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Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

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[The country described. A proposal for correcting modern maps.
The king's palace; and some account of the metropolis. The
author's way of travelling. The chief temple described.]

I now intend to give the reader a short description of this
country, as far as I travelled in it, which was not above two
thousand miles round Lorbrulgrud, the metropolis. For the queen,
whom I always attended, never went farther when she accompanied
the king in his progresses, and there staid till his majesty
returned from viewing his frontiers. The whole extent of this
prince's dominions reaches about six thousand miles in length,
and from three to five in breadth: whence I cannot but conclude,
that our geographers of Europe are in a great error, by supposing
nothing but sea between Japan and California; for it was ever my
opinion, that there must be a balance of earth to counterpoise
the great continent of Tartary; and therefore they ought to
correct their maps and charts, by joining this vast tract of land
to the north-west parts of America, wherein I shall be ready to
lend them my assistance.

The kingdom is a peninsula, terminated to the north-east by a
ridge of mountains thirty miles high, which are altogether
impassable, by reason of the volcanoes upon the tops: neither do
the most learned know what sort of mortals inhabit beyond those
mountains, or whether they be inhabited at all. On the three
other sides, it is bounded by the ocean. There is not one
sea-port in the whole kingdom: and those parts of the coasts
into which the rivers issue, are so full of pointed rocks, and
the sea generally so rough, that there is no venturing with the
smallest of their boats; so that these people are wholly excluded
from any commerce with the rest of the world. But the large
rivers are full of vessels, and abound with excellent fish; for
they seldom get any from the sea, because the sea fish are of the
same size with those in Europe, and consequently not worth
catching; whereby it is manifest, that nature, in the production
of plants and animals of so extraordinary a bulk, is wholly
confined to this continent, of which I leave the reasons to be
determined by philosophers. However, now and then they take a
whale that happens to be dashed against the rocks, which the
common people feed on heartily. These whales I have known so
large, that a man could hardly carry one upon his shoulders; and
sometimes, for curiosity, they are brought in hampers to
Lorbrulgrud; I saw one of them in a dish at the king's table,
which passed for a rarity, but I did not observe he was fond of
it; for I think, indeed, the bigness disgusted him, although I
have seen one somewhat larger in Greenland.

The country is well inhabited, for it contains fifty-one cities,
near a hundred walled towns, and a great number of villages. To
satisfy my curious reader, it may be sufficient to describe
Lorbrulgrud. This city stands upon almost two equal parts, on
each side the river that passes through. It contains above
eighty thousand houses, and about six hundred thousand
inhabitants. It is in length three GLOMGLUNGS (which make about
fifty-four English miles,) and two and a half in breadth; as I
measured it myself in the royal map made by the king's order,
which was laid on the ground on purpose for me, and extended a
hundred feet: I paced the diameter and circumference several
times barefoot, and, computing by the scale, measured it pretty

The king's palace is no regular edifice, but a heap of buildings,
about seven miles round: the chief rooms are generally two
hundred and forty feet high, and broad and long in proportion. A
coach was allowed to Glumdalclitch and me, wherein her governess
frequently took her out to see the town, or go among the shops;
and I was always of the party, carried in my box; although the
girl, at my own desire, would often take me out, and hold me in
her hand, that I might more conveniently view the houses and the
people, as we passed along the streets. I reckoned our coach to
be about a square of Westminster-hall, but not altogether so
high: however, I cannot be very exact. One day the governess
ordered our coachman to stop at several shops, where the beggars,
watching their opportunity, crowded to the sides of the coach,
and gave me the most horrible spectacle that ever a European eye
beheld. There was a woman with a cancer in her breast, swelled
to a monstrous size, full of holes, in two or three of which I
could have easily crept, and covered my whole body. There was a
fellow with a wen in his neck, larger than five wool-packs; and
another, with a couple of wooden legs, each about twenty feet
high. But the most hateful sight of all, was the lice crawling
on their clothes. I could see distinctly the limbs of these
vermin with my naked eye, much better than those of a European
louse through a microscope, and their snouts with which they
rooted like swine. They were the first I had ever beheld, and I
should have been curious enough to dissect one of them, if I had
had proper instruments, which I unluckily left behind me in the
ship, although, indeed, the sight was so nauseous, that it
perfectly turned my stomach.

Besides the large box in which I was usually carried, the queen
ordered a smaller one to be made for me, of about twelve feet
square, and ten high, for the convenience of travelling; because
the other was somewhat too large for Glumdalclitch's lap, and
cumbersome in the coach; it was made by the same artist, whom I
directed in the whole contrivance. This travelling-closet was an
exact square, with a window in the middle of three of the
squares, and each window was latticed with iron wire on the
outside, to prevent accidents in long journeys. On the fourth
side, which had no window, two strong staples were fixed, through
which the person that carried me, when I had a mind to be on
horseback, put a leathern belt, and buckled it about his waist.
This was always the office of some grave trusty servant, in whom
I could confide, whether I attended the king and queen in their
progresses, or were disposed to see the gardens, or pay a visit
to some great lady or minister of state in the court, when
Glumdalclitch happened to be out of order; for I soon began to be
known and esteemed among the greatest officers, I suppose more
upon account of their majesties' favour, than any merit of my
own. In journeys, when I was weary of the coach, a servant on
horseback would buckle on my box, and place it upon a cushion
before him; and there I had a full prospect of the country on
three sides, from my three windows. I had, in this closet, a
field-bed and a hammock, hung from the ceiling, two chairs and a
table, neatly screwed to the floor, to prevent being tossed about
by the agitation of the horse or the coach. And having been long
used to sea-voyages, those motions, although sometimes very
violent, did not much discompose me.

Whenever I had a mind to see the town, it was always in my
travelling-closet; which Glumdalclitch held in her lap in a kind
of open sedan, after the fashion of the country, borne by four
men, and attended by two others in the queen's livery. The
people, who had often heard of me, were very curious to crowd
about the sedan, and the girl was complaisant enough to make the
bearers stop, and to take me in her hand, that I might be more
conveniently seen.

I was very desirous to see the chief temple, and particularly the
tower belonging to it, which is reckoned the highest in the
kingdom. Accordingly one day my nurse carried me thither, but I
may truly say I came back disappointed; for the height is not
above three thousand feet, reckoning from the ground to the
highest pinnacle top; which, allowing for the difference between
the size of those people and us in Europe, is no great matter for
admiration, nor at all equal in proportion (if I rightly
remember) to Salisbury steeple. But, not to detract from a
nation, to which, during my life, I shall acknowledge myself
extremely obliged, it must be allowed, that whatever this famous
tower wants in height, is amply made up in beauty and strength:
for the walls are near a hundred feet thick, built of hewn stone,
whereof each is about forty feet square, and adorned on all sides
with statues of gods and emperors, cut in marble, larger than the
life, placed in their several niches. I measured a little finger
which had fallen down from one of these statues, and lay
unperceived among some rubbish, and found it exactly four feet
and an inch in length. Glumdalclitch wrapped it up in her
handkerchief, and carried it home in her pocket, to keep among
other trinkets, of which the girl was very fond, as children at
her age usually are.

The king's kitchen is indeed a noble building, vaulted at top,
and about six hundred feet high. The great oven is not so wide,
by ten paces, as the cupola at St. Paul's: for I measured the
latter on purpose, after my return. But if I should describe the
kitchen grate, the prodigious pots and kettles, the joints of
meat turning on the spits, with many other particulars, perhaps I
should be hardly believed; at least a severe critic would be apt
to think I enlarged a little, as travellers are often suspected
to do. To avoid which censure I fear I have run too much into
the other extreme; and that if this treatise should happen to be
translated into the language of Brobdingnag (which is the general
name of that kingdom,) and transmitted thither, the king and his
people would have reason to complain that I had done them an
injury, by a false and diminutive representation.

His majesty seldom keeps above six hundred horses in his stables:
they are generally from fifty-four to sixty feet high. But, when
he goes abroad on solemn days, he is attended, for state, by a
military guard of five hundred horse, which, indeed, I thought
was the most splendid sight that could be ever beheld, till I saw
part of his army in battalia, whereof I shall find another
occasion to speak.



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