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Jonathan Swift - Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gullivers Travels (1726, amended 1735), is a novel by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers tales" literary subgenre. It is Swifts best known full-length work.
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Table of Contents
A LETTER FROM CAPTAIN GULLIVER TO HIS COUSIN SYMPSON.
PART I. A VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT.
PART II. A VOYAGE TO BROBDINGNAG.
PART III. A VOYAGE TO LAPUTA, BALNIBARBI, LUGGNAGG, GLUBBDUBDRIB, AND JAPAN.
PART IV. A VOYAGE TO THE COUNTRY OF THE HOUYHNHNMS.
Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World
First digital edition 2017 by Anna Ruggieri
Written in the Year1727.
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 onme to publish a very loose and uncorrect account of my travels, with directions to hire some young gentleman of either university to put them in order, and correct the style, as my cousin Dampier did, by my advice, in his book called “A Voyage round the world.” But I do not remember I gave you power to consent that any thing should be omitted, and much less that any thing should be inserted; therefore, as to the latter, I do here renounce every thing of that kind; particularly a paragraph about her majesty Queen Anne, of most pious and glorious memory; although I did reverence and esteem her more than any of human species. But you, or your interpolator, ought to have considered, that it was not my inclination, so was it not decent to praise any animal ofour composition before my masterHouyhnhnm: 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 masterHouyhnhnm, you have either omitted some material circumstances, or minced or changed them in such a manner, that I do hardly know my own work. When I formerly hinted to you something of this in a letter, you were pleased to answer that you were afraid of giving offence; that people in power werevery watchful over the press, and apt not only to interpret, but to punish every thing which looked like aninnuendo(as I think you call it). But, pray how could that which I spoke so many years ago, and at about five thousand leagues distance, in another reign, be applied to any of theYahoos, who now are said to govern the herd; especially at a time when I little thought, or feared, the unhappiness of living under them? Have not I the most reason to complain, when I see these veryYahooscarried byHouyhnhnmsin a vehicle, as if they were brutes, and those the rational creatures? And indeed to avoid so monstrous and detestable a sight was one principal motive of my retirement hither.
Thus much I thought proper to tell you in relation to yourself, andto the trust I reposed in you.
I do, in the next place, complain of my own great want of judgment, in being prevailed upon by the entreaties and false reasoning of you and some others, very much against my own opinion, to suffer my travels to be published. Pray bring to your mind how often I desired you to consider, when you insisted on the motive of public good, that theYahooswere a species of animals utterly incapable of amendment by precept or example: and so it has proved; for, instead of seeing a full stop put to all abuses and corruptions, at least in thislittle island, as I had reason to expect; behold, after above six months warning, I cannot learn that my book has produced one single effect according to my intentions. I desired you would let meknow, by a letter, when party and faction were extinguished; judges learned and upright; pleaders honest and modest, with some tincture of common sense, and Smithfield blazing with pyramids of law books; the young nobility’s education entirely changed; the physicians banished; the femaleYahoosabounding 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 whichYahoosare subject, if their natures had been capable of the least disposition to virtue or wisdom. Yet, so far have you been from answering my expectation in any of your letters; that on the contrary you are loading our carrier every week with libels, and keys, and reflections, and memoirs, and second parts; wherein I see myself accused of reflecting upon great state folk; of degrading human nature (for so they havestill the confidence to style it), and of abusing the female sex. I find likewise that the writers of those bundles are not agreed among themselves; for some of them will not allow me to be the author of my own travels; and others make me author of booksto which I am wholly a stranger.
I find likewise that your printer has been so careless as to confound the times, and mistake the dates, of my several voyages and returns; neither assigning the true year, nor the true month, nor day of the month: and I hear the original manuscript is all destroyed since the publication of my book; neither have I any copy left: however, I have sent you some corrections, which you may insert, if ever there should be a second edition: and yet I cannot stand to them; but shallleave that matter to my judicious and candid readers to adjust it as they please.
I hear some of our seaYahoosfind 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 wasinstructed by the oldest mariners, and learned to speak as they did. But I have since found that the seaYahoosare 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 anyYahoocomes from London out of curiosity to visit me at my house, we neither of us are able to deliver our conceptions in a manner intelligible to the other.
If the censure of theYahooscould any way affect me, I should have great reason to complain, that some of them are so bold as to think my book of travels a mere fiction out of mine own brain, and have gone so far as to drop hints, that theHouyhnhnmsandYahooshave no more existence than the inhabitants of Utopia.
Indeed I must confess, that as to the people ofLilliput,Brobdingrag(for so the word should have been spelt, and not erroneouslyBrobdingnag), andLaputa, I have never yetheard of anyYahooso presumptuous as to dispute their being, or the facts I have related concerningthem; because the truth immediately strikes every reader with conviction. And is there less probability in my account of theHouyhnhnmsorYahoos, when it is manifest as to the latter, there are so many thousands even in this country, who only differ from their brother brutes inHouyhnhnmland, because they use a sort of jabber, and do not go naked? I wrote for their amendment, and not their approbation. The united praise of the whole race would be of less consequence to me, than the neighing of those two degenerateHouyhnhnmsI keep in my stable; because from these, degenerate as they are, I still improve in some virtues without any mixture of vice.
Do these miserable animals presume to think, that I am so degenerated as to defend my veracity? Yahooas I am, it is well known through allHouyhnhnmland, that, by the instructions and example of my illustrious master, I was able in the compass of two years (although I confess with the utmost difficulty) to remove that infernal habit of lying, shuffling, deceiving, and equivocating, so deeply rooted in the very souls of all my species; especially the Europeans.
I have other complaints to make upon this vexatious occasion; but I forbear troubling myself or you any further. I must freely confess, that since my last return, some corruptions of myYahoonature 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 theYahoorace in this kingdom: But I have now done with all such visionary schemes for ever.
The author gives some account of himself and family. Hisfirst inducements to travel. He is shipwrecked, and swims forhis life. Gets safe on shore in the country of Lilliput; ismade a prisoner, and carried up the country.
My father had a small estatein Nottinghamshire: I was the thirdof five sons. He sent me to Emanuel College in Cambridge atfourteen years old, where I resided three years, and applied myselfclose to my studies; but the charge of maintaining me, although Ihad a very scanty allowance, being too great for a narrow fortune,I was bound apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an eminent surgeon inLondon, with whom I continued four years. My father now andthen sending me small sums of money, I laid them out in learningnavigation, and otherparts of the mathematics, useful to those whointend to travel, as I always believed it would be, some time orother, my fortune to do. When I left Mr. Bates, I went downto my father: where, by the assistance of him and my uncle John,and some other relations, I got forty pounds, and a promise ofthirty pounds a year to maintain me at Leyden: there I studiedphysic two years and seven months, knowing it would be useful inlong voyages.
Soon after my return from Leyden, I was recommended by my goodmaster,Mr. Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, Captain AbrahamPannel, 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 toseveral patients. I took part of a small house in the OldJewry; and being advised to alter my condition, I married Mrs. MaryBurton, second daughter to Mr. Edmund Burton, hosier, inNewgate-street,with whom I received four hundred pounds for aportion.
But my good master Bates dying in two years after, and I havingfew friends, my business began to fail; for my conscience would notsuffer me to imitate the bad practice of too many among mybrethren. Having therefore consulted with my wife, and someof my acquaintance, I determined to go again to sea. I wassurgeon successively in two ships, and made several voyages, forsix years, to the East and West Indies, by which I got someaddition to my fortune. My hours of leisure I spent inreading the best authors, ancient and modern, being always providedwith a good number of books; and when I was ashore, in observingthe manners and dispositions of the people, as well as learningtheir language; wherein I had a great facility, by the strength ofmy memory.
The last of these voyages not proving very fortunate, I grewweary of the sea, and intended to stay at home with my wife andfamily. I removed from the Old Jewry to Fetter Lane, and fromthence toWapping, hoping to get business among the sailors; but itwould not turn toaccount. After three years expectation thatthings would mend, I accepted an advantageous offer from CaptainWilliam Prichard, master of the Antelope, who was making a voyageto the South Sea. We set sail from Bristol, May 4, 1699, andour voyage was at first very prosperous.
It would not be proper, for some reasons, to trouble the readerwith the particulars of our adventures in those seas; let itsuffice to inform him, that in our passage from thence to the EastIndies, we were driven by a violent storm to the north-west of VanDiemen’s Land. By an observation, we found ourselves inthe latitude of 30 degrees 2 minutes south. Twelve of ourcrew were dead by immoderate labour and ill food; the rest were ina very weak condition. On the 5th of November, which was thebeginning of summer in those parts, the weather being very hazy,the seamen spied a rock within half a cable’s length of theship; but the wind was so strong, that we were driven directly uponit, and immediately split. Six of the crew, of whom I wasone, having let down the boat into the sea, made a shift to getclear of the ship and the rock. We rowed, by my computation,about three leagues, till we were able to work no longer, beingalready spent with labour while we were in the ship. Wetherefore trusted ourselves to the mercy of the waves, and in abouthalf an hour the boat was overset by a sudden flurry from thenorth. What became of my companions in the boat, as well asof those who escaped on the rock, or were left in the vessel, Icannot tell; but conclude they were all lost. For my ownpart, I swam as fortune directed me, and was pushed forward by windand 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 foundmyself within my depth; and by this time the storm was muchabated. The declivity was so small, that I walked near a milebefore I got to the shore, which I conjectured was about eighto’clock in the evening. I then advanced forward nearhalf a mile, but could not discover any sign of houses orinhabitants; at least I was in so weak a condition, that I did notobserve them. I was extremely tired, and with that, and theheat ofthe weather, and about half a pint of brandy that I drank asI left the ship, I found myself much inclined to sleep. I laydown on the grass, which was very short and soft, where I sleptsounder than ever I remembered to have done in my life, and, as Ireckoned, about nine hours; for when I awaked, it was justday-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 werestrongly fastened on each side to the ground; and my hair, whichwas long and thick, tied down in the same manner. I likewisefelt several slender ligatures across my body, from my arm-pits tomy thighs. I could only look upwards; the sun began to growhot, and the light offended my eyes. I heard a confused noiseabout me;but in the posture I lay, could see nothing except thesky. In a little time I felt something alive moving on myleft leg, which advancing gently forward over my breast, camealmost up to my chin; when, bending my eyes downwards as much as Icould, 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 Iconjectured) following the first. I was in the utmostastonishment, androared so loud, that they all ran back in afright; and some of them, as I was afterwards told, were hurt withthe falls they got by leaping from my sides upon the ground. However, they soon returned, and one of them, who ventured so faras to get a fullsight of my face, lifting up his hands and eyes byway of admiration, cried out in a shrill but distinct voice,Hekinahdegul: the othersrepeated the same words several times, but then Iknew not what they meant. I lay all this while, as the readermay believe, in great uneasiness. At length, struggling toget loose, I had the fortune to break the strings, and wrench outthe pegs that fastened my left arm to the ground; for, by liftingit up to my face, I discovered the methods they had taken to bindme,and at the same time with a violent pull, which gave meexcessive pain, I a little loosened the strings that tied down myhair on the left side, so that I was just able to turn my headabout two inches. But the creatures ran off a second time,before I could seize them; whereupon there was a great shout in avery shrill accent, and after it ceased I heard one of them cryaloudTolgo phonac; when in an instant I felt above a hundred arrowsdischarged on my left hand, which, pricked me like so manyneedles;and besides, they shot another flight into the air, as wedo bombs in Europe, whereof many, I suppose, fell on my body,(though I felt them not), and some on my face, which I immediatelycovered with my left hand. When this shower of arrows wasover, I fell a groaning with grief and pain; and then strivingagain to get loose, they discharged another volley larger than thefirst, and some of them attempted with spears to stick me in thesides; but by good luck I had on a buff jerkin, which they couldnot pierce. I thought it the most prudent method to liestill, and my design was to continue so till night, when, my lefthand being already loose, I could easily free myself: and as forthe inhabitants, I had reason to believe I might be a match for thegreatest army they could bring against me, if they were all of thesame size with him that I saw. But fortune disposed otherwiseof me. When the people observed I was quiet, they dischargedno more arrows; but, by the noise I heard, I knew their numbersincreased; 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 stringswould permit me, I saw a stage erected about a foot and a halffromthe ground, capable of holding four of the inhabitants, with two orthree ladders to mount it: from whence one of them, who seemed tobe a person of quality, made me a long speech, whereof I understoodnot one syllable. But I should have mentioned, that beforethe principal person began his oration, he cried out threetimes,Langro dehul san(these words and the former were afterwardsrepeated and explained to me); whereupon, immediately, about fiftyof the inhabitants came and cut the strings that fastened the leftside of my head, which gave me the liberty of turning it to theright, and of observing the person and gesture of him that was tospeak. He appeared to be of a middle age, and taller than anyof the other three who attended him, whereof one was a page thatheld up his train, and seemed to be somewhat longer than my middlefinger; the other two stood one on each side to support him. He acted every part of an orator, and I could observe many periodsof 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 callinghim for a witness; and being almost famished with hunger, havingnot eaten a morsel for some hours before I left the ship, I foundthe demands of nature so strong upon me, that I could not forbearshowing my impatience (perhaps against the strict rules of decency)by putting my finger frequently to my mouth, to signify that Iwanted food. Thehurgo(for so theycall a great lord, as Iafterwards learnt) understood me very well. He descended fromthe stage, and commanded that several ladders should be applied tomy sides, on which above a hundred of the inhabitants mounted andwalked towards my mouth, laden withbaskets full of meat, which hadbeen provided and sent thither by the king’s orders, uponthefirst intelligence he received of me. I observed there wasthe flesh of several animals, but could not distinguish them by thetaste. There were shoulders, legs, and loins, shaped likethose of mutton, and very well dressed, but smaller than the wingsof a lark. I ate them by two or three at a mouthful, and tookthree loaves at a time, about the bigness of musket bullets. They supplied me as fast as they could,showing a thousand marks ofwonder and astonishment at my bulk and appetite. I then madeanother sign, that I wanted drink. They found by my eatingthat a small quantity would not suffice me; and being a mostingenious people, they slung up, with greatdexterity, one of theirlargest hogsheads, then rolled it towards my hand, and beat out thetop; I drank it off at a draught, which I might well do, for it didnot hold half a pint, and tasted like a small wine of Burgundy, butmuch more delicious. They brought me a second hogshead, whichI drank in the same manner, and made signs for more; but they hadnone to give me. When I had performed these wonders, theyshouted for joy, and danced upon my breast, repeating several timesas they did at first,Hekinah degul. They made me a sign thatI should throw down the two hogsheads, but first warning the peoplebelow to stand out of the way, crying aloud,Borach mevolah; andwhen they saw the vessels in the air, there was a universal shoutofHekinah degul. I confess I was often tempted, while theywere passing backwards and forwards on my body, to seize forty orfifty of the first that came in my reach, and dash them against theground. But the remembrance of what I had felt, whichprobably might not be the worst they could do, and the promise ofhonour I made them—for so I interpreted my submissivebehaviour—soon drove out these imaginations. Besides, Inow considered myself as bound by the laws of hospitality, to apeople who had treated me with so much expense andmagnificence. However, in my thoughts I could notsufficiently wonder at the intrepidity of these diminutive mortals,who durst venture to mount and walk upon my body, while one of myhands was at liberty, without trembling at the very sight ofsoprodigious a creature as I must appear to them. After sometime, when they observed that I made no more demands for meat,there appeared before me a person of high rank from his imperialmajesty. His excellency, having mounted on the small of myright leg, advanced forwards up to my face, with about a dozen ofhis retinue; and producing his credentials under the signet royal,which he applied close to my eyes, spoke about ten minutes withoutany signs of anger, but with a kind of determinate resolution,oftenpointing forwards, which, as I afterwards found, was towards thecapital city, about half a mile distant; whither it was agreed byhis majesty in council that I must be conveyed. I answered infew words, but to no purpose, and made a sign with my hand that wasloose, putting it to the other (but over his excellency’shead for fear of hurting him or his train) and then to my own headand body, to signify that I desired my liberty. It appearedthat he understood me well enough, for he shook his head by way ofdisapprobation, and held his hand in a posture to show that I mustbe carried as a prisoner. However, he made other signs to letme understand that I should have meat and drink enough, and verygood treatment. Whereupon I once more thought of attemptingto break my bonds; but again, when I felt the smart of their arrowsupon my face and hands, which were all in blisters, and many of thedarts still sticking in them, and observing likewise that thenumber of my enemies increased, I gave tokens tolet them know thatthey might do with me what they pleased. Upon this,thehurgoand his train withdrew, with much civility and cheerfulcountenances. Soon after I heard a general shout, withfrequent repetitions of the wordsPeplom selan; and I felt greatnumbers ofpeople on my left side relaxing the cords to such adegree, that I was able to turn upon my right, and to ease myselfwith making water; which I very plentifully did, to the greatastonishment of the people; who, conjecturing by my motion what Iwas going to do, immediately opened to the right and left on thatside, to avoid the torrent, which fell with such noise and violencefrom me. But before this, they had daubed my face and both myhands 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 bytheir victuals and drink, which were very nourishing, disposed meto sleep. I slept about eight hours, as I wasafterwardsassured; and it was no wonder, for the physicians, by theemperor’s order, had mingled a sleepy potion in the hogsheadsof wine.
It seems, that upon the first moment I was discovered sleepingon the ground, after my landing, the emperor had early notice of itby an express; and determined in council, that I should be tied inthe manner I have related, (which was done in the night while Islept;) that plenty of meat and drink should be sent to me, and amachine prepared to carry me to the capital city.
Thisresolution perhaps may appear very bold and dangerous, and Iam confident would not be imitated by any prince in Europe on thelike occasion. However, in my opinion, it was extremelyprudent, as well as generous: for, supposing these people hadendeavoured to kill me with their spears and arrows, while I wasasleep, I should certainly have awaked with the first sense ofsmart, which might so far have roused my rage and strength, as tohave enabled me to break the strings wherewith I was tied; afterwhich,as they were not able to make resistance, so they couldexpect no mercy.
These people are most excellent mathematicians, and arrived to agreat perfection in mechanics, by the countenance and encouragementof the emperor, who is a renowned patron of learning. Thisprince has several machines fixed on wheels, for the carriage oftrees and other great weights. He often builds his largestmen of war, whereof some are nine feet long, in the woods where thetimber grows, and has them carried on these enginesthree or fourhundred yards to the sea. Five hundred carpenters andengineers were immediately set at work to prepare the greatestengine they had. It was a frame of wood raised three inchesfrom the ground, about seven feet long, and four wide, moving upontwenty-two wheels. The shout I heard was upon the arrival ofthis engine, which, it seems, set out in four hours after mylanding. It was brought parallel to me, as I lay. Butthe principal difficulty was to raise and place me in thisvehicle. Eighty poles, each of one foot high, were erectedfor this purpose, and very strong cords, of the bigness ofpackthread, were fastened by hooks to many bandages, which theworkmen had girt round my neck, my hands, my body, and mylegs. Nine hundred of the strongest men were employed to drawup these cords, by many pulleys fastened on the poles; and thus, inless than three hours, I was raised and slung into the engine, andthere tied fast. All this I was told; for, while theoperation was performing, I lay ina profound sleep, by the force ofthat soporiferous medicine infused into my liquor. Fifteenhundred of the emperor’s largest horses, each about fourinches and a half high, were employed to draw me towards themetropolis, which, as I said, was half a mile distant.
About four hours after we began our journey, I awaked by a veryridiculous accident; for the carriage being stopped a while, toadjust something that was out of order, two or three of the youngnatives had the curiosity to see how I looked whenI was asleep;they climbed up into the engine, and advancing very softly to myface, one of them, an officer in the guards, put the sharp end ofhis half-pike a good way up into my left nostril, which tickled mynose like a straw, and made me sneeze violently; whereupon theystole off unperceived, and it was three weeks before I knew thecause of my waking so suddenly. We made a long march theremaining part of the day, and, rested at night with five hundredguards on each side of me, half with torches, and half with bowsand arrows, ready to shoot me if I should offer to stir. Thenext morning at sun-rise we continued our march, and arrived withintwo hundred yards of the city gates about noon. The emperor,and all his court, came out to meet us; but his great officerswould by no means suffer his majesty to endanger his person bymounting on my body.
At the place where the carriage stopped there stood an ancienttemple, 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, andtherefore had been applied to common use, and all the ornaments andfurniture carried away. In this edifice it was determined Ishould lodge. The great gate fronting to the north was aboutfour feet high, and almost two feet wide, through which I couldeasily creep. On each side of the gate was a small window,not above six inches from the ground: into that on the left side,the king’s smith conveyed fourscore and eleven chains, likethose that hang to a lady’s watch in Europe, and almost aslarge, which were locked to my left leg with six-and-thirtypadlocks. Over against this temple, on the other side of thegreat highway, at twenty feet distance,there was a turret at leastfive feet high. Here the emperor ascended, with manyprincipal lords of his court, to have an opportunity of viewing me,as I was told, for I could not see them. It was reckoned thatabove a hundred thousand inhabitants cameout of the town upon thesame errand; and, in spite of my guards, I believe there could notbe fewer than ten thousand at several times, who mounted my body bythe help of ladders. But a proclamation was soon issued, toforbid it upon pain of death. Whenthe workmen found it wasimpossible for me to break loose, they cut all the strings thatbound me; whereupon I rose up, with as melancholy a disposition asever I had in my life. But the noise and astonishment of thepeople, at seeing me rise and walk, are not to be expressed. The chains that held my left leg were about two yards long, andgave me not only the liberty of walking backwards and forwards in asemicircle, but, being fixed within four inches of the gate,allowed me to creep in, and lie at myfull length in the temple.
The emperor of Lilliput, attended by several of the nobility,comes to see the author in his confinement. Theemperor’s person and habit described. Learned menappointed to teach the author their language. He gainsfavourby his mild disposition. His pockets are searched, and hissword and pistols taken from him.
When I found myself on my feet, I looked about me, and mustconfess I never beheld a more entertaining prospect. Thecountry around appeared like a continued garden, and the enclosedfields, which were generally forty feet square, resembled so manybeds of flowers. These fields were intermingled with woods ofhalf a stang,and the tallest trees, as I could judge, appearedto 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 necessitiesof nature; which was no wonder, it being almost two days since Ihad last disburdened myself. I wasunder great difficultiesbetween urgency and shame. The best expedient I could thinkof, was to creep into my house, which I accordingly did; andshutting the gate after me, I went as far as the length of my chainwould suffer, and discharged my body of that uneasy load. Butthis was the only time I was ever guilty of so uncleanly an action;for which I cannot but hope the candid reader will give someallowance, after he has maturely and impartially considered mycase, and the distress I was in. From this time my constantpractice was, as soon as I rose, to perform that business in openair, at the full extent of my chain; and due care was taken everymorning before company came, that the offensive matter should becarried off in wheel-barrows, by two servants appointed for thatpurpose. I would not have dwelt so long upon a circumstancethat, perhaps, at first sight, may appear not very momentous, if Ihad not thought it necessary to justify my character, in point ofcleanliness, to the world; which, I am told, some of my malignershave been pleased, upon this and other occasions, to call inquestion.
When this adventure was at an end, I came back out of my house,having occasion for fresh air. The emperor was alreadydescended from the tower, and advancing on horseback towards me,which had like to have cost him dear; for the beast, though verywell trained, yet wholly unused to such a sight, which appeared asif a mountain moved before him, reared up on its hinder feet: butthat prince, who is an excellent horseman, kept his seat, till hisattendants ran in, and held the bridle, while his majesty had timeto dismount. When he alighted, he surveyed me round withgreat admiration; but kept beyond the length of my chain. Heordered his cooks and butlers,who were already prepared, to give mevictuals and drink, which they pushed forward in a sort of vehiclesupon wheels, till I could reach them. I took these vehiclesand soon emptied them all; twenty of them were filled with meat,and ten with liquor; each of the former afforded me two or threegood mouthfuls; and I emptied the liquor of ten vessels, which wascontained in earthen vials, into one vehicle, drinking it off at adraught; and so I did with the rest. The empress, and youngprinces of the bloodof both sexes, attended by many ladies, sat atsome distance in their chairs; but upon the accident that happenedto the emperor’s horse, they alighted, and came near hisperson, which I am now going to describe. He is taller byalmost the breadth of mynail, than any of his court; which alone isenough to strike an awe into the beholders. His features arestrong and masculine, with an Austrian lip and arched nose, hiscomplexion olive, his countenance erect, his body and limbs wellproportioned, all hismotions graceful, and his deportmentmajestic. He was then past his prime, being twenty-eightyears and three quarters old, of which he had reigned about sevenin great felicity, and generally victorious. For the betterconvenience of beholding him, I lay on my side, so that my facewasparallel to his, and he stood but three yards off: however, I havehad him since many times in my hand, and therefore cannot bedeceived in the description. His dress was very plain andsimple, 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 handto defend himself, if I should happen to break loose; it was almostthree inches long; thehilt and scabbard were gold enriched withdiamonds. His voice was shrill, but very clear andarticulate; and I could distinctly hear it when I stood up. The ladies and courtiers were all most magnificently clad; so thatthe spot they stood upon seemed toresemble a petticoat spread uponthe ground, embroidered with figures of gold and silver. Hisimperial majesty spoke often to me, and I returned answers: butneither of us could understand a syllable. There were severalof his priests and lawyers present (as I conjectured by theirhabits), who were commanded to address themselves to me; and Ispoke to them in as many languages as I had the least smatteringof, which were High and Low Dutch, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian,and Lingua Franca, but all to no purpose. After about twohours the court retired, and I was left with a strong guard, toprevent the impertinence, and probably the malice of the rabble,who were very impatient to crowd about me as near as they durst;and some of them had the impudenceto shoot their arrows at me, as Isat on the ground by the door of my house, whereof one verynarrowly missed my left eye. But the colonel ordered six ofthe ringleaders to be seized, and thought no punishment so properas to deliver them bound into my hands; which some of his soldiersaccordingly did, pushing them forward with the butt-ends of theirpikes into my reach. I took them all in my right hand, putfive of them into my coat-pocket; and as to the sixth, I made acountenance as if I would eat himalive. The poor man squalledterribly, and the colonel and his officers were in much pain,especially when they saw me take out my penknife: but I soon putthem out of fear; for, looking mildly, and immediately cutting thestrings he was bound with, I set him gently on the ground, and awayhe ran. I treated the rest in the same manner, taking themone by one out of my pocket; and I observed both the soldiers andpeople were highly delighted at this mark of my clemency, which wasrepresented very much tomy advantage at court.
Towards night I got with some difficulty into my house, where Ilay on the ground, and continued to do so about a fortnight; duringwhich time, the emperor gave orders to have a bed prepared forme. Six hundred beds of the common measure were brought incarriages, and worked up in my house; a hundred and fifty of theirbeds, sewn together, made up the breadth and length; and these werefour double: which, however, kept me but very indifferently fromthe hardness of the floor, that was of smooth stone. By thesame computation, they provided me with sheets, blankets, andcoverlets, tolerable enough for one who had been so long inured tohardships.
As the news of my arrival spread through the kingdom, it broughtprodigious numbers of rich, idle, and curious people to see me; sothat the villages were almost emptied; and great neglect of tillageand household affairs must have ensued, if his imperial majesty hadnot provided, by several proclamations and orders of state, againstthis inconveniency. He directed that those who had alreadybeheld me should return home, and not presume tocome within fiftyyards of my house, without license from the court; whereby thesecretaries of state got considerable fees.
In the mean time the emperor held frequent councils, to debatewhat course should be taken with me; and I was afterwards assuredby a particular friend, a person of great quality, who was as muchin the secret as any, that the court was under many difficultiesconcerning me. They apprehended my breaking loose; that mydiet would be very expensive, and might cause a famine. Sometimes they determined to starve me; or at least to shoot me inthe face and hands with poisoned arrows, which would soon despatchme; but again they considered,that the stench of so large a carcassmight produce a plague in the metropolis, and probably spreadthrough the whole kingdom. In the midst of theseconsultations, several officers of the army went to the door of thegreat council-chamber, and two of thembeing admitted, gave anaccount of my behaviour to the six criminals above-mentioned; whichmade so favourable an impression in the breast of his majesty andthe whole board, in my behalf, that an imperial commission wasissued out, obliging all the villages, nine hundred yards round thecity, to deliver in every morning six beeves, forty sheep, andother victuals for my sustenance; together with a proportionablequantity of bread, and wine, and other liquors; for the due paymentof which, his majesty gaveassignments upon his treasury:—forthis prince lives chiefly upon his own demesnes; seldom, exceptupon great occasions, raising any subsidies upon his subjects, whoare bound to attend him in his wars at their own expense. Anestablishment was also madeof six hundred persons to be mydomestics, who had board-wages allowed for their maintenance, andtents built for them very conveniently on each side of mydoor. It was likewise ordered, that three hundred tailorsshould make me a suit of clothes, afterthe fashion of the country;that six of his majesty’s greatest scholars should beemployed to instruct me in their language; and lastly, that theemperor’s horses, and those of the nobility and troops ofguards, should be frequently exercised in my sight,to accustomthemselves to me. All these orders were duly put inexecution; and in about three weeks I made a great progress inlearning their language; during which time the emperor frequentlyhonoured me with his visits, and was pleased to assist my mastersin teaching me. We began already to converse together in somesort; and the first words I learnt, were to express my desire“that he would please give me my liberty;” which Ievery day repeated on my knees. His answer, as I couldcomprehend it, was,“that this must be a work of time, not tobe thought on without the advice of his council, and that first Imustlumos kelmin pesso desmar lon emposo;” that is, swear apeace with him and his kingdom. However, that I should beused with all kindness. Andhe advised me to “acquire,by my patience and discreet behaviour, the good opinion of himselfand his subjects.” He desired “I would not takeit ill, if he gave orders to certain proper officers to search me;for probably I might carry about me several weapons, which mustneeds be dangerous things, if they answered the bulk of soprodigious a person.” I said, “His majesty shouldbe satisfied; for I was ready to strip myself, and turn up mypockets before him.” This I delivered part in words,and part insigns. He replied, “that, by the laws of thekingdom, I must be searched by two of his officers; that he knewthis could not be done without my consent and assistance; and hehad so good an opinion of my generosity and justice, as to trusttheir personsin my hands; that whatever they took from me, shouldbe returned when I left the country, or paid for atthe rate which Iwould set upon them.” I took up the two officers in myhands, put them first into my coat-pockets, and then into everyother pocket about me, except my two fobs, and another secretpocket, which I had no mind should be searched, wherein I had somelittle necessaries that were of no consequence to any butmyself. In one of my fobs there was a silver watch, and inthe other a small quantity of gold in a purse. Thesegentlemen, having pen, ink, and paper, about them, made an exactinventory of every thing they saw; and when they had done, desiredI would set them down, that they might deliver it to theemperor. This inventory I afterwards translated into English,and is, word for word, as follows:
“Imprimis: In the right coat-pocket of the greatman-mountain” (for so I interpret the wordsquinbus flestrin,)“after the strictest search, we found only one great piece ofcoarse-cloth, largeenough to be a foot-cloth for yourmajesty’s chief room of state. In the left pocket wesaw a huge silver chest, with a cover of the same metal, which we,the searchers, were not able to lift. We desired it should beopened, and one of us stepping into it, found himself up to the midleg in a sort of dust, some part whereof flying up to our faces setus both a sneezing for several times together. In his rightwaistcoat-pocket we found a prodigious bundle of white thinsubstances, folded one over another,about the bigness of three men,tied with a strong cable, and marked with black figures; which wehumbly conceive to be writings, every letter almost half as largeas the palm of our hands. In the left there was a sort ofengine, from the back of which were extended twenty long poles,resembling the pallisados before your majesty’s court:wherewith we conjecture the man-mountain combs his head; for we didnot always trouble him with questions, because we found it a greatdifficulty to make him understandus. In the large pocket, onthe right side of his middle cover” (so I translate thewordranfulo, by which they meant my breeches,) “we saw ahollow pillar of iron, about the length of a man, fastened to astrong piece of timber larger than the pillar; and upon one side ofthe pillar, were huge pieces of iron sticking out, cut into strangefigures, which we know not what to make of. In the leftpocket, another engine of the same kind. In the smallerpocket on the right side, were several round flat pieces of whiteand red metal, of different bulk; some of the white, which seemedto be silver, were so large and heavy, that my comrade and I couldhardly lift them. In the left pocket were two black pillarsirregularly shaped: we could not, without difficulty, reach the topof them, as we stood at the bottom of his pocket. One of themwas covered, and seemed all of a piece: but at the upper end of theother there appeared a white round substance, about twice thebigness of our heads. Within each of these was enclosed aprodigious plate of steel; which, by our orders, we obliged him toshow us, because we apprehended they might be dangerousengines. He took them out of their cases, and told us, thatin his own country his practice was to shave his beard withone ofthese, and cut his meat with the other. There were twopockets which we could not enter: these he called his fobs; theywere two large slits cut into the top of his middle cover, butsqueezed close by the pressure of his belly. Out of the rightfob hung a great silver chain, with a wonderful kind of engine atthe bottom. We directed him to draw out whatever was at theend of that chain; which appeared to be a globe, half silver, andhalf of some transparent metal; for, on the transparent side, wesawcertain strange figures circularly drawn, and thought we couldtouch them, till we found our fingers stopped by the lucidsubstance. He put this engineinto our ears, which made anincessant noise, like that of a water-mill: and we conjecture it iseither some unknown animal, or the god that he worships; but we aremore inclined to the latter opinion, because he assured us, (if weunderstood him right, for he expressed himself very imperfectly)that he seldom did any thing without consulting it. He calledit his oracle, and said, it pointed out the time for every actionof his life. From the left fob he took out a net almost largeenough for a fisherman, but contrived to open and shut like apurse, and served him for the same use: we found therein severalmassy pieces of yellow metal, which, if they be real gold, must beof immense value.
“Having thus, in obedience to your majesty’scommands, diligently searched all his pockets, we observed a girdleabout his waist made of the hide of some prodigiousanimal, fromwhich, 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 cellcapable of holding three of your majesty’s subjects. Inone of these cells were several globes, or balls, of amostponderous metal, about the bigness of our heads, and requiring astrong hand to lift them: the other cell contained a heap ofcertain black grains, but of no great bulk or weight, for we couldhold above fifty of them in the palms of our hands.
“Thisis an exact inventory of what we found about the bodyof the man-mountain, who used us with great civility, and duerespect to your majesty’s commission. Signed and sealedon the fourth day of the eighty-ninth moon of your majesty’sauspicious reign.
Clefrin Frelock,Marsi Frelock.”
When this inventory was read over to the emperor, he directedme, although in very gentle terms, to deliver up the severalparticulars. He first called for my scimitar, which I tookout, scabbard and all. In the mean time heordered threethousand of his choicest troops (who then attended him) to surroundme at a distance, with their bows and arrows just ready todischarge; but I did not observe it, for mine eyes were whollyfixed upon his majesty. He then desired me to drawmyscimitar, which, although it had got some rust by the sea water,was, in most parts, exceeding bright. I did so, andimmediately all the troops gave a shout between terror andsurprise; for the sun shone clear, and the reflection dazzled theireyes, as I waved the scimitar to and fro in my hand. Hismajesty, who is a most magnanimous prince, was less daunted than Icould expect: he ordered me to return it into the scabbard, andcast it on the ground as gently as I could, about six feet from theend ofmy chain. The next thing he demanded was one of thehollow iron pillars; by which he meant my pocket pistols. Idrew it out, and at his desire, as well as I could, expressed tohim the use of it; and charging it only with powder, which, by theclosenessof my pouch, happened to escape wetting in the sea (aninconvenience against which all prudent mariners take special careto provide,) I first cautioned the emperor not to be afraid, andthen I let it off in the air. The astonishment here was muchgreater than at the sight of my scimitar. Hundreds fell downas if they had been struck dead; and even the emperor, although hestood his ground, could not recover himself for some time. Idelivered up both my pistols in the same manner as I had done myscimitar, and then my pouch of powder and bullets; begging him thatthe former might be kept from fire, for it would kindle with thesmallest spark, and blow up his imperial palace into the air. I likewise delivered up mywatch, which the emperor was very curiousto see, and commanded two of his tallest yeomen of the guards tobear it on a pole upon their shoulders, as draymen in England do abarrel of ale. He was amazed at the continual noise it made,and the motion of the minute-hand, which he could easily discern;for their sight is much more acute than ours: he asked the opinionsof his learned men about it, which were various and remote, as thereader may well imagine without my repeating; although indeed Icould not very perfectly understand them. I thengave up mysilver and copper money, my purse, with nine large pieces of gold,and some smaller ones; my knife and razor, my comb and silversnuff-box, my handkerchief and journal-book. My scimitar,pistols, and pouch, were conveyed in carriages to hismajesty’s stores; but the rest of my goods were returnedme.
I had as I before observed, one private pocket, which escapedtheir search, wherein there was a pair of spectacles (which Isometimes use for the weakness of mine eyes,) a pocket perspective,and some other little conveniences; which, being of no consequenceto the emperor, I did not think myself bound in honour to discover,and I apprehended they might be lost or spoiled if I ventured themout of my possession.
The author diverts the emperor, and his nobility of both sexes,in a very uncommon manner. The diversions of the court ofLilliput described. The author has his liberty granted himupon certain conditions.
My gentleness and good behaviour had gained so far on theemperor and hiscourt, and indeed upon the army and people ingeneral, that I began to conceive hopes of getting my liberty in ashort time. I took all possible methods to cultivate thisfavourable disposition. The natives came, by degrees, to beless apprehensive of any danger from me. I would sometimeslie down, and let five or six of them dance on my hand; and at lastthe boys and girls would venture to come and play at hide-and-seekin my hair. I had now made a good progress in understandingand speaking the language. The emperor had a mind one day toentertain me with several of the country shows, wherein they exceedall nations I have known, both for dexterity andmagnificence. I was diverted with none so much as that of therope-dancers, performed upon a slender white thread, extended abouttwo feet, and twelve inches from the ground. Upon which Ishall desire liberty, with the reader’s patience, to enlargea little.
This diversion is only practised by those persons who arecandidates for great employments, and high favour at court. They are trained in this art from their youth, and are not alwaysof noble birth, or liberal education. When a great office isvacant, either by death or disgrace (which often happens,) five orsix of those candidates petition theemperor to entertain hismajesty and the court with a dance on the rope; and whoever jumpsthe highest, without falling, succeeds in the office. Veryoften the chief ministers themselves are commanded to show theirskill, and to convince the emperor thatthey have not lost theirfaculty. Flimnap, the treasurer, is allowed to cut a caper onthe straight rope, at least an inch higher than any other lord inthe whole empire. I have seen him do the summerset severaltimes together, upon a trencher fixed ona rope which is no thickerthana common packthread in England. My friend Reldresal,principal secretary for private affairs, is, in my opinion, if I amnot partial, the second after the treasurer; the rest of the greatofficers are much upon a par.
Thesediversions are often attended with fatal accidents, whereofgreat numbers are on record. I myself have seen two or threecandidates break a limb. But the danger is much greater, whenthe ministers themselves are commanded to show their dexterity;for, by contending to excel themselves and their fellows, theystrain so far that there is hardly one of them who has not receiveda fall, and some of them two or three. I was assured that, ayear or two before my arrival, Flimnap would infallibly have brokehis neck, if one of the king’s cushions, that accidentallylay on the ground, had not weakened the force of his fall.
There is likewise another diversion, which is only shown beforethe emperor and empress, and first minister, upon particularoccasions. Theemperor lays on the table three fine silkenthreads of six inches long; one is blue, the other red, and thethird green. These threads are proposed as prizes for thosepersons whom the emperor has a mind to distinguish by a peculiarmark of his favour. The ceremony is performed in hismajesty’s great chamber of state, where the candidates are toundergo a trial of dexterity very different from the former, andsuch as I have not observed the least resemblance of in any othercountry of the new or old world. The emperor holds a stick inhis hands, both ends parallel to the horizon, while the candidatesadvancing, one by one, sometimes leap over the stick, sometimescreep under it, backward and forward, several times, according asthe stick is advanced or depressed. Sometimes the emperorholds one end of the stick, and his first minister the other;sometimes the minister has it entirely to himself. Whoeverperforms his part with most agility, and holds out the longest inleaping and creeping, is rewarded with the blue-coloured silk; thered is given to the next, and the green to the third, which theyall wear girt twice round about the middle; and you see few greatpersons about this court who are not adorned with one of thesegirdles.
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