crew left their country on account of being ruined by Law; that
I had already explained the meaning of the word; but he was at a
loss how it should come to pass, that the law which was intended for
every man's preservation, should be any man's ruin. Therefore he
desired to be further satisfied what I meant by law, and the
dispensers thereof, according to the present practice in my own
country; because he thought nature and reason were sufficient guides
for a reasonable animal, as we pretended to be, in showing us what
we ought to do, and what to avoid.
  I assured his Honor that law was a science wherein 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
neighbor has a mind to my cow, he hires 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
practiced almost from his cradle in defending falsehood, is quite
out of his element when he would be an advocate for justice, which
as an office unnatural, 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 has justice on his side. The second way is for my lawyer to make my
cause appear as unjust as he can by the cow to belong to my adversary:
and this, if it be skillfully done will certainly bespeak the favor of
the bench.
  Now, your Honour is to know that these judges an 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, are under such a fatal necessity of favoring
fraud, perjury, and oppression, that I have known several 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 accordingly.
  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 the 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 Honor 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 to pervert the general
reason of mankind in every other subject of discourse, as in that of
their own profession.

  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 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 labor, 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 laboring 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 Honor 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, from 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, forswearing, flattering, suborning,
forging, gaming, lying, fawning, hectoring, voting, scribbling,
star-gazing, poisoning, whoring, canting, libeling, free thinking, 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 awoke 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 Honor 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 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 come 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 could 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 them. To remedy which there was a sort of people
bred up among us, in the profession or pretense of curing the sick.
And because I had some skill in the faculty, I would in gratitude to
his Honor let him know the whole mystery and method by which they
  Their fundamental is that all diseases arise from repletion, from
which 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 bone, 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 storehouse, 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 cluster. 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 skiff 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 a creature wholly exempt from joy
and grief, love and hatred, pity and anger; at least made 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
  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 corruptions of the court. But a wise prince
would rather choose to employ those who practice 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 porter, 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 favorite 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, color, 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 grey were not so exactly shaped as the bay, the
dapple grey, and the black; nor born with equal talents of the 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 Honor 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 vigor 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 neighbors 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 have the decision of all
our possessions without appeal.

  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 were already too apt to conceive the vilest opinion of
human kind, from that entire congruity betwixt 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 honor 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 among 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 everything 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 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 human kind, 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 dared before so strict an
examiner, and upon every article gave as favorable 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 honor 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 commanding
me to sit down at some distance (an honor 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 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
endeavors to supply them by our own inventions. That as to myself,
it was manifest I had neither the strength or 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 defense, 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 this 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 pretense to challenge, even from the
account I had given of my own people; although he manifestly perceived
that in order to favor them I had concealed many particulars, and
often said the thing which was not.
  He was the more confirmed in this opinion, because he observed
that as I agreed in every feature of my body with other Yahoos, except
where it was to my real disadvantage in point of strength, speed and
activity, the shortness of my claws, and some other particulars
where nature had no part; so from the representation I had given him
of our lives, our manners, and our actions, he found as near a
resemblance in the disposition of our minds. He said the Yahoos were
known to hate one another more than they did any different species
of animals; and the reason usually assigned was the odiousness of
their own shapes, which all could see in the rest, but not in
themselves. He had therefore begun to think it not unwise in us to
cover our bodies, and by that invention conceal many of our own
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 neighborhood 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 neighborhoods 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 colors, 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 humor,
but took good care to remove them to a better hiding place, and has
ever since been a very serviceable brute.
  My master farther 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
neighboring 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, 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; and 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
  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 the 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 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
favorite 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 favorite 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 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 favorites, and ministers of
state, my master said I could best determine.
  I dared 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 him of human kind. He said those
animals, like other brutes, had their females in common; but in this
they differed, that the she Yahoo would admit the male 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
brutality, that 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 former
accusation, I was glad to let it pass without any reply, because I had
not a word to offer upon it in defense of my species, which
otherwise I certainly had done from my own inclinations. But I could
have easily vindicated human kind 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 Honor 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 servants 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 Honor 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 coquetry, censure, and scandal,
should have place by instinct in womankind.
  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.

  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 farther discoveries from my own observation.
I therefore often begged his favor to let me go among the herds of
Yahoos in the neighborhood, to which he always very graciously
consented, being perfectly convinced that the hatred I bore those
brutes would never suffer me to be corrupted by them; and his Honor
ordered one of his servants, a strong sorrel nag, very honest and
good-natured, to be my guard, without whose protection I dare not
undertake such adventures. For I have already told the reader how much
I was pestered by those 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 breast in their
sight, when my protector was with me. At which times they would
approach as near as they dare, 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 get among them.
  They are prodigiously nimble from their infancy; however, I once
caught a young male of three years old, and endeavored 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 dare 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 dare 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 capacities never reaching higher
than to draw or carry burdens. Yet I am of opinion this defect
arises chiefly from a perverse, restive disposition. For they are
cunning, malicious, treacherous, and revengeful. They are strong and
hardy, but of a cowardly spirit, and by consequence, insolent, abject,
and cruel. It is observed that the red haired of both sexes are more
libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in
strength and activity.
  The Houyhnhnms keep the Yahoos for present use in huts not far
from the house; but the rest are sent abroad to certain fields,
where they dig up roots, eat several kinds of herbs, and search
about for carrion, or sometimes catch weasels and luhimuhs (a sort
of wild rat), which they greedily devour. Nature has taught them to
dig deep holes with their nails on the side of a rising ground,
wherein they lie by themselves; only the kennels of the females are
larger, sufficient to hold two or three cubs.
  They swim from their infancy like frogs, and are able to continue
long under water, where they often take fish, which the females
carry home to their young. And upon this occasion, I hope the reader
will pardon my relating an odd 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 frighted; 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 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 color (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 the kind; for, I think, she could not be above eleven years
  Having lived three years in this country, the reader I suppose
will expect that I should, like other travelers, 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 discolored 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
honor I can do that prince of philosophers. I have often since
reflected what destruction such a doctrine would make in the libraries
of Europe, and how many paths to 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 neighbor, 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 neighbor'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 till 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
  In their marriages they are exactly careful to choose such colors 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 rational 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 long 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 made in
his or her praise. On this festival the servants drive a herd of
Yahoos into the field, laden with hay and oats and milk, for a
repast to the Houyhnhnms; after which these brutes are immediately
driven back again, for fear of being noisome to the assembly.
  Every fourth year, at the vernal equinox, there is a
representative council of the whole nation, which meets in a plain
about twenty miles from our house, and continues about five or six
days. Here they inquire into the state and condition of the several
districts; whether they abound or be deficient in hay or oats, or cows
or Yahoos. And wherever there is any want (which is 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.

  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 which ever happened in that
country; whereof my master after his return gave 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 animal 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 that
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 Ylnhniamshy (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 were a comely animal, easily kept, more tame and orderly,
without any offensive smell, strong enough for labor, 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 honorable member who spoke before, and affirmed that the two
Yahoos said to be first seen among them had been driven there 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 from where these two originals came. The reason of his
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 there; that when he saw me without my
covering I was an exact Yahoo in every part, only of a whiter color,
less hairy, and with shorter claws. He added how I had endeavored 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
practiced 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 meantime 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
from which 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 the moon,
but use no subdivisions into weeks. They are well enough acquainted
with the motions of those two luminaries, and understand the nature of
eclipses; and this is the utmost progress of their astronomy.
  In poetry they must be allowed to excel all other mortals; wherein
the justness of their similes, and the minuteness, as well as
exactness of their descriptions, are indeed inimitable. Their verses
abound very much in both of these, and usually contain either some
exalted notions of friendship and benevolence, or the praises of those
who were victors in races and other bodily exercises. Their buildings,
although very rude and simple, are not inconvenient, but well
contrived to defend them from all injuries of cold and heat. They have
a kind of tree, which at forty years old loosens in the root, and
falls with the first storm: they grow 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 betwixt 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 feet 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 groweth 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 most obscure 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 neighbors. 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, and 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 neighborhood, being carried in
a convenient sledge drawn by Yahoos; which vehicle they use, not
only upon this occasion, but when they grow old, upon long journeys,
or when they are lamed by any accident. And therefore when the dying
Houyhnhnms return those visits, they take a solemn leave of their
friends, as if they were going to some remote part of the country,
where they designed to pass the rest of their lives.
  I know not whether it may be worth observing that the Houyhnhnms
have no word in their language to express any thing that is evil,
except what they borrow from the deformities or ill qualities of the
Yahoos. Thus they denote the folly of a servant, an omission of a
child, a stone that cuts their feet, a continuance of foul or
unseasonable weather, and the like, by adding to each the epithet of
Yahoo. For instance, Hhnm Yahoo, Whnaholm Yahoo, Ynlhmndwihlma Yahoo,
and an ill-contrived house Ynholmhnmrohlnw Yahoo.
  I could with great pleasure enlarge further upon the manners and
virtues of this excellent people; but intending in a short time to
publish a volume by itself expressly upon that subject, I refer the
reader there, and in the meantime, proceed to relate my own sad

  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 rushmats 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 likewise 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 favor 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
for the sake of their vices, or nobility thrown into it on account
of their virtues: no lords, fiddlers, judges, or dancing masters.
  I had the favor of being admitted to several Houyhnhnms, who came to
visit or dine with my master; where his Honor 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 honor 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 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 silence does much
improve conversation: this I found to be true; for during those little
intermissions of talk, new ideas would arise in their thoughts,
which very much enlivened the discourse. Their subjects are
generally on friendship and benevolence, or 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 excellencies 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 human kind; and for that reason I shall not repeat
what they said: only I may be allowed to observe that his Honor, to my
great admiration, appeared to understand the nature of Yahoos in all
countries 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 towards them; but it grew upon me by degrees, 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 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 an 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 offense 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, nor 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
from where 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 labor.
  My master added that he was daily pressed by the Houyhnhnms of the
neighborhood 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 neighbors.
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 endeavoring, 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 Honor, 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 endeavor 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 this distance I may presume to call him)
to follow my instructions, 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 towards the northeast: I took out my pocket-glass, and
could then clearly distinguish it about 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 farther; 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 labor, 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 fined 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 seaside, 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 Honor, out of
curiosity, and perhaps (if I may speak it without vanity) partly out
of kindness, was determined to see me in my canoe, and got several
of his neighboring friends to accompany him. I was forced to wait
above an hour for the tide, and then observing the wind very
fortunately bearing towards 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 honor to raise it
gently to my mouth. I am not ignorant how much I have been censured
for mentioning this last particular. For my 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 forgot how apt some travelers are to boast of
extraordinary favors 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 Honor's
company; then getting into my canoe, I pushed off from shore.

  I began this desperate voyage on February 15, 1714-5, at 9 o'clock
in the morning. The wind was very favorable; 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 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 labor 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 any 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 not in what part of the world we were.
However, I did then believe us to be about ten degrees southward of
the Cape of Good Hope, or about 45'degrees souther latitude, as I
gathered from some general words I overheard among them, being I
supposed to the southeast in their intended voyage to Madagascar.
And although this were but little better than conjecture, 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 up 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
  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 towards 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 northwest. As
I was looking about for a secure landing-place, I saw a sail to the
north-northeast, which appearing every minute more visible, I was in
some doubt whether I should wait for them or no; 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 from 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; from 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 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 between
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, from 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 so
unnatural; for it appeared to me as dog or a cow should speak in
England, or a Yahoo in Houyhnhnm-land 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, from 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 order; 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 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, from whence I was taken into
the ship, and from 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 own men, of the country where they set me
on shore, and of my three years residence there. All which he looked
upon as if it were a dream or a vision; whereat I took great
offense, for I had quite forgotten the faculty of lying, so peculiar
to Yahoos in all countries where they preside, and, consequently the
disposition of suspecting truth in others of their own I asked him
whether it were the custom in his country to say the thing that was
not. I assured him I had almost forgotten what he meant by
falsehood, and if I had lived a thousand years in Houyhnhnm-land, 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 favors, 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 endeavors to catch me tripping
in some part of my story, at last began to have a better opinion of my
veracity, and the rather, because he confessed he met with a Dutch
skipper, who pretended to have landed with five others of his crew
upon a certain island or continent south of New Holland, where they
went for fresh water, and observed a horse driving before him
several animals exactly resembling those I described under the name of
Yahoos, with some other particulars, which the Captain said he had
forgotten; because he then concluded them all to be lies. But he added
that since I professed so inviolable an attachment to truth, I must
give him my word of honor 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 to 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 burned 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, from 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
  In ten days Don Pedro, to whom I had given some account of my
domestic affairs, put it upon me as a matter of honor 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 had desired to live in; but I might command in my
own house, and pass my time in a manner as recluse as I pleased.
  I complied at last, finding I could not do better. I left Lisbon the
24th day of November, in an English merchantman, but who was the
master I never inquired. Don Pedro accompanied me to the ship, and
lent me twenty pounds. He took kind leave of me, and embraced me at
parting, which I bore as well as I could. During this last voyage I
had no commerce with the master or any of his men; but pretending I
was sick, kept close in my cabin. On the fifth of December, 1715, we
cast anchor in the Downs about nine in the morning, and at three in
the afternoon I got safe to my house at Rotherhith.
  My wife and family received me with great surprise and joy,
because they concluded me certainly dead; but I must freely confess
the sight of them filled me only with hatred, disgust, and contempt,
and the more by reflecting on the near alliance I had to them. For
although since my unfortunate exile from the Houyhnhnm country, I
had compelled myself to tolerate the sight of Yahoos, and to
converse with Don Pedro de Mendez, yet my memory and imagination
were perpetually filled with the virtues and ideas of those exalted
Houyhnhnms. And when I began to consider that by copulating with one
of the Yahoo species I had become a parent of more, it struck me
with the utmost shame, confusion, and 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 in 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
favorite; 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

  Thus, gentle reader, I have given thee faithful history of my
travels for sixteen years and above seven months; wherein I have not
been so studious of ornament as truth. I could perhaps like others
have astonished you 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 you.
  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 traveler'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 traveler, 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
acquaintances were pleased to think my poor endeavors 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 honor to be
a humble bearer.

      ---Nec si miserum Fortuna Sinonem
      Finxit, vanum etiam, mendacemque improba finget.

  I know very well how little reputation is to be gotten 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 after, and therefore lie
uppermost. And it is highly probable that such travelers 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, jostle me out of vogue, and stand in my
place, making the world forget that I was ever 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; amongst 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 farther, and rather leave the
judicious reader to own remarks and applications.
  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 illwill 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 towards 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, reflecters, detecters, 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 a European army,
confounding the 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 unclique tutus. But instead of proposals for
conquering that magnanimous nation, I rather wish they were in a
capacity or disposition to send a number of their inhabitants for
civilizing Europe, by teaching us the first principles of honor,
truth, temperance, public spirit, fortitude, chastity, benevolence,
and fidelity. The names of all which virtues are still retained
among us in languages, and are to be met with in modern as well as
ancient 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 honor of the King their
  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 valor, 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 these
countries before me. I mean, if the inhabitants ought to he
believed; unless a dispute may arise about the two Yahoos, said to
have been seen many ages ago in a mountain in Houyhnhnm-land, from
whence the opinion is, that the race of those brutes has descended;
and these, for anything I know, may have been English, which indeed
I was apt to suspect from the lineaments of their posterity's
countenances, although very much defaced. But, how far that will go to
make out a title, I leave to the learned in colony-law.
  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 traveler, 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 as far as I shall find them docile 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 of
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 ours have the honor to resemble
in all their lineaments, however their intellectuals came to
  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 ask 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 neighbor 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 pick-pocket, a colonel, a fool, a lord,
a gamester, a politician, a whore-master, 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 excellencies
that can adorn a rational creature, have no name for this vice in
their language, which has no terms to express anything 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.

                             THE END

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