Abbildungen der Seite


Mildendo, the metropolis of Lilliput, described, together vuitb the emperor's palace. A conversation between the author and a principal secretary concerning the affairs of that empire. The authors offers to serve the emperor in his •wars.

The first request I made, after I had obtained my liberty, was, that I might have licence to fee Mildendo, the metropolis; which the emperor easily granted me, but with a special Chargeto 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 stept over the great western gate, and passed very gently, and sideling, through the two principal streets, only in my short waistcoat, for fear of damaging the roofs and eves of the houses with the skirts of my coat. I walked with the utmost circumspection to avoid yeading on any straggler, who might remain in the streets; although the orders were very strict, that all people should keep in their houses at their own peril. The garret-windows and tops of houses were so crowded with spectators, that I thought in all my travels I had not seen a more populous place. The city is an exact square, each side of the wall being five hundred feet long. The two great streets, which run 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 inclosed by a wall of two feet high, and twenty feet distance from the buildings. I

had his majesty's permission to steP over this wall; and the space being so wide between that and the palace, I could easily view it on every side. The outward court is a square of forty feet, and includes two other courts: in the inmost are the royal apartments, which I was very desirous to see, but found it extremely difficult; for the great gates, from one square into another, werebuc 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 ms 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 seme 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 an hundred yards distance from the city. Of these trees s made two stools, each about three feet high, and strong enough to bear my weight. The people having received notice a second time, I went again, through the city to the palace with my two stools in my hands. When I came to the side of the outer court, I stood upon one stool, and took the other in my hand; this I lifted over the roof, and gently set it down on the space between the first and second court, which was eight feet wide. I then stept over the building very conveniently from one stool to the other, and drew up the first after me with a hooked stick. By this contrivance I got into the inmost court; and, lying down upon my side, I applied my face to the windows of the middle stories, which were left open on purpose, and discovered the most splendid apartments that can: be imagined. There I saw the empress and the young princes in their several lodgings, with their chief attendants about them. Her imperial majesty was pleased to smile very gracioufly upon me, and gave me out of the window her hand to kiss.

But I shall not anticipate the reader

with farther descriptions of this kind,

because I reserve them for a greater

8 work, work, which is now almost ready for the press, containing a general description of this empire, from its first ereo tion, 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 residenceof about nine months in that empire.

One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my liberty, Reldresal, principal secretary of state (as they style him) for private affairs, came to my house attended only by one servant. He ordered his coach to wait at a distance, and desired I would give him an hour's audience; which I readily consented to, on account of his quality and personal merits, as well as of the many good offices he had done me during my solicitations at court. 1 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 com■ plimentson my liberty; said, he might pretend to some merit in it: but however added, that, if it had not been for the present situation of things at court, perhaps I might not have obtained it so soon. For, said he, as flourishing a condition as we may appear to be in to foreigners, we labour under two mighty evils; a violent faction at home, and the danger of an invasion by a most potent enemy from abread. 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 Trcmecksau and Slamtci/an *, from the high and Jow heels ot their (hoes, by which they distinguish themselves. It is alledged indeed, that the high heels are most

* High^ehnrch and Low-church, or Whig and Tory. As every accidental difference irctween man and man in person and circumstances is by this work rendered extremely contemptible; so speculative differences are shown tn be equally ridiculous, when the zeal with which they are opposed 4nii defended, too much exceeds tiuir importance,

agreeable to our ancient constitution; but, however this be, his majesty is determined to make use only of low heels in the administration of the government, and all offices in the gift of the crown, as you cannot but observe; and particularly, that his majesty's imperial heels are lower at least by a drurr than any of his court (drurr is a measure about the fourteenth part of an inch.) The animosities between these two parties run so high, that they will neither eat nor drink, nor talk with, each other. We compute the Tramecksan, or high-heels, to exceed us in number; but the power is wholly on our side. We apprehend his imperial highness, the heir to the crown, to have some tendencytowards the high-heels; at least, we can plainly discover, that one of his heels is higher than the other, which gives him a hobble in his gait. Now, in the midst of these intestine disquiets we ara threatened with an invasion from the island of Blefufcu, 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, cur philosophers arc in much doubt, and would rather conjecture that you drepped from the moon, or one of the stars; because it is certain, that an 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 fix thousand moons make no mention of any other regions, than the two great empires of Lilliput and Blefufcu. 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,

W to break the sajaller 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 loir 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 ac 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 Alcoran.) This however is thought to be a mere strain upon the text; for the words are these: "That all true believers break their "e£gs at ltc convenient end." And which is the convenient end, seems in my humble opinion to be left to every man's conscience, er 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 hath 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 nurous fleet, and are just preparing to a descenc upon us; and his infinity, placing a great confiir valour and strength, hath ie to lay this account of •ore you.

[ocr errors]

I desired ths secretary to present «y humble duty to the emperor, and to lei him know, that I thought it would not become, me, who was a foreigner, to interfere wiih parties; but I was ready with the hazard of my life to defend his person and state against all invaders *«


The author, by an extraordinary stratagem, prevents an in-vafion. A high titlt of honour is conferred upon him. Am~ hajjadors arrive from the emperor of Blefuscu, and sue for peace. The empress's apartment on fire by an accident; the author instrumental in saving the rest of the palace.

The empire of Blefuscu is an island, situated to the north-east 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. 1 communicated to his majesty a project I formed of seizing the enemy's whole fleet: which, our scouts assured us, lay at anchor in the harbour ready to fail with the sirst fair wind. I consulted the most experienced seamen upon, the depth of the channel, which they had often plummed ; who told me, that in the middle at high-water it was seventy glumgluffs deep, which is about six feet of European measure; and the rest of it fifty glumgluffs at most. I walked towards the north-east coast, over against Blefuscu^ where, lyiag down behind a hillock, I took out my small perspective-glass, and viewed the enemy's fleet at anchor, consisting os about fifty men of war, and a great number of transports: I then came

•Gulliver, without examining the subject of dispute, readily engaged to defend the emperor .;■ ainst invasion; because he knew that no such monarch had a right to invade the dominions of another, tor the preparation of truth.



back to my house, and gave orders (for which I had a warrant) for a great quantity of the strongest cable and bars of iron. The cable was about as thick as packthread, and the bars of the • length and size of a knitting-needle. I trebled the cable ft) make it stronger, and for the fame reason I twisted three of the iron bars together, bending the extremities into a hook. Having thus fixed fifty hooks to as many cables, I went back to the north-east coast, and putting off my coat, shoes, and stockings, walked into the sea in my leathern jerkin, about half an hour before highwater. 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 iiotbe fewer than thirty thousand souls: I then took my tackling, and, fastening a hook to the hole at the prow of each, I tied all the cords together at the end. While I was thus employed, the enemy discharged several thousand arrows, many of which stuck in my hands and face; and, besides the excessive smart, gave me much disturbance in my work. My greatest apprehension was for mine eyes, which I should have infallibly lost, if I had not suddenly thought of an expedient. 1 kept, among other little necessaries, a pair of spectacles in a private pocket, which, as I observed besore, 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, farther than a little to discompose them. I bad 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 enterprize remained. I therefore let go the cord, and leaving the hooks fixed to the (hips, 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 largest men of war after me.

The Blefuscudians, who had not the least imagination of what I intended, were at first confounded with astonishment. They had seen me cut the cables, and thought my design was only to let the fiiips run a-drist, or fall foul on each other: but when they perceived the whole fleet moving in order, and saw me pulling at the end, they set up such a scream of grief and despair, as it is almost impossible to describe or conceive. When 1 had got out of danger, I stopt a while 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 halfmoon, 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 an hostile manner: but he was soon eased of his fears, for the channel growing shallower eveiy step I made, I came in a short time within hearing, aud 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 honour among them.

His majesty desired I would take some other opportunity of bringing all the rest of his enemy's ships into his ports. And so unmeasurable is the ambition of princes, that he seemed to think on nothing les: than reducing the


[ocr errors]

whole empire of Blefuscu into a province, and governing it by a viceroy; of destroying the Big-endian exiles, and compelling that people to break the smaller end of their eggs, by which he would remain the sole monarch of the whole world. But I endeavoured to divert him from this design, by many arguments drawn from the topics of policy as well as justice: and I plainly protested, that I would never be an inltrument of bringing a free and brave people into slavery. And, when the matterwas debated in council, the wisest part of the ministry were os my opinion.

This open bold declaration of mine was so opposite to the schemes and politics of his imperial majesty, that he could never forgive me; he mentioned it in a very ariful 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 maliciousty 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 ofapeace; which was soon concluded upon conditions very advantageous to our emperor, wherewith I mall not trouble the reader. There were six ambassadors, with a train of about five hundred persons; and their entry was very1 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 ap

EareB'ttliave at court, their excellciet* itti were privately told how 'itch I h« been their friend, made me "t in farqt'',l][hey began with many 'nariti Bfon my valour and gevilea tfQ.-to that kingdom ■T thdr tester's name, and

desired me to shew them some proofs of my prodigious strength, of which they had heard so many wonders; wherein L 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, 1 desired they would do me the honour to present my most humble respects to the emperor their master, the renown of whose virtues had so justly filled the whole world with admiration, and whose royal person I resolved to attend before I returned to my own country: accordingly the next time I had the honour to see our emperor, I desired his general licence to wait on the Blefuscudian monarch, which he was pleased to grant me, as 1 could plainly perceive, in a very cold manner: but could not guess the reason, till I had a whisper from a certain person, that Flhnnap and Bolgolam had represented my intercourse with those ambassadors as a mark of dis-. affection, 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 ot their own tongues, with an avowed contempt for that of their neighbour; yet our emperor, standing upon the advantage he had got by the seizure of their sleet, obliged them to deliver their credentials, and make their speech in the Lilliputian tongue. And it mult 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 fend their young nobility and richer gentry to the other in order to polish themselves by seeing the world, and understanding men and manners; there are few persons of distinction, or merchants, or seamen, who dwell in the maritime parts, but what can hold conversation in both tongues; as I found


« ZurückWeiter »