Gargantua and Pantagruel, Book I.
Part 2 out of 4
the fashion that was then in request. I find by the ancient records or
pancarts, to be seen in the chamber of accounts, or court of the exchequer
at Montsoreau, that he was accoutred in manner as followeth. To make him
every shirt of his were taken up nine hundred ells of Chasteleraud linen,
and two hundred for the gussets, in manner of cushions, which they put
under his armpits. His shirt was not gathered nor plaited, for the
plaiting of shirts was not found out till the seamstresses (when the point
of their needle (Besongner du cul, Englished The eye of the needle.) was
broken) began to work and occupy with the tail. There were taken up for
his doublet, eight hundred and thirteen ells of white satin, and for his
points fifteen hundred and nine dogs' skins and a half. Then was it that
men began to tie their breeches to their doublets, and not their doublets
to their breeches: for it is against nature, as hath most amply been
showed by Ockham upon the exponibles of Master Haultechaussade.
For his breeches were taken up eleven hundred and five ells and a third of
white broadcloth. They were cut in the form of pillars, chamfered,
channelled and pinked behind that they might not over-heat his reins: and
were, within the panes, puffed out with the lining of as much blue damask
as was needful: and remark, that he had very good leg-harness,
proportionable to the rest of his stature.
For his codpiece were used sixteen ells and a quarter of the same cloth,
and it was fashioned on the top like unto a triumphant arch, most gallantly
fastened with two enamelled clasps, in each of which was set a great
emerald, as big as an orange; for, as says Orpheus, lib. de lapidibus, and
Plinius, libro ultimo, it hath an erective virtue and comfortative of the
natural member. The exiture, outjecting or outstanding, of his codpiece
was of the length of a yard, jagged and pinked, and withal bagging, and
strutting out with the blue damask lining, after the manner of his
breeches. But had you seen the fair embroidery of the small needlework
purl, and the curiously interlaced knots, by the goldsmith's art set out
and trimmed with rich diamonds, precious rubies, fine turquoises, costly
emeralds, and Persian pearls, you would have compared it to a fair
cornucopia, or horn of abundance, such as you see in antiques, or as Rhea
gave to the two nymphs, Amalthea and Ida, the nurses of Jupiter.
And, like to that horn of abundance, it was still gallant, succulent,
droppy, sappy, pithy, lively, always flourishing, always fructifying, full
of juice, full of flower, full of fruit, and all manner of delight. I avow
God, it would have done one good to have seen him, but I will tell you more
of him in the book which I have made of the dignity of codpieces. One
thing I will tell you, that as it was both long and large, so was it well
furnished and victualled within, nothing like unto the hypocritical
codpieces of some fond wooers and wench-courtiers, which are stuffed only
with wind, to the great prejudice of the female sex.
For his shoes were taken up four hundred and six ells of blue
crimson-velvet, and were very neatly cut by parallel lines, joined in
uniform cylinders. For the soling of them were made use of eleven hundred
hides of brown cows, shapen like the tail of a keeling.
For his coat were taken up eighteen hundred ells of blue velvet, dyed in
grain, embroidered in its borders with fair gilliflowers, in the middle
decked with silver purl, intermixed with plates of gold and store of
pearls, hereby showing that in his time he would prove an especial good
fellow and singular whipcan.
His girdle was made of three hundred ells and a half of silken serge, half
white and half blue, if I mistake it not. His sword was not of Valentia,
nor his dagger of Saragossa, for his father could not endure these hidalgos
borrachos maranisados como diablos: but he had a fair sword made of wood,
and the dagger of boiled leather, as well painted and gilded as any man
His purse was made of the cod of an elephant, which was given him by Herr
Pracontal, proconsul of Lybia.
For his gown were employed nine thousand six hundred ells, wanting
two-thirds, of blue velvet, as before, all so diagonally purled, that by
true perspective issued thence an unnamed colour, like that you see in the
necks of turtle-doves or turkey-cocks, which wonderfully rejoiced the eyes
of the beholders. For his bonnet or cap were taken up three hundred, two
ells and a quarter of white velvet, and the form thereof was wide and round,
of the bigness of his head; for his father said that the caps of the
Marrabaise fashion, made like the cover of a pasty, would one time or other
bring a mischief on those that wore them. For his plume, he wore a fair
great blue feather, plucked from an onocrotal of the country of Hircania the
wild, very prettily hanging down over his right ear. For the jewel or
brooch which in his cap he carried, he had in a cake of gold, weighing three
score and eight marks, a fair piece enamelled, wherein was portrayed a man's
body with two heads, looking towards one another, four arms, four feet, two
arses, such as Plato, in Symposio, says was the mystical beginning of man's
nature; and about it was written in Ionic letters, Agame ou zetei ta eautes,
or rather, Aner kai gune zugada anthrotos idiaitata, that is, Vir et mulier
junctim propriissime homo. To wear about his neck, he had a golden chain,
weighing twenty-five thousand and sixty-three marks of gold, the links
thereof being made after the manner of great berries, amongst which were set
in work green jaspers engraven and cut dragon-like, all environed with beams
and sparks, as king Nicepsos of old was wont to wear them: and it reached
down to the very bust of the rising of his belly, whereby he reaped great
benefit all his life long, as the Greek physicians know well enough. For
his gloves were put in work sixteen otters' skins, and three of the
loupgarous, or men-eating wolves, for the bordering of them: and of this
stuff were they made, by the appointment of the Cabalists of Sanlouand. As
for the rings which his father would have him to wear, to renew the ancient
mark of nobility, he had on the forefinger of his left hand a carbuncle as
big as an ostrich's egg, enchased very daintily in gold of the fineness of a
Turkey seraph. Upon the middle finger of the same hand he had a ring made
of four metals together, of the strangest fashion that ever was seen; so
that the steel did not crash against the gold, nor the silver crush the
copper. All this was made by Captain Chappuys, and Alcofribas his good
agent. On the medical finger of his right hand he had a ring made
spire-wise, wherein was set a perfect Balas ruby, a pointed diamond, and
a Physon emerald, of an inestimable value. For Hans Carvel, the king of
Melinda's jeweller, esteemed them at the rate of threescore nine millions,
eight hundred ninety-four thousand, and eighteen French crowns of Berry, and
at so much did the Foucres of Augsburg prize them.
The colours and liveries of Gargantua.
Gargantua's colours were white and blue, as I have showed you before, by
which his father would give us to understand that his son to him was a
heavenly joy; for the white did signify gladness, pleasure, delight, and
rejoicing, and the blue, celestial things. I know well enough that, in
reading this, you laugh at the old drinker, and hold this exposition of
colours to be very extravagant, and utterly disagreeable to reason, because
white is said to signify faith, and blue constancy. But without moving,
vexing, heating, or putting you in a chafe (for the weather is dangerous),
answer me, if it please you; for no other compulsory way of arguing will I
use towards you, or any else; only now and then I will mention a word or
two of my bottle. What is it that induceth you, what stirs you up to
believe, or who told you that white signifieth faith, and blue constancy?
An old paltry book, say you, sold by the hawking pedlars and balladmongers,
entitled The Blason of Colours. Who made it? Whoever it was, he was wise
in that he did not set his name to it. But, besides, I know not what I
should rather admire in him, his presumption or his sottishness. His
presumption and overweening, for that he should without reason, without
cause, or without any appearance of truth, have dared to prescribe, by his
private authority, what things should be denotated and signified by the
colour: which is the custom of tyrants, who will have their will to bear
sway in stead of equity, and not of the wise and learned, who with the
evidence of reason satisfy their readers. His sottishness and want of
spirit, in that he thought that, without any other demonstration or
sufficient argument, the world would be pleased to make his blockish and
ridiculous impositions the rule of their devices. In effect, according to
the proverb, To a shitten tail fails never ordure, he hath found, it seems,
some simple ninny in those rude times of old, when the wearing of high
round bonnets was in fashion, who gave some trust to his writings,
according to which they carved and engraved their apophthegms and mottoes,
trapped and caparisoned their mules and sumpter-horses, apparelled their
pages, quartered their breeches, bordered their gloves, fringed the
curtains and valances of their beds, painted their ensigns, composed songs,
and, which is worse, placed many deceitful jugglings and unworthy base
tricks undiscoveredly amongst the very chastest matrons and most reverend
sciences. In the like darkness and mist of ignorance are wrapped up these
vain-glorious courtiers and name-transposers, who, going about in their
impresas to signify esperance (that is, hope), have portrayed a sphere--and
birds' pennes for pains--l'ancholie (which is the flower colombine) for
melancholy--a waning moon or crescent, to show the increasing or rising of
one's fortune--a bench rotten and broken, to signify bankrupt--non and a
corslet for non dur habit (otherwise non durabit, it shall not last), un
lit sans ciel, that is, a bed without a tester, for un licencie, a
graduated person, as bachelor in divinity or utter barrister-at-law; which
are equivocals so absurd and witless, so barbarous and clownish, that a
fox's tail should be fastened to the neck-piece of, and a vizard made of a
cowsherd given to everyone that henceforth should offer, after the
restitution of learning, to make use of any such fopperies in France.
By the same reasons (if reasons I should call them, and not ravings rather,
and idle triflings about words), might I cause paint a pannier, to signify
that I am in pain--a mustard-pot, that my heart tarries much for't--one
pissing upwards for a bishop--the bottom of a pair of breeches for a vessel
full of fart-hings--a codpiece for the office of the clerks of the
sentences, decrees, or judgments, or rather, as the English bears it, for
the tail of a codfish--and a dog's turd for the dainty turret wherein lies
the love of my sweetheart. Far otherwise did heretofore the sages of
Egypt, when they wrote by letters, which they called hieroglyphics, which
none understood who were not skilled in the virtue, property, and nature of
the things represented by them. Of which Orus Apollon hath in Greek
composed two books, and Polyphilus, in his Dream of Love, set down more.
In France you have a taste of them in the device or impresa of my Lord
Admiral, which was carried before that time by Octavian Augustus. But my
little skiff alongst these unpleasant gulfs and shoals will sail no
further, therefore must I return to the port from whence I came. Yet do I
hope one day to write more at large of these things, and to show both by
philosophical arguments and authorities, received and approved of by and
from all antiquity, what, and how many colours there are in nature, and
what may be signified by every one of them, if God save the mould of my
cap, which is my best wine-pot, as my grandam said.
Of that which is signified by the colours white and blue.
The white therefore signifieth joy, solace, and gladness, and that not at
random, but upon just and very good grounds: which you may perceive to be
true, if laying aside all prejudicate affections, you will but give ear to
what presently I shall expound unto you.
Aristotle saith that, supposing two things contrary in their kind, as good
and evil, virtue and vice, heat and cold, white and black, pleasure and
pain, joy and grief,--and so of others,--if you couple them in such manner
that the contrary of one kind may agree in reason with the contrary of the
other, it must follow by consequence that the other contrary must answer to
the remanent opposite to that wherewith it is conferred. As, for example,
virtue and vice are contrary in one kind, so are good and evil. If one of
the contraries of the first kind be consonant to one of those of the
second, as virtue and goodness, for it is clear that virtue is good, so
shall the other two contraries, which are evil and vice, have the same
connection, for vice is evil.
This logical rule being understood, take these two contraries, joy and
sadness; then these other two, white and black, for they are physically
contrary. If so be, then, that black do signify grief, by good reason then
should white import joy. Nor is this signification instituted by human
imposition, but by the universal consent of the world received, which
philosophers call Jus Gentium, the Law of Nations, or an uncontrollable
right of force in all countries whatsoever. For you know well enough that
all people, and all languages and nations, except the ancient Syracusans
and certain Argives, who had cross and thwarting souls, when they mean
outwardly to give evidence of their sorrow, go in black; and all mourning
is done with black. Which general consent is not without some argument and
reason in nature, the which every man may by himself very suddenly
comprehend, without the instruction of any--and this we call the law of
nature. By virtue of the same natural instinct we know that by white all
the world hath understood joy, gladness, mirth, pleasure, and delight. In
former times the Thracians and Cretans did mark their good, propitious, and
fortunate days with white stones, and their sad, dismal, and unfortunate
ones with black. Is not the night mournful, sad, and melancholic? It is
black and dark by the privation of light. Doth not the light comfort all
the world? And it is more white than anything else. Which to prove, I
could direct you to the book of Laurentius Valla against Bartolus; but an
evangelical testimony I hope will content you. Matth. 17 it is said that,
at the transfiguration of our Lord, Vestimenta ejus facta sunt alba sicut
lux, his apparel was made white like the light. By which lightsome
whiteness he gave his three apostles to understand the idea and figure of
the eternal joys; for by the light are all men comforted, according to the
word of the old woman, who, although she had never a tooth in her head, was
wont to say, Bona lux. And Tobit, chap.5, after he had lost his sight,
when Raphael saluted him, answered, What joy can I have, that do not see
the light of Heaven? In that colour did the angels testify the joy of the
whole world at the resurrection of our Saviour, John 20, and at his
ascension, Acts 1. With the like colour of vesture did St. John the
Evangelist, Apoc. 4.7, see the faithful clothed in the heavenly and blessed
Read the ancient, both Greek and Latin histories, and you shall find that
the town of Alba (the first pattern of Rome) was founded and so named by
reason of a white sow that was seen there. You shall likewise find in
those stories, that when any man, after he had vanquished his enemies, was
by decree of the senate to enter into Rome triumphantly, he usually rode in
a chariot drawn by white horses: which in the ovation triumph was also the
custom; for by no sign or colour would they so significantly express the
joy of their coming as by the white. You shall there also find, how
Pericles, the general of the Athenians, would needs have that part of his
army unto whose lot befell the white beans, to spend the whole day in
mirth, pleasure, and ease, whilst the rest were a-fighting. A thousand
other examples and places could I allege to this purpose, but that it is
not here where I should do it.
By understanding hereof, you may resolve one problem, which Alexander
Aphrodiseus hath accounted unanswerable: why the lion, who with his only
cry and roaring affrights all beasts, dreads and feareth only a white cock?
For, as Proclus saith, Libro de Sacrificio et Magia, it is because the
presence of the virtue of the sun, which is the organ and promptuary of all
terrestrial and sidereal light, doth more symbolize and agree with a white
cock, as well in regard of that colour, as of his property and specifical
quality, than with a lion. He saith, furthermore, that devils have been
often seen in the shape of lions, which at the sight of a white cock have
presently vanished. This is the cause why Galli or Gallices (so are the
Frenchmen called, because they are naturally white as milk, which the
Greeks call Gala,) do willingly wear in their caps white feathers, for by
nature they are of a candid disposition, merry, kind, gracious, and
well-beloved, and for their cognizance and arms have the whitest flower
of any, the Flower de luce or Lily.
If you demand how, by white, nature would have us understand joy and
gladness, I answer, that the analogy and uniformity is thus. For, as the
white doth outwardly disperse and scatter the rays of the sight, whereby
the optic spirits are manifestly dissolved, according to the opinion of
Aristotle in his problems and perspective treatises; as you may likewise
perceive by experience, when you pass over mountains covered with snow, how
you will complain that you cannot see well; as Xenophon writes to have
happened to his men, and as Galen very largely declareth, lib. 10, de usu
partium: just so the heart with excessive joy is inwardly dilated, and
suffereth a manifest resolution of the vital spirits, which may go so far
on that it may thereby be deprived of its nourishment, and by consequence
of life itself, by this perichary or extremity of gladness, as Galen saith,
lib. 12, method, lib. 5, de locis affectis, and lib. 2, de symptomatum
causis. And as it hath come to pass in former times, witness Marcus
Tullius, lib. 1, Quaest. Tuscul., Verrius, Aristotle, Titus Livius, in his
relation of the battle of Cannae, Plinius, lib. 7, cap. 32 and 34, A.
Gellius, lib. 3, c. 15, and many other writers,--to Diagoras the Rhodian,
Chilon, Sophocles, Dionysius the tyrant of Sicily, Philippides, Philemon,
Polycrates, Philistion, M. Juventi, and others who died with joy. And as
Avicen speaketh, in 2 canon et lib. de virib. cordis, of the saffron, that
it doth so rejoice the heart that, if you take of it excessively, it will
by a superfluous resolution and dilation deprive it altogether of life.
Here peruse Alex. Aphrodiseus, lib. 1, Probl., cap. 19, and that for a
cause. But what? It seems I am entered further into this point than I
intended at the first. Here, therefore, will I strike sail, referring the
rest to that book of mine which handleth this matter to the full.
Meanwhile, in a word I will tell you, that blue doth certainly signify
heaven and heavenly things, by the same very tokens and symbols that white
signifieth joy and pleasure.
Of the youthful age of Gargantua.
[Illustration: On the Road to the Castle--1-11-026]
Gargantua, from three years upwards unto five, was brought up and
instructed in all convenient discipline by the commandment of his father;
and spent that time like the other little children of the country, that is,
in drinking, eating, and sleeping: in eating, sleeping, and drinking: and
in sleeping, drinking, and eating. Still he wallowed and rolled up and
down himself in the mire and dirt--he blurred and sullied his nose with
filth--he blotted and smutched his face with any kind of scurvy stuff--he
trod down his shoes in the heel--at the flies he did oftentimes yawn, and
ran very heartily after the butterflies, the empire whereof belonged to his
father. He pissed in his shoes, shit in his shirt, and wiped his nose on
his sleeve--he did let his snot and snivel fall in his pottage, and
dabbled, paddled, and slobbered everywhere--he would drink in his slipper,
and ordinarily rub his belly against a pannier. He sharpened his teeth
with a top, washed his hands with his broth, and combed his head with a
bowl. He would sit down betwixt two stools, and his arse to the ground
--would cover himself with a wet sack, and drink in eating of his soup. He
did eat his cake sometimes without bread, would bite in laughing, and laugh
in biting. Oftentimes did he spit in the basin, and fart for fatness, piss
against the sun, and hide himself in the water for fear of rain. He would
strike out of the cold iron, be often in the dumps, and frig and wriggle
it. He would flay the fox, say the ape's paternoster, return to his sheep,
and turn the hogs to the hay. He would beat the dogs before the lion, put
the plough before the oxen, and claw where it did not itch. He would pump
one to draw somewhat out of him, by griping all would hold fast nothing,
and always eat his white bread first. He shoed the geese, kept a
self-tickling to make himself laugh, and was very steadable in the kitchen:
made a mock at the gods, would cause sing Magnificat at matins, and found
it very convenient so to do. He would eat cabbage, and shite beets,--knew
flies in a dish of milk, and would make them lose their feet. He would
scrape paper, blur parchment, then run away as hard as he could. He would
pull at the kid's leather, or vomit up his dinner, then reckon without his
host. He would beat the bushes without catching the birds, thought the
moon was made of green cheese, and that bladders are lanterns. Out of one
sack he would take two moultures or fees for grinding; would act the ass's
part to get some bran, and of his fist would make a mallet. He took the
cranes at the first leap, and would have the mail-coats to be made link
after link. He always looked a given horse in the mouth, leaped from the
cock to the ass, and put one ripe between two green. By robbing Peter he
paid Paul, he kept the moon from the wolves, and hoped to catch larks if
ever the heavens should fall. He did make of necessity virtue, of such
bread such pottage, and cared as little for the peeled as for the shaven.
Every morning he did cast up his gorge, and his father's little dogs eat
out of the dish with him, and he with them. He would bite their ears, and
they would scratch his nose--he would blow in their arses, and they would
lick his chaps.
But hearken, good fellows, the spigot ill betake you, and whirl round your
brains, if you do not give ear! This little lecher was always groping his
nurses and governesses, upside down, arsiversy, topsyturvy, harri
bourriquet, with a Yacco haick, hyck gio! handling them very rudely in
jumbling and tumbling them to keep them going; for he had already begun to
exercise the tools, and put his codpiece in practice. Which codpiece, or
braguette, his governesses did every day deck up and adorn with fair
nosegays, curious rubies, sweet flowers, and fine silken tufts, and very
pleasantly would pass their time in taking you know what between their
fingers, and dandling it, till it did revive and creep up to the bulk and
stiffness of a suppository, or street magdaleon, which is a hard rolled-up
salve spread upon leather. Then did they burst out in laughing, when they
saw it lift up its ears, as if the sport had liked them. One of them would
call it her little dille, her staff of love, her quillety, her faucetin,
her dandilolly. Another, her peen, her jolly kyle, her bableret, her
membretoon, her quickset imp: another again, her branch of coral, her
female adamant, her placket-racket, her Cyprian sceptre, her jewel for
ladies. And some of the other women would give it these names,--my
bunguetee, my stopple too, my bush-rusher, my gallant wimble, my pretty
borer, my coney-burrow-ferret, my little piercer, my augretine, my dangling
hangers, down right to it, stiff and stout, in and to, my pusher, dresser,
pouting stick, my honey pipe, my pretty pillicock, linky pinky, futilletie,
my lusty andouille, and crimson chitterling, my little couille bredouille,
my pretty rogue, and so forth. It belongs to me, said one. It is mine,
said the other. What, quoth a third, shall I have no share in it? By my
faith, I will cut it then. Ha, to cut it, said the other, would hurt him.
Madam, do you cut little children's things? Were his cut off, he would be
then Monsieur sans queue, the curtailed master. And that he might play and
sport himself after the manner of the other little children of the country,
they made him a fair weather whirl-jack of the wings of the windmill of
Of Gargantua's wooden horses.
[Illustration: Led Them up the Great Staircase--1-12-028]
Afterwards, that he might be all his lifetime a good rider, they made to
him a fair great horse of wood, which he did make leap, curvet, jerk out
behind, and skip forward, all at a time: to pace, trot, rack, gallop,
amble, to play the hobby, the hackney-gelding: go the gait of the camel,
and of the wild ass. He made him also change his colour of hair, as the
monks of Coultibo (according to the variety of their holidays) use to do
their clothes, from bay brown, to sorrel, dapple-grey, mouse-dun,
deer-colour, roan, cow-colour, gingioline, skewed colour, piebald, and the
colour of the savage elk.
Himself of a huge big post made a hunting nag, and another for daily
service of the beam of a vinepress: and of a great oak made up a mule,
with a footcloth, for his chamber. Besides this, he had ten or twelve
spare horses, and seven horses for post; and all these were lodged in his
own chamber, close by his bedside. One day the Lord of Breadinbag
(Painensac.) came to visit his father in great bravery, and with a gallant
train: and, at the same time, to see him came likewise the Duke of
Freemeal (Francrepas.) and the Earl of Wetgullet (Mouillevent.). The house
truly for so many guests at once was somewhat narrow, but especially the
stables; whereupon the steward and harbinger of the said Lord Breadinbag,
to know if there were any other empty stable in the house, came to
Gargantua, a little young lad, and secretly asked him where the stables of
the great horses were, thinking that children would be ready to tell all.
Then he led them up along the stairs of the castle, passing by the second
hall unto a broad great gallery, by which they entered into a large tower,
and as they were going up at another pair of stairs, said the harbinger to
the steward, This child deceives us, for the stables are never on the top
of the house. You may be mistaken, said the steward, for I know some
places at Lyons, at the Basmette, at Chaisnon, and elsewhere, which have
their stables at the very tops of the houses: so it may be that behind the
house there is a way to come to this ascent. But I will question with him
further. Then said he to Gargantua, My pretty little boy, whither do you
lead us? To the stable, said he, of my great horses. We are almost come
to it; we have but these stairs to go up at. Then leading them alongst
another great hall, he brought them into his chamber, and, opening the
door, said unto them, This is the stable you ask for; this is my jennet;
this is my gelding; this is my courser, and this is my hackney, and laid on
them with a great lever. I will bestow upon you, said he, this Friesland
horse; I had him from Frankfort, yet will I give him you; for he is a
pretty little nag, and will go very well, with a tessel of goshawks, half a
dozen of spaniels, and a brace of greyhounds: thus are you king of the
hares and partridges for all this winter. By St. John, said they, now we
are paid, he hath gleeked us to some purpose, bobbed we are now for ever.
I deny it, said he,--he was not here above three days. Judge you now,
whether they had most cause, either to hide their heads for shame, or to
laugh at the jest. As they were going down again thus amazed, he asked
them, Will you have a whimwham (Aubeliere.)? What is that, said they? It
is, said he, five turds to make you a muzzle. To-day, said the steward,
though we happen to be roasted, we shall not be burnt, for we are pretty
well quipped and larded, in my opinion. O my jolly dapper boy, thou hast
given us a gudgeon; I hope to see thee Pope before I die. I think so, said
he, myself; and then shall you be a puppy, and this gentle popinjay a
perfect papelard, that is, dissembler. Well, well, said the harbinger.
But, said Gargantua, guess how many stitches there are in my mother's
smock. Sixteen, quoth the harbinger. You do not speak gospel, said
Gargantua, for there is cent before, and cent behind, and you did not
reckon them ill, considering the two under holes. When? said the
harbinger. Even then, said Gargantua, when they made a shovel of your nose
to take up a quarter of dirt, and of your throat a funnel, wherewith to put
it into another vessel, because the bottom of the old one was out.
Cocksbod, said the steward, we have met with a prater. Farewell, master
tattler, God keep you, so goodly are the words which you come out with, and
so fresh in your mouth, that it had need to be salted.
Thus going down in great haste, under the arch of the stairs they let fall
the great lever, which he had put upon their backs; whereupon Gargantua
said, What a devil! you are, it seems, but bad horsemen, that suffer your
bilder to fail you when you need him most. If you were to go from hence to
Cahusac, whether had you rather, ride on a gosling or lead a sow in a
leash? I had rather drink, said the harbinger. With this they entered
into the lower hall, where the company was, and relating to them this new
story, they made them laugh like a swarm of flies.
How Gargantua's wonderful understanding became known to his father
Grangousier, by the invention of a torchecul or wipebreech.
About the end of the fifth year, Grangousier returning from the conquest of
the Canarians, went by the way to see his son Gargantua. There was he
filled with joy, as such a father might be at the sight of such a child of
his: and whilst he kissed and embraced him, he asked many childish
questions of him about divers matters, and drank very freely with him and
with his governesses, of whom in great earnest he asked, amongst other
things, whether they had been careful to keep him clean and sweet. To this
Gargantua answered, that he had taken such a course for that himself, that
in all the country there was not to be found a cleanlier boy than he. How
is that? said Grangousier. I have, answered Gargantua, by a long and
curious experience, found out a means to wipe my bum, the most lordly, the
most excellent, and the most convenient that ever was seen. What is that?
said Grangousier, how is it? I will tell you by-and-by, said Gargantua.
Once I did wipe me with a gentle-woman's velvet mask, and found it to be
good; for the softness of the silk was very voluptuous and pleasant to my
fundament. Another time with one of their hoods, and in like manner that
was comfortable. At another time with a lady's neckerchief, and after that
I wiped me with some ear-pieces of hers made of crimson satin, but there
was such a number of golden spangles in them (turdy round things, a pox
take them) that they fetched away all the skin of my tail with a vengeance.
Now I wish St. Antony's fire burn the bum-gut of the goldsmith that made
them, and of her that wore them! This hurt I cured by wiping myself with a
page's cap, garnished with a feather after the Switzers' fashion.
Afterwards, in dunging behind a bush, I found a March-cat, and with it I
wiped my breech, but her claws were so sharp that they scratched and
exulcerated all my perinee. Of this I recovered the next morning
thereafter, by wiping myself with my mother's gloves, of a most excellent
perfume and scent of the Arabian Benin. After that I wiped me with sage,
with fennel, with anet, with marjoram, with roses, with gourd-leaves, with
beets, with colewort, with leaves of the vine-tree, with mallows,
wool-blade, which is a tail-scarlet, with lettuce, and with spinach leaves.
All this did very great good to my leg. Then with mercury, with parsley,
with nettles, with comfrey, but that gave me the bloody flux of Lombardy,
which I healed by wiping me with my braguette. Then I wiped my tail in the
sheets, in the coverlet, in the curtains, with a cushion, with arras
hangings, with a green carpet, with a table-cloth, with a napkin, with a
handkerchief, with a combing-cloth; in all which I found more pleasure than
do the mangy dogs when you rub them. Yea, but, said Grangousier, which
torchecul did you find to be the best? I was coming to it, said Gargantua,
and by-and-by shall you hear the tu autem, and know the whole mystery and
knot of the matter. I wiped myself with hay, with straw, with
thatch-rushes, with flax, with wool, with paper, but,
Who his foul tail with paper wipes,
Shall at his ballocks leave some chips.
What, said Grangousier, my little rogue, hast thou been at the pot, that
thou dost rhyme already? Yes, yes, my lord the king, answered Gargantua, I
can rhyme gallantly, and rhyme till I become hoarse with rheum. Hark, what
our privy says to the skiters:
St. Antony's fire seize on thy toane (bone?),
Thou do not wipe, ere thou be gone.
Will you have any more of it? Yes, yes, answered Grangousier. Then, said
In shitting yes'day I did know
The sess I to my arse did owe:
The smell was such came from that slunk,
That I was with it all bestunk:
O had but then some brave Signor
Brought her to me I waited for,
I would have cleft her watergap,
And join'd it close to my flipflap,
Whilst she had with her fingers guarded
My foul nockandrow, all bemerded
Now say that I can do nothing! By the Merdi, they are not of my making,
but I heard them of this good old grandam, that you see here, and ever
since have retained them in the budget of my memory.
Let us return to our purpose, said Grangousier. What, said Gargantua, to
skite? No, said Grangousier, but to wipe our tail. But, said Gargantua,
will not you be content to pay a puncheon of Breton wine, if I do not blank
and gravel you in this matter, and put you to a non-plus? Yes, truly, said
There is no need of wiping one's tail, said Gargantua, but when it is foul;
foul it cannot be, unless one have been a-skiting; skite then we must
before we wipe our tails. O my pretty little waggish boy, said
Grangousier, what an excellent wit thou hast? I will make thee very
shortly proceed doctor in the jovial quirks of gay learning, and that, by
G--, for thou hast more wit than age. Now, I prithee, go on in this
torcheculative, or wipe-bummatory discourse, and by my beard I swear, for
one puncheon, thou shalt have threescore pipes, I mean of the good Breton
wine, not that which grows in Britain, but in the good country of Verron.
Afterwards I wiped my bum, said Gargantua, with a kerchief, with a pillow,
with a pantoufle, with a pouch, with a pannier, but that was a wicked and
unpleasant torchecul; then with a hat. Of hats, note that some are shorn,
and others shaggy, some velveted, others covered with taffeties, and others
with satin. The best of all these is the shaggy hat, for it makes a very
neat abstersion of the fecal matter.
Afterwards I wiped my tail with a hen, with a cock, with a pullet, with a
calf's skin, with a hare, with a pigeon, with a cormorant, with an
attorney's bag, with a montero, with a coif, with a falconer's lure. But,
to conclude, I say and maintain, that of all torcheculs, arsewisps,
bumfodders, tail-napkins, bunghole cleansers, and wipe-breeches, there is
none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed,
if you hold her head betwixt your legs. And believe me therein upon mine
honour, for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful
pleasure, both in regard of the softness of the said down and of the
temporate heat of the goose, which is easily communicated to the bum-gut
and the rest of the inwards, in so far as to come even to the regions of
the heart and brains. And think not that the felicity of the heroes and
demigods in the Elysian fields consisteth either in their asphodel,
ambrosia, or nectar, as our old women here used to say; but in this,
according to my judgment, that they wipe their tails with the neck of a
goose, holding her head betwixt their legs, and such is the opinion of
Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus.
How Gargantua was taught Latin by a Sophister.
The good man Grangousier having heard this discourse, was ravished with
admiration, considering the high reach and marvellous understanding of his
son Gargantua, and said to his governesses, Philip, king of Macedon, knew
the great wit of his son Alexander by his skilful managing of a horse; for
his horse Bucephalus was so fierce and unruly that none durst adventure
to ride him, after that he had given to his riders such devilish falls,
breaking the neck of this man, the other man's leg, braining one, and
putting another out of his jawbone. This by Alexander being considered,
one day in the hippodrome (which was a place appointed for the breaking and
managing of great horses), he perceived that the fury of the horse
proceeded merely from the fear he had of his own shadow, whereupon getting
on his back, he run him against the sun, so that the shadow fell behind,
and by that means tamed the horse and brought him to his hand. Whereby his
father, knowing the divine judgment that was in him, caused him most
carefully to be instructed by Aristotle, who at that time was highly
renowned above all the philosophers of Greece. After the same manner I
tell you, that by this only discourse, which now I have here had before you
with my son Gargantua, I know that his understanding doth participate of
some divinity, and that, if he be well taught, and have that education
which is fitting, he will attain to a supreme degree of wisdom. Therefore
will I commit him to some learned man, to have him indoctrinated according
to his capacity, and will spare no cost. Presently they appointed him a
great sophister-doctor, called Master Tubal Holofernes, who taught him his
ABC so well, that he could say it by heart backwards; and about this he was
five years and three months. Then read he to him Donat, Le Facet,
Theodolet, and Alanus in parabolis. About this he was thirteen years, six
months, and two weeks. But you must remark that in the mean time he did
learn to write in Gothic characters, and that he wrote all his books--for
the art of printing was not then in use--and did ordinarily carry a great
pen and inkhorn, weighing about seven thousand quintals (that is, 700,000
pound weight), the penner whereof was as big and as long as the great
pillars of Enay, and the horn was hanging to it in great iron chains, it
being of the wideness of a tun of merchant ware. After that he read unto
him the book de modis significandi, with the commentaries of Hurtbise, of
Fasquin, of Tropdieux, of Gualhaut, of John Calf, of Billonio, of
Berlinguandus, and a rabble of others; and herein he spent more than
eighteen years and eleven months, and was so well versed in it that, to try
masteries in school disputes with his condisciples, he would recite it by
heart backwards, and did sometimes prove on his finger-ends to his mother,
quod de modis significandi non erat scientia. Then did he read to him the
compost for knowing the age of the moon, the seasons of the year, and tides
of the sea, on which he spent sixteen years and two months, and that justly
at the time that his said preceptor died of the French pox, which was in
the year one thousand four hundred and twenty. Afterwards he got an old
coughing fellow to teach him, named Master Jobelin Bride, or muzzled dolt,
who read unto him Hugutio, Hebrard('s) Grecism, the Doctrinal, the Parts,
the Quid est, the Supplementum, Marmotretus, De moribus in mensa servandis,
Seneca de quatuor virtutibus cardinalibus, Passavantus cum commento, and
Dormi secure for the holidays, and some other of such like mealy stuff, by
reading whereof he became as wise as any we ever since baked in an oven.
How Gargantua was put under other schoolmasters.
At the last his father perceived that indeed he studied hard, and that,
although he spent all his time in it, he did nevertheless profit nothing,
but which is worse, grew thereby foolish, simple, doted, and blockish,
whereof making a heavy regret to Don Philip of Marays, Viceroy or Depute
King of Papeligosse, he found that it were better for him to learn nothing
at all, than to be taught such-like books, under such schoolmasters;
because their knowledge was nothing but brutishness, and their wisdom but
blunt foppish toys, serving only to bastardize good and noble spirits, and
to corrupt all the flower of youth. That it is so, take, said he, any
young boy of this time who hath only studied two years,--if he have not a
better judgment, a better discourse, and that expressed in better terms
than your son, with a completer carriage and civility to all manner of
persons, account me for ever hereafter a very clounch and bacon-slicer of
Brene. This pleased Grangousier very well, and he commanded that it should
be done. At night at supper, the said Des Marays brought in a young page
of his, of Ville-gouges, called Eudemon, so neat, so trim, so handsome in
his apparel, so spruce, with his hair in so good order, and so sweet and
comely in his behaviour, that he had the resemblance of a little angel more
than of a human creature. Then he said to Grangousier, Do you see this
young boy? He is not as yet full twelve years old. Let us try, if it
please you, what difference there is betwixt the knowledge of the doting
Mateologians of old time and the young lads that are now. The trial
pleased Grangousier, and he commanded the page to begin. Then Eudemon,
asking leave of the vice-king his master so to do, with his cap in his
hand, a clear and open countenance, beautiful and ruddy lips, his eyes
steady, and his looks fixed upon Gargantua with a youthful modesty,
standing up straight on his feet, began very gracefully to commend him;
first, for his virtue and good manners; secondly, for his knowledge,
thirdly, for his nobility; fourthly, for his bodily accomplishments; and,
in the fifth place, most sweetly exhorted him to reverence his father with
all due observancy, who was so careful to have him well brought up. In the
end he prayed him, that he would vouchsafe to admit of him amongst the
least of his servants; for other favour at that time desired he none of
heaven, but that he might do him some grateful and acceptable service. All
this was by him delivered with such proper gestures, such distinct
pronunciation, so pleasant a delivery, in such exquisite fine terms, and so
good Latin, that he seemed rather a Gracchus, a Cicero, an Aemilius of the
time past, than a youth of this age. But all the countenance that
Gargantua kept was, that he fell to crying like a cow, and cast down his
face, hiding it with his cap, nor could they possibly draw one word from
him, no more than a fart from a dead ass. Whereat his father was so
grievously vexed that he would have killed Master Jobelin, but the said Des
Marays withheld him from it by fair persuasions, so that at length he
pacified his wrath. Then Grangousier commanded he should be paid his
wages, that they should whittle him up soundly, like a sophister, with good
drink, and then give him leave to go to all the devils in hell. At least,
said he, today shall it not cost his host much if by chance he should die
as drunk as a Switzer. Master Jobelin being gone out of the house,
Grangousier consulted with the Viceroy what schoolmaster they should choose
for him, and it was betwixt them resolved that Ponocrates, the tutor of
Eudemon, should have the charge, and that they should go altogether to
Paris, to know what was the study of the young men of France at that time.
How Gargantua was sent to Paris, and of the huge great mare that he rode
on; how she destroyed the oxflies of the Beauce.
[Illustration: He Went to See the City--1-16-036]
In the same season Fayoles, the fourth King of Numidia, sent out of the
country of Africa to Grangousier the most hideously great mare that ever
was seen, and of the strangest form, for you know well enough how it is
said that Africa always is productive of some new thing. She was as big as
six elephants, and had her feet cloven into fingers, like Julius Caesar's
horse, with slouch-hanging ears, like the goats in Languedoc, and a little
horn on her buttock. She was of a burnt sorrel hue, with a little mixture
of dapple-grey spots, but above all she had a horrible tail; for it was
little more or less than every whit as great as the steeple-pillar of St.
Mark beside Langes: and squared as that is, with tuffs and ennicroches or
hair-plaits wrought within one another, no otherwise than as the beards are
upon the ears of corn.
If you wonder at this, wonder rather at the tails of the Scythian rams,
which weighed above thirty pounds each; and of the Surian sheep, who need,
if Tenaud say true, a little cart at their heels to bear up their tail, it
is so long and heavy. You female lechers in the plain countries have no
such tails. And she was brought by sea in three carricks and a brigantine
unto the harbour of Olone in Thalmondois. When Grangousier saw her, Here
is, said he, what is fit to carry my son to Paris. So now, in the name of
God, all will be well. He will in times coming be a great scholar. If it
were not, my masters, for the beasts, we should live like clerks. The next
morning--after they had drunk, you must understand--they took their
journey; Gargantua, his pedagogue Ponocrates, and his train, and with them
Eudemon, the young page. And because the weather was fair and temperate,
his father caused to be made for him a pair of dun boots,--Babin calls them
buskins. Thus did they merrily pass their time in travelling on their high
way, always making good cheer, and were very pleasant till they came a
little above Orleans, in which place there was a forest of five-and-thirty
leagues long, and seventeen in breadth, or thereabouts. This forest was
most horribly fertile and copious in dorflies, hornets, and wasps, so that
it was a very purgatory for the poor mares, asses, and horses. But
Gargantua's mare did avenge herself handsomely of all the outrages therein
committed upon beasts of her kind, and that by a trick whereof they had no
suspicion. For as soon as ever they were entered into the said forest, and
that the wasps had given the assault, she drew out and unsheathed her tail,
and therewith skirmishing, did so sweep them that she overthrew all the
wood alongst and athwart, here and there, this way and that way, longwise
and sidewise, over and under, and felled everywhere the wood with as much
ease as a mower doth the grass, in such sort that never since hath there
been there neither wood nor dorflies: for all the country was thereby
reduced to a plain champaign field. Which Gargantua took great pleasure to
behold, and said to his company no more but this: Je trouve beau ce (I
find this pretty); whereupon that country hath been ever since that time
called Beauce. But all the breakfast the mare got that day was but a
little yawning and gaping, in memory whereof the gentlemen of Beauce do as
yet to this day break their fast with gaping, which they find to be very
good, and do spit the better for it. At last they came to Paris, where
Gargantua refreshed himself two or three days, making very merry with his
folks, and inquiring what men of learning there were then in the city, and
what wine they drunk there.
How Gargantua paid his welcome to the Parisians, and how he took away the
great bells of Our Lady's Church.
[Illustration: Gargantua Visiting the Shops--1-17-038]
Some few days after that they had refreshed themselves, he went to see the
city, and was beheld of everybody there with great admiration; for the
people of Paris are so sottish, so badot, so foolish and fond by nature,
that a juggler, a carrier of indulgences, a sumpter-horse, or mule with
cymbals or tinkling bells, a blind fiddler in the middle of a cross lane,
shall draw a greater confluence of people together than an evangelical
preacher. And they pressed so hard upon him that he was constrained to
rest himself upon the towers of Our Lady's Church. At which place, seeing
so many about him, he said with a loud voice, I believe that these buzzards
will have me to pay them here my welcome hither, and my Proficiat. It is
but good reason. I will now give them their wine, but it shall be only in
sport. Then smiling, he untied his fair braguette, and drawing out his
mentul into the open air, he so bitterly all-to-bepissed them, that he
drowned two hundred and sixty thousand, four hundred and eighteen, besides
the women and little children. Some, nevertheless, of the company escaped
this piss-flood by mere speed of foot, who, when they were at the higher
end of the university, sweating, coughing, spitting, and out of breath,
they began to swear and curse, some in good hot earnest, and others in
jest. Carimari, carimara: golynoly, golynolo. By my sweet Sanctess, we
are washed in sport, a sport truly to laugh at;--in French, Par ris, for
which that city hath been ever since called Paris; whose name formerly was
Leucotia, as Strabo testifieth, lib. quarto, from the Greek word leukotes,
whiteness,--because of the white thighs of the ladies of that place. And
forasmuch as, at this imposition of a new name, all the people that were
there swore everyone by the Sancts of his parish, the Parisians, which are
patched up of all nations and all pieces of countries, are by nature both
good jurors and good jurists, and somewhat overweening; whereupon Joanninus
de Barrauco, libro de copiositate reverentiarum, thinks that they are
called Parisians from the Greek word parresia, which signifies boldness and
liberty in speech. This done, he considered the great bells, which were in
the said towers, and made them sound very harmoniously. Which whilst he
was doing, it came into his mind that they would serve very well for
tingling tantans and ringing campanels to hang about his mare's neck when
she should be sent back to his father, as he intended to do, loaded with
Brie cheese and fresh herring. And indeed he forthwith carried them to his
lodging. In the meanwhile there came a master beggar of the friars of St.
Anthony to demand in his canting way the usual benevolence of some hoggish
stuff, who, that he might be heard afar off, and to make the bacon he was
in quest of shake in the very chimneys, made account to filch them away
privily. Nevertheless, he left them behind very honestly, not for that
they were too hot, but that they were somewhat too heavy for his carriage.
This was not he of Bourg, for he was too good a friend of mine. All the
city was risen up in sedition, they being, as you know, upon any slight
occasion, so ready to uproars and insurrections, that foreign nations
wonder at the patience of the kings of France, who do not by good justice
restrain them from such tumultuous courses, seeing the manifold
inconveniences which thence arise from day to day. Would to God I knew the
shop wherein are forged these divisions and factious combinations, that I
might bring them to light in the confraternities of my parish! Believe for
a truth, that the place wherein the people gathered together, were thus
sulphured, hopurymated, moiled, and bepissed, was called Nesle, where then
was, but now is no more, the oracle of Leucotia. There was the case
proposed, and the inconvenience showed of the transporting of the bells.
After they had well ergoted pro and con, they concluded in baralipton, that
they should send the oldest and most sufficient of the faculty unto
Gargantua, to signify unto him the great and horrible prejudice they
sustain by the want of those bells. And notwithstanding the good reasons
given in by some of the university why this charge was fitter for an orator
than a sophister, there was chosen for this purpose our Master Janotus de
How Janotus de Bragmardo was sent to Gargantua to recover the great bells.
Master Janotus, with his hair cut round like a dish a la Caesarine, in his
most antique accoutrement liripipionated with a graduate's hood, and having
sufficiently antidoted his stomach with oven-marmalades, that is, bread and
holy water of the cellar, transported himself to the lodging of Gargantua,
driving before him three red-muzzled beadles, and dragging after him five
or six artless masters, all thoroughly bedaggled with the mire of the
streets. At their entry Ponocrates met them, who was afraid, seeing them
so disguised, and thought they had been some masquers out of their wits,
which moved him to inquire of one of the said artless masters of the
company what this mummery meant. It was answered him, that they desired to
have their bells restored to them. As soon as Ponocrates heard that, he
ran in all haste to carry the news unto Gargantua, that he might be ready
to answer them, and speedily resolve what was to be done. Gargantua being
advertised hereof, called apart his schoolmaster Ponocrates, Philotimus,
steward of his house, Gymnastes, his esquire, and Eudemon, and very
summarily conferred with them, both of what he should do and what answer he
should give. They were all of opinion that they should bring them unto the
goblet-office, which is the buttery, and there make them drink like
roysters and line their jackets soundly. And that this cougher might not
be puffed up with vain-glory by thinking the bells were restored at his
request, they sent, whilst he was chopining and plying the pot, for the
mayor of the city, the rector of the faculty, and the vicar of the church,
unto whom they resolved to deliver the bells before the sophister had
propounded his commission. After that, in their hearing, he should
pronounce his gallant oration, which was done; and they being come, the
sophister was brought in full hall, and began as followeth, in coughing.
The oration of Master Janotus de Bragmardo for recovery of the bells.
Hem, hem, gud-day, sirs, gud-day. Et vobis, my masters. It were but
reason that you should restore to us our bells; for we have great need of
them. Hem, hem, aihfuhash. We have oftentimes heretofore refused good
money for them of those of London in Cahors, yea and those of Bourdeaux in
Brie, who would have bought them for the substantific quality of the
elementary complexion, which is intronificated in the terrestreity of their
quidditative nature, to extraneize the blasting mists and whirlwinds upon
our vines, indeed not ours, but these round about us. For if we lose the
piot and liquor of the grape, we lose all, both sense and law. If you
restore them unto us at my request, I shall gain by it six basketfuls of
sausages and a fine pair of breeches, which will do my legs a great deal of
good, or else they will not keep their promise to me. Ho by gob, Domine, a
pair of breeches is good, et vir sapiens non abhorrebit eam. Ha, ha, a
pair of breeches is not so easily got; I have experience of it myself.
Consider, Domine, I have been these eighteen days in matagrabolizing this
brave speech. Reddite quae sunt Caesaris, Caesari, et quae sunt Dei, Deo.
Ibi jacet lepus. By my faith, Domine, if you will sup with me in cameris,
by cox body, charitatis, nos faciemus bonum cherubin. Ego occiditunum
porcum, et ego habet bonum vino: but of good wine we cannot make bad
Latin. Well, de parte Dei date nobis bellas nostras. Hold, I give you in
the name of the faculty a Sermones de Utino, that utinam you would give us
our bells. Vultis etiam pardonos? Per diem vos habebitis, et nihil
payabitis. O, sir, Domine, bellagivaminor nobis; verily, est bonum vobis.
They are useful to everybody. If they fit your mare well, so do they do
our faculty; quae comparata est jumentis insipientibus, et similis facta
est eis, Psalmo nescio quo. Yet did I quote it in my note-book, et est
unum bonum Achilles, a good defending argument. Hem, hem, hem, haikhash!
For I prove unto you, that you should give me them. Ego sic argumentor.
Omnis bella bellabilis in bellerio bellando, bellans, bellativo, bellare
facit, bellabiliter bellantes. Parisius habet bellas. Ergo gluc, Ha, ha,
ha. This is spoken to some purpose. It is in tertio primae, in Darii, or
elsewhere. By my soul, I have seen the time that I could play the devil in
arguing, but now I am much failed, and henceforward want nothing but a cup
of good wine, a good bed, my back to the fire, my belly to the table, and a
good deep dish. Hei, Domine, I beseech you, in nomine Patris, Filii, et
Spiritus sancti, Amen, to restore unto us our bells: and God keep you from
evil, and our Lady from health, qui vivit et regnat per omnia secula
seculorum, Amen. Hem, hashchehhawksash, qzrchremhemhash.
Verum enim vero, quandoquidem, dubio procul. Edepol, quoniam, ita certe,
medius fidius; a town without bells is like a blind man without a staff, an
ass without a crupper, and a cow without cymbals. Therefore be assured,
until you have restored them unto us, we will never leave crying after you,
like a blind man that hath lost his staff, braying like an ass without a
crupper, and making a noise like a cow without cymbals. A certain
latinisator, dwelling near the hospital, said since, producing the
authority of one Taponnus,--I lie, it was one Pontanus the secular poet,
--who wished those bells had been made of feathers, and the clapper of a
foxtail, to the end they might have begot a chronicle in the bowels of his
brain, when he was about the composing of his carminiformal lines. But nac
petetin petetac, tic, torche lorgne, or rot kipipur kipipot put pantse
malf, he was declared an heretic. We make them as of wax. And no more
saith the deponent. Valete et plaudite. Calepinus recensui.
How the Sophister carried away his cloth, and how he had a suit in law
against the other masters.
The sophister had no sooner ended, but Ponocrates and Eudemon burst out in
a laughing so heartily, that they had almost split with it, and given up
the ghost, in rendering their souls to God: even just as Crassus did,
seeing a lubberly ass eat thistles; and as Philemon, who, for seeing an ass
eat those figs which were provided for his own dinner, died with force of
laughing. Together with them Master Janotus fell a-laughing too as fast as
he could, in which mood of laughing they continued so long, that their eyes
did water by the vehement concussion of the substance of the brain, by
which these lachrymal humidities, being pressed out, glided through the
optic nerves, and so to the full represented Democritus Heraclitizing and
When they had done laughing, Gargantua consulted with the prime of his
retinue what should be done. There Ponocrates was of opinion that they
should make this fair orator drink again; and seeing he had showed them
more pastime, and made them laugh more than a natural soul could have done,
that they should give him ten baskets full of sausages, mentioned in his
pleasant speech, with a pair of hose, three hundred great billets of
logwood, five-and-twenty hogsheads of wine, a good large down-bed, and a
deep capacious dish, which he said were necessary for his old age. All
this was done as they did appoint: only Gargantua, doubting that they
could not quickly find out breeches fit for his wearing, because he knew
not what fashion would best become the said orator, whether the martingale
fashion of breeches, wherein is a spunghole with a drawbridge for the more
easy caguing: or the fashion of the mariners, for the greater solace and
comfort of his kidneys: or that of the Switzers, which keeps warm the
bedondaine or belly-tabret: or round breeches with straight cannions,
having in the seat a piece like a cod's tail, for fear of over-heating his
reins:--all which considered, he caused to be given him seven ells of white
cloth for the linings. The wood was carried by the porters, the masters of
arts carried the sausages and the dishes, and Master Janotus himself would
carry the cloth. One of the said masters, called Jousse Bandouille, showed
him that it was not seemly nor decent for one of his condition to do so,
and that therefore he should deliver it to one of them. Ha, said Janotus,
baudet, baudet, or blockhead, blockhead, thou dost not conclude in modo et
figura. For lo, to this end serve the suppositions and parva logicalia.
Pannus, pro quo supponit? Confuse, said Bandouille, et distributive. I do
not ask thee, said Janotus, blockhead, quomodo supponit, but pro quo? It
is, blockhead, pro tibiis meis, and therefore I will carry it, Egomet,
sicut suppositum portat appositum. So did he carry it away very close and
covertly, as Patelin the buffoon did his cloth. The best was, that when
this cougher, in a full act or assembly held at the Mathurins, had with
great confidence required his breeches and sausages, and that they were
flatly denied him, because he had them of Gargantua, according to the
informations thereupon made, he showed them that this was gratis, and out
of his liberality, by which they were not in any sort quit of their
promises. Notwithstanding this, it was answered him that he should be
content with reason, without expectation of any other bribe there. Reason?
said Janotus. We use none of it here. Unlucky traitors, you are not worth
the hanging. The earth beareth not more arrant villains than you are. I
know it well enough; halt not before the lame. I have practised wickedness
with you. By God's rattle, I will inform the king of the enormous abuses
that are forged here and carried underhand by you, and let me be a leper,
if he do not burn you alive like sodomites, traitors, heretics and
seducers, enemies to God and virtue.
Upon these words they framed articles against him: he on the other side
warned them to appear. In sum, the process was retained by the court, and
is there as yet. Hereupon the magisters made a vow never to decrott
themselves in rubbing off the dirt of either their shoes or clothes:
Master Janotus with his adherents vowed never to blow or snuff their noses,
until judgment were given by a definitive sentence.
By these vows do they continue unto this time both dirty and snotty; for
the court hath not garbled, sifted, and fully looked into all the pieces as
yet. The judgment or decree shall be given out and pronounced at the next
Greek kalends, that is, never. As you know that they do more than nature,
and contrary to their own articles. The articles of Paris maintain that to
God alone belongs infinity, and nature produceth nothing that is immortal;
for she putteth an end and period to all things by her engendered,
according to the saying, Omnia orta cadunt, &c. But these thick
mist-swallowers make the suits in law depending before them both infinite
and immortal. In doing whereof, they have given occasion to, and verified
the saying of Chilo the Lacedaemonian, consecrated to the oracle at Delphos,
that misery is the inseparable companion of law-debates; and that pleaders
are miserable; for sooner shall they attain to the end of their lives, than
to the final decision of their pretended rights.
The study of Gargantua, according to the discipline of his schoolmasters
The first day being thus spent, and the bells put up again in their own
place, the citizens of Paris, in acknowledgment of this courtesy, offered
to maintain and feed his mare as long as he pleased, which Gargantua took
in good part, and they sent her to graze in the forest of Biere. I think
she is not there now. This done, he with all his heart submitted his study
to the discretion of Ponocrates; who for the beginning appointed that he
should do as he was accustomed, to the end he might understand by what
means, in so long time, his old masters had made him so sottish and
ignorant. He disposed therefore of his time in such fashion, that
ordinarily he did awake betwixt eight and nine o'clock, whether it was day
or not, for so had his ancient governors ordained, alleging that which
David saith, Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere. Then did he tumble and
toss, wag his legs, and wallow in the bed some time, the better to stir up
and rouse his vital spirits, and apparelled himself according to the
season: but willingly he would wear a great long gown of thick frieze,
furred with fox-skins. Afterwards he combed his head with an Almain comb,
which is the four fingers and the thumb. For his preceptor said that to
comb himself otherwise, to wash and make himself neat, was to lose time in
this world. Then he dunged, pissed, spewed, belched, cracked, yawned,
spitted, coughed, yexed, sneezed and snotted himself like an archdeacon,
and, to suppress the dew and bad air, went to breakfast, having some good
fried tripes, fair rashers on the coals, excellent gammons of bacon, store
of fine minced meat, and a great deal of sippet brewis, made up of the fat
of the beef-pot, laid upon bread, cheese, and chopped parsley strewed
together. Ponocrates showed him that he ought not to eat so soon after
rising out of his bed, unless he had performed some exercise beforehand.
Gargantua answered, What! have not I sufficiently well exercised myself? I
have wallowed and rolled myself six or seven turns in my bed before I rose.
Is not that enough? Pope Alexander did so, by the advice of a Jew his
physician, and lived till his dying day in despite of his enemies. My
first masters have used me to it, saying that to breakfast made a good
memory, and therefore they drank first. I am very well after it, and dine
but the better. And Master Tubal, who was the first licenciate at Paris,
told me that it was not enough to run apace, but to set forth betimes: so
doth not the total welfare of our humanity depend upon perpetual drinking
in a ribble rabble, like ducks, but on drinking early in the morning; unde
To rise betimes is no good hour,
To drink betimes is better sure.
After that he had thoroughly broke his fast, he went to church, and they
carried to him, in a great basket, a huge impantoufled or thick-covered
breviary, weighing, what in grease, clasps, parchment and cover, little
more or less than eleven hundred and six pounds. There he heard
six-and-twenty or thirty masses. This while, to the same place came his
orison-mutterer impaletocked, or lapped up about the chin like a tufted
whoop, and his breath pretty well antidoted with store of the
vine-tree-syrup. With him he mumbled all his kiriels and dunsical
breborions, which he so curiously thumbed and fingered, that there fell not
so much as one grain to the ground. As he went from the church, they
brought him, upon a dray drawn with oxen, a confused heap of paternosters
and aves of St. Claude, every one of them being of the bigness of a
hat-block; and thus walking through the cloisters, galleries, or garden, he
said more in turning them over than sixteen hermits would have done. Then
did he study some paltry half-hour with his eyes fixed upon his book; but,
as the comic saith, his mind was in the kitchen. Pissing then a full
urinal, he sat down at table; and because he was naturally phlegmatic, he
began his meal with some dozens of gammons, dried neat's tongues, hard roes
of mullet, called botargos, andouilles or sausages, and such other
forerunners of wine. In the meanwhile, four of his folks did cast into his
mouth one after another continually mustard by whole shovelfuls.
Immediately after that, he drank a horrible draught of white wine for the
ease of his kidneys. When that was done, he ate according to the season
meat agreeable to his appetite, and then left off eating when his belly
began to strout, and was like to crack for fulness. As for his drinking, he
had in that neither end nor rule. For he was wont to say, That the limits
and bounds of drinking were, when the cork of the shoes of him that drinketh
swelleth up half a foot high.
The games of Gargantua.
Then blockishly mumbling with a set on countenance a piece of scurvy grace,
he washed his hands in fresh wine, picked his teeth with the foot of a hog,
and talked jovially with his attendants. Then the carpet being spread,
they brought plenty of cards, many dice, with great store and abundance of
chequers and chessboards.
There he played.
At flush. At love.
At primero. At the chess.
At the beast. At Reynard the fox.
At the rifle. At the squares.
At trump. At the cows.
At the prick and spare not. At the lottery.
At the hundred. At the chance or mumchance.
At the peeny. At three dice or maniest bleaks.
At the unfortunate woman. At the tables.
At the fib. At nivinivinack.
At the pass ten. At the lurch.
At one-and-thirty. At doublets or queen's game.
At post and pair, or even and At the faily.
sequence. At the French trictrac.
At three hundred. At the long tables or ferkeering.
At the unlucky man. At feldown.
At the last couple in hell. At tod's body.
At the hock. At needs must.
At the surly. At the dames or draughts.
At the lansquenet. At bob and mow.
At the cuckoo. At primus secundus.
At puff, or let him speak that At mark-knife.
hath it. At the keys.
At take nothing and throw out. At span-counter.
At the marriage. At even or odd.
At the frolic or jackdaw. At cross or pile.
At the opinion. At ball and huckle-bones.
At who doth the one, doth the At ivory balls.
other. At the billiards.
At the sequences. At bob and hit.
At the ivory bundles. At the owl.
At the tarots. At the charming of the hare.
At losing load him. At pull yet a little.
At he's gulled and esto. At trudgepig.
At the torture. At the magatapies.
At the handruff. At the horn.
At the click. At the flowered or Shrovetide ox.
At honours. At the madge-owlet.
At pinch without laughing. At tilt at weeky.
At prickle me tickle me. At ninepins.
At the unshoeing of the ass. At the cock quintin.
At the cocksess. At tip and hurl.
At hari hohi. At the flat bowls.
At I set me down. At the veer and turn.
At earl beardy. At rogue and ruffian.
At the old mode. At bumbatch touch.
At draw the spit. At the mysterious trough.
At put out. At the short bowls.
At gossip lend me your sack. At the dapple-grey.
At the ramcod ball. At cock and crank it.
At thrust out the harlot. At break-pot.
At Marseilles figs. At my desire.
At nicknamry. At twirly whirlytrill.
At stick and hole. At the rush bundles.
At boke or him, or flaying the fox. At the short staff.
At the branching it. At the whirling gig.
At trill madam, or grapple my lady. At hide and seek, or are you all
At the cat selling. hid?
At blow the coal. At the picket.
At the re-wedding. At the blank.
At the quick and dead judge. At the pilferers.
At unoven the iron. At the caveson.
At the false clown. At prison bars.
At the flints, or at the nine stones.At have at the nuts.
At to the crutch hulch back. At cherry-pit.
At the Sanct is found. At rub and rice.
At hinch, pinch and laugh not. At whiptop.
At the leek. At the casting top.
At bumdockdousse. At the hobgoblins.
At the loose gig. At the O wonderful.
At the hoop. At the soily smutchy.
At the sow. At fast and loose.
At belly to belly. At scutchbreech.
At the dales or straths. At the broom-besom.
At the twigs. At St. Cosme, I come to adore
At the quoits. thee.
At I'm for that. At the lusty brown boy.
At I take you napping. At greedy glutton.
At fair and softly passeth Lent. At the morris dance.
At the forked oak. At feeby.
At truss. At the whole frisk and gambol.
At the wolf's tail. At battabum, or riding of the
At bum to buss, or nose in breech. wild mare.
At Geordie, give me my lance. At Hind the ploughman.
At swaggy, waggy or shoggyshou. At the good mawkin.
At stook and rook, shear and At the dead beast.
threave. At climb the ladder, Billy.
At the birch. At the dying hog.
At the muss. At the salt doup.
At the dilly dilly darling. At the pretty pigeon.
At ox moudy. At barley break.
At purpose in purpose. At the bavine.
At nine less. At the bush leap.
At blind-man-buff. At crossing.
At the fallen bridges. At bo-peep.
At bridled nick. At the hardit arsepursy.
At the white at butts. At the harrower's nest.
At thwack swinge him. At forward hey.
At apple, pear, plum. At the fig.
At mumgi. At gunshot crack.
At the toad. At mustard peel.
At cricket. At the gome.
At the pounding stick. At the relapse.
At jack and the box. At jog breech, or prick him
At the queens. forward.
At the trades. At knockpate.
At heads and points. At the Cornish c(h)ough.
At the vine-tree hug. At the crane-dance.
At black be thy fall. At slash and cut.
At ho the distaff. At bobbing, or flirt on the
At Joan Thomson. nose.
At the bolting cloth. At the larks.
At the oat's seed. At fillipping.
After he had thus well played, revelled, past and spent his time, it was
thought fit to drink a little, and that was eleven glassfuls the man, and,
immediately after making good cheer again, he would stretch himself upon a
fair bench, or a good large bed, and there sleep two or three hours
together, without thinking or speaking any hurt. After he was awakened he
would shake his ears a little. In the mean time they brought him fresh
wine. There he drank better than ever. Ponocrates showed him that it was
an ill diet to drink so after sleeping. It is, answered Gargantua, the
very life of the patriarchs and holy fathers; for naturally I sleep salt,
and my sleep hath been to me in stead of so many gammons of bacon. Then
began he to study a little, and out came the paternosters or rosary of
beads, which the better and more formally to despatch, he got upon an old
mule, which had served nine kings, and so mumbling with his mouth, nodding
and doddling his head, would go see a coney ferreted or caught in a gin.
At his return he went into the kitchen to know what roast meat was on the
spit, and what otherwise was to be dressed for supper. And supped very
well, upon my conscience, and commonly did invite some of his neighbours
that were good drinkers, with whom carousing and drinking merrily, they
told stories of all sorts from the old to the new. Amongst others he had
for domestics the Lords of Fou, of Gourville, of Griniot, and of Marigny.
After supper were brought in upon the place the fair wooden gospels and the
books of the four kings, that is to say, many pairs of tables and cards--or
the fair flush, one, two, three--or at all, to make short work; or else
they went to see the wenches thereabouts, with little small banquets,
intermixed with collations and rear-suppers. Then did he sleep, without
unbridling, until eight o'clock in the next morning.
How Gargantua was instructed by Ponocrates, and in such sort disciplinated,
that he lost not one hour of the day.
[Illustration: He did Swim in Deep Waters--1-23-048]
When Ponocrates knew Gargantua's vicious manner of living, he resolved to
bring him up in another kind; but for a while he bore with him, considering
that nature cannot endure a sudden change, without great violence.
Therefore, to begin his work the better, he requested a learned physician
of that time, called Master Theodorus, seriously to perpend, if it were
possible, how to bring Gargantua into a better course. The said physician
purged him canonically with Anticyrian hellebore, by which medicine he
cleansed all the alteration and perverse habitude of his brain. By this
means also Ponocrates made him forget all that he had learned under his
ancient preceptors, as Timotheus did to his disciples, who had been
instructed under other musicians. To do this the better, they brought him
into the company of learned men, which were there, in whose imitation he
had a great desire and affection to study otherwise, and to improve his
parts. Afterwards he put himself into such a road and way of studying,
that he lost not any one hour in the day, but employed all his time in
learning and honest knowledge. Gargantua awaked, then, about four o'clock
in the morning. Whilst they were in rubbing of him, there was read unto
him some chapter of the holy Scripture aloud and clearly, with a
pronunciation fit for the matter, and hereunto was appointed a young page
born in Basche, named Anagnostes. According to the purpose and argument of
that lesson, he oftentimes gave himself to worship, adore, pray, and send
up his supplications to that good God, whose Word did show his majesty and
marvellous judgment. Then went he unto the secret places to make excretion
of his natural digestions. There his master repeated what had been read,
expounding unto him the most obscure and difficult points. In returning,
they considered the face of the sky, if it was such as they had observed it
the night before, and into what signs the sun was entering, as also the
moon for that day. This done, he was apparelled, combed, curled, trimmed,
and perfumed, during which time they repeated to him the lessons of the day
before. He himself said them by heart, and upon them would ground some
practical cases concerning the estate of man, which he would prosecute
sometimes two or three hours, but ordinarily they ceased as soon as he was
fully clothed. Then for three good hours he had a lecture read unto him.
This done they went forth, still conferring of the substance of the
lecture, either unto a field near the university called the Brack, or unto
the meadows, where they played at the ball, the long-tennis, and at the
piletrigone (which is a play wherein we throw a triangular piece of iron at
a ring, to pass it), most gallantly exercising their bodies, as formerly
they had done their minds. All their play was but in liberty, for they
left off when they pleased, and that was commonly when they did sweat over
all their body, or were otherwise weary. Then were they very well wiped
and rubbed, shifted their shirts, and, walking soberly, went to see if
dinner was ready. Whilst they stayed for that, they did clearly and
eloquently pronounce some sentences that they had retained of the lecture.
In the meantime Master Appetite came, and then very orderly sat they down
at table. At the beginning of the meal there was read some pleasant
history of the warlike actions of former times, until he had taken a glass
of wine. Then, if they thought good, they continued reading, or began to
discourse merrily together; speaking first of the virtue, propriety,
efficacy, and nature of all that was served in at the table; of bread, of
wine, of water, of salt, of fleshes, fishes, fruits, herbs, roots, and of
their dressing. By means whereof he learned in a little time all the
passages competent for this that were to be found in Pliny, Athenaeus,
Dioscorides, Julius Pollux, Galen, Porphyry, Oppian, Polybius, Heliodore,
Aristotle, Aelian, and others. Whilst they talked of these things, many
times, to be the more certain, they caused the very books to be brought to
the table, and so well and perfectly did he in his memory retain the things
above said, that in that time there was not a physician that knew half so
much as he did. Afterwards they conferred of the lessons read in the
morning, and, ending their repast with some conserve or marmalade of
quinces, he picked his teeth with mastic tooth-pickers, washed his hands
and eyes with fair fresh water, and gave thanks unto God in some fine
cantiques, made in praise of the divine bounty and munificence. This done,
they brought in cards, not to play, but to learn a thousand pretty tricks
and new inventions, which were all grounded upon arithmetic. By this means
he fell in love with that numerical science, and every day after dinner and
supper he passed his time in it as pleasantly as he was wont to do at cards
and dice; so that at last he understood so well both the theory and
practical part thereof, that Tunstall the Englishman, who had written very
largely of that purpose, confessed that verily in comparison of him he had
no skill at all. And not only in that, but in the other mathematical
sciences, as geometry, astronomy, music, &c. For in waiting on the
concoction and attending the digestion of his food, they made a thousand
pretty instruments and geometrical figures, and did in some measure
practise the astronomical canons.
After this they recreated themselves with singing musically, in four or
five parts, or upon a set theme or ground at random, as it best pleased
them. In matter of musical instruments, he learned to play upon the lute,
the virginals, the harp, the Almain flute with nine holes, the viol, and
the sackbut. This hour thus spent, and digestion finished, he did purge
his body of natural excrements, then betook himself to his principal study
for three hours together, or more, as well to repeat his matutinal lectures
as to proceed in the book wherein he was, as also to write handsomely, to
draw and form the antique and Roman letters. This being done, they went
out of their house, and with them a young gentleman of Touraine, named the
Esquire Gymnast, who taught him the art of riding. Changing then his
clothes, he rode a Naples courser, a Dutch roussin, a Spanish jennet, a
barded or trapped steed, then a light fleet horse, unto whom he gave a
hundred carieres, made him go the high saults, bounding in the air, free
the ditch with a skip, leap over a stile or pale, turn short in a ring both
to the right and left hand. There he broke not his lance; for it is the
greatest foolery in the world to say, I have broken ten lances at tilts or
in fight. A carpenter can do even as much. But it is a glorious and
praise-worthy action with one lance to break and overthrow ten enemies.
Therefore, with a sharp, stiff, strong, and well-steeled lance would he
usually force up a door, pierce a harness, beat down a tree, carry away the
ring, lift up a cuirassier saddle, with the mail-coat and gauntlet. All
this he did in complete arms from head to foot. As for the prancing
flourishes and smacking popisms for the better cherishing of the horse,
commonly used in riding, none did them better than he. The cavallerize of
Ferrara was but as an ape compared to him. He was singularly skilful in
leaping nimbly from one horse to another without putting foot to ground,
and these horses were called desultories. He could likewise from either
side, with a lance in his hand, leap on horseback without stirrups, and
rule the horse at his pleasure without a bridle, for such things are useful
in military engagements. Another day he exercised the battle-axe, which he
so dexterously wielded, both in the nimble, strong, and smooth management
of that weapon, and that in all the feats practicable by it, that he passed
knight of arms in the field, and at all essays.
Then tossed he the pike, played with the two-handed sword, with the
backsword, with the Spanish tuck, the dagger, poniard, armed, unarmed, with
a buckler, with a cloak, with a target. Then would he hunt the hart, the
roebuck, the bear, the fallow deer, the wild boar, the hare, the pheasant,
the partridge, and the bustard. He played at the balloon, and made it
bound in the air, both with fist and foot. He wrestled, ran, jumped--not
at three steps and a leap, called the hops, nor at clochepied, called the
hare's leap, nor yet at the Almains; for, said Gymnast, these jumps are for
the wars altogether unprofitable, and of no use--but at one leap he would
skip over a ditch, spring over a hedge, mount six paces upon a wall, ramp
and grapple after this fashion up against a window of the full height of a
lance. He did swim in deep waters on his belly, on his back, sideways,
with all his body, with his feet only, with one hand in the air, wherein he
held a book, crossing thus the breadth of the river of Seine without
wetting it, and dragged along his cloak with his teeth, as did Julius
Caesar; then with the help of one hand he entered forcibly into a boat,
from whence he cast himself again headlong into the water, sounded the
depths, hollowed the rocks, and plunged into the pits and gulfs. Then
turned he the boat about, governed it, led it swiftly or slowly with the
stream and against the stream, stopped it in his course, guided it with one
hand, and with the other laid hard about him with a huge great oar, hoisted
the sail, hied up along the mast by the shrouds, ran upon the edge of the
decks, set the compass in order, tackled the bowlines, and steered the
helm. Coming out of the water, he ran furiously up against a hill, and
with the same alacrity and swiftness ran down again. He climbed up at
trees like a cat, and leaped from the one to the other like a squirrel. He
did pull down the great boughs and branches like another Milo; then with
two sharp well-steeled daggers and two tried bodkins would he run up by the
wall to the very top of a house like a rat; then suddenly came down from
the top to the bottom, with such an even composition of members that by the
fall he would catch no harm.
He did cast the dart, throw the bar, put the stone, practise the javelin,
the boar-spear or partisan, and the halbert. He broke the strongest bows
in drawing, bended against his breast the greatest crossbows of steel, took
his aim by the eye with the hand-gun, and shot well, traversed and planted
the cannon, shot at butt-marks, at the papgay from below upwards, or to a
height from above downwards, or to a descent; then before him, sideways,
and behind him, like the Parthians. They tied a cable-rope to the top of a
high tower, by one end whereof hanging near the ground he wrought himself
with his hands to the very top; then upon the same track came down so
sturdily and firm that you could not on a plain meadow have run with more
assurance. They set up a great pole fixed upon two trees. There would he
hang by his hands, and with them alone, his feet touching at nothing, would
go back and fore along the foresaid rope with so great swiftness that
hardly could one overtake him with running; and then, to exercise his
breast and lungs, he would shout like all the devils in hell. I heard him
once call Eudemon from St. Victor's gate to Montmartre. Stentor had never
such a voice at the siege of Troy. Then for the strengthening of his
nerves or sinews they made him two great sows of lead, each of them
weighing eight thousand and seven hundred quintals, which they called
alteres. Those he took up from the ground, in each hand one, then lifted
them up over his head, and held them so without stirring three quarters of
an hour and more, which was an inimitable force. He fought at barriers
with the stoutest and most vigorous champions; and when it came to the
cope, he stood so sturdily on his feet that he abandoned himself unto the
strongest, in case they could remove him from his place, as Milo was wont
to do of old. In whose imitation, likewise, he held a pomegranate in his
hand, to give it unto him that could take it from him. The time being thus
bestowed, and himself rubbed, cleansed, wiped, and refreshed with other
clothes, he returned fair and softly; and passing through certain meadows,
or other grassy places, beheld the trees and plants, comparing them with
what is written of them in the books of the ancients, such as Theophrast,
Dioscorides, Marinus, Pliny, Nicander, Macer, and Galen, and carried home
to the house great handfuls of them, whereof a young page called Rizotomos
had charge; together with little mattocks, pickaxes, grubbing-hooks,
cabbies, pruning-knives, and other instruments requisite for herborizing.
Being come to their lodging, whilst supper was making ready, they repeated
certain passages of that which hath been read, and sat down to table. Here
remark, that his dinner was sober and thrifty, for he did then eat only to
prevent the gnawings of his stomach, but his supper was copious and large,
for he took then as much as was fit to maintain and nourish him; which,
indeed, is the true diet prescribed by the art of good and sound physic,
although a rabble of loggerheaded physicians, nuzzeled in the brabbling
shop of sophisters, counsel the contrary. During that repast was continued
the lesson read at dinner as long as they thought good; the rest was spent
in good discourse, learned and profitable. After that they had given
thanks, he set himself to sing vocally, and play upon harmonious
instruments, or otherwise passed his time at some pretty sports, made with
cards or dice, or in practising the feats of legerdemain with cups and
balls. There they stayed some nights in frolicking thus, and making
themselves merry till it was time to go to bed; and on other nights they
would go make visits unto learned men, or to such as had been travellers in
strange and remote countries. When it was full night before they retired
themselves, they went unto the most open place of the house to see the face
of the sky, and there beheld the comets, if any were, as likewise the
figures, situations, aspects, oppositions, and conjunctions of both the
fixed stars and planets.
Then with his master did he briefly recapitulate, after the manner of the
Pythagoreans, that which he had read, seen, learned, done, and understood
in the whole course of that day.
Then prayed they unto God the Creator, in falling down before him, and
strengthening their faith towards him, and glorifying him for his boundless
bounty; and, giving thanks unto him for the time that was past, they
recommended themselves to his divine clemency for the future. Which being
done, they went to bed, and betook themselves to their repose and rest.
How Gargantua spent his time in rainy weather.
If it happened that the weather were anything cloudy, foul, and rainy, all
the forenoon was employed, as before specified, according to custom, with
this difference only, that they had a good clear fire lighted to correct
the distempers of the air. But after dinner, instead of their wonted
exercitations, they did abide within, and, by way of apotherapy (that is, a
making the body healthful by exercise), did recreate themselves in bottling
up of hay, in cleaving and sawing of wood, and in threshing sheaves of corn
at the barn. Then they studied the art of painting or carving; or brought
into use the antique play of tables, as Leonicus hath written of it, and as
our good friend Lascaris playeth at it. In playing they examined the
passages of ancient authors wherein the said play is mentioned or any
metaphor drawn from it. They went likewise to see the drawing of metals,
or the casting of great ordnance; how the lapidaries did work; as also the
goldsmiths and cutters of precious stones. Nor did they omit to visit the
alchemists, money-coiners, upholsterers, weavers, velvet-workers,
watchmakers, looking-glass framers, printers, organists, and other such
kind of artificers, and, everywhere giving them somewhat to drink, did
learn and consider the industry and invention of the trades. They went
also to hear the public lectures, the solemn commencements, the
repetitions, the acclamations, the pleadings of the gentle lawyers, and
sermons of evangelical preachers. He went through the halls and places
appointed for fencing, and there played against the masters themselves at
all weapons, and showed them by experience that he knew as much in it as,
yea, more than, they. And, instead of herborizing, they visited the shops
of druggists, herbalists, and apothecaries, and diligently considered the
fruits, roots, leaves, gums, seeds, the grease and ointments of some
foreign parts, as also how they did adulterate them. He went to see the
jugglers, tumblers, mountebanks, and quacksalvers, and considered their
cunning, their shifts, their somersaults and smooth tongue, especially of
those of Chauny in Picardy, who are naturally great praters, and brave
givers of fibs, in matter of green apes.
At their return they did eat more soberly at supper than at other times,
and meats more desiccative and extenuating; to the end that the intemperate
moisture of the air, communicated to the body by a necessary confinitive,
might by this means be corrected, and that they might not receive any
prejudice for want of their ordinary bodily exercise. Thus was Gargantua
governed, and kept on in this course of education, from day to day
profiting, as you may understand such a young man of his age may, of a
pregnant judgment, with good discipline well continued. Which, although at
the beginning it seemed difficult, became a little after so sweet, so easy,
and so delightful, that it seemed rather the recreation of a king than the
study of a scholar. Nevertheless Ponocrates, to divert him from this
vehement intension of the spirits, thought fit, once in a month, upon some
fair and clear day, to go out of the city betimes in the morning, either
towards Gentilly, or Boulogne, or to Montrouge, or Charanton bridge, or to
Vanves, or St. Clou, and there spend all the day long in making the
greatest cheer that could be devised, sporting, making merry, drinking
healths, playing, singing, dancing, tumbling in some fair meadow,
unnestling of sparrows, taking of quails, and fishing for frogs and crabs.
But although that day was passed without books or lecture, yet was it not
spent without profit; for in the said meadows they usually repeated certain
pleasant verses of Virgil's agriculture, of Hesiod and of Politian's
husbandry, would set a-broach some witty Latin epigrams, then immediately
turned them into roundelays and songs for dancing in the French language.
In their feasting they would sometimes separate the water from the wine
that was therewith mixed, as Cato teacheth, De re rustica, and Pliny with
an ivy cup would wash the wine in a basinful of water, then take it out
again with a funnel as pure as ever. They made the water go from one glass
to another, and contrived a thousand little automatory engines, that is to
say, moving of themselves.
How there was great strife and debate raised betwixt the cake-bakers of
Lerne, and those of Gargantua's country, whereupon were waged great wars.
At that time, which was the season of vintage, in the beginning of harvest,
when the country shepherds were set to keep the vines, and hinder the
starlings from eating up the grapes, as some cake-bakers of Lerne happened
to pass along in the broad highway, driving into the city ten or twelve
horses loaded with cakes, the said shepherds courteously entreated them to
give them some for their money, as the price then ruled in the market. For
here it is to be remarked, that it is a celestial food to eat for breakfast
hot fresh cakes with grapes, especially the frail clusters, the great red
grapes, the muscadine, the verjuice grape, and the laskard, for those that
are costive in their belly, because it will make them gush out, and squirt
the length of a hunter's staff, like the very tap of a barrel; and
oftentimes, thinking to let a squib, they did all-to-besquatter and
conskite themselves, whereupon they are commonly called the vintage
thinkers. The bun-sellers or cake-makers were in nothing inclinable to
their request; but, which was worse, did injure them most outrageously,
calling them prattling gabblers, lickorous gluttons, freckled bittors, mangy
rascals, shite-a-bed scoundrels, drunken roysters, sly knaves, drowsy
loiterers, slapsauce fellows, slabberdegullion druggels, lubberly louts,
cozening foxes, ruffian rogues, paltry customers, sycophant-varlets,
drawlatch hoydens, flouting milksops, jeering companions, staring clowns,
forlorn snakes, ninny lobcocks, scurvy sneaksbies, fondling fops, base
loons, saucy coxcombs, idle lusks, scoffing braggarts, noddy meacocks,
blockish grutnols, doddipol-joltheads, jobbernol goosecaps, foolish
loggerheads, flutch calf-lollies, grouthead gnat-snappers, lob-dotterels,
gaping changelings, codshead loobies, woodcock slangams, ninny-hammer
flycatchers, noddypeak simpletons, turdy gut, shitten shepherds, and other
suchlike defamatory epithets; saying further, that it was not for them to
eat of these dainty cakes, but might very well content themselves with the
coarse unranged bread, or to eat of the great brown household loaf. To
which provoking words, one amongst them, called Forgier, an honest fellow
of his person and a notable springal, made answer very calmly thus: How
long is it since you have got horns, that you are become so proud? Indeed
formerly you were wont to give us some freely, and will you not now let us
have any for our money? This is not the part of good neighbours, neither
do we serve you thus when you come hither to buy our good corn, whereof you
make your cakes and buns. Besides that, we would have given you to the
bargain some of our grapes, but, by his zounds, you may chance to repent
it, and possibly have need of us at another time, when we shall use you
after the like manner, and therefore remember it. Then Marquet, a prime
man in the confraternity of the cake-bakers, said unto him, Yea, sir, thou
art pretty well crest-risen this morning, thou didst eat yesternight too
much millet and bolymong. Come hither, sirrah, come hither, I will give
thee some cakes. Whereupon Forgier, dreading no harm, in all simplicity
went towards him, and drew a sixpence out of his leather satchel, thinking
that Marquet would have sold him some of his cakes. But, instead of cakes,
he gave him with his whip such a rude lash overthwart the legs, that the
marks of the whipcord knots were apparent in them, then would have fled
away; but Forgier cried out as loud as he could, O, murder, murder, help,
help, help! and in the meantime threw a great cudgel after him, which he
carried under his arm, wherewith he hit him in the coronal joint of his
head, upon the crotaphic artery of the right side thereof, so forcibly,
that Marquet fell down from his mare more like a dead than living man.
Meanwhile the farmers and country swains, that were watching their walnuts
near to that place, came running with their great poles and long staves,
and laid such load on these cake-bakers, as if they had been to thresh upon
green rye. The other shepherds and shepherdesses, hearing the lamentable
shout of Forgier, came with their slings and slackies following them, and
throwing great stones at them, as thick as if it had been hail. At last
they overtook them, and took from them about four or five dozen of their
cakes. Nevertheless they paid for them the ordinary price, and gave them
over and above one hundred eggs and three baskets full of mulberries. Then
did the cake-bakers help to get up to his mare Marquet, who was most
shrewdly wounded, and forthwith returned to Lerne, changing the resolution
they had to go to Pareille, threatening very sharp and boisterously the
cowherds, shepherds, and farmers of Seville and Sinays. This done, the
shepherds and shepherdesses made merry with these cakes and fine grapes,
and sported themselves together at the sound of the pretty small pipe,
scoffing and laughing at those vainglorious cake-bakers, who had that day
met with a mischief for want of crossing themselves with a good hand in the
morning. Nor did they forget to apply to Forgier's leg some fair great red
medicinal grapes, and so handsomely dressed it and bound it up that he was
How the inhabitants of Lerne, by the commandment of Picrochole their king,
assaulted the shepherds of Gargantua unexpectedly and on a sudden.
The cake-bakers, being returned to Lerne, went presently, before they did
either eat or drink, to the Capitol, and there before their king, called
Picrochole, the third of that name, made their complaint, showing their
panniers broken, their caps all crumpled, their coats torn, their cakes
taken away, but, above all, Marquet most enormously wounded, saying that
all that mischief was done by the shepherds and herdsmen of Grangousier,
near the broad highway beyond Seville. Picrochole incontinent grew angry
and furious; and, without asking any further what, how, why, or wherefore,
commanded the ban and arriere ban to be sounded throughout all his country,
that all his vassals of what condition soever should, upon pain of the
halter, come, in the best arms they could, unto the great place before the
castle, at the hour of noon, and, the better to strengthen his design, he
caused the drum to be beat about the town. Himself, whilst his dinner was
making ready, went to see his artillery mounted upon the carriage, to
display his colours, and set up the great royal standard, and loaded wains
with store of ammunition both for the field and the belly, arms and
victuals. At dinner he despatched his commissions, and by his express
edict my Lord Shagrag was appointed to command the vanguard, wherein were
numbered sixteen thousand and fourteen arquebusiers or firelocks, together
with thirty thousand and eleven volunteer adventurers. The great
Touquedillon, master of the horse, had the charge of the ordnance, wherein
were reckoned nine hundred and fourteen brazen pieces, in cannons, double
cannons, basilisks, serpentines, culverins, bombards or murderers, falcons,
bases or passevolins, spirols, and other sorts of great guns. The
rearguard was committed to the Duke of Scrapegood. In the main battle was
the king and the princes of his kingdom. Thus being hastily furnished,
before they would set forward, they sent three hundred light horsemen,
under the conduct of Captain Swillwind, to discover the country, clear the
avenues, and see whether there was any ambush laid for them. But, after
they had made diligent search, they found all the land round about in peace
and quiet, without any meeting or convention at all; which Picrochole
understanding, commanded that everyone should march speedily under his
colours. Then immediately in all disorder, without keeping either rank or
file, they took the fields one amongst another, wasting, spoiling,
destroying, and making havoc of all wherever they went, not sparing poor
nor rich, privileged or unprivileged places, church nor laity, drove away
oxen and cows, bulls, calves, heifers, wethers, ewes, lambs, goats, kids,
hens, capons, chickens, geese, ganders, goslings, hogs, swine, pigs, and
such like; beating down the walnuts, plucking the grapes, tearing the
hedges, shaking the fruit-trees, and committing such incomparable abuses,
that the like abomination was never heard of. Nevertheless, they met with
none to resist them, for everyone submitted to their mercy, beseeching them
that they might be dealt with courteously in regard that they had always
carried themselves as became good and loving neighbours, and that they had
never been guilty of any wrong or outrage done upon them, to be thus
suddenly surprised, troubled, and disquieted, and that, if they would not
desist, God would punish them very shortly. To which expostulations and
remonstrances no other answer was made, but that they would teach them to
How a monk of Seville saved the close of the abbey from being ransacked by
[Illustration: The Monks Knew Not--1-27-060]
So much they did, and so far they went pillaging and stealing, that at last
they came to Seville, where they robbed both men and women, and took all
they could catch: nothing was either too hot or too heavy for them.
Although the plague was there in the most part of all the houses, they
nevertheless entered everywhere, then plundered and carried away all that
was within, and yet for all this not one of them took any hurt, which is a
most wonderful case. For the curates, vicars, preachers, physicians,
chirurgeons, and apothecaries, who went to visit, to dress, to cure, to
heal, to preach unto and admonish those that were sick, were all dead of
the infection, and these devilish robbers and murderers caught never any
harm at all. Whence comes this to pass, my masters? I beseech you think
upon it. The town being thus pillaged, they went unto the abbey with a
horrible noise and tumult, but they found it shut and made fast against
them. Whereupon the body of the army marched forward towards a pass or
ford called the Gue de Vede, except seven companies of foot and two hundred
lancers, who, staying there, broke down the walls of the close, to waste,
spoil, and make havoc of all the vines and vintage within that place. The
monks (poor devils) knew not in that extremity to which of all their sancts
they should vow themselves. Nevertheless, at all adventures they rang the
bells ad capitulum capitulantes. There it was decreed that they should
make a fair procession, stuffed with good lectures, prayers, and litanies
contra hostium insidias, and jolly responses pro pace.
There was then in the abbey a claustral monk, called Friar John of the
funnels and gobbets, in French des entoumeures, young, gallant, frisk,
lusty, nimble, quick, active, bold, adventurous, resolute, tall, lean,
wide-mouthed, long-nosed, a fair despatcher of morning prayers, unbridler
of masses, and runner over of vigils; and, to conclude summarily in a word,
a right monk, if ever there was any, since the monking world monked a
monkery: for the rest, a clerk even to the teeth in matter of breviary.
This monk, hearing the noise that the enemy made within the enclosure of
the vineyard, went out to see what they were doing; and perceiving that
they were cutting and gathering the grapes, whereon was grounded the
foundation of all their next year's wine, returned unto the choir of the
church where the other monks were, all amazed and astonished like so many
bell-melters. Whom when he heard sing, im, nim, pe, ne, ne, ne, ne, nene,
tum, ne, num, num, ini, i mi, co, o, no, o, o, neno, ne, no, no, no, rum,
nenum, num: It is well shit, well sung, said he. By the virtue of God,
why do not you sing, Panniers, farewell, vintage is done? The devil snatch
me, if they be not already within the middle of our close, and cut so well
both vines and grapes, that, by Cod's body, there will not be found for
these four years to come so much as a gleaning in it. By the belly of
Sanct James, what shall we poor devils drink the while? Lord God! da mihi
potum. Then said the prior of the convent: What should this drunken
fellow do here? let him be carried to prison for troubling the divine
service. Nay, said the monk, the wine service, let us behave ourselves so
that it be not troubled; for you yourself, my lord prior, love to drink of
the best, and so doth every honest man. Never yet did a man of worth
dislike good wine, it is a monastical apophthegm. But these responses that
you chant here, by G--, are not in season. Wherefore is it, that our
devotions were instituted to be short in the time of harvest and vintage,
and long in the advent, and all the winter? The late friar, Massepelosse,
of good memory, a true zealous man, or else I give myself to the devil, of
our religion, told me, and I remember it well, how the reason was, that in
this season we might press and make the wine, and in winter whiff it up.
Hark you, my masters, you that love the wine, Cop's body, follow me; for
Sanct Anthony burn me as freely as a faggot, if they get leave to taste one
drop of the liquor that will not now come and fight for relief of the vine.
Hog's belly, the goods of the church! Ha, no, no. What the devil, Sanct
Thomas of England was well content to die for them; if I died in the same
cause, should not I be a sanct likewise? Yes. Yet shall not I die there
for all this, for it is I that must do it to others and send them
As he spake this he threw off his great monk's habit, and laid hold upon
the staff of the cross, which was made of the heart of a sorbapple-tree, it
being of the length of a lance, round, of a full grip, and a little
powdered with lilies called flower de luce, the workmanship whereof was
almost all defaced and worn out. Thus went he out in a fair long-skirted
jacket, putting his frock scarfwise athwart his breast, and in this
equipage, with his staff, shaft or truncheon of the cross, laid on so
lustily, brisk, and fiercely upon his enemies, who, without any order, or
ensign, or trumpet, or drum, were busied in gathering the grapes of the
vineyard. For the cornets, guidons, and ensign-bearers had laid down their
standards, banners, and colours by the wall sides: the drummers had
knocked out the heads of their drums on one end to fill them with grapes:
the trumpeters were loaded with great bundles of bunches and huge knots of
clusters: in sum, everyone of them was out of array, and all in disorder.
He hurried, therefore, upon them so rudely, without crying gare or beware,
that he overthrew them like hogs, tumbled them over like swine, striking
athwart and alongst, and by one means or other laid so about him, after the
old fashion of fencing, that to some he beat out their brains, to others he
crushed their arms, battered their legs, and bethwacked their sides till
their ribs cracked with it. To others again he unjointed the spondyles or
knuckles of the neck, disfigured their chaps, gashed their faces, made
their cheeks hang flapping on their chin, and so swinged and balammed them
that they fell down before him like hay before a mower. To some others he
spoiled the frame of their kidneys, marred their backs, broke their
thigh-bones, pashed in their noses, poached out their eyes, cleft their
mandibles, tore their jaws, dung in their teeth into their throat, shook
asunder their omoplates or shoulder-blades, sphacelated their shins,
mortified their shanks, inflamed their ankles, heaved off of the hinges
their ishies, their sciatica or hip-gout, dislocated the joints of their
knees, squattered into pieces the boughts or pestles of their thighs, and
so thumped, mauled and belaboured them everywhere, that never was corn so
thick and threefold threshed upon by ploughmen's flails as were the
pitifully disjointed members of their mangled bodies under the merciless
baton of the cross. If any offered to hide himself amongst the thickest of
the vines, he laid him squat as a flounder, bruised the ridge of his back,
and dashed his reins like a dog. If any thought by flight to escape, he
made his head to fly in pieces by the lamboidal commissure, which is a seam
in the hinder part of the skull. If anyone did scramble up into a tree,
thinking there to be safe, he rent up his perinee, and impaled him in at
the fundament. If any of his old acquaintance happened to cry out, Ha,
Friar John, my friend Friar John, quarter, quarter, I yield myself to you,
to you I render myself! So thou shalt, said he, and must, whether thou
wouldst or no, and withal render and yield up thy soul to all the devils in
hell; then suddenly gave them dronos, that is, so many knocks, thumps,
raps, dints, thwacks, and bangs, as sufficed to warn Pluto of their coming
and despatch them a-going. If any was so rash and full of temerity as to
resist him to his face, then was it he did show the strength of his
muscles, for without more ado he did transpierce him, by running him in at
the breast, through the mediastine and the heart. Others, again, he so
quashed and bebumped, that, with a sound bounce under the hollow of their
short ribs, he overturned their stomachs so that they died immediately. To
some, with a smart souse on the epigaster, he would make their midriff
swag, then, redoubling the blow, gave them such a homepush on the navel
that he made their puddings to gush out. To others through their ballocks
he pierced their bumgut, and left not bowel, tripe, nor entrail in their
body that had not felt the impetuosity, fierceness, and fury of his
violence. Believe, that it was the most horrible spectacle that ever one
saw. Some cried unto Sanct Barbe, others to St. George. O the holy Lady
Nytouch, said one, the good Sanctess; O our Lady of Succours, said another,
help, help! Others cried, Our Lady of Cunaut, of Loretto, of Good Tidings,
on the other side of the water St. Mary Over. Some vowed a pilgrimage to
St. James, and others to the holy handkerchief at Chamberry, which three
months after that burnt so well in the fire that they could not get one
thread of it saved. Others sent up their vows to St. Cadouin, others to
St. John d'Angely, and to St. Eutropius of Xaintes. Others again invoked
St. Mesmes of Chinon, St. Martin of Candes, St. Clouaud of Sinays, the holy
relics of Laurezay, with a thousand other jolly little sancts and santrels.
Some died without speaking, others spoke without dying; some died in
speaking, others spoke in dying. Others shouted as loud as they could
Confession, Confession, Confiteor, Miserere, In manus! So great was the
cry of the wounded, that the prior of the abbey with all his monks came
forth, who, when they saw these poor wretches so slain amongst the vines,
and wounded to death, confessed some of them. But whilst the priests were
busied in confessing them, the little monkies ran all to the place where
Friar John was, and asked him wherein he would be pleased to require their
assistance. To which he answered that they should cut the throats of those
he had thrown down upon the ground. They presently, leaving their outer
habits and cowls upon the rails, began to throttle and make an end of those
whom he had already crushed. Can you tell with what instruments they did
it? With fair gullies, which are little hulchbacked demi-knives, the iron
tool whereof is two inches long, and the wooden handle one inch thick, and
three inches in length, wherewith the little boys in our country cut ripe
walnuts in two while they are yet in the shell, and pick out the kernel,
and they found them very fit for the expediting of that weasand-slitting
exploit. In the meantime Friar John, with his formidable baton of the
cross, got to the breach which the enemies had made, and there stood to
snatch up those that endeavoured to escape. Some of the monkitos carried
the standards, banners, ensigns, guidons, and colours into their cells and
chambers to make garters of them. But when those that had been shriven
would have gone out at the gap of the said breach, the sturdy monk quashed
and felled them down with blows, saying, These men have had confession and
are penitent souls; they have got their absolution and gained the pardons;
they go into paradise as straight as a sickle, or as the way is to Faye
(like Crooked-Lane at Eastcheap). Thus by his prowess and valour were
discomfited all those of the army that entered into the close of the abbey,
unto the number of thirteen thousand, six hundred, twenty and two, besides
the women and little children, which is always to be understood. Never did
Maugis the Hermit bear himself more valiantly with his bourdon or pilgrim's
staff against the Saracens, of whom is written in the Acts of the four sons
of Aymon, than did this monk against his enemies with the staff of the
How Picrochole stormed and took by assault the rock Clermond, and of
Grangousier's unwillingness and aversion from the undertaking of war.
Whilst the monk did thus skirmish, as we have said, against those which
were entered within the close, Picrochole in great haste passed the ford of
Vede--a very especial pass--with all his soldiers, and set upon the rock
Clermond, where there was made him no resistance at all; and, because it
was already night, he resolved to quarter himself and his army in that
town, and to refresh himself of his pugnative choler. In the morning he
stormed and took the bulwarks and castle, which afterwards he fortified
with rampiers, and furnished with all ammunition requisite, intending to
make his retreat there, if he should happen to be otherwise worsted; for it
was a strong place, both by art and nature, in regard of the stance and
situation of it. But let us leave them there, and return to our good
Gargantua, who is at Paris very assiduous and earnest at the study of good
letters and athletical exercitations, and to the good old man Grangousier
his father, who after supper warmeth his ballocks by a good, clear, great
fire, and, waiting upon the broiling of some chestnuts, is very serious in
drawing scratches on the hearth, with a stick burnt at the one end,
wherewith they did stir up the fire, telling to his wife and the rest of
the family pleasant old stories and tales of former times.
Whilst he was thus employed, one of the shepherds which did keep the vines,
named Pillot, came towards him, and to the full related the enormous abuses
which were committed, and the excessive spoil that was made by Picrochole,
King of Lerne, upon his lands and territories, and how he had pillaged,
wasted, and ransacked all the country, except the enclosure at Seville,
which Friar John des Entoumeures to his great honour had preserved; and
that at the same present time the said king was in the rock Clermond, and
there, with great industry and circumspection, was strengthening himself
and his whole army. Halas, halas, alas! said Grangousier, what is this,
good people? Do I dream, or is it true that they tell me? Picrochole, my
ancient friend of old time, of my own kindred and alliance, comes he to
invade me? What moves him? What provokes him? What sets him on? What
drives him to it? Who hath given him this counsel? Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, my
God, my Saviour, help me, inspire me, and advise me what I shall do! I
protest, I swear before thee, so be thou favourable to me, if ever I did
him or his subjects any damage or displeasure, or committed any the least
robbery in his country; but, on the contrary, I have succoured and supplied
him with men, money, friendship, and counsel, upon any occasion wherein I
could be steadable for the improvement of his good. That he hath therefore
at this nick of time so outraged and wronged me, it cannot be but by the
malevolent and wicked spirit. Good God, thou knowest my courage, for
nothing can be hidden from thee. If perhaps he be grown mad, and that thou
hast sent him hither to me for the better recovery and re-establishment of
his brain, grant me power and wisdom to bring him to the yoke of thy holy
will by good discipline. Ho, ho, ho, ho, my good people, my friends and my
faithful servants, must I hinder you from helping me? Alas, my old age
required hence-forward nothing else but rest, and all the days of my life I
have laboured for nothing so much as peace; but now I must, I see it well,
load with arms my poor, weary, and feeble shoulders, and take in my
trembling hand the lance and horseman's mace, to succour and protect my
honest subjects. Reason will have it so; for by their labour am I
entertained, and with their sweat am I nourished, I, my children and my
family. This notwithstanding, I will not undertake war, until I have first
tried all the ways and means of peace: that I resolve upon.
Then assembled he his council, and proposed the matter as it was indeed.
Whereupon it was concluded that they should send some discreet man unto
Picrochole, to know wherefore he had thus suddenly broken the peace and
invaded those lands unto which he had no right nor title. Furthermore,
that they should send for Gargantua, and those under his command, for the
preservation of the country, and defence thereof now at need. All this
pleased Grangousier very well, and he commanded that so it should be done.
Presently therefore he sent the Basque his lackey to fetch Gargantua with
all diligence, and wrote him as followeth.
The tenour of the letter which Grangousier wrote to his son Gargantua.
The fervency of thy studies did require that I should not in a long time
recall thee from that philosophical rest thou now enjoyest, if the
confidence reposed in our friends and ancient confederates had not at this
present disappointed the assurance of my old age. But seeing such is my
fatal destiny, that I should be now disquieted by those in whom I trusted
most, I am forced to call thee back to help the people and goods which by
the right of nature belong unto thee. For even as arms are weak abroad, if
there be not counsel at home, so is that study vain and counsel
unprofitable which in a due and convenient time is not by virtue executed
and put in effect. My deliberation is not to provoke, but to appease--not
to assault, but to defend--not to conquer, but to preserve my faithful
subjects and hereditary dominions, into which Picrochole is entered in a
hostile manner without any ground or cause, and from day to day pursueth
his furious enterprise with that height of insolence that is intolerable to
freeborn spirits. I have endeavoured to moderate his tyrannical choler,
offering him all that which I thought might give him satisfaction; and
oftentimes have I sent lovingly unto him to understand wherein, by whom,
and how he found himself to be wronged. But of him could I obtain no other
answer but a mere defiance, and that in my lands he did pretend only to the
right of a civil correspondency and good behaviour, whereby I knew that the
eternal God hath left him to the disposure of his own free will and sensual
appetite--which cannot choose but be wicked, if by divine grace it be not
continually guided--and to contain him within his duty, and bring him to
know himself, hath sent him hither to me by a grievous token. Therefore,
my beloved son, as soon as thou canst, upon sight of these letters, repair
hither with all diligence, to succour not me so much, which nevertheless by
natural piety thou oughtest to do, as thine own people, which by reason
thou mayest save and preserve. The exploit shall be done with as little
effusion of blood as may be. And, if possible, by means far more
expedient, such as military policy, devices, and stratagems of war, we
shall save all the souls, and send them home as merry as crickets unto
their own houses. My dearest son, the peace of Jesus Christ our Redeemer
be with thee. Salute from me Ponocrates, Gymnastes, and Eudemon. The
twentieth of September.
Thy Father Grangousier.
How Ulric Gallet was sent unto Picrochole.
The letters being dictated, signed, and sealed, Grangousier ordained that
Ulric Gallet, master of the requests, a very wise and discreet man, of
whose prudence and sound judgment he had made trial in several difficult
and debateful matters, (should) go unto Picrochole, to show what had been
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