Page 256. " Nec si miserum Fortuna Sinonem "

Nec si miserum Fortuna Sinonem

Finxit, vanum etiam, mendacemque improba finget

"Though Fortune had made Sinon wretched, she has not made him untrue and a liar"


The above quote is from Vergil's Aeneid. The incident takes place at the end of the Trojan War when the Greeks have built a large horse and filled it with warriors. Sinon lets himself be taken prisoner and tells a sad, false tale of having been mistreated by the Greeks, and states that the wooden horse is an offering to Athena and will forever protect Troy if it is brought within the city. The Trojans bring it in, the warriors emerge at night and Troy falls. Sinon is thus the archetypical traitor and he is consummately "untrue and a liar."

Swift knows that and it is his way of satirizing the truth of travel tales, even Gulliver's.


Page 257. " be as easy as those of Ferdinando Cortez "

Ferdinando Cortez is Gulliver's naming of Hernan Cortes. While he is often now referred to as Hernán or Hernando Cortez ,in his time he called himself Hernando or Fernando Cortés . The names Hernán, Hernando and Fernando are all equally correct. The latter two were most commonly used during his lifetime, but the former shortened form has become common in both the Spanish and English languages in modern times, and is the name which many people know him by today. He conquered the Aztecs of Mexico who were not "naked Americans" but a highly developed civilization. However, they lacked horses and gunpowder. The Europeans, who had both, were able to conquer them with ease. It is this lack that rendered the Aztecs "naked" of any means of defense.

Gulliver discusses his difficult position because "whatever Lands are discovered by a Subject, belong to the Crown."  It was a long held view that if a citizen came across a land that heretofore was unknown, that citizen could claim the land for his homeland regardless of what the indigent peoples thought.



Page 260. " smitten with Pride "
Pride, Print, Engraving, 21.91 x 14.45 cm. From Matham's series The Vices. After Hendrik Goltzius.
Public DomainPride, Print, Engraving, 21.91 x 14.45 cm. From Matham's series The Vices. After Hendrik Goltzius.

In this final passage of his tale, Swift indulges in the bitterest of satire. The source of Gulliver's madness rests in his pride which caused him to reject his own Yahoo-hood. His impossible attempt to emulate the Houyhnhnms piles frustration upon humiliation as he is surrounded by Yahoos who constantly bring to mind his failure. Gulliver lives out his life, not as the adventurous voyager, but as a man, a Yahoo haunted by what he cannot have.