Gulliver's Travels Quotes | Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels Quotes with Page Numbers. The Book written by Jonathan Swift in 1726, is a classic satirical novel that follows Lemuel Gulliver's adventures in four fantastical lands: Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa, and Houyhnhnms. The Gulliver's Travels Book is filled with memorable quotes that are both funny and thought-provoking. Here are a few of my favorites.

The targets of Swift’s satire range from political structures in early 18th-century England to the national rivalry between England and France during the same period. Swift also lampoons science and educational trends that lean towards more speculative and abstract learning. Most significantly, the novel mocks human vices and bad habits, thereby both exposing and critiquing the darker sides of humanity.

Gulliver's Travels Quotes
Gulliver's Travels Quotes

Gulliver's Travels Quotes

  • “I cannot but conclude that the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth.”
  • “Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.”
  • “Undoubtedly, philosophers are in the right when they tell us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by comparison.”
  • “The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver's watch may be his god, because it is that which, he admits, he seldom does anything without consulting.”
  • “Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine.”
  • “This made me reflect, how vain an attempt it is for a man to endeavor to do himself honor among those who are out of all degree of equality or comparison with him.”
  • “...I hid myself between two leaves of sorrel, and there discharged the necessities of nature.”
  • “Based on Gulliver's descriptions of their behaviour, the King describes Europeans as "the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”
  • “They have a notion, that when people are met together, a short silence does much improve conversation: this I found to be true; for during those little intermissions of talk, new ideas would arise in their minds, which very much enlivened the discourse.”
  • “I desired that the Senate of Rome might appear before me in one large chamber, and a modern representative, in counterview, in another. The first seemed to be an assembly of heroes and demi-gods; the other, a knot of pedlars, pick-pockets, highwaymen, and bullies.”
  • “Gulliver describes a royal personage inspiring awe among the tiny Lilliputians because he was taller than his brethren by the breadth of a human fingernail.”
  • “Of so little weight are the greatest services to princes, when put into the balance with a refusal to gratify their passions.”
  • “for they have no conception how a rational creature can be compelled, but only advised, or exhorted; because no person can disobey reason, without giving up his claim to be a rational creature.”
  • “I winked at my own littleness, as people do at their own faults.”

You may also like to read: Gulliver's Travels Book Summary

Gulliver's Travels Quotes with Page Numbers

  • "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." page. 55.
  • "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." page. 59.
  • "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." page. 86.
  • "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." page. 88-89.
  • "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." page. 89.
  • "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." page. 94.
  • "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." page. 95.
  • "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." page. 107.
  •  "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." page. 125.
  • "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." page. 163.
  • "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." page. 167.
  • "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." page. 174.
  • "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." page. 189.
  • "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." page. 200.
  • "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." page. 219.
  • "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." page. 230.
  • "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." page. 292.
  • "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." page. 312.
  • "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." page. 314.
  • "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." page. 339.

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