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Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World




[The author gives some account of himself and family. His first
inducements to travel. He is shipwrecked, and swims for his
life. Gets safe on shore in the country of Lilliput; is made a
prisoner, and carried up the country.]

My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire: I was the third
of five sons. He sent me to Emanuel College in Cambridge at
fourteen years old, where I resided three years, and applied
myself close to my studies; but the charge of maintaining me,
although I had a very scanty allowance, being too great for a
narrow fortune, I was bound apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an
eminent surgeon in London, with whom I continued four years. My
father now and then sending me small sums of money, I laid them
out in learning navigation, and other parts of the mathematics,
useful to those who intend to travel, as I always believed it
would be, some time or other, my fortune to do. When I left Mr.
Bates, I went down to my father: where, by the assistance of him
and my uncle John, and some other relations, I got forty pounds,
and a promise of thirty pounds a year to maintain me at Leyden:
there I studied physic two years and seven months, knowing it
would be useful in long voyages.

Soon after my return from Leyden, I was recommended by my good
master, Mr. Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, Captain Abraham
Pannel, commander; with whom I continued three years and a half,
making a voyage or two into the Levant, and some other parts.
When I came back I resolved to settle in London; to which Mr.
Bates, my master, encouraged me, and by him I was recommended to
several patients. I took part of a small house in the Old Jewry;
and being advised to alter my condition, I married Mrs. Mary
Burton, second daughter to Mr. Edmund Burton, hosier, in
Newgate-street, with whom I received four hundred pounds for a

But my good master Bates dying in two years after, and I having
few friends, my business began to fail; for my conscience would
not suffer me to imitate the bad practice of too many among my
brethren. Having therefore consulted with my wife, and some of
my acquaintance, I determined to go again to sea. I was surgeon
successively in two ships, and made several voyages, for six
years, to the East and West Indies, by which I got some addition
to my fortune. My hours of leisure I spent in reading the best
authors, ancient and modern, being always provided with a good
number of books; and when I was ashore, in observing the manners
and dispositions of the people, as well as learning their language;
wherein I had a great facility, by the strength of my memory.

The last of these voyages not proving very fortunate, I grew
weary of the sea, and intended to stay at home with my wife and
family. I removed from the Old Jewry to Fetter Lane, and from
thence to Wapping, hoping to get business among the sailors; but
it would not turn to account. After three years expectation that
things would mend, I accepted an advantageous offer from Captain
William Prichard, master of the Antelope, who was making a voyage
to the South Sea. We set sail from Bristol, May 4, 1699, and our
voyage was at first very prosperous.

It would not be proper, for some reasons, to trouble the reader
with the particulars of our adventures in those seas; let it
suffice to inform him, that in our passage from thence to the
East Indies, we were driven by a violent storm to the north-west
of Van Diemen's Land. By an observation, we found ourselves in
the latitude of 30 degrees 2 minutes south. Twelve of our crew
were dead by immoderate labour and ill food; the rest were in a
very weak condition. On the 5th of November, which was the
beginning of summer in those parts, the weather being very hazy,
the seamen spied a rock within half a cable's length of the ship;
but the wind was so strong, that we were driven directly upon it,
and immediately split. Six of the crew, of whom I was one,
having let down the boat into the sea, made a shift to get clear
of the ship and the rock. We rowed, by my computation, about
three leagues, till we were able to work no longer, being already
spent with labour while we were in the ship. We therefore
trusted ourselves to the mercy of the waves, and in about half an
hour the boat was overset by a sudden flurry from the north.
What became of my companions in the boat, as well as of those who
escaped on the rock, or were left in the vessel, I cannot tell;
but conclude they were all lost. For my own part, I swam as
fortune directed me, and was pushed forward by wind and tide. I
often let my legs drop, and could feel no bottom; but when I was
almost gone, and able to struggle no longer, I found myself
within my depth; and by this time the storm was much abated. The
declivity was so small, that I walked near a mile before I got to
the shore, which I conjectured was about eight o'clock in the
evening. I then advanced forward near half a mile, but could not
discover any sign of houses or inhabitants; at least I was in so
weak a condition, that I did not observe them. I was extremely
tired, and with that, and the heat of the weather, and about half
a pint of brandy that I drank as I left the ship, I found myself
much inclined to sleep. I lay down on the grass, which was very
short and soft, where I slept sounder than ever I remembered to
have done in my life, and, as I reckoned, about nine hours; for
when I awaked, it was just day-light. I attempted to rise, but
was not able to stir: for, as I happened to lie on my back, I
found my arms and legs were strongly fastened on each side to the
ground; and my hair, which was long and thick, tied down in the
same manner. I likewise felt several slender ligatures across my
body, from my arm-pits to my thighs. I could only look upwards;
the sun began to grow hot, and the light offended my eyes. I
heard a confused noise about me; but in the posture I lay, could
see nothing except the sky. In a little time I felt something
alive moving on my left leg, which advancing gently forward over
my breast, came almost up to my chin; when, bending my eyes
downwards as much as I could, I perceived it to be a human
creature not six inches high, with a bow and arrow in his hands,
and a quiver at his back. In the mean time, I felt at least
forty more of the same kind (as I conjectured) following the
first. I was in the utmost astonishment, and roared so loud, that
they all ran back in a fright; and some of them, as I was
afterwards told, were hurt with the falls they got by leaping
from my sides upon the ground. However, they soon returned, and
one of them, who ventured so far as to get a full sight of my
face, lifting up his hands and eyes by way of admiration, cried
out in a shrill but distinct voice, HEKINAH DEGUL: the others
repeated the same words several times, but then I knew not what
they meant. I lay all this while, as the reader may believe, in
great uneasiness. At length, struggling to get loose, I had the
fortune to break the strings, and wrench out the pegs that
fastened my left arm to the ground; for, by lifting it up to my
face, I discovered the methods they had taken to bind me, and at
the same time with a violent pull, which gave me excessive pain,
I a little loosened the strings that tied down my hair on the
left side, so that I was just able to turn my head about two
inches. But the creatures ran off a second time, before I could
seize them; whereupon there was a great shout in a very shrill
accent, and after it ceased I heard one of them cry aloud TOLGO
PHONAC; when in an instant I felt above a hundred arrows
discharged on my left hand, which, pricked me like so many
needles; and besides, they shot another flight into the air, as
we do bombs in Europe, whereof many, I suppose, fell on my body,
(though I felt them not), and some on my face, which I
immediately covered with my left hand. When this shower of
arrows was over, I fell a groaning with grief and pain; and then
striving again to get loose, they discharged another volley
larger than the first, and some of them attempted with spears to
stick me in the sides; but by good luck I had on a buff jerkin,
which they could not pierce. I thought it the most prudent
method to lie still, and my design was to continue so till night,
when, my left hand being already loose, I could easily free
myself: and as for the inhabitants, I had reason to believe I
might be a match for the greatest army they could bring against
me, if they were all of the same size with him that I saw. But
fortune disposed otherwise of me. When the people observed I was
quiet, they discharged no more arrows; but, by the noise I heard,
I knew their numbers increased; and about four yards from me,
over against my right ear, I heard a knocking for above an hour,
like that of people at work; when turning my head that way, as
well as the pegs and strings would permit me, I saw a stage
erected about a foot and a half from the ground, capable of
holding four of the inhabitants, with two or three ladders to
mount it: from whence one of them, who seemed to be a person of
quality, made me a long speech, whereof I understood not one
syllable. But I should have mentioned, that before the principal
person began his oration, he cried out three times, LANGRO DEHUL
SAN (these words and the former were afterwards repeated and
explained to me); whereupon, immediately, about fifty of the
inhabitants came and cut the strings that fastened the left side
of my head, which gave me the liberty of turning it to the right,
and of observing the person and gesture of him that was to speak.

He appeared to be of a middle age, and taller than any of the
other three who attended him, whereof one was a page that held up
his train, and seemed to be somewhat longer than my middle
finger; the other two stood one on each side to support him. He
acted every part of an orator, and I could observe many periods
of threatenings, and others of promises, pity, and kindness. I
answered in a few words, but in the most submissive manner,
lifting up my left hand, and both my eyes to the sun, as calling
him for a witness; and being almost famished with hunger, having
not eaten a morsel for some hours before I left the ship, I found
the demands of nature so strong upon me, that I could not forbear
showing my impatience (perhaps against the strict rules of
decency) by putting my finger frequently to my mouth, to signify
that I wanted food. The HURGO (for so they call a great lord, as
I afterwards learnt) understood me very well. He descended from
the stage, and commanded that several ladders should be applied
to my sides, on which above a hundred of the inhabitants mounted
and walked towards my mouth, laden with baskets full of meat,
which had been provided and sent thither by the king's orders,
upon the first intelligence he received of me. I observed there
was the flesh of several animals, but could not distinguish them
by the taste. There were shoulders, legs, and loins, shaped like
those of mutton, and very well dressed, but smaller than the
wings of a lark. I ate them by two or three at a mouthful, and
took three loaves at a time, about the bigness of musket bullets.

They supplied me as fast as they could, showing a thousand marks
of wonder and astonishment at my bulk and appetite. I then made
another sign, that I wanted drink. They found by my eating that
a small quantity would not suffice me; and being a most ingenious
people, they slung up, with great dexterity, one of their largest
hogsheads, then rolled it towards my hand, and beat out the top;
I drank it off at a draught, which I might well do, for it did
not hold half a pint, and tasted like a small wine of Burgundy,
but much more delicious. They brought me a second hogshead,
which I drank in the same manner, and made signs for more; but
they had none to give me. When I had performed these wonders,
they shouted for joy, and danced upon my breast, repeating
several times as they did at first, HEKINAH DEGUL. They made me
a sign that I should throw down the two hogsheads, but first
warning the people below to stand out of the way, crying aloud,
BORACH MEVOLAH; and when they saw the vessels in the air, there
was a universal shout of HEKINAH DEGUL. I confess I was often
tempted, while they were passing backwards and forwards on my
body, to seize forty or fifty of the first that came in my reach,
and dash them against the ground. But the remembrance of what I
had felt, which probably might not be the worst they could do,
and the promise of honour I made them--for so I interpreted my
submissive behaviour--soon drove out these imaginations.
Besides, I now considered myself as bound by the laws of
hospitality, to a people who had treated me with so much expense
and magnificence. However, in my thoughts I could not
sufficiently wonder at the intrepidity of these diminutive
mortals, who durst venture to mount and walk upon my body, while
one of my hands was at liberty, without trembling at the very
sight of so prodigious a creature as I must appear to them.
After some time, when they observed that I made no more demands
for meat, there appeared before me a person of high rank from his
imperial majesty. His excellency, having mounted on the small of
my right leg, advanced forwards up to my face, with about a dozen
of his retinue; and producing his credentials under the signet
royal, which he applied close to my eyes, spoke about ten minutes
without any signs of anger, but with a kind of determinate
resolution, often pointing forwards, which, as I afterwards
found, was towards the capital city, about half a mile distant;
whither it was agreed by his majesty in council that I must be
conveyed. I answered in few words, but to no purpose, and made a
sign with my hand that was loose, putting it to the other (but
over his excellency's head for fear of hurting him or his train)
and then to my own head and body, to signify that I desired my
liberty. It appeared that he understood me well enough, for he
shook his head by way of disapprobation, and held his hand in a
posture to show that I must be carried as a prisoner. However,
he made other signs to let me understand that I should have meat
and drink enough, and very good treatment. Whereupon I once more
thought of attempting to break my bonds; but again, when I felt
the smart of their arrows upon my face and hands, which were all
in blisters, and many of the darts still sticking in them, and
observing likewise that the number of my enemies increased, I
gave tokens to let them know that they might do with me what they
pleased. Upon this, the HURGO and his train withdrew, with much
civility and cheerful countenances. Soon after I heard a general
shout, with frequent repetitions of the words PEPLOM SELAN; and I
felt great numbers of people on my left side relaxing the cords
to such a degree, that I was able to turn upon my right, and to
ease myself with making water; which I very plentifully did, to
the great astonishment of the people; who, conjecturing by my
motion what I was going to do, immediately opened to the right
and left on that side, to avoid the torrent, which fell with such
noise and violence from me. But before this, they had daubed my
face and both my hands with a sort of ointment, very pleasant to
the smell, which, in a few minutes, removed all the smart of
their arrows. These circumstances, added to the refreshment I
had received by their victuals and drink, which were very
nourishing, disposed me to sleep. I slept about eight hours, as
I was afterwards assured; and it was no wonder, for the
physicians, by the emperor's order, had mingled a sleepy potion
in the hogsheads of wine.

It seems, that upon the first moment I was discovered sleeping on
the ground, after my landing, the emperor had early notice of it
by an express; and determined in council, that I should be tied
in the manner I have related, (which was done in the night while
I slept;) that plenty of meat and drink should be sent to me, and
a machine prepared to carry me to the capital city.

This resolution perhaps may appear very bold and dangerous, and I
am confident would not be imitated by any prince in Europe on the
like occasion. However, in my opinion, it was extremely prudent,
as well as generous: for, supposing these people had endeavoured
to kill me with their spears and arrows, while I was asleep, I
should certainly have awaked with the first sense of smart, which
might so far have roused my rage and strength, as to have enabled
me to break the strings wherewith I was tied; after which, as
they were not able to make resistance, so they could expect no

These people are most excellent mathematicians, and arrived to a
great perfection in mechanics, by the countenance and
encouragement of the emperor, who is a renowned patron of
learning. This prince has several machines fixed on wheels, for
the carriage of trees and other great weights. He often builds
his largest men of war, whereof some are nine feet long, in the
woods where the timber grows, and has them carried on these
engines three or four hundred yards to the sea. Five hundred
carpenters and engineers were immediately set at work to prepare
the greatest engine they had. It was a frame of wood raised three
inches from the ground, about seven feet long, and four wide,
moving upon twenty-two wheels. The shout I heard was upon the
arrival of this engine, which, it seems, set out in four hours
after my landing. It was brought parallel to me, as I lay. But
the principal difficulty was to raise and place me in this
vehicle. Eighty poles, each of one foot high, were erected for
this purpose, and very strong cords, of the bigness of
packthread, were fastened by hooks to many bandages, which the
workmen had girt round my neck, my hands, my body, and my legs.
Nine hundred of the strongest men were employed to draw up these
cords, by many pulleys fastened on the poles; and thus, in less
than three hours, I was raised and slung into the engine, and
there tied fast. All this I was told; for, while the operation
was performing, I lay in a profound sleep, by the force of that
soporiferous medicine infused into my liquor. Fifteen hundred of
the emperor's largest horses, each about four inches and a half
high, were employed to draw me towards the metropolis, which, as
I said, was half a mile distant.

About four hours after we began our journey, I awaked by a very
ridiculous accident; for the carriage being stopped a while, to
adjust something that was out of order, two or three of the young
natives had the curiosity to see how I looked when I was asleep;
they climbed up into the engine, and advancing very softly to my
face, one of them, an officer in the guards, put the sharp end of
his half-pike a good way up into my left nostril, which tickled
my nose like a straw, and made me sneeze violently; whereupon
they stole off unperceived, and it was three weeks before I knew
the cause of my waking so suddenly. We made a long march the
remaining part of the day, and, rested at night with five hundred
guards on each side of me, half with torches, and half with bows
and arrows, ready to shoot me if I should offer to stir. The
next morning at sunrise we continued our march, and arrived
within two hundred yards of the city gates about noon. The
emperor, and all his court, came out to meet us; but his great
officers would by no means suffer his majesty to endanger his
person by mounting on my body.

At the place where the carriage stopped there stood an ancient
temple, esteemed to be the largest in the whole kingdom; which,
having been polluted some years before by an unnatural murder,
was, according to the zeal of those people, looked upon as
profane, and therefore had been applied to common use, and all
the ornaments and furniture carried away. In this edifice it was
determined I should lodge. The great gate fronting to the north
was about four feet high, and almost two feet wide, through which
I could easily creep. On each side of the gate was a small
window, not above six inches from the ground: into that on the
left side, the king's smith conveyed four-score and eleven
chains, like those that hang to a lady's watch in Europe, and
almost as large, which were locked to my left leg with
six-and-thirty padlocks. Over against this temple, on the other
side of the great highway, at twenty feet distance, there was a
turret at least five feet high. Here the emperor ascended, with
many principal lords of his court, to have an opportunity of
viewing me, as I was told, for I could not see them. It was
reckoned that above a hundred thousand inhabitants came out of
the town upon the same errand; and, in spite of my guards, I
believe there could not be fewer than ten thousand at several
times, who mounted my body by the help of ladders. But a
proclamation was soon issued, to forbid it upon pain of death.
When the workmen found it was impossible for me to break loose,
they cut all the strings that bound me; whereupon I rose up, with
as melancholy a disposition as ever I had in my life. But the
noise and astonishment of the people, at seeing me rise and walk,
are not to be expressed. The chains that held my left leg were
about two yards long, and gave me not only the liberty of walking
backwards and forwards in a semicircle, but, being fixed within
four inches of the gate, allowed me to creep in, and lie at my
full length in the temple.


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