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Gulliver's Travels Quotes

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Gulliver's Travels Quotes

Quote 1: "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 I the same manner. I likewise felt several slender ligatures across my body, from my armpits to my thighs. I could only look upwards, the sun began to grow hot, and the light offended mine eyes. I heard a confused noise about me, but in the posture I lay, could see nothing except the sky." Book 1, Chapter 1, pg. 55

Quote 2: "Besides, I now considered myself as bound by the law 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 on my body, while one of my hands was at liberty, without trembling at the very sight of so prodigious a creatures as I must appear to them." Book 1, Chapter 1, pg. 59

Quote 3: "First, The Man-Mountain shall not depart from our dominions, without our license under our great seal.
2nd, He shall not presume to come into our metropolis, without our express order; at which time the inhabitants shall have two hours warning to keep within their doors.
3rd, The said Man-Mountain shall confine his walks to our principal high roads, and not offer to walk or lie down in a meadow or field of corn.
4th, As he walks the said roads, he shall take the utmost care not to trample upon the bodies of any of our loving subjects, their horses, or carriages, nor take any of our said subjects into his hands, without their own consent.
5th, If an express require extraordinary dispatch, the Man-Mountain shall be obliged to carry in his pocket the messenger and hors a six days' journey once in every moon, and return the said messenger back (if so required) safe to our Imperial Presence.
6th, He shall be our ally against our enemies in the island of Blefuscu, and do his utmost to destroy their fleet, which is now preparing to invade us.
7th, That the said Man-Mountain shall, at his times of leisure, be aiding and assisting to our workmen, in helping to raise certain great stones, towards covering the wall of the principal park, and other our royal buildings.
8th, That the said Man-Mountain shall, in two moons' time, deliver in an exact survey of the circumference of our dominions by a computation of his own paces round the coast.
Lastly, That upon his solemn oath to observe all the above articles, the said Man-Mountain shall have a daily allowance of meat and drink sufficient for the support of 1728 of our subjects, with free access to our Royal Person, and other marks of our favour." Book 1, Chapter 3, pp. 79-80

Quote 4: "I desired the Secretary to present my humble duty to the Emperor, and to let him know, that I thought it would not become me, who was a foreigner, to interfere with parties; but I was ready, with the hazard of my life, to defend his person and state against all invaders." Book 1, Chapter 4, pg. 86

Quote 5: "I came in a short time within hearing, and 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." Book 1, Chapter 5, pp. 88-89

Quote 6: "And from this time began an intrigue between his Majesty and a junto of Ministers maliciously bent against me, which broke out in less than two months, an ha 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." Book 1, Chapter 5, pg. 89

Quote 7: "They bury their dead with their heads directly downwards, because they hold an opinion that in eleven thousand moons they are all to rise again, in which period the earth (which they conceive to be flat) will turn upside down, and by this means they shall, at their resurrection, be found ready standing on their feet. The learned among them confess the absurdity of this doctrine, but the practice still continues, in compliance to the vulgar." Book 1, Chapter 6, p.94

Quote 8: "It is upon this account that the image of Justice, in their courts of judicature, is formed with six eyes, two before, as many behind, and on each side one, to signify circumspection; with a bag of gold open in her right hand, and a sword sheathed in her left, to show she is ore disposed to reward than to punish." Book 1, Chapter 6, pg. 95

Quote 9: "Their education is of little consequence to the public; but the old and diseased among them are supported by hospitals: for begging is a trade unknown in this Empire." Book 1, Chapter 6, pg. 99

Quote 10: "That blindness is an addition to courage, by concealing dangers from us; that the fear you had for your eyes, was the greatest difficulty in bringing over the enemy's fleet, and it would be sufficient for you to see by the eyes of the Ministers, since the greatest princes do no more." Book 1, Chapter 7, pg. 107

Quote 11: "I reflected what a mortification it must prove to me to appear as inconsiderable in this nation as one single Lilliputian would be among us." Book 2, Chapter 1, pg. 125

Quote 12: "This made me reflect upon the fair skins of our English ladies, who appear so beautiful to us, only because they are of our own size, and their defects not to be seen through a magnifying glass, where we find by experiment that the smoothest and whitest skins look rough and course, and ill coloured." Book 2, Chapter 1, pg. 13

Quote 13: "For the Queen (who had indeed but a weak stomach) took up at one mouthful as much as a dozen English farmers could eat at a meal, which to me was for some time a very nauseous sight. She would craunch the wing of a lark, bones and all, between her teeth, although it were nine times as large as that of a full-grown turkey; and put a bit of break in her mouth, as big as two twelve-penny loaves. She drank out of a golden cup, above a hogshead at a draught. Her knives were twice a long as a scythe set straight upon the handle. The spoons, forks, and other instruments were all in the same proportion." Book 2, Chapter 3, pg. 145

Quote 14: "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 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 eyes, much better than those of an European louse through a microscope, and their snouts with which they rooted like swine." Book 2, Chapter 4, pp. 151-152

Quote 15: "This made me reflect how vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavor doing himself honour among those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him. And yet I have seen the moral of my own behavior very frequent in England since my return, where a little contemptible varlet, without the least title to birth, person, wit, or common sense, shall presume to look with importance, and put himself upon a foot with the greatest persons of the kingdom." Book 2, Chapter 5, pp. 163

Quote 16: "Imagine with thyself, courteous reader, how often I then wished for the tongue of Demosthenes or Cicero, that might have enabled me to celebrate the praises of my own dear native country in a style equal to its merits and felicity." Book 2, Chapter 6, pg. 167

Quote 17: "My little friend Grildrig; you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your country. You have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator. That laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an institution, which in it original might have been tolerable, but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions." Book 2, Chapter 6, pg. 172

Quote 18: "The want of which knowledge will ever produce many prejudices, and a certain narrowness of thinking, from which we and the politer countries of Europe are wholly exempted." Book 2, Chapter 7, pg. 174

Quote 19: "That my story could contain little besides common events, without those ornamental descriptions of strange plants, trees, birds, and other animals, or the barbarous customs and idolatry of savage people, with which most writers abound." Book 2, Chapter 8, pg. 189

Quote 20: "When I came to my own house, for which I was forced to enquire, one of the servants opening the door, I bent down to go in (like a goose under a gate) for fear of striking my head. My wife ran out to embrace me, but I stooped lower than her knees, thinking she could otherwise never be able to reach my mouth. My daughter kneeled to ask me blessing, but I could not see her till she arose, having been so long used to stand with my head an eyes erect to above sixty foot; and then I went to take her up with one hand, by the waist. I looked down upon the servants and one or two friends who were in the house, as if they had been pygmies, and I a giant." Book 2, Chapter 8, pg. 191

Quote 21: "They made signs for me to come down from the rock, and go towards the shore, which I accordingly did; and the flying island being raised to a convenient height, the verge directly over me, a chain was let down from the lowest gallery, with a seat fastened to the bottom, to which I fixed myself, and was drawn up by pulleys." Book 3, Chapter 1, pg. 200

Quote 22: "Their heads were all reclined either to the right, or the left; one of their eyes turned inward, and the other directly up to the zenith. Their outward garments were adorned with the figures of suns, moons, and stars, interwoven with those of fiddles, flutes, harps, trumpets, guitars, harpsichords, and many more instruments of music, unknown to us in Europe. I observed here and there many in the habit of servants, with a blown bladder fastened like a flail to the end of a short stick, which they carried in their hands. In each bladder was a small quantity of dried pease or little pebbles (as I was afterwards informed). With these bladders they now and then flapped the mouths and ears of those who stood near them, of which practice I could not then conceive the meaning; it seems, the minds of these people are so taken up with intense speculations, that they neither an speak, nor attend to the discourses of others, without being roused by some external taction upon the organs of speech and hearing." Book 3, Chapter 2, pg. 200-201

Quote 23: "I did not discover any good effects they produced; but on the contrary, I never knew a soil so unhappily cultivated, houses so ill contrived and so ruinous, or a people whose countenances and habit expressed so much misery and want." Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 219

Quote 24: "By all which, instead of being discouraged, they are fifty times more violently bent upon prosecuting their schemes, driven equally on by hope and despair; that as for himself, being not of an enterprising spirit, he was content to go on in the old forms, to live in the houses his ancestors had built, and act as they did in every part of life without innovation. That, some few other persons of quality and gentry had done the same, but were looked on with an eye of contempt and ill-will, as enemies to art, ignorant, and ill commonwealth's-men, preferring their own ease and sloth before the general improvement of their country." Book 3, Chapter 4, pg. 222

Quote 25: "But the world would soon be sensible of its usefulness, and he flattered himself that a more noble exalted thought never sprang in any other man's head. Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences; whereas by his contrivance, the most ignorant person at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, may write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, law, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study." Book 3, Chapter 5, pg. 227

Quote 26: "The first project was to shorten discourse by cutting poly-syllables into one, and leaving out verbs and particles, because in reality all things imaginable are but nouns." Book 3, Chapter 5, pg. 230

Quote 27: "The highest tax was upon men who are the greatest favourites of the other sex, an the assessments according to the number and natures of the favours they have received; for which they are allowed to be their own vouchers. Wit, valour, and politeness were likewise proposed to be largely taxed, and collected in the same manner, by every person's giving his own word for the quantum of what he possessed. But as to honour, justice, wisdom and learning, they should not be taxed at all, because they are qualifications of so singular a kind, that no man will either allow them in his neighbour, or value them in himself." Book 3, Chapter 6, pg. 235

Quote 28: "As every person called up made exactly the same appearance he had done in the world, it gave me melancholy reflections to observe how much the race of human kind was degenerate among us, within these hundred years past. How the pox under all its consequences and denominations had altered every lineament of an English countenance, shortened the size of bodies, unbraced the nerves, relaxed the sinews and muscles, introduced a sallow complexion, and rendered the flesh loose and rancid." Book 3, Chapter 8, pg. 247

Quote 29: "That the system of living contrived by me was unreasonable and unjust, because it supposed a perpetuity of youth, health, and vigour, which no man could be so foolish to hope, however extravagant he might be in his wishes. That the question therefore was not whether a man would choose to be always in the primes of youth, attended with prosperity and health, but how he would pass a perpetual life under all the usual disadvantages which old age brings along with it. For although few men will avow their desires of being immortal upon such hard conditions, yet in the two kingdoms before-mentioned of Balnibarbi an Japan, he observed that every man desired to put off death for some time longer, let it approach ever so late, and he rarely heard of any man who died willingly, except he were incited by the extremity of grief or torture. And he appealed to me whether in those countries I had traveled, as well as my own, I had not observed the same general disposition." Book 3, Chapter 10, pg. 256-257

Quote 30: "I fell into a beaten road, where I saw many tracks of human feet, and some of cows, but most of horses. At last I beheld several animals in a field, and one or two of these same kind sitting in trees. Their shape was very singular, and deformed, which a little discomposed me, so that I lay down behind a thicket to observe them better...Their heads and breasts were covered with a thick hair, some frizzled and others lank; they had bears like goats, and a long ridge of hair down their backs, and the foreparts of their legs and feet, but the rest of their bodies were bare, so that I might see their skins, which were of a brown buff colour. They had no tails, nor any hair at all on their buttocks, except about the anus; which, I presume, Nature had placed there to defend them as they sat on the ground; for this posture they used, as well as lying down, and often stood on their hind feet." Book 4, Chapter 1, pg. 269

Quote 31: "My master heard me with great appearances of uneasiness in his countenance, because doubting and not believing, are so little known in this country, that the inhabitants cannot tell how to behave themselves under such circumstances. And I remember in frequent discourses with my master concerning the nature of manhood, in other parts of the world, having occasion to talk of lying, and false representation, it was with much difficulty that he comprehended what I meant, although he had otherwise a most acute judgment." Book 4, Chapter 4, pg. 286

Quote 32: "Neither are any wars so furious and bloody, or of so long continuance a those occasioned by difference in opinion, especially if it be in things indifferent." Book 4, Chapter 5, pg. 292

Quote 33: "Here my master, interposing, said it was a pity, that creatures endowed with such prodigious abilities of mind as these lawyers, by the description I gave of them, must certainly be, were not rather encouraged to be instructors of others in wisdom and knowledge. In answer to which, I assured his Honour, that in all points out of their own trade they were usually the most ignorant and stupid generation among us, the most despicable in common conversation, avowed enemies to all knowledge and learning, and equally disposed to pervert the general reason of mankind in every other subject of discourse, as in that of their own profession." Book 4, Chapter 5, pg. 297

Quote 34: "A First or Chief Minister of State, whom I intended to describe, was a creature wholly exempt from joy and grief, love and hatred, pity and anger; at least made use of no other passions but a violent desire of wealth, power, and titles; that he applies his words to all uses, except to the indication of his mind; that he never tells a truth, but with an intent that you should take it for a lie; nor a lie, but with a design that you should take it for a truth; that those he speaks worst of behind their backs are in the surest way to preferment; and whenever he begins to praise you to others or to yourself, you are from that day forlorn. The worst mark you can receive is a promise, especially when it is confirmed with an oath; after which every wise man retires, and gives over all hopes." Book 4, Chapter 6, pg. 302

Quote 35: "However, I could not reflect without some amazement, and much sorrow, that the rudiments of lewdness, coquetry, censure, and scandal, should have place by instinct in womankind." Book 4, Chapter 7, pg. 312

Quote 36: "They are strong and hardy, but of a cowardly spirit, and by consequence insolent, abject, and cruel. It is observed, that the red-haired of both sexes are more libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in strength and activity." Book 4, Chapter 8, pg. 314

Quote 37: "I wanted no fence against fraud or oppression; here was neither physician to destroy my body, nor lawyer to ruin my fortune; no informer to watch my words and actions, or forge accusations against me for hire: here were no gibers, censurers, backbiters, pickpockets, highwaymen, housebreakers, attorneys, bawds, buffoons, gamesters, politicians, wits, splenetic, tedious talkers, controvertists, ravishers, murders, robbers, virtuosos; no leaders or followers of party and faction; no encouragers to vice, by seducement or examples: no dungeon , axes, gibbets, whipping posts, or pillories; no cheating shopkeepers or mechanics: no pride, vanity, or affectation: no fops, bullies, drunkards, strolling whores, or poxes: no ranting, lewd, expensive wives: no stupid proud pendants: no importunate, overbearing, quarrelsome, noisy, roaring, empty, conceited, swearing companions: no scoundrels, raised from the dust upon the merit of their vices, or nobility thrown into it on account of their virtues: no Lords, fiddlers, Judges or dancing-masters." Book 4, Chapter 9, pg. 325

Quote 38: "My horses understand me tolerably well; I converser with them a t least four hours every day. They are strangers to bridle or saddle, they live in great amity with me, an friendship to each other." Book 4, Chapter 11, pg. 339

Quote 39: "I am not a little pleased that this work of mine can possibly meet with no censurers: for what objection can be made against a writers who relates only plan facts that happened in such distant countries, where we have not the least interest with respect either to trade or negotiations? ...I write without any view towards profit or praise. I never suffered a word to pass that may look like reflection, or possibly give the lease offence even to those who are most ready to take it. So that I hope I may with justice pronounce myself an author perfectly blameless, against whom the tribe of answers, considerers, observers, reflectors, detecters, remarkers, will never be able to find matter for exercising their talents." Book 4, Chapter 12, pg. 342

Quote 40: "But the Houyhnhnms, who live under the government of Reason, are no more proud of the good qualities they posses, than I should be for not wanting a leg or an arm, which no man in this wits would boast of, although he must be miserable without them. I dwell the longer upon this subject from the desire I have to make the society of an English Yahoo by any means not insupportable, and therefore I here entreat those who have any tincture of this absurd vice, that they will not presume to appear in my sight." Book 4, Chapter 12, pg. 346

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