Discovering the Region: Texts

2. Lemuel Gulliver [Jonathan Swift], Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World

Lemuel Gulliver [Jonathan Swift], Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag, 2d ed.
(1726; London: Benjamin Motte, 1727), 67-72.


The Countrey described. A Proposal for correcting modern Maps. The King's Palace, and some Account of the Metropolis. The Author's Way of traveling. The chief Temple described.

Map of Brobdingnag

I now intend to give the Reader a short Description of this Country, as far as I traveled in it, which was not above Two thousand miles round Lorbrulgrud the Metropolis. For, the Queen, whom I always attended, never went further when she accompanied the King in his Progresses; and there staid till his Majesty returned from viewing his Frontiers. The whole Extent of this Prince's Dominions reacheth about Six thousand Miles in Length, and from three to five in Breadth. From whence I cannot but conclude, that our Geographers of Europe are in a great Error, by supposing

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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

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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, al-

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though I have seen one somewhere larger in Greenland.

The Country is well inhabited, for it contains Fifty one Cities, near an Hundred walled Towns, and a great Number of Villages. To satisfy my curious reader, it may be sufficient to describe Lorbrulgrud. This City stands upon almost Two equal Parts on each side the River that passes through. It contains above Eighty thousand Houses, and about Six hundred thousand Inhabitants. It is in Length three Glonglungs (which make about Fifty four English Miles) and Two and a half in Breadth, as I measured it myself in the Royal Map made by the King's Order, which was laid on the Ground on purpose for me, and extended an Hundred feet; I paced the Diameter and Circumference several times barefoot, and computing by the Scale, measured it pretty exactly.

The King's Palace is no regular Edi-

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fice, but an heap of Buildings about Seven miles round: The chief Rooms are generally Two hundred and Forty foot 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, crouded to the sides of the Coach, and gave me the most horrible Spectacles that ever an English Eye beheld. There was a Woman with a Cancer in her Breast, swelled to a monstrous size, full of holes

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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 Woolpacks, and another with a couple of wooden Legs, each about Twenty foot high. But, the most hateful Sight of all was the Lice crawling on their Clothes. I could see distinctly the Limbs of these vermin with my naked eye, much better than those of an European Louse through a Microscope; and their Snouts with which they rooted like Swine. They were the first I had ever beheld; and I should have been curious enough to dissect one of them, if I had proper Instruments (which I unluckily left behind me in the Ship) although indeed the Sight was no nauseous, that it perfectly turned my stomach. . . .

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