Gargantua and Pantagruel, Book V.
Part 1 out of 3
Produced by Sue Asscher and David Widger
MASTER FRANCIS RABELAIS
FIVE BOOKS OF THE LIVES, HEROIC DEEDS AND SAYINGS OF
GARGANTUA AND HIS SON PANTAGRUEL
Translated into English by
Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty
Peter Antony Motteux
The text of the first Two Books of Rabelais has been reprinted from the
first edition (1653) of Urquhart's translation. Footnotes initialled 'M.'
are drawn from the Maitland Club edition (1838); other footnotes are by the
translator. Urquhart's translation of Book III. appeared posthumously in
1693, with a new edition of Books I. and II., under Motteux's editorship.
Motteux's rendering of Books IV. and V. followed in 1708. Occasionally (as
the footnotes indicate) passages omitted by Motteux have been restored from
the 1738 copy edited by Ozell.
THE FIFTH BOOK
The Author's Prologue.
Indefatigable topers, and you, thrice precious martyrs of the smock, give
me leave to put a serious question to your worships while you are idly
striking your codpieces, and I myself not much better employed. Pray, why
is it that people say that men are not such sots nowadays as they were in
the days of yore? Sot is an old word that signifies a dunce, dullard,
jolthead, gull, wittol, or noddy, one without guts in his brains, whose
cockloft is unfurnished, and, in short, a fool. Now would I know whether
you would have us understand by this same saying, as indeed you logically
may, that formerly men were fools and in this generation are grown wise?
How many and what dispositions made them fools? How many and what
dispositions were wanting to make 'em wise? Why were they fools? How
should they be wise? Pray, how came you to know that men were formerly
fools? How did you find that they are now wise? Who the devil made 'em
fools? Who a God's name made 'em wise? Who d'ye think are most, those
that loved mankind foolish, or those that love it wise? How long has it
been wise? How long otherwise? Whence proceeded the foregoing folly?
Whence the following wisdom? Why did the old folly end now, and no later?
Why did the modern wisdom begin now, and no sooner? What were we the worse
for the former folly? What the better for the succeeding wisdom? How
should the ancient folly be come to nothing? How should this same new
wisdom be started up and established?
Now answer me, an't please you. I dare not adjure you in stronger terms,
reverend sirs, lest I make your pious fatherly worships in the least
uneasy. Come, pluck up a good heart; speak the truth and shame the devil.
Be cheery, my lads; and if you are for me, take me off three or five
bumpers of the best, while I make a halt at the first part of the sermon;
then answer my question. If you are not for me, avaunt! avoid, Satan! For
I swear by my great-grandmother's placket (and that's a horrid oath), that
if you don't help me to solve that puzzling problem, I will, nay, I already
do repent having proposed it; for still I must remain nettled and
gravelled, and a devil a bit I know how to get off. Well, what say you?
I'faith, I begin to smell you out. You are not yet disposed to give me an
answer; nor I neither, by these whiskers. Yet to give some light into the
business, I'll e'en tell you what had been anciently foretold in the matter
by a venerable doctor, who, being moved by the spirit in a prophetic vein,
wrote a book ycleped the Prelatical Bagpipe. What d'ye think the old
fornicator saith? Hearken, you old noddies, hearken now or never.
The jubilee's year, when all like fools were shorn,
Is about thirty supernumerary.
O want of veneration! fools they seemed,
But, persevering, with long breves, at last
No more they shall be gaping greedy fools.
For they shall shell the shrub's delicious fruit,
Whose flower they in the spring so much had feared.
Now you have it, what do you make on't? The seer is ancient, the style
laconic, the sentences dark like those of Scotus, though they treat of
matters dark enough in themselves. The best commentators on that good
father take the jubilee after the thirtieth to be the years that are
included in this present age till 1550 (there being but one jubilee every
fifty years). Men shall no longer be thought fools next green peas season.
The fools, whose number, as Solomon certifies, is infinite, shall go to pot
like a parcel of mad bedlamites as they are; and all manner of folly shall
have an end, that being also numberless, according to Avicenna, maniae
infinitae sunt species. Having been driven back and hidden towards the
centre during the rigour of the winter, 'tis now to be seen on the surface,
and buds out like the trees. This is as plain as a nose in a man's face;
you know it by experience; you see it. And it was formerly found out by
that great good man Hippocrates, Aphorism Verae etenim maniae, &c. This
world therefore wisifying itself, shall no longer dread the flower and
blossoms of every coming spring, that is, as you may piously believe,
bumper in hand and tears in eyes, in the woeful time of Lent, which used to
keep them company.
Whole cartloads of books that seemed florid, flourishing, and flowery, gay,
and gaudy as so many butterflies, but in the main were tiresome, dull,
soporiferous, irksome, mischievous, crabbed, knotty, puzzling, and dark as
those of whining Heraclitus, as unintelligible as the numbers of
Pythagoras, that king of the bean, according to Horace; those books, I say,
have seen their best days and shall soon come to nothing, being delivered
to the executing worms and merciless petty chandlers; such was their
destiny, and to this they were predestinated.
In their stead beans in cod are started up; that is, these merry and
fructifying Pantagruelian books, so much sought nowadays in expectation of
the following jubilee's period; to the study of which writings all people
have given their minds, and accordingly have gained the name of wise.
Now I think I have fairly solved and resolved your problem; then reform,
and be the better for it. Hem once or twice like hearts of oak; stand to
your pan-puddings, and take me off your bumpers, nine go-downs, and huzza!
since we are like to have a good vintage, and misers hang themselves. Oh!
they will cost me an estate in hempen collars if fair weather hold. For I
hereby promise to furnish them with twice as much as will do their business
on free cost, as often as they will take the pains to dance at a rope's end
providently to save charges, to the no small disappointment of the finisher
of the law.
Now, my friends, that you may put in for a share of this new wisdom, and
shake off the antiquated folly this very moment, scratch me out of your
scrolls and quite discard the symbol of the old philosopher with the golden
thigh, by which he has forbidden you to eat beans; for you may take it for
a truth granted among all professors in the science of good eating, that he
enjoined you not to taste of them only with the same kind intent that a
certain fresh-water physician had when he did forbid to Amer, late Lord of
Camelotiere, kinsman to the lawyer of that name, the wing of the partridge,
the rump of the chicken, and the neck of the pigeon, saying, Ala mala,
rumpum dubium, collum bonum, pelle remota. For the duncical dog-leech was
so selfish as to reserve them for his own dainty chops, and allowed his
poor patients little more than the bare bones to pick, lest they should
overload their squeamish stomachs.
To the heathen philosopher succeeded a pack of Capuchins, monks who forbid
us the use of beans, that is, Pantagruelian books. They seem to follow the
example of Philoxenus and Gnatho, one of whom was a Sicilian of fulsome
memory, the ancient master-builders of their monastic cram-gut
voluptuousness, who, when some dainty bit was served up at a feast,
filthily used to spit on it, that none but their nasty selves might have
the stomach to eat of it, though their liquorish chops watered never so
much after it.
So those hideous, snotty, phthisicky, eaves-dropping, musty, moving forms
of mortification, both in public and private, curse those dainty books, and
like toads spit their venom upon them.
Now, though we have in our mother-tongue several excellent works in verse
and prose, and, heaven be praised! but little left of the trash and
trumpery stuff of those duncical mumblers of ave-maries and the barbarous
foregoing Gothic age, I have made bold to choose to chirrup and warble my
plain ditty, or, as they say, to whistle like a goose among the swans,
rather than be thought deaf among so many pretty poets and eloquent
orators. And thus I am prouder of acting the clown, or any other
under-part, among the many ingenious actors in that noble play, than of
herding among those mutes, who, like so many shadows and ciphers, only serve
to fill up the house and make up a number, gaping and yawning at the flies,
and pricking up their lugs, like so many Arcadian asses, at the striking up
of the music; thus silently giving to understand that their fopships are
tickled in the right place.
Having taken this resolution, I thought it would not be amiss to move my
Diogenical tub, that you might not accuse me of living without example. I
see a swarm of our modern poets and orators, your Colinets, Marots,
Drouets, Saint Gelais, Salels, Masuels, and many more, who, having
commenced masters in Apollo's academy on Mount Parnassus, and drunk
brimmers at the Caballin fountain among the nine merry Muses, have raised
our vulgar tongue, and made it a noble and everlasting structure. Their
works are all Parian marble, alabaster, porphyry, and royal cement; they
treat of nothing but heroic deeds, mighty things, grave and difficult
matters, and this in a crimson, alamode, rhetorical style. Their writings
are all divine nectar, rich, racy, sparkling, delicate, and luscious wine.
Nor does our sex wholly engross this honour; ladies have had their share of
the glory; one of them, of the royal blood of France, whom it were a
profanation but to name here, surprises the age at once by the transcendent
and inventive genius in her writings and the admirable graces of her style.
Imitate those great examples if you can; for my part I cannot. Everyone,
you know, cannot go to Corinth. When Solomon built the temple, all could
not give gold by handfuls.
Since then 'tis not in my power to improve our architecture as much as
they, I am e'en resolved to do like Renault of Montauban: I'll wait on the
masons, set on the pot for the masons, cook for the stone-cutters; and
since it was not my good luck to be cut out for one of them, I will live
and die the admirer of their divine writings.
As for you, little envious prigs, snarling bastards, puny critics, you'll
soon have railed your last; go hang yourselves, and choose you out some
well-spread oak, under whose shade you may swing in state, to the
admiration of the gaping mob; you shall never want rope enough. While I
here solemnly protest before my Helicon, in the presence of my nine
mistresses the Muses, that if I live yet the age of a dog, eked out with
that of three crows, sound wind and limbs, like the old Hebrew captain
Moses, Xenophilus the musician, and Demonax the philosopher, by arguments
no ways impertinent, and reasons not to be disputed, I will prove, in the
teeth of a parcel of brokers and retailers of ancient rhapsodies and such
mouldy trash, that our vulgar tongue is not so mean, silly, inept, poor,
barren, and contemptible as they pretend. Nor ought I to be afraid of I
know not what botchers of old threadbare stuff, a hundred and a hundred
times clouted up and pieced together; wretched bunglers that can do nothing
but new-vamp old rusty saws; beggarly scavengers that rake even the
muddiest canals of antiquity for scraps and bits of Latin as insignificant
as they are often uncertain. Beseeching our grandees of Witland that, as
when formerly Apollo had distributed all the treasures of his poetical
exchequer to his favourites, little hulchbacked Aesop got for himself the
office of apologue-monger; in the same manner, since I do not aspire
higher, they would not deny me that of puny rhyparographer, or riffraff
follower of the sect of Pyreicus.
I dare swear they will grant me this; for they are all so kind, so
good-natured, and so generous, that they'll ne'er boggle at so small a
request. Therefore, both dry and hungry souls, pot and trenchermen, fully
enjoying those books, perusing, quoting them in their merry conventicles,
and observing the great mysteries of which they treat, shall gain a singular
profit and fame; as in the like case was done by Alexander the Great with
the books of prime philosophy composed by Aristotle.
O rare! belly on belly! what swillers, what twisters will there be!
Then be sure all you that take care not to die of the pip, be sure, I say,
you take my advice, and stock yourselves with good store of such books as
soon as you meet with them at the booksellers; and do not only shell those
beans, but e'en swallow them down like an opiate cordial, and let them be
in you; I say, let them be within you; then you shall find, my beloved,
what good they do to all clever shellers of beans.
Here is a good handsome basketful of them, which I here lay before your
worships; they were gathered in the very individual garden whence the
former came. So I beseech you, reverend sirs, with as much respect as was
ever paid by dedicating author, to accept of the gift, in hopes of somewhat
better against next visit the swallows give us.
THE FIFTH BOOK.
How Pantagruel arrived at the Ringing Island, and of the noise that we
Pursuing our voyage, we sailed three days without discovering anything; on
the fourth we made land. Our pilot told us that it was the Ringing Island,
and indeed we heard a kind of a confused and often repeated noise, that
seemed to us at a great distance not unlike the sound of great,
middle-sized, and little bells rung all at once, as 'tis customary at Paris,
Tours, Gergeau, Nantes, and elsewhere on high holidays; and the nearer we
came to the land the louder we heard that jangling.
Some of us doubted that it was the Dodonian kettle, or the portico called
Heptaphone in Olympia, or the eternal humming of the colossus raised on
Memnon's tomb in Thebes of Egypt, or the horrid din that used formerly to
be heard about a tomb at Lipara, one of the Aeolian islands. But this did
not square with chorography.
I do not know, said Pantagruel, but that some swarms of bees hereabouts may
be taking a ramble in the air, and so the neighbourhood make this
dingle-dangle with pans, kettles, and basins, the corybantine cymbals of
Cybele, grandmother of the gods, to call them back. Let's hearken. When we
were nearer, among the everlasting ringing of these indefatigable bells we
heard the singing, as we thought, of some men. For this reason, before we
offered to land on the Ringing Island, Pantagruel was of opinion that we
should go in the pinnace to a small rock, near which we discovered an
hermitage and a little garden. There we found a diminutive old hermit,
whose name was Braguibus, born at Glenay. He gave us a full account of all
the jangling, and regaled us after a strange sort of fashion--four livelong
days did he make us fast, assuring us that we should not be admitted into
the Ringing Island otherwise, because it was then one of the four fasting,
or ember weeks. As I love my belly, quoth Panurge, I by no means understand
this riddle. Methinks this should rather be one of the four windy weeks;
for while we fast we are only puffed up with wind. Pray now, good father
hermit, have not you here some other pastime besides fasting? Methinks it is
somewhat of the leanest; we might well enough be without so many palace
holidays and those fasting times of yours. In my Donatus, quoth Friar John,
I could find yet but three times or tenses, the preterit, the present, and
the future; doubtless here the fourth ought to be a work of supererogation.
That time or tense, said Epistemon, is aorist, derived from the
preter-imperfect tense of the Greeks, admitted in war (?) and odd cases.
Patience perforce is a remedy for a mad dog. Saith the hermit: It is, as I
told you, fatal to go against this; whosoever does it is a rank heretic, and
wants nothing but fire and faggot, that's certain. To deal plainly with
you, my dear pater, cried Panurge, being at sea, I much more fear being wet
than being warm, and being drowned than being burned.
Well, however, let us fast, a God's name; yet I have fasted so long that it
has quite undermined my flesh, and I fear that at last the bastions of this
bodily fort of mine will fall to ruin. Besides, I am much more afraid of
vexing you in this same trade of fasting; for the devil a bit I understand
anything in it, and it becomes me very scurvily, as several people have
told me, and I am apt to believe them. For my part, I have no great
stomach to fasting; for alas! it is as easy as pissing a bed, and a trade
of which anybody may set up; there needs no tools. I am much more inclined
not to fast for the future; for to do so there is some stock required, and
some tools are set a-work. No matter, since you are so steadfast, and
would have us fast, let us fast as fast as we can, and then breakfast in
the name of famine. Now we are come to these esurial idle days. I vow I
had quite put them out of my head long ago. If we must fast, said
Pantagruel, I see no other remedy but to get rid of it as soon as we can,
as we would out of a bad way. I'll in that space of time somewhat look
over my papers, and examine whether the marine study be as good as ours at
land. For Plato, to describe a silly, raw, ignorant fellow, compares him
to those that are bred on shipboard, as we would do one bred up in a
barrel, who never saw anything but through the bung-hole.
To tell you the short and the long of the matter, our fasting was most
hideous and terrible; for the first day we fasted on fisticuffs, the second
at cudgels, the third at sharps, and the fourth at blood and wounds: such
was the order of the fairies.
How the Ringing Island had been inhabited by the Siticines, who were become
Having fasted as aforesaid, the hermit gave us a letter for one whom he
called Albian Camar, Master Aedituus of the Ringing Island; but Panurge
greeting him called him Master Antitus. He was a little queer old fellow,
bald-pated, with a snout whereat you might easily have lighted a
card-match, and a phiz as red as a cardinal's cap. He made us all very
welcome, upon the hermit's recommendation, hearing that we had fasted, as I
have told you.
When we had well stuffed our puddings, he gave us an account of what was
remarkable in the island, affirming that it had been at first inhabited by
the Siticines; but that, according to the course of nature--as all things,
you know, are subject to change--they were become birds.
There I had a full account of all that Atteius Capito, Paulus, Marcellus,
A. Gellius, Athenaeus, Suidas, Ammonius, and others had writ of the
Siticines and Sicinnists; and then we thought we might as easily believe
the transmutations of Nectymene, Progne, Itys, Alcyone, Antigone, Tereus,
and other birds. Nor did we think it more reasonable to doubt of the
transmogrification of the Macrobian children into swans, or that of the men
of Pallene in Thrace into birds, as soon as they had bathed themselves in
the Tritonic lake. After this the devil a word could we get out of him but
of birds and cages.
The cages were spacious, costly, magnificent, and of an admirable
architecture. The birds were large, fine, and neat accordingly, looking as
like the men in my country as one pea does like another; for they ate and
drank like men, muted like men, endued or digested like men, farted like
men, but stunk like devils; slept, billed, and trod their females like men,
but somewhat oftener: in short, had you seen and examined them from top to
toe, you would have laid your head to a turnip that they had been mere men.
However, they were nothing less, as Master Aedituus told us; assuring us,
at the same time, that they were neither secular nor laic; and the truth
is, the diversity of their feathers and plumes did not a little puzzle us.
Some of them were all over as white as swans, others as black as crows,
many as grey as owls, others black and white like magpies, some all red
like red-birds, and others purple and white like some pigeons. He called
the males clerg-hawks, monk-hawks, priest-hawks, abbot-hawks, bish-hawks,
cardin-hawks, and one pope-hawk, who is a species by himself. He called
the females clerg-kites, nun-kites, priest-kites, abbess-kites, bish-kites,
cardin-kites, and pope-kites.
However, said he, as hornets and drones will get among the bees, and there
do nothing but buzz, eat, and spoil everything; so, for these last three
hundred years, a vast swarm of bigottelloes flocked, I do not know how,
among these goodly birds every fifth full moon, and have bemuted, berayed,
and conskited the whole island. They are so hard-favoured and monstrous
that none can abide them. For their wry necks make a figure like a crooked
billet; their paws are hairy, like those of rough-footed pigeons; their
claws and pounces, belly and breech, like those of the Stymphalid harpies.
Nor is it possible to root them out, for if you get rid of one, straight
four-and-twenty new ones fly thither.
There had been need of another monster-hunter such as was Hercules; for
Friar John had like to have run distracted about it, so much he was nettled
and puzzled in the matter. As for the good Pantagruel, he was even served
as was Messer Priapus, contemplating the sacrifices of Ceres, for want of
How there is but one pope-hawk in the Ringing Island.
We then asked Master Aedituus why there was but one pope-hawk among such
venerable birds multiplied in all their species. He answered that such was
the first institution and fatal destiny of the stars that the clerg-hawks
begot the priest-hawks and monk-hawks without carnal copulation, as some
bees are born of a young bull; the priest-hawks begat the bish-hawks, the
bish-hawks the stately cardin-hawks, and the stately cardin-hawks, if they
live long enough, at last come to be pope-hawk.
Of this last kind there never is more than one at a time, as in a beehive
there is but one king, and in the world is but one sun.
When the pope-hawk dies, another arises in his stead out of the whole brood
of cardin-hawks, that is, as you must understand it all along, without
carnal copulation. So that there is in that species an individual unity,
with a perpetuity of succession, neither more or less than in the Arabian
'Tis true that, about two thousand seven hundred and sixty moons ago, two
pope-hawks were seen upon the face of the earth; but then you never saw in
your lives such a woeful rout and hurly-burly as was all over this island.
For all these same birds did so peck, clapperclaw, and maul one another all
that time, that there was the devil and all to do, and the island was in a
fair way of being left without inhabitants. Some stood up for this
pope-hawk, some for t'other. Some, struck with a dumbness, were as mute as
so many fishes; the devil a note was to be got out of them; part of the
merry bells here were as silent as if they had lost their tongues, I mean
During these troublesome times they called to their assistance the
emperors, kings, dukes, earls, barons, and commonwealths of the world that
live on t'other side the water; nor was this schism and sedition at an end
till one of them died, and the plurality was reduced to a unity.
We then asked what moved those birds to be thus continually chanting and
singing. He answered that it was the bells that hung on the top of their
cages. Then he said to us, Will you have me make these monk-hawks whom you
see bardocuculated with a bag such as you use to still brandy, sing like
any woodlarks? Pray do, said we. He then gave half-a-dozen pulls to a
little rope, which caused a diminutive bell to give so many ting-tangs; and
presently a parcel of monk-hawks ran to him as if the devil had drove 'em,
and fell a-singing like mad.
Pray, master, cried Panurge, if I also rang this bell could I make those
other birds yonder, with red-herring-coloured feathers, sing? Ay, marry
would you, returned Aedituus. With this Panurge hanged himself (by the
hands, I mean) at the bell-rope's end, and no sooner made it speak but
those smoked birds hied them thither and began to lift up their voices and
make a sort of untowardly hoarse noise, which I grudge to call singing.
Aedituus indeed told us that they fed on nothing but fish, like the herns
and cormorants of the world, and that they were a fifth kind of cucullati
He added that he had been told by Robert Valbringue, who lately passed that
way in his return from Africa, that a sixth kind was to fly hither out of
hand, which he called capus-hawks, more grum, vinegar-faced, brain-sick,
froward, and loathsome than any kind whatsoever in the whole island.
Africa, said Pantagruel, still uses to produce some new and monstrous
How the birds of the Ringing Island were all passengers.
Since you have told us, said Pantagruel, how the pope-hawk is begot by the
cardin-hawks, the cardin-hawks by the bish-hawks, and the bish-hawks by the
priest-hawks, and the priest-hawks by the clerg-hawks, I would gladly know
whence you have these same clerg-hawks. They are all of them passengers,
or travelling birds, returned Aedituus, and come hither from t'other world;
part out of a vast country called Want-o'-bread, the rest out of another
toward the west, which they style Too-many-of-'em. From these two
countries flock hither, every year, whole legions of these clerg-hawks,
leaving their fathers, mothers, friends, and relations.
This happens when there are too many children, whether male or female, in
some good family of the latter country; insomuch that the house would come
to nothing if the paternal estate were shared among them all (as reason
requires, nature directs, and God commands). For this cause parents use to
rid themselves of that inconveniency by packing off the younger fry, and
forcing them to seek their fortune in this isle Bossart (Crooked Island).
I suppose he means L'Isle Bouchart, near Chinon, cried Panurge. No,
replied t'other, I mean Bossart (Crooked), for there is not one in ten
among them but is either crooked, crippled, blinking, limping,
ill-favoured, deformed, or an unprofitable load to the earth.
'Twas quite otherwise among the heathens, said Pantagruel, when they used
to receive a maiden among the number of vestals; for Leo Antistius affirms
that it was absolutely forbidden to admit a virgin into that order if she
had any vice in her soul or defect in her body, though it were but the
smallest spot on any part of it. I can hardly believe, continued Aedituus,
that their dams on t'other side the water go nine months with them; for
they cannot endure them nine years, nay, scarce seven sometimes, in the
house, but by putting only a shirt over the other clothes of the young
urchins, and lopping off I don't well know how many hairs from their
crowns, mumbling certain apostrophized and expiatory words, they visibly,
openly, and plainly, by a Pythagorical metempsychosis, without the least
hurt, transmogrify them into such birds as you now see; much after the
fashion of the Egyptian heathens, who used to constitute their isiacs by
shaving them and making them put on certain linostoles, or surplices.
However, I don't know, my good friends, but that these she-things, whether
clerg-kites, monk-kites, and abbess-kites, instead of singing pleasant
verses and charisteres, such as used to be sung to Oromasis by Zoroaster's
institution, may be bellowing out such catarates and scythropys (cursed
lamentable and wretched imprecations) as were usually offered to the
Arimanian demon; being thus in devotion for their kind friends and
relations that transformed them into birds, whether when they were maids,
or thornbacks, in their prime, or at their last prayers.
But the greatest numbers of our birds came out of Want-o'-bread, which,
though a barren country, where the days are of a most tedious lingering
length, overstocks this whole island with the lower class of birds. For
hither fly the asapheis that inhabit that land, either when they are in
danger of passing their time scurvily for want of belly-timber, being
unable, or, what's more likely, unwilling to take heart of grace and follow
some honest lawful calling, or too proud-hearted and lazy to go to service
in some sober family. The same is done by your frantic inamoradoes, who,
when crossed in their wild desires, grow stark staring mad, and choose this
life suggested to them by their despair, too cowardly to make them swing,
like their brother Iphis of doleful memory. There is another sort, that
is, your gaol-birds, who, having done some rogue's trick or other heinous
villainy, and being sought up and down to be trussed up and made to ride
the two or three-legged mare that groans for them, warily scour off and
come here to save their bacon; because all these sorts of birds are here
provided for, and grow in an instant as fat as hogs, though they came as
lean as rakes; for having the benefit of the clergy, they are as safe as
thieves in a mill within this sanctuary.
But, asked Pantagruel, do these birds never return to the world where they
were hatched? Some do, answered Aedituus; formerly very few, very seldom,
very late, and very unwillingly; however, since some certain eclipses, by
the virtue of the celestial constellations, a great crowd of them fled back
to the world. Nor do we fret or vex ourselves a jot about it; for those
that stay wisely sing, The fewer the better cheer; and all those that fly
away, first cast off their feathers here among these nettles and briars.
Accordingly we found some thrown by there; and as we looked up and down, we
chanced to light on what some people will hardly thank us for having
discovered; and thereby hangs a tale.
Of the dumb Knight-hawks of the Ringing Island.
These words were scarce out of his mouth when some five-and-twenty or
thirty birds flew towards us; they were of a hue and feather like which we
had not seen anything in the whole island. Their plumes were as changeable
as the skin of the chameleon, and the flower of tripolion, or teucrion.
They had all under the left wing a mark like two diameters dividing a
circle into equal parts, or, if you had rather have it so, like a
perpendicular line falling on a right line. The marks which each of them
bore were much of the same shape, but of different colours; for some were
white, others green, some red, others purple, and some blue. Who are
those? asked Panurge; and how do you call them? They are mongrels, quoth
We call them knight-hawks, and they have a great number of rich
commanderies (fat livings) in your world. Good your worship, said I, make
them give us a song, an't please you, that we may know how they sing. They
scorn your words, cried Aedituus; they are none of your singing-birds; but,
to make amends, they feed as much as the best two of them all. Pray where
are their hens? where are their females? said I. They have none, answered
Aedituus. How comes it to pass then, asked Panurge, that they are thus
bescabbed, bescurfed, all embroidered o'er the phiz with carbuncles,
pushes, and pock-royals, some of which undermine the handles of their
faces? This same fashionable and illustrious disease, quoth Aedituus, is
common among that kind of birds, because they are pretty apt to be tossed
on the salt deep.
He then acquainted us with the occasion of their coming. This next to us,
said he, looks so wistfully upon you to see whether he may not find among
your company a stately gaudy kind of huge dreadful birds of prey, which yet
are so untoward that they ne'er could be brought to the lure nor to perch
on the glove. They tell us that there are such in your world, and that
some of them have goodly garters below the knee with an inscription about
them which condemns him (qui mal y pense) who shall think ill of it to be
berayed and conskited. Others are said to wear the devil in a string
before their paunches; and others a ram's skin. All that's true enough,
good Master Aedituus, quoth Panurge; but we have not the honour to be
acquainted with their knightships.
Come on, cried Aedituus in a merry mood, we have had chat enough o'
conscience! let's e'en go drink. And eat, quoth Panurge. Eat, replied
Aedituus, and drink bravely, old boy; twist like plough-jobbers and swill
like tinkers. Pull away and save tide, for nothing is so dear and precious
as time; therefore we will be sure to put it to a good use.
He would fain have carried us first to bathe in the bagnios of the
cardin-hawks, which are goodly delicious places, and have us licked over
with precious ointments by the alyptes, alias rubbers, as soon as we should
come out of the bath. But Pantagruel told him that he could drink but too
much without that. He then led us into a spacious delicate refectory, or
fratery-room, and told us: Braguibus the hermit made you fast four days
together; now, contrariwise, I'll make you eat and drink of the best four
days through stitch before you budge from this place. But hark ye me, cried
Panurge, may not we take a nap in the mean time? Ay, ay, answered Aedituus;
that is as you shall think good; for he that sleeps, drinks. Good Lord! how
we lived! what good bub! what dainty cheer! O what a honest cod was this
How the birds are crammed in the Ringing Island.
Pantagruel looked I don't know howish, and seemed not very well pleased
with the four days' junketting which Aedituus enjoined us. Aedituus, who
soon found it out, said to him, You know, sir, that seven days before
winter, and seven days after, there is no storm at sea; for then the
elements are still out of respect for the halcyons, or king-fishers, birds
sacred to Thetis, which then lay their eggs and hatch their young near the
shore. Now here the sea makes itself amends for this long calm; and
whenever any foreigners come hither it grows boisterous and stormy for four
days together. We can give no other reason for it but that it is a piece
of its civility, that those who come among us may stay whether they will or
no, and be copiously feasted all the while with the incomes of the ringing.
Therefore pray don't think your time lost; for, willing, nilling, you'll be
forced to stay, unless you are resolved to encounter Juno, Neptune, Doris,
Aeolus, and his fluster-busters, and, in short, all the pack of ill-natured
left-handed godlings and vejoves. Do but resolve to be cheery, and fall-to
After we had pretty well stayed our stomachs with some tight snatches,
Friar John said to Aedituus, For aught I see, you have none but a parcel of
birds and cages in this island of yours, and the devil a bit of one of them
all that sets his hand to the plough, or tills the land whose fat he
devours; their whole business is to be frolic, to chirp it, to whistle it,
to warble it, tossing it, and roar it merrily night and day. Pray then, if
I may be so bold, whence comes this plenty and overflowing of all dainty
bits and good things which we see among you? From all the other world,
returned Aedituus, if you except some part of the northern regions, who of
late years have stirred up the jakes. Mum! they may chance ere long to rue
the day they did so; their cows shall have porridge, and their dogs oats;
there will be work made among them, that there will. Come, a fig for't,
let's drink. But pray what countrymen are you? Touraine is our country,
answered Panurge. Cod so, cried Aedituus, you were not then hatched of an
ill bird, I will say that for you, since the blessed Touraine is your
mother; for from thence there comes hither every year such a vast store of
good things, that we were told by some folks of the place that happened to
touch at this island, that your Duke of Touraine's income will not afford
him to eat his bellyful of beans and bacon (a good dish spoiled between
Moses and Pythagoras) because his predecessors have been more than liberal
to these most holy birds of ours, that we might here munch it, twist it,
cram it, gorge it, craw it, riot it, junket it, and tickle it off, stuffing
our puddings with dainty pheasants, partridges, pullets with eggs, fat
capons of Loudunois, and all sorts of venison and wild fowl. Come, box it
about; tope on, my friends. Pray do you see yon jolly birds that are
perched together, how fat, how plump, and in good case they look, with the
income that Touraine yields us! And in faith they sing rarely for their
good founders, that is the truth on't. You never saw any Arcadian birds
mumble more fairly than they do over a dish when they see these two gilt
batons, or when I ring for them those great bells that you see above their
cages. Drink on, sirs, whip it away. Verily, friends, 'tis very fine
drinking to-day, and so 'tis every day o' the week; then drink on, toss it
about, here's to you with all my soul. You are most heartily welcome;
never spare it, I pray you; fear not we should ever want good bub and
belly-timber; for, look here, though the sky were of brass, and the earth
of iron, we should not want wherewithal to stuff the gut, though they were
to continue so seven or eight years longer than the famine in Egypt. Let
us then, with brotherly love and charity, refresh ourselves here with the
Woons, man, cried Panurge, what a rare time you have on't in this world!
Psha, returned Aedituus, this is nothing to what we shall have in t'other;
the Elysian fields will be the least that can fall to our lot. Come, in
the meantime let us drink here; come, here's to thee, old fuddlecap.
Your first Siticines, said I, were superlatively wise in devising thus a
means for you to compass whatever all men naturally covet so much, and so
few, or, to speak more properly, none can enjoy together--I mean, a
paradise in this life, and another in the next. Sure you were born wrapt
in your mother's smickets! O happy creatures! O more than men! Would I
had the luck to fare like you! (Motteux inserts Chapter XVI. after Chapter
How Panurge related to Master Aedituus the fable of the horse and the ass.
When we had crammed and crammed again, Aedituus took us into a chamber that
was well furnished, hung with tapestry, and finely gilt. Thither he caused
to be brought store of mirobolans, cashou, green ginger preserved, with
plenty of hippocras, and delicious wine. With those antidotes, that were
like a sweet Lethe, he invited us to forget the hardships of our voyage;
and at the same time he sent plenty of provisions on board our ship that
rid in the harbour. After this, we e'en jogged to bed for that night; but
the devil a bit poor pilgarlic could sleep one wink--the everlasting
jingle-jangle of the bells kept me awake whether I would or no.
About midnight Aedituus came to wake us that we might drink. He himself
showed us the way, saying: You men of t'other world say that ignorance is
the mother of all evil, and so far you are right; yet for all that you do
not take the least care to get rid of it, but still plod on, and live in
it, with it, and by it; for which a plaguy deal of mischief lights on you
every day, and you are right enough served--you are perpetually ailing
somewhat, making a moan, and never right. It is what I was ruminating upon
just now. And, indeed, ignorance keeps you here fastened in bed, just as
that bully-rock Mars was detained by Vulcan's art; for all the while you do
not mind that you ought to spare some of your rest, and be as lavish as you
can of the goods of this famous island. Come, come, you should have eaten
three breakfasts already; and take this from me for a certain truth, that
if you would consume the mouth-ammunition of this island, you must rise
betimes; eat them, they multiply; spare them, they diminish.
For example, mow a field in due season, and the grass will grow thicker and
better; don't mow it, and in a short time 'twill be floored with moss.
Let's drink, and drink again, my friends; come, let's all carouse it. The
leanest of our birds are now singing to us all; we'll drink to them, if you
please. Let's take off one, two, three, nine bumpers. Non zelus, sed
When day, peeping in the east, made the sky turn from black to red like a
boiling lobster, he waked us again to take a dish of monastical brewis.
From that time we made but one meal, that only lasted the whole day; so
that I cannot well tell how I may call it, whether dinner, supper,
nunchion, or after-supper; only, to get a stomach, we took a turn or two in
the island, to see and hear the blessed singing-birds.
At night Panurge said to Aedituus: Give me leave, sweet sir, to tell you a
merry story of something that happened some three and twenty moons ago in
the country of Chastelleraud.
One day in April, a certain gentleman's groom, Roger by name, was walking
his master's horses in some fallow ground. There 'twas his good fortune to
find a pretty shepherdess feeding her bleating sheep and harmless lambkins
on the brow of a neighbouring mountain, in the shade of an adjacent grove;
near her, some frisking kids tripped it over a green carpet of nature's own
spreading, and, to complete the landscape, there stood an ass. Roger, who
was a wag, had a dish of chat with her, and after some ifs, ands, and buts,
hems and heighs on her side, got her in the mind to get up behind him, to
go and see his stable, and there take a bit by the bye in a civil way.
While they were holding a parley, the horse, directing his discourse to the
ass (for all brute beasts spoke that year in divers places), whispered
these words in his ear: Poor ass, how I pity thee! thou slavest like any
hack, I read it on thy crupper. Thou dost well, however, since God has
created thee to serve mankind; thou art a very honest ass, but not to be
better rubbed down, currycombed, trapped, and fed than thou art, seems to
me indeed to be too hard a lot. Alas! thou art all rough-coated, in ill
plight, jaded, foundered, crestfallen, and drooping, like a mooting duck,
and feedest here on nothing but coarse grass, or briars and thistles.
Therefore do but pace it along with me, and thou shalt see how we noble
steeds, made by nature for war, are treated. Come, thou'lt lose nothing by
coming; I'll get thee a taste of my fare. I' troth, sir, I can but love
you and thank you, returned the ass; I'll wait on you, good Mr. Steed.
Methinks, gaffer ass, you might as well have said Sir Grandpaw Steed. O!
cry mercy, good Sir Grandpaw, returned the ass; we country clowns are
somewhat gross, and apt to knock words out of joint. However, an't please
you, I will come after your worship at some distance, lest for taking this
run my side should chance to be firked and curried with a vengeance, as it
is but too often, the more is my sorrow.
The shepherdess being got behind Roger, the ass followed, fully resolved to
bait like a prince with Roger's steed; but when they got to the stable, the
groom, who spied the grave animal, ordered one of his underlings to welcome
him with a pitchfork and currycomb him with a cudgel. The ass, who heard
this, recommended himself mentally to the god Neptune, and was packing off,
thinking and syllogizing within himself thus: Had not I been an ass, I had
not come here among great lords, when I must needs be sensible that I was
only made for the use of the small vulgar. Aesop had given me a fair
warning of this in one of his fables. Well, I must e'en scamper or take
what follows. With this he fell a-trotting, and wincing, and yerking, and
calcitrating, alias kicking, and farting, and funking, and curvetting, and
bounding, and springing, and galloping full drive, as if the devil had come
for him in propria persona.
The shepherdess, who saw her ass scour off, told Roger that it was her
cattle, and desired he might be kindly used, or else she would not stir her
foot over the threshold. Friend Roger no sooner knew this but he ordered
him to be fetched in, and that my master's horses should rather chop straw
for a week together than my mistress's beast should want his bellyful of
The most difficult point was to get him back; for in vain the youngsters
complimented and coaxed him to come. I dare not, said the ass; I am
bashful. And the more they strove by fair means to bring him with them,
the more the stubborn thing was untoward, and flew out at the heels;
insomuch that they might have been there to this hour, had not his mistress
advised them to toss oats in a sieve or in a blanket, and call him; which
was done, and made him wheel about and say, Oats, with a witness! oats
shall go to pot. Adveniat; oats will do, there's evidence in the case; but
none of the rubbing down, none of the firking. Thus melodiously singing
(for, as you know, that Arcadian bird's note is very harmonious) he came to
the young gentleman of the horse, alias black garb, who brought him to the
When he was there, they placed him next to the great horse his friend,
rubbed him down, currycombed him, laid clean straw under him up to the
chin, and there he lay at rack and manger, the first stuffed with sweet
hay, the latter with oats; which when the horse's valet-dear-chambre
sifted, he clapped down his lugs, to tell them by signs that he could eat
it but too well without sifting, and that he did not deserve so great an
When they had well fed, quoth the horse to the ass; Well, poor ass, how is
it with thee now? How dost thou like this fare? Thou wert so nice at
first, a body had much ado to get thee hither. By the fig, answered the
ass, which, one of our ancestors eating, Philemon died laughing, this is
all sheer ambrosia, good Sir Grandpaw; but what would you have an ass say?
Methinks all this is yet but half cheer. Don't your worships here now and
then use to take a leap? What leaping dost thou mean? asked the horse; the
devil leap thee! dost thou take me for an ass? In troth, Sir Grandpaw,
quoth the ass, I am somewhat of a blockhead, you know, and cannot, for the
heart's blood of me, learn so fast the court way of speaking of you
gentlemen horses; I mean, don't you stallionize it sometimes here among
your mettled fillies? Tush, whispered the horse, speak lower; for, by
Bucephalus, if the grooms but hear thee they will maul and belam thee
thrice and threefold, so that thou wilt have but little stomach to a
leaping bout. Cod so, man, we dare not so much as grow stiff at the tip of
the lowermost snout, though it were but to leak or so, for fear of being
jerked and paid out of our lechery. As for anything else, we are as happy
as our master, and perhaps more. By this packsaddle, my old acquaintance,
quoth the ass, I have done with you; a fart for thy litter and hay, and a
fart for thy oats; give me the thistles of our fields, since there we leap
when we list. Eat less, and leap more, I say; it is meat, drink, and cloth
to us. Ah! friend Grandpaw, it would do thy heart good to see us at a
fair, when we hold our provincial chapter! Oh! how we leap it, while our
mistresses are selling their goslings and other poultry! With this they
parted. Dixi; I have done.
Panurge then held his peace. Pantagruel would have had him to have gone on
to the end of the chapter; but Aedituus said, A word to the wise is enough;
I can pick out the meaning of that fable, and know who is that ass, and who
the horse; but you are a bashful youth, I perceive. Well, know that
there's nothing for you here; scatter no words. Yet, returned Panurge, I
saw but even now a pretty kind of a cooing abbess-kite as white as a dove,
and her I had rather ride than lead. May I never stir if she is not a
dainty bit, and very well worth a sin or two. Heaven forgive me! I meant
no more harm in it than you; may the harm I meant in it befall me
How with much ado we got a sight of the pope-hawk.
Our junketting and banqueting held on at the same rate the third day as the
two former. Pantagruel then earnestly desired to see the pope-hawk; but
Aedituus told him it was not such an easy matter to get a sight of him.
How, asked Pantagruel, has he Plato's helmet on his crown, Gyges's ring on
his pounces, or a chameleon on his breast, to make him invisible when he
pleases? No, sir, returned Aedituus; but he is naturally of pretty
difficult access. However, I'll see and take care that you may see him, if
possible. With this he left us piddling; then within a quarter of an hour
came back, and told us the pope-hawk is now to be seen. So he led us,
without the least noise, directly to the cage wherein he sat drooping, with
his feathers staring about him, attended by a brace of little cardin-hawks
and six lusty fusty bish-hawks.
Panurge stared at him like a dead pig, examining exactly his figure, size,
and motions. Then with a loud voice he said, A curse light on the hatcher
of the ill bird; o' my word, this is a filthy whoop-hooper. Tush, speak
softly, said Aedituus; by G--, he has a pair of ears, as formerly Michael
de Matiscones remarked. What then? returned Panurge; so hath a whoopcat.
So, said Aedituus; if he but hear you speak such another blasphemous word,
you had as good be damned. Do you see that basin yonder in his cage? Out
of it shall sally thunderbolts and lightnings, storms, bulls, and the devil
and all, that will sink you down to Peg Trantum's, an hundred fathom under
ground. It were better to drink and be merry, quoth Friar John.
Panurge was still feeding his eyes with the sight of the pope-hawk and his
attendants, when somewhere under his cage he perceived a madge-howlet.
With this he cried out, By the devil's maker, master, there's roguery in
the case; they put tricks upon travellers here more than anywhere else, and
would make us believe that a t--d's a sugarloaf. What damned cozening,
gulling, and coney-catching have we here! Do you see this madge-howlet?
By Minerva, we are all beshit. Odsoons, said Aedituus, speak softly, I
tell you. It is no madge-howlet, no she-thing on my honest word; but a
male, and a noble bird.
May we not hear the pope-hawk sing? asked Pantagruel. I dare not promise
that, returned Aedituus; for he only sings and eats at his own hours. So
don't I, quoth Panurge; poor pilgarlic is fain to make everybody's time his
own; if they have time, I find time. Come, then, let us go drink, if you
will. Now this is something like a tansy, said Aedituus; you begin to talk
somewhat like; still speak in that fashion, and I'll secure you from being
thought a heretic. Come on, I am of your mind.
As we went back to have t'other fuddling bout, we spied an old green-headed
bish-hawk, who sat moping with his mate and three jolly bittern attendants,
all snoring under an arbour. Near the old cuff stood a buxom abbess-kite
that sung like any linnet; and we were so mightily tickled with her singing
that I vow and swear we could have wished all our members but one turned
into ears, to have had more of the melody. Quoth Panurge, This pretty
cherubim of cherubims is here breaking her head with chanting to this huge,
fat, ugly face, who lies grunting all the while like a hog as he is. I
will make him change his note presently, in the devil's name. With this he
rang a bell that hung over the bish-hawk's head; but though he rang and
rang again, the devil a bit bish-hawk would hear; the louder the sound, the
louder his snoring. There was no making him sing. By G--, quoth Panurge,
you old buzzard, if you won't sing by fair means, you shall by foul.
Having said this, he took up one of St. Stephen's loaves, alias a stone,
and was going to hit him with it about the middle. But Aedituus cried to
him, Hold, hold, honest friend! strike, wound, poison, kill, and murder all
the kings and princes in the world, by treachery or how thou wilt, and as
soon as thou wouldst unnestle the angels from their cockloft. Pope-hawk
will pardon thee all this. But never be so mad as to meddle with these
sacred birds, as much as thou lovest the profit, welfare, and life not only
of thyself, and thy friends and relations alive or dead, but also of those
that may be born hereafter to the thousandth generation; for so long thou
wouldst entail misery upon them. Do but look upon that basin. Catso! let
us rather drink, then, quoth Panurge. He that spoke last, spoke well, Mr.
Antitus, quoth Friar John; while we are looking on these devilish birds we
do nothing but blaspheme; and while we are taking a cup we do nothing but
praise God. Come on, then, let's go drink; how well that word sounds!
The third day (after we had drank, as you must understand) Aedituus
dismissed us. We made him a present of a pretty little Perguois knife,
which he took more kindly than Artaxerxes did the cup of cold water that
was given him by a clown. He most courteously thanked us, and sent all
sorts of provisions aboard our ships, wished us a prosperous voyage and
success in our undertakings, and made us promise and swear by Jupiter of
stone to come back by his territories. Finally he said to us, Friends,
pray note that there are many more stones in the world than men; take care
you don't forget it.
How we arrived at the island of Tools.
Having well ballasted the holds of our human vessels, we weighed anchor,
hoised up sail, stowed the boats, set the land, and stood for the offing
with a fair loom gale, and for more haste unpareled the mizen-yard, and
launched it and the sail over the lee-quarter, and fitted gyves to keep it
steady, and boomed it out; so in three days we made the island of Tools,
that is altogether uninhabited. We saw there a great number of trees which
bore mattocks, pickaxes, crows, weeding-hooks, scythes, sickles, spades,
trowels, hatchets, hedging-bills, saws, adzes, bills, axes, shears,
pincers, bolts, piercers, augers, and wimbles.
Others bore dags, daggers, poniards, bayonets, square-bladed tucks,
stilettoes, poniardoes, skeans, penknives, puncheons, bodkins, swords,
rapiers, back-swords, cutlasses, scimitars, hangers, falchions, glaives,
raillons, whittles, and whinyards.
Whoever would have any of these needed but to shake the tree, and
immediately they dropped down as thick as hops, like so many ripe plums;
nay, what's more, they fell on a kind of grass called scabbard, and
sheathed themselves in it cleverly. But when they came down, there was
need of taking care lest they happened to touch the head, feet, or other
parts of the body. For they fell with the point downwards, and in they
stuck, or slit the continuum of some member, or lopped it off like a twig;
either of which generally was enough to have killed a man, though he were a
hundred years old, and worth as many thousand spankers, spur-royals, and
Under some other trees, whose names I cannot justly tell you, I saw some
certain sorts of weeds that grew and sprouted like pikes, lances, javelins,
javelots, darts, dartlets, halberds, boar-spears, eel-spears, partizans,
tridents, prongs, trout-staves, spears, half-pikes, and hunting-staves. As
they sprouted up and chanced to touch the tree, straight they met with
their heads, points, and blades, each suitable to its kind, made ready for
them by the trees over them, as soon as every individual wood was grown up,
fit for its steel; even like the children's coats, that are made for them
as soon as they can wear them and you wean them of their swaddling clothes.
Nor do you mutter, I pray you, at what Plato, Anaxagoras, and Democritus
have said. Ods-fish! they were none of your lower-form gimcracks, were
Those trees seemed to us terrestrial animals, in no wise so different from
brute beasts as not to have skin, fat, flesh, veins, arteries, ligaments,
nerves, cartilages, kernels, bones, marrow, humours, matrices, brains, and
articulations; for they certainly have some, since Theophrastus will have
it so. But in this point they differed from other animals, that their
heads, that is, the part of their trunks next to the root, are downwards;
their hair, that is, their roots, in the earth; and their feet, that is,
their branches, upside down; as if a man should stand on his head with
outstretched legs. And as you, battered sinners, on whom Venus has
bestowed something to remember her, feel the approach of rains, winds,
cold, and every change of weather, at your ischiatic legs and your
omoplates, by means of the perpetual almanack which she has fixed there; so
these trees have notice given them, by certain sensations which they have
at their roots, stocks, gums, paps, or marrow, of the growth of the staves
under them, and accordingly they prepare suitable points and blades for
them beforehand. Yet as all things, except God, are sometimes subject to
error, nature itself not free from it when it produceth monstrous things,
likewise I observed something amiss in these trees. For a half-pike that
grew up high enough to reach the branches of one of these instrumentiferous
trees, happened no sooner to touch them but, instead of being joined to an
iron head, it impaled a stubbed broom at the fundament. Well, no matter,
'twill serve to sweep the chimney. Thus a partizan met with a pair of
garden shears. Come, all's good for something; 'twill serve to nip off
little twigs and destroy caterpillars. The staff of a halberd got the
blade of a scythe, which made it look like a hermaphrodite.
Happy-be-lucky, 'tis all a case; 'twill serve for some mower. Oh, 'tis a
great blessing to put our trust in the Lord! As we went back to our ships I
spied behind I don't know what bush, I don't know what folks, doing I don't
know what business, in I don't know what posture, scouring I don't know what
tools, in I don't know what manner, and I don't know what place.
How Pantagruel arrived at the island of Sharping.
We left the island of Tools to pursue our voyage, and the next day stood in
for the island of Sharping, the true image of Fontainebleau, for the land
is so very lean that the bones, that is, the rocks, shoot through its skin.
Besides, 'tis sandy, barren, unhealthy, and unpleasant. Our pilot showed
us there two little square rocks which had eight equal points in the shape
of a cube. They were so white that I might have mistaken them for
alabaster or snow, had he not assured us they were made of bone.
He told us that twenty chance devils very much feared in our country dwelt
there in six different storeys, and that the biggest twins or braces of
them were called sixes, and the smallest ambs-ace; the rest cinques,
quatres, treys, and deuces. When they were conjured up, otherwise coupled,
they were called either sice cinque, sice quatre, sice trey, sice deuce,
and sice ace; or cinque quatre, cinque trey, and so forth. I made there a
shrewd observation. Would you know what 'tis, gamesters? 'Tis that there
are very few of you in the world but what call upon and invoke the devils.
For the dice are no sooner thrown on the board, and the greedy gazing
sparks have hardly said, Two sixes, Frank; but Six devils damn it! cry as
many of them. If ambs-ace; then, A brace of devils broil me! will they
say. Quatre-deuce, Tom; The deuce take it! cries another. And so on to
the end of the chapter. Nay, they don't forget sometimes to call the black
cloven-footed gentlemen by their Christian names and surnames; and what is
stranger yet, they use them as their greatest cronies, and make them so
often the executors of their wills, not only giving themselves, but
everybody and everything, to the devil, that there's no doubt but he takes
care to seize, soon or late, what's so zealously bequeathed him. Indeed,
'tis true Lucifer does not always immediately appear by his lawful
attorneys; but, alas! 'tis not for want of goodwill; he is really to be
excused for his delay; for what the devil would you have a devil do? He
and his black guards are then at some other places, according to the
priority of the persons that call on them; therefore, pray let none be so
venturesome as to think that the devils are deaf and blind.
He then told us that more wrecks had happened about those square rocks, and
a greater loss of body and goods, than about all the Syrtes, Scyllas and
Charybdes, Sirens, Strophades, and gulfs in the universe. I had not much
ado to believe it, remembering that formerly, among the wise Egyptians,
Neptune was described in hieroglyphics for the first cube, Apollo by an
ace, Diana by a deuce, Minerva by seven, and so forth.
He also told us that there was a phial of sanc-greal, a most divine thing,
and known to a few. Panurge did so sweeten up the syndics of the place
that they blessed us with the sight of 't; but it was with three times more
pother and ado, with more formalities and antic tricks, than they show the
pandects of Justinian at Florence, or the holy Veronica at Rome. I never
saw such a sight of flambeaux, torches, and hagios, sanctified tapers,
rush-lights, and farthing candles in my whole life. After all, that which
was shown us was only the ill-faced countenance of a roasted coney.
All that we saw there worth speaking of was a good face set upon an ill
game, and the shells of the two eggs formerly laid up and hatched by Leda,
out of which came Castor and Pollux, fair Helen's brothers. These same
syndics sold us a piece of 'em for a song, I mean, for a morsel of bread.
Before we went we bought a parcel of hats and caps of the manufacture of
the place, which, I fear, will turn to no very good account; nor are those
who shall take 'em off our hands more likely to commend their wearing.
How we passed through the wicket inhabited by Gripe-men-all, Archduke of
the Furred Law-cats.
From thence Condemnation was passed by us. 'Tis another damned barren
island, whereat none for the world cared to touch. Then we went through
the wicket; but Pantagruel had no mind to bear us company, and 'twas well
he did not, for we were nabbed there, and clapped into lob's-pound by order
of Gripe-men-all, Archduke of the Furred Law-cats, because one of our
company would ha' put upon a sergeant some hats of the Sharping Island.
The Furred Law-cats are most terrible and dreadful monsters, they devour
little children, and trample over marble stones. Pray tell me, noble
topers, do they not deserve to have their snouts slit? The hair of their
hides doesn't lie outward, but inwards, and every mother's son of 'em for
his device wears a gaping pouch, but not all in the same manner; for some
wear it tied to their neck scarfwise, others upon the breech, some on the
paunch, others on the side, and all for a cause, with reason and mystery.
They have claws so very strong, long, and sharp that nothing can get from
'em that is once fast between their clutches. Sometimes they cover their
heads with mortar-like caps, at other times with mortified caparisons.
As we entered their den, said a common mumper, to whom we had given half a
teston, Worshipful culprits, God send you a good deliverance! Examine
well, said he, the countenance of these stout props and pillars of this
catch-coin law and iniquity; and pray observe, that if you still live but
six olympiads, and the age of two dogs more, you'll see these Furred
Law-cats lords of all Europe, and in peaceful possession of all the estates
and dominions belonging to it; unless, by divine providence, what's got over
the devil's back is spent under his belly, or the goods which they unjustly
get perish with their prodigal heirs. Take this from an honest beggar.
Among 'em reigns the sixth essence; by the means of which they gripe all,
devour all, conskite all, burn all, draw all, hang all, quarter all, behead
all, murder all, imprison all, waste all, and ruin all, without the least
notice of right or wrong; for among them vice is called virtue; wickedness,
piety; treason, loyalty; robbery, justice. Plunder is their motto, and
when acted by them is approved by all men, except the heretics; and all
this they do because they dare; their authority is sovereign and
irrefragable. For a sign of the truth of what I tell you, you'll find that
there the mangers are above the racks. Remember hereafter that a fool told
you this; and if ever plague, famine, war, fire, earthquakes, inundations,
or other judgments befall the world, do not attribute 'em to the aspects
and conjunctions of the malevolent planets; to the abuses of the court of
Romania, or the tyranny of secular kings and princes; to the impostures of
the false zealots of the cowl, heretical bigots, false prophets, and
broachers of sects; to the villainy of griping usurers, clippers, and
coiners; or to the ignorance, impudence, and imprudence of physicians,
surgeons, and apothecaries; nor to the lewdness of adulteresses and
destroyers of by-blows; but charge them all, wholly and solely, to the
inexpressible, incredible, and inestimable wickedness and ruin which is
continually hatched, brewed, and practised in the den or shop of those
Furred Law-cats. Yet 'tis no more known in the world than the cabala of
the Jews, the more's the pity; and therefore 'tis not detested, chastised,
and punished as 'tis fit it should be. But should all their villainy be
once displayed in its true colours and exposed to the people, there never
was, is, nor will be any spokesman so sweet-mouthed, whose fine colloguing
tongue could save 'em; nor any law so rigorous and draconic that could
punish 'em as they deserve; nor yet any magistrate so powerful as to hinder
their being burnt alive in their coneyburrows without mercy. Even their
own furred kittlings, friends, and relations would abominate 'em.
For this reason, as Hannibal was solemnly sworn by his father Amilcar to
pursue the Romans with the utmost hatred as long as ever he lived, so my
late father has enjoined me to remain here without, till God Almighty's
thunder reduce them there within to ashes, like other presumptuous Titans,
profane wretches, and opposers of God; since mankind is so inured to their
oppressions that they either do not remember, foresee, or have a sense of
the woes and miseries which they have caused; or, if they have, either will
not, dare not, or cannot root 'em out.
How, said Panurge, say you so? Catch me there and hang me! Damme, let's
march off! This noble beggar has scared me worse than thunder in autumn
(Motteux gives 'than the thunder would do them.'). Upon this we were
filing off; but, alas! we found ourselves trapped--the door was
double-locked and barricadoed. Some messengers of ill news told us it was
full as easy to get in there as into hell, and no less hard to get out. Ay,
there indeed lay the difficulty, for there is no getting loose without a
pass and discharge in due course from the bench. This for no other reason
than because folks go easier out of a church than out of a sponging-house,
and because they could not have our company when they would. The worst on't
was when we got through the wicket; for we were carried, to get out our pass
or discharge, before a more dreadful monster than ever was read of in the
legends of knight-errantry. They called him Gripe-men-all. I can't tell
what to compare it to better than to a Chimaera, a Sphinx, a Cerberus; or to
the image of Osiris, as the Egyptians represented him, with three heads, one
of a roaring lion, t'other of a fawning cur, and the last of a howling,
prowling wolf, twisted about with a dragon biting his tail, surrounded with
fiery rays. His hands were full of gore, his talons like those of the
harpies, his snout like a hawk's bill, his fangs or tusks like those of an
overgrown brindled wild boar; his eyes were flaming like the jaws of hell,
all covered with mortars interlaced with pestles, and nothing of his arms
was to be seen but his clutches. His hutch, and that of the warren-cats his
collaterals, was a long, spick-and-span new rack, a-top of which (as the
mumper told us) some large stately mangers were fixed in the reverse. Over
the chief seat was the picture of an old woman holding the case or scabbard
of a sickle in her right hand, a pair of scales in her left, with spectacles
on her nose; the cups or scales of the balance were a pair of velvet
pouches, the one full of bullion, which overpoised t'other, empty and long,
hoisted higher than the middle of the beam. I'm of opinion it was the true
effigies of Justice Gripe-men-all; far different from the institution of the
ancient Thebans, who set up the statues of their dicasts without hands, in
marble, silver, or gold, according to their merit, even after their death.
When we made our personal appearance before him, a sort of I don't know
what men, all clothed with I don't know what bags and pouches, with long
scrolls in their clutches, made us sit down upon a cricket (such as
criminals sit on when tried in France). Quoth Panurge to 'em, Good my
lords, I'm very well as I am; I'd as lief stand, an't please you. Besides,
this same stool is somewhat of the lowest for a man that has new breeches
and a short doublet. Sit you down, said Gripe-men-all again, and look that
you don't make the court bid you twice. Now, continued he, the earth shall
immediately open its jaws and swallow you up to quick damnation if you
don't answer as you should.
How Gripe-men-all propounded a riddle to us.
When we were sat, Gripe-men-all, in the middle of his furred cats, called
to us in a hoarse dreadful voice, Well, come on, give me presently--an
answer. Well, come on, muttered Panurge between his teeth, give, give me
presently--a comforting dram. Hearken to the court, continued
A young tight thing, as fair as may be,
Without a dad conceived a baby,
And brought him forth without the pother
In labour made by teeming mother.
Yet the cursed brat feared not to gripe her,
But gnawed, for haste, her sides like viper.
Then the black upstart boldly sallies,
And walks and flies o'er hills and valleys.
Many fantastic sons of wisdom,
Amazed, foresaw their own in his doom;
And thought like an old Grecian noddy,
A human spirit moved his body.
Give, give me out of hand--an answer to this riddle, quoth Gripe-men-all.
Give, give me--leave to tell you, good, good my lord, answered Panurge,
that if I had but a sphinx at home, as Verres one of your precursors had, I
might then solve your enigma presently. But verily, good my lord, I was
not there; and, as I hope to be saved, am as innocent in the matter as the
child unborn. Foh, give me--a better answer, cried Gripe-men-all; or, by
gold, this shall not serve your turn. I'll not be paid in such coin; if
you have nothing better to offer, I'll let your rascalship know that it had
been better for you to have fallen into Lucifer's own clutches than into
ours. Dost thou see 'em here, sirrah? hah? and dost thou prate here of thy
being innocent, as if thou couldst be delivered from our racks and tortures
for being so? Give me--Patience! thou widgeon. Our laws are like cobwebs;
your silly little flies are stopped, caught, and destroyed therein, but
your stronger ones break them, and force and carry them which way they
please. Likewise, don't think we are so mad as to set up our nets to snap
up your great robbers and tyrants. No, they are somewhat too hard for us,
there's no meddling with them; for they would make no more of us than we
make of the little ones. But you paltry, silly, innocent wretches must
make us amends; and, by gold, we will innocentize your fopship with a
wannion, you never were so innocentized in your days; the devil shall sing
mass among ye.
Friar John, hearing him run on at that mad rate, had no longer the power to
remain silent, but cried to him, Heigh-day! Prithee, Mr. Devil in a coif,
wouldst thou have a man tell thee more than he knows? Hasn't the fellow
told you he does not know a word of the business? His name is Twyford.
A plague rot you! won't truth serve your turns? Why, how now,
Mr. Prate-apace, cried Gripe-men-all, taking him short, marry come up, who
made you so saucy as to open your lips before you were spoken to? Give me
--Patience! By gold! this is the first time since I have reigned that
anyone has had the impudence to speak before he was bidden. How came this
mad fellow to break loose? (Villain, thou liest, said Friar John, without
stirring his lips.) Sirrah, sirrah, continued Gripe-men-all, I doubt thou
wilt have business enough on thy hands when it comes to thy turn to answer.
(Damme, thou liest, said Friar John, silently.) Dost thou think, continued
my lord, thou art in the wilderness of your foolish university, wrangling
and bawling among the idle, wandering searchers and hunters after truth? By
gold, we have here other fish to fry; we go another gate's-way to work, that
we do. By gold, people here must give categorical answers to what they
don't know. By gold, they must confess they have done those things which
they have not nor ought to have done. By gold, they must protest that they
know what they never knew in their lives; and, after all, patience perforce
must be their only remedy, as well as a mad dog's. Here silly geese are
plucked, yet cackle not. Sirrah, give me--an account whether you had a
letter of attorney, or whether you were feed or no, that you offered to bawl
in another man's cause? I see you had no authority to speak, and I may
chance to have you wed to something you won't like. Oh, you devils, cried
Friar John, proto-devils, panto-devils, you would wed a monk, would you? Ho
hu! ho hu! A heretic! a heretic! I'll give thee out for a rank heretic.
How Panurge solved Gripe-men-all's riddle.
Gripe-men-all, as if he had not heard what Friar John said, directed his
discourse to Panurge, saying to him, Well, what have you to say for
yourself, Mr. Rogue-enough, hah? Give, give me out of hand--an answer.
Say? quoth Panurge; why, what would you have me say? I say that we are
damnably beshit, since you give no heed at all to the equity of the plea,
and the devil sings among you. Let this answer serve for all, I beseech
you, and let us go out about our business; I am no longer able to hold out,
as gad shall judge me.
Go to, go to, cried Gripe-men-all; when did you ever hear that for these
three hundred years last past anybody ever got out of this weel without
leaving something of his behind him? No, no, get out of the trap if you
can without losing leather, life, or at least some hair, and you will have
done more than ever was done yet. For why, this would bring the wisdom of
the court into question, as if we had took you up for nothing, and dealt
wrongfully by you. Well, by hook or by crook, we must have something out
of you. Look ye, it is a folly to make a rout for a fart and ado; one word
is as good as twenty. I have no more to say to thee, but that, as thou
likest thy former entertainment, thou wilt tell me more of the next; for it
will go ten times worse with thee unless, by gold, you give me--a solution
to the riddle I propounded. Give, give--it, without any more ado.
By gold, quoth Panurge, 'tis a black mite or weevil which is born of a
white bean, and sallies out at the hole which he makes gnawing it; the mite
being turned into a kind of fly, sometimes walks and sometimes flies over
hills and dales. Now Pythagoras, the philosopher, and his sect, besides
many others, wondering at its birth in such a place (which makes some argue
for equivocal generation), thought that by a metempsychosis the body of
that insect was the lodging of a human soul. Now, were you men here, after
your welcomed death, according to his opinion, your souls would most
certainly enter into the body of mites or weevils; for in your present
state of life you are good for nothing in the world but to gnaw, bite, eat,
and devour all things, so in the next you'll e'en gnaw and devour your
mother's very sides, as the vipers do. Now, by gold, I think I have fairly
solved and resolved your riddle.
May my bauble be turned into a nutcracker, quoth Friar John, if I could not
almost find in my heart to wish that what comes out at my bunghole were
beans, that these evil weevils might feed as they deserve.
Panurge then, without any more ado, threw a large leathern purse stuffed
with gold crowns (ecus au soleil) among them.
The Furred Law-cats no sooner heard the jingling of the chink but they all
began to bestir their claws, like a parcel of fiddlers running a division;
and then fell to't, squimble, squamble, catch that catch can. They all
said aloud, These are the fees, these are the gloves; now, this is somewhat
like a tansy. Oh! 'twas a pretty trial, a sweet trial, a dainty trial. O'
my word, they did not starve the cause. These are none of your snivelling
forma pauperis's; no, they are noble clients, gentlemen every inch of them.
By gold, it is gold, quoth Panurge, good old gold, I'll assure you.
Saith Gripe-men-all, The court, upon a full hearing (of the gold, quoth
Panurge), and weighty reasons given, finds the prisoners not guilty, and
accordingly orders them to be discharged out of custody, paying their fees.
Now, gentlemen, proceed, go forwards, said he to us; we have not so much of
the devil in us as we have of his hue; though we are stout, we are
As we came out at the wicket, we were conducted to the port by a detachment
of certain highland griffins, scribere cum dashoes, who advised us before
we came to our ships not to offer to leave the place until we had made the
usual presents, first to the Lady Gripe-men-all, then to all the Furred
Law-pusses; otherwise we must return to the place from whence we came.
Well, well, said Friar John, we'll fumble in our fobs, examine every one of
us his concern, and e'en give the women their due; we'll ne'er boggle or
stick out on that account; as we tickled the men in the palm, we'll tickle
the women in the right place. Pray, gentlemen, added they, don't forget to
leave somewhat behind you for us poor devils to drink your healths. O
lawd! never fear, answered Friar John, I don't remember that I ever went
anywhere yet where the poor devils are not remembered and encouraged.
How the Furred Law-cats live on corruption.
Friar John had hardly said those words ere he perceived seventy-eight
galleys and frigates just arriving at the port. So he hied him thither to
learn some news; and as he asked what goods they had o' board, he soon
found that their whole cargo was venison, hares, capons, turkeys, pigs,
swine, bacon, kids, calves, hens, ducks, teals, geese, and other poultry
He also spied among these some pieces of velvet, satin, and damask. This
made him ask the new-comers whither and to whom they were going to carry
those dainty goods. They answered that they were for Gripe-men-all and the
Pray, asked he, what is the true name of all these things in your country
language? Corruption, they replied. If they live on corruption, said the
friar, they will perish with their generation. May the devil be damned, I
have it now: their fathers devoured the good gentlemen who, according to
their state of life, used to go much a-hunting and hawking, to be the
better inured to toil in time of war; for hunting is an image of a martial
life, and Xenophon was much in the right of it when he affirmed that
hunting had yielded a great number of excellent warriors, as well as the
Trojan horse. For my part, I am no scholar; I have it but by hearsay, yet
I believe it. Now the souls of those brave fellows, according to
Gripe-men-all's riddle, after their decease enter into wild boars, stags,
roebucks, herns, and such other creatures which they loved, and in quest of
which they went while they were men; and these Furred Law-cats, having
first destroyed and devoured their castles, lands, demesnes, possessions,
rents, and revenues, are still seeking to have their blood and soul in
another life. What an honest fellow was that same mumper who had
forewarned us of all these things, and bid us take notice of the mangers
above the racks!
But, said Panurge to the new-comers, how do you come by all this venison?
Methinks the great king has issued out a proclamation strictly inhibiting
the destroying of stags, does, wild boars, roebucks, or other royal game,
on pain of death. All this is true enough, answered one for the rest, but
the great king is so good and gracious, you must know, and these Furred
Law-cats so curst and cruel, so mad, and thirsting after Christian blood,
that we have less cause to fear in trespassing against that mighty
sovereign's commands than reason to hope to live if we do not continually
stop the mouths of these Furred Law-cats with such bribes and corruption.
Besides, added he, to-morrow Gripe-men-all marries a furred law-puss of his
to a high and mighty double-furred law-tybert. Formerly we used to call
them chop-hay; but alas! they are not such neat creatures now as to eat
any, or chew the cud. We call them chop-hares, chop-partridges,
chop-woodcocks, chop-pheasants, chop-pullets, chop-venison, chop-coneys,
chop-pigs, for they scorn to feed on coarser meat. A t--d for their chops,
cried Friar John, next year we'll have 'em called chop-dung, chop-stront,
Would you take my advice? added he to the company. What is it? answered
we. Let's do two things, returned he. First, let us secure all this
venison and wild fowl--I mean, paying well for them; for my part, I am but
too much tired already with our salt meat, it heats my flanks so horribly.
In the next place, let's go back to the wicket, and destroy all these
devilish Furred Law-cats. For my part, quoth Panurge, I know better
things; catch me there, and hang me. No, I am somewhat more inclined to be
fearful than bold; I love to sleep in a whole skin.
How Friar John talks of rooting out the Furred Law-cats.
Virtue of the frock, quoth Friar John, what kind of voyage are we making?
A shitten one, o' my word; the devil of anything we do but fizzling,
farting, funking, squattering, dozing, raving, and doing nothing.
Ods-belly, 'tisn't in my nature to lie idle; I mortally hate it. Unless I
am doing some heroic feat every foot, I can't sleep one wink o' nights.
Damn it, did you then take me along with you for your chaplain, to sing mass
and shrive you? By Maundy Thursday, the first of ye all that comes to me on
such an account shall be fitted; for the only penance I'll enjoin shall be,
that he immediately throw himself headlong overboard into the sea like a
base cowhearted son of ten fathers. This in deduction of the pains of
What made Hercules such a famous fellow, d'ye think? Nothing but that
while he travelled he still made it his business to rid the world of
tyrannies, errors, dangers, and drudgeries; he still put to death all
robbers, all monsters, all venomous serpents and hurtful creatures. Why
then do we not follow his example, doing as he did in the countries through
which we pass? He destroyed the Stymphalides, the Lernaean hydra, Cacus,
Antheus, the Centaurs, and what not; I am no clericus, those that are such
tell me so.
In imitation of that noble by-blow, let's destroy and root out these wicked
Furred Law-cats, that are a kind of ravenous devils; thus we shall remove
all manner of tyranny out of the land. Mawmet's tutor swallow me body and
soul, tripes and guts, if I would stay to ask your help or advice in the
matter were I but as strong as he was. Come, he that would be thought a
gentleman, let him storm a town; well, then, shall we go? I dare swear
we'll do their business for them with a wet finger; they'll bear it, never
fear; since they could swallow down more foul language that came from us
than ten sows and their babies could swill hogwash. Damn 'em, they don't
value all the ill words or dishonour in the world at a rush, so they but
get the coin into their purses, though they were to have it in a shitten
clout. Come, we may chance to kill 'em all, as Hercules would have done
had they lived in his time. We only want to be set to work by another
Eurystheus, and nothing else for the present, unless it be what I heartily
wish them, that Jupiter may give 'em a short visit, only some two or three
hours long, and walk among their lordships in the same equipage that
attended him when he came last to his Miss Semele, jolly Bacchus's mother.
'Tis a very great mercy, quoth Panurge, that you have got out of their
clutches. For my part, I have no stomach to go there again; I'm hardly
come to myself yet, so scared and appalled I was. My hair still stands up
an end when I think on't; and most damnably troubled I was there, for three
very weighty reasons. First, because I was troubled. Secondly, because I
was troubled. Thirdly and lastly, because I was troubled. Hearken to me a
little on thy right side, Friar John, my left cod, since thou'lt not hear
at the other. Whenever the maggot bites thee to take a trip down to hell
and visit the tribunal of Minos, Aeacus, Rhadamanthus, (and Dis,) do but
tell me, and I'll be sure to bear thee company, and never leave thee as
long as my name's Panurge, but will wade over Acheron, Styx, and Cocytus,
drink whole bumpers of Lethe's water--though I mortally hate that element
--and even pay thy passage to that bawling, cross-grained ferryman, Charon.
But as for the damned wicket, if thou art so weary of thy life as to go
thither again, thou mayst e'en look for somebody else to bear thee company,
for I'll not move one step that way; e'en rest satisfied with this positive
answer. By my good will I'll not stir a foot to go thither as long as I
live, any more than Calpe will come over to Abyla (Here Motteux adds the
following note: 'Calpe is a mountain in Spain that faces another, called
Abyla, in Mauritania, both said to have been severed by Hercules.'). Was
Ulysses so mad as to go back into the Cyclop's cave to fetch his sword?
No, marry was he not. Now I have left nothing behind me at the wicket
through forgetfulness; why then should I think of going thither?
Well, quoth Friar John, as good sit still as rise up and fall; what cannot
be cured must be endured. But, prithee, let's hear one another speak.
Come, wert thou not a wise doctor to fling away a whole purse of gold on
those mangy scoundrels? Ha! A squinsy choke thee! we were too rich, were
we? Had it not been enough to have thrown the hell-hounds a few cropped
pieces of white cash?
How could I help it? returned Panurge. Did you not see how Gripe-men-all
held his gaping velvet pouch, and every moment roared and bellowed, By
gold, give me out of hand; by gold, give, give, give me presently? Now,
thought I to myself, we shall never come off scot-free. I'll e'en stop
their mouths with gold, that the wicket may be opened, and we may get out;
the sooner the better. And I judged that lousy silver would not do the
business; for, d'ye see, velvet pouches do not use to gape for little
paltry clipt silver and small cash; no, they are made for gold, my friend
John; that they are, my dainty cod. Ah! when thou hast been larded,
basted, and roasted, as I was, thou wilt hardly talk at this rate, I doubt.
But now what is to be done? We are enjoined by them to go forwards.
The scabby slabberdegullions still waited for us at the port, expecting to
be greased in the fist as well as their masters. Now when they perceived
that we were ready to put to sea, they came to Friar John and begged that
we would not forget to gratify the apparitors before we went off, according
to the assessment for the fees at our discharge. Hell and damnation! cried
Friar John; are ye here still, ye bloodhounds, ye citing, scribbling imps
of Satan? Rot you, am I not vexed enough already, but you must have the
impudence to come and plague me, ye scurvy fly-catchers you? By
cob's-body, I'll gratify your ruffianships as you deserve; I'll apparitorize
you presently with a wannion, that I will. With this, he lugged out his
slashing cutlass, and in a mighty heat came out of the ship to cut the
cozening varlets into steaks, but they scampered away and got out of sight
in a trice.
However, there was somewhat more to do, for some of our sailors, having got
leave of Pantagruel to go ashore while we were had before Gripe-men-all,
had been at a tavern near the haven to make much of themselves, and roar
it, as seamen will do when they come into some port. Now I don't know
whether they had paid their reckoning to the full or no, but, however it
was, an old fat hostess, meeting Friar John on the quay, was making a
woeful complaint before a sergeant, son-in-law to one of the furred
law-cats, and a brace of bums, his assistants.
The friar, who did not much care to be tired with their impertinent
prating, said to them, Harkee me, ye lubberly gnat-snappers! do ye presume
to say that our seamen are not honest men? I'll maintain they are, ye
dotterels, and will prove it to your brazen faces, by justice--I mean, this
trusty piece of cold iron by my side. With this he lugged it out and
flourished with it. The forlorn lobcocks soon showed him their backs,
betaking themselves to their heels; but the old fusty landlady kept her
ground, swearing like any butter-whore that the tarpaulins were very honest
cods, but that they only forgot to pay for the bed on which they had lain
after dinner, and she asked fivepence, French money, for the said bed. May
I never sup, said the friar, if it be not dog-cheap; they are sorry guests
and unkind customers, that they are; they do not know when they have a
pennyworth, and will not always meet with such bargains. Come, I myself
will pay you the money, but I would willingly see it first.
The hostess immediately took him home with her, and showed him the bed, and
having praised it for all its good qualifications, said that she thought as
times went she was not out of the way in asking fivepence for it. Friar
John then gave her the fivepence; and she no sooner turned her back but he
presently began to rip up the ticking of the feather-bed and bolster, and
threw all the feathers out at the window. In the meantime the old hag came
down and roared out for help, crying out murder to set all the
neighbourhood in an uproar. Yet she also fell to gathering the feathers
that flew up and down in the air, being scattered by the wind. Friar John
let her bawl on, and, without any further ado, marched off with the
blanket, quilt, and both the sheets, which he brought aboard undiscovered,
for the air was darkened with the feathers, as it uses sometimes to be with
snow. He gave them away to the sailors; then said to Pantagruel that beds
were much cheaper at that place than in Chinnonois, though we have there
the famous geese of Pautile; for the old beldam had asked him but fivepence
for a bed which in Chinnonois had been worth about twelve francs. (As soon
as Friar John and the rest of the company were embarked, Pantagruel set
sail. But there arose a south-east wind, which blew so vehemently they
lost their way, and in a manner going back to the country of the Furred
Law-cats, they entered into a huge gulf, where the sea ran so high and
terrible that the shipboy on the top of the mast cried out he again saw the
habitation of Gripe-men-all; upon which Panurge, frightened almost out of
his wits, roared out, Dear master, in spite of the wind and waves, change
your course, and turn the ship's head about. O my friend, let us come no
more into that cursed country where I left my purse. So the wind carried
them near an island, where however they did not dare at first to land, but
entered about a mile off. (Motteux omitted this passage altogether in the
edition of 1694. It was restored by Ozell in the edition of 1738.))
How Pantagruel came to the island of the Apedefers, or Ignoramuses, with
long claws and crooked paws, and of terrible adventures and monsters there.
As soon as we had cast anchor and had moored the ship, the pinnace was put
over the ship's side and manned by the coxswain's crew. When the good
Pantagruel had prayed publicly, and given thanks to the Lord that had
delivered him from so great a danger, he stepped into it with his whole
company to go on shore, which was no ways difficult to do, for, as the sea
was calm and the winds laid, they soon got to the cliffs. When they were
set on shore, Epistemon, who was admiring the situation of the place and
the strange shape of the rocks, discovered some of the natives. The first
he met had on a short purple gown, a doublet cut in panes, like a Spanish
leather jerkin, half sleeves of satin, and the upper part of them leather,
a coif like a black pot tipped with tin. He was a good likely sort of a
body, and his name, as we heard afterwards, was Double-fee. Epistemon
asked him how they called those strange craggy rocks and deep valleys. He
told them it was a colony brought out of Attorneyland, and called Process,
and that if we forded the river somewhat further beyond the rocks we should
come into the island of the Apedefers. By the memory of the decretals,
said Friar John, tell us, I pray you, what you honest men here live on?
Could not a man take a chirping bottle with you to taste your wine? I can
see nothing among you but parchment, ink-horns, and pens. We live on
nothing else, returned Double-fee; and all who live in this place must come
through my hands. How, quoth Panurge, are you a shaver, then? Do you
fleece 'em? Ay, ay, their purse, answered Double-fee; nothing else. By
the foot of Pharaoh, cried Panurge, the devil a sou will you get of me.
However, sweet sir, be so kind as to show an honest man the way to those
Apedefers, or ignorant people, for I come from the land of the learned,
where I did not learn over much.
Still talking on, they got to the island of the Apedefers, for they were
soon got over the ford. Pantagruel was not a little taken up with admiring
the structure and habitation of the people of the place. For they live in
a swingeing wine-press, fifty steps up to it. You must know there are some
of all sorts, little, great, private, middle-sized, and so forth. You go
through a large peristyle, alias a long entry set about with pillars, in
which you see, in a kind of landscape, the ruins of almost the whole world,
besides so many great robbers' gibbets, so many gallows and racks, that
'tis enough to fright you out of your seven senses. Double-fee perceiving
that Pantagruel was taken up with contemplating those things, Let us go
further, sir, said he to him; all this is nothing yet. Nothing, quotha,
cried Friar John; by the soul of my overheated codpiece, friend Panurge and
I here shake and quiver for mere hunger. I had rather be drinking than
staring at these ruins. Pray come along, sir, said Double-fee. He then
led us into a little wine-press that lay backwards in a blind corner, and
was called Pithies in the language of the country. You need not ask
whether Master John and Panurge made much of their sweet selves there; it
is enough that I tell you there was no want of Bolognia sausages, turkey
poots, capons, bustards, malmsey, and all other sorts of good belly-timber,
very well dressed.
A pimping son of ten fathers, who, for want of a better, did the office of
a butler, seeing that Friar John had cast a sheep's eye at a choice bottle
that stood near a cupboard by itself, at some distance from the rest of the
bottellic magazine, like a jack-in-an-office said to Pantagruel, Sir, I
perceive that one of your men here is making love to this bottle. He ogles
it, and would fain caress it; but I beg that none offer to meddle with it;
for it is reserved for their worships. How, cried Panurge, there are some
grandees here then, I see. It is vintage time with you, I perceive.
Then Double-fee led us up to a private staircase, and showed us into a
room, whence, without being seen, out at a loophole we could see their
worships in the great wine-press, where none could be admitted without
their leave. Their worships, as he called them, were about a score of
fusty crack-ropes and gallow-clappers, or rather more, all posted before a
bar, and staring at each other like so many dead pigs. Their paws were as
long as a crane's foot, and their claws four-and-twenty inches long at
least; for you must know they are enjoined never to pare off the least chip
of them, so that they grow as crooked as a Welsh hook or a hedging-bill.
We saw a swingeing bunch of grapes that are gathered and squeezed in that
country, brought in by them. As soon as it was laid down, they clapped it
into the press, and there was not a bit of it out of which each of them did
not squeeze some oil of gold; insomuch that the poor grape was tried with a
witness, and brought off so drained and picked, and so dry, that there was
not the least moisture, juice, or substance left in it; for they had
pressed out its very quintessence.
Double-fee told us they had not often such huge bunches; but, let the worst
come to the worst, they were sure never to be without others in their
press. But hark you me, master of mine, asked Panurge, have they not some
of different growth? Ay, marry have they, quoth Double-fee. Do you see
here this little bunch, to which they are going to give t'other wrench? It
is of tithe-growth, you must know; they crushed, wrung, squeezed and
strained out the very heart's blood of it but the other day; but it did not
bleed freely; the oil came hard, and smelt of the priest's chest; so that
they found there was not much good to be got out of it. Why then, said
Pantagruel, do they put it again into the press? Only, answered
Double-fee, for fear there should still lurk some juice among the husks and
hullings in the mother of the grape. The devil be damned! cried Friar
John; do you call these same folks illiterate lobcocks and duncical
doddipolls? May I be broiled like a red herring if I do not think they are
wise enough to skin a flint and draw oil out of a brick wall. So they are,
said Double-fee; for they sometimes put castles, parks, and forests into
the press, and out of them all extract aurum potabile. You mean portabile,
I suppose, cried Epistemon, such as may be borne. I mean as I said,
replied Double-fee, potabile, such as may be drunk; for it makes them drink
many a good bottle more than otherwise they should.
But I cannot better satisfy you as to the growth of the vine-tree sirup
that is here squeezed out of grapes, than in desiring you to look yonder in
that back-yard, where you will see above a thousand different growths that
lie waiting to be squeezed every moment. Here are some of the public and
some of the private growth; some of the builders' fortifications, loans,
gifts, and gratuities, escheats, forfeitures, fines, and recoveries, penal
statutes, crown lands, and demesne, privy purse, post-offices, offerings,
lordships of manors, and a world of other growths, for which we want names.
Pray, quoth Epistemon, tell me of what growth is that great one, with all
those little grapelings about it. Oh, oh! returned Double-fee, that plump
one is of the treasury, the very best growth in the whole country.
Whenever anyone of that growth is squeezed, there is not one of their
worships but gets juice enough of it to soak his nose six months together.
When their worships were up, Pantagruel desired Double-fee to take us into
that great wine-press, which he readily did. As soon as we were in,
Epistemon, who understood all sorts of tongues, began to show us many
devices on the press, which was large and fine, and made of the wood of the
cross--at least Double-fee told us so. On each part of it were names of
everything in the language of the country. The spindle of the press was
called receipt; the trough, cost and damages; the hole for the vice-pin,
state; the side-boards, money paid into the office; the great beam, respite
of homage; the branches, radietur; the side-beams, recuperetur; the fats,
ignoramus; the two-handled basket, the rolls; the treading-place,
acquittance; the dossers, validation; the panniers, authentic decrees; the
pailes, potentials; the funnels, quietus est.
By the Queen of the Chitterlings, quoth Panurge, all the hieroglyphics of
Egypt are mine a-- to this jargon. Why! here are a parcel of words full as
analogous as chalk and cheese, or a cat and a cart-wheel! But why,
prithee, dear Double-fee, do they call these worshipful dons of yours
ignorant fellows? Only, said Double-fee, because they neither are, nor
ought to be, clerks, and all must be ignorant as to what they transact
here; nor is there to be any other reason given, but, The court hath said
it; The court will have it so; The court has decreed it. Cop's body, quoth
Pantagruel, they might full as well have called 'em necessity; for
necessity has no law.
From thence, as he was leading us to see a thousand little puny presses, we
spied another paltry bar, about which sat four are five ignorant waspish
churls, of so testy, fuming a temper, (like an ass with squibs and crackers
tied to its tail,) and so ready to take pepper in the nose for yea and nay,
that a dog would not have lived with 'em. They were hard at it with the
lees and dregs of the grapes, which they gripped over and over again, might
and main, with their clenched fists. They were called contractors in the
language of the country. These are the ugliest, misshapen, grim-looking
scrubs, said Friar John, that ever were beheld, with or without spectacles.
Then we passed by an infinite number of little pimping wine-presses all
full of vintage-mongers, who were picking, examining, and raking the grapes
with some instruments called bills-of-charge.
Finally we came into a hall downstairs, where we saw an overgrown cursed
mangy cur with a pair of heads, a wolf's belly, and claws like the devil of
hell. The son of a bitch was fed with costs, for he lived on a
multiplicity of fine amonds and amerciaments by order of their worships, to
each of whom the monster was worth more than the best farm in the land. In
their tongue of ignorance they called him Twofold. His dam lay by him, and
her hair and shape was like her whelp's, only she had four heads, two male
and two female, and her name was Fourfold. She was certainly the most
cursed and dangerous creature of the place, except her grandam, which we
saw, and had been kept locked up in a dungeon time out of mind, and her
name was Refusing-of-fees.
Friar John, who had always twenty yards of gut ready empty to swallow a
gallimaufry of lawyers, began to be somewhat out of humour, and desired
Pantagruel to remember he had not dined, and bring Double-fee along with
him. So away we went, and as we marched out at the back-gate whom should
we meet but an old piece of mortality in chains. He was half ignorant and
half learned, like an hermaphrodite of Satan. The fellow was all
caparisoned with spectacles as a tortoise is with shells, and lived on
nothing but a sort of food which, in their gibberish, was called appeals.
Pantagruel asked Double-fee of what breed was that prothonotary, and what
name they gave him. Double-fee told us that time out of mind he had been
kept there in chains, to the great grief of their worships, who starved
him, and his name was Review. By the pope's sanctified two-pounders, cried
Friar John, I do not much wonder at the meagre cheer which this old chuff
finds among their worships. Do but look a little on the weather-beaten
scratch-toby, friend Panurge; by the sacred tip of my cowl, I'll lay five
pounds to a hazel-nut the foul thief has the very looks of Gripe-me-now.
These same fellows here, ignorant as they be, are as sharp and knowing as
other folk. But were it my case, I would send him packing with a squib in
his breech like a rogue as he is. By my oriental barnacles, quoth Panurge,
honest friar, thou art in the right; for if we but examine that treacherous
Review's ill-favoured phiz, we find that the filthy snudge is yet more
mischievous and ignorant than these ignorant wretches here, since they
(honest dunces) grapple and glean with as little harm and pother as they
can, without any long fiddle-cum-farts or tantalizing in the case; nor do
they dally and demur in your suit, but in two or three words, whip-stitch,
in a trice, they finish the vintage of the close, bating you all these
damned tedious interlocutories, examinations, and appointments which fret
to the heart's blood your furred law-cats.
How we went forwards, and how Panurge had like to have been killed.
We put to sea that very moment, steering our course forwards, and gave
Pantagruel a full account of our adventures, which so deeply struck him
with compassion that he wrote some elegies on that subject to divert
himself during the voyage. When we were safe in the port we took some
refreshment, and took in fresh water and wood. The people of the place,
who had the countenance of jolly fellows and boon companions, were all of
them forward folks, bloated and puffed up with fat. And we saw some who
slashed and pinked their skins to open a passage to the fat, that it might
swell out at the slits and gashes which they made; neither more nor less
than the shit-breech fellows in our country bepink and cut open their
breeches that the taffety on the inside may stand out and be puffed up.
They said that what they did was not out of pride or ostentation, but
because otherwise their skins would not hold them without much pain.
Having thus slashed their skin, they used to grow much bigger, like the
young trees on whose barks the gardeners make incisions that they may grow
Near the haven there was a tavern, which forwards seemed very fine and
stately. We repaired thither, and found it filled with people of the
forward nation, of all ages, sexes, and conditions; so that we thought some
notable feast or other was getting ready, but we were told that all that
throng were invited to the bursting of mine host, which caused all his
friends and relations to hasten thither.
We did not understand that jargon, and therefore thought in that country by
that bursting they meant some merry meeting or other, as we do in ours by
betrothing, wedding, groaning, christening, churching (of women), shearing
(of sheep), reaping (of corn, or harvest-home), and many other junketting
bouts that end in -ing. But we soon heard that there was no such matter in
The master of the house, you must know, had been a good fellow in his time,
loved heartily to wind up his bottom, to bang the pitcher, and lick his
dish. He used to be a very fair swallower of gravy soup, a notable
accountant in matter of hours, and his whole life was one continual dinner,
like mine host at Rouillac (in Perigord). But now, having farted out much
fat for ten years together, according to the custom of the country, he was
drawing towards his bursting hour; for neither the inner thin kell
wherewith the entrails are covered, nor his skin that had been jagged and
mangled so many years, were able to hold and enclose his guts any longer,
or hinder them from forcing their way out. Pray, quoth Panurge, is there
no remedy, no help for the poor man, good people? Why don't you swaddle
him round with good tight girths, or secure his natural tub with a strong
sorb-apple-tree hoop? Nay, why don't you iron-bind him, if needs be? This
would keep the man from flying out and bursting. The word was not yet out
of his mouth when we heard something give a loud report, as if a huge
sturdy oak had been split in two. Then some of the neighbours told us that
the bursting was over, and that the clap or crack which we heard was the
last fart, and so there was an end of mine host.
This made me call to mind a saying of the venerable abbot of Castilliers,
the very same who never cared to hump his chambermaids but when he was in
pontificalibus. That pious person, being much dunned, teased, and
importuned by his relations to resign his abbey in his old age, said and
professed that he would not strip till he was ready to go to bed, and that
the last fart which his reverend paternity was to utter should be the fart
of an abbot.
How our ships were stranded, and we were relieved by some people that were
subject to Queen Whims (qui tenoient de la Quinte).
We weighed and set sail with a merry westerly gale. When about seven
leagues off (twenty-two miles) some gusts or scuds of wind suddenly arose,
and the wind veering and shifting from point to point, was, as they say,
like an old woman's breech, at no certainty; so we first got our starboard
tacks aboard, and hauled off our lee-sheets. Then the gusts increased, and
by fits blowed all at once from several quarters, yet we neither settled
nor braided up close our sails, but only let fly the sheets, not to go
against the master of the ship's direction; and thus having let go amain,
lest we should spend our topsails, or the ship's quick-side should lie in
the water and she be overset, we lay by and run adrift; that is, in a
landloper's phrase, we temporized it. For he assured us that, as these
gusts and whirlwinds would not do us much good, so they could not do us
much harm, considering their easiness and pleasant strife, as also the
clearness of the sky and calmness of the current. So that we were to
observe the philosopher's rule, bear and forbear; that is, trim, or go
according to the time.
However, these whirlwinds and gusts lasted so long that we persuaded the
master to let us go and lie at trie with our main course; that is, to haul
the tack aboard, the sheet close aft, the bowline set up, and the helm tied
close aboard; so, after a stormy gale of wind, we broke through the
whirlwind. But it was like falling into Scylla to avoid Charybdis (out of
the frying-pan into the fire). For we had not sailed a league ere our
ships were stranded upon some sands such as are the flats of St. Maixent.
All our company seemed mightily disturbed except Friar John, who was not a
jot daunted, and with sweet sugar-plum words comforted now one and then
another, giving them hopes of speedy assistance from above, and telling
them that he had seen Castor at the main-yardarm. Oh! that I were but now
ashore, cried Panurge, that is all I wish for myself at present, and that
you who like the sea so well had each man of you two hundred thousand
crowns. I would fairly let you set up shop on these sands, and would get a
fat calf dressed and a hundred of faggots (i.e. bottles of wine) cooled for
you against you come ashore. I freely consent never to mount a wife, so
you but set me ashore and mount me on a horse, that I may go home. No
matter for a servant, I will be contented to serve myself; I am never
better treated than when I am without a man. Faith, old Plautus was in the
right on't when he said the more servants the more crosses; for such they
are, even supposing they could want what they all have but too much of, a
tongue, that most busy, dangerous, and pernicious member of servants.
Accordingly, 'twas for their sakes alone that the racks and tortures for
confession were invented, though some foreign civilians in our time have
drawn alogical and unreasonable consequences from it.
That very moment we spied a sail that made towards us. When it was close
by us, we soon knew what was the lading of the ship and who was aboard of
her. She was full freighted with drums. I was acquainted with many of the
passengers that came in her, who were most of 'em of good families; among
the rest Harry Cotiral, an old toast, who had got a swinging ass's
touch-tripe (penis) fastened to his waist, as the good women's beads are to their
girdle. In his left hand he held an old overgrown greasy foul cap, such as
your scald-pated fellows wear, and in the right a huge cabbage-stump.
As soon as he saw me he was overjoyed, and bawled out to me, What cheer,
ho? How dost like me now? Behold the true Algamana (this he said showing
me the ass's tickle-gizzard). This doctor's cap is my true elixir; and
this (continued he, shaking the cabbage-stump in his fist) is lunaria
major, you old noddy. I have 'em, old boy, I have 'em; we'll make 'em when
thou'rt come back. But pray, father, said I, whence come you? Whither are
you bound? What's your lading? Have you smelt the salt deep? To these
four questions he answered, From Queen Whims; for Touraine; alchemy; to the
Whom have you got o' board? said I. Said he, Astrologers, fortune-tellers,
alchemists, rhymers, poets, painters, projectors, mathematicians,
watchmakers, sing-songs, musicianers, and the devil and all of others that
are subject to Queen Whims (Motteux gives the following footnote:--'La
Quinte, This means a fantastic Humour, Maggots, or a foolish Giddiness of
Brains; and also, a fifth, or the Proportion of Five in music, &c.'). They
have very fair legible patents to show for't, as anybody may see. Panurge
had no sooner heard this but he was upon the high-rope, and began to rail
at them like mad. What o' devil d'ye mean, cried he, to sit idly here like
a pack of loitering sneaksbies, and see us stranded, while you may help us,
and tow us off into the current? A plague o' your whims! you can make all
things whatsoever, they say, so much as good weather and little children;
yet won't make haste to fasten some hawsers and cables, and get us off. I
was just coming to set you afloat, quoth Harry Cotiral; by Trismegistus,
I'll clear you in a trice. With this he caused 7,532,810 huge drums to be
unheaded on one side, and set that open side so that it faced the end of
the streamers and pendants; and having fastened them to good tacklings and
our ship's head to the stern of theirs, with cables fastened to the bits
abaft the manger in the ship's loof, they towed us off ground at one pull
so easily and pleasantly that you'd have wondered at it had you been there.
For the dub-a-dub rattling of the drums, with the soft noise of the gravel
which murmuring disputed us our way, and the merry cheers and huzzas of the
sailors, made an harmony almost as good as that of the heavenly bodies when
they roll and are whirled round their spheres, which rattling of the
celestial wheels Plato said he heard some nights in his sleep.
We scorned to be behindhand with 'em in civility, and gratefully gave 'em
store of our sausages and chitterlings, with which we filled their drums;
and we were just a-hoisting two-and-sixty hogsheads of wine out of the
hold, when two huge whirlpools with great fury made towards their ship,
spouting more water than is in the river Vienne (Vigenne) from Chinon to
Saumur; to make short, all their drums, all their sails, their concerns,
and themselves were soused, and their very hose were watered by the collar.
Panurge was so overjoyed, seeing this, and laughed so heartily, that he was
forced to hold his sides, and it set him into a fit of the colic for two
hours and more. I had a mind, quoth he, to make the dogs drink, and those
honest whirlpools, egad, have saved me that labour and that cost. There's
sauce for them; ariston men udor. Water is good, saith a poet; let 'em
Pindarize upon't. They never cared for fresh water but to wash their hands
or their glasses. This good salt water will stand 'em in good stead for
want of sal ammoniac and nitre in Geber's kitchen.
We could not hold any further discourse with 'em; for the former whirlwind
hindered our ship from feeling the helm. The pilot advised us
henceforwards to let her run adrift and follow the stream, not busying
ourselves with anything, but making much of our carcasses. For our only
way to arrive safe at the queendom of Whims was to trust to the whirlwind
and be led by the current.
How we arrived at the queendom of Whims or Entelechy.
We did as he directed us for about twelve hours, and on the third day the
sky seemed to us somewhat clearer, and we happily arrived at the port of
Mateotechny, not far distant from Queen Whims, alias the Quintessence.
We met full butt on the quay a great number of guards and other military
men that garrisoned the arsenal, and we were somewhat frighted at first
because they made us all lay down our arms, and in a haughty manner asked
us whence we came.
Cousin, quoth Panurge to him that asked the question, we are of Touraine,
and come from France, being ambitious of paying our respects to the Lady
Quintessence and visit this famous realm of Entelechy.
What do you say? cried they; do you call it Entelechy or Endelechy? Truly,
truly, sweet cousins, quoth Panurge, we are a silly sort of grout-headed
lobcocks, an't please you; be so kind as to forgive us if we chance to
knock words out of joint. As for anything else, we are downright honest
fellows and true hearts.
We have not asked you this question without a cause, said they; for a great
number of others who have passed this way from your country of Touraine
seemed as mere jolt-headed doddipolls as ever were scored o'er the coxcomb,
yet spoke as correct as other folks. But there has been here from other
countries a pack of I know not what overweening self-conceited prigs, as
moody as so many mules and as stout as any Scotch lairds, and nothing would
serve these, forsooth, but they must wilfully wrangle and stand out against
us at their coming; and much they got by it after all. Troth, we e'en
fitted them and clawed 'em off with a vengeance, for all they looked so big
and so grum.
Pray tell me, does your time lie so heavy upon you in your world that you
do not know how to bestow it better than in thus impudently talking,
disputing, and writing of our sovereign lady? There was much need that
your Tully, the consul, should go and leave the care of his commonwealth to
busy himself idly about her; and after him your Diogenes Laertius, the
biographer, and your Theodorus Gaza, the philosopher, and your Argiropilus,
the emperor, and your Bessario, the cardinal, and your Politian, the
pedant, and your Budaeus, the judge, and your Lascaris, the ambassador, and
the devil and all of those you call lovers of wisdom; whose number, it
seems, was not thought great enough already, but lately your Scaliger,
Bigot, Chambrier, Francis Fleury, and I cannot tell how many such other
junior sneaking fly-blows must take upon 'em to increase it.
A squinsy gripe the cod's-headed changelings at the swallow and eke at the
cover-weasel; we shall make 'em--But the deuce take 'em! (They flatter the
devil here, and smoothify his name, quoth Panurge, between his teeth.) You
don't come here, continued the captain, to uphold 'em in their folly; you
have no commission from 'em to this effect; well then, we will talk no more
Aristotle, that first of men and peerless pattern of all philosophy, was
our sovereign lady's godfather, and wisely and properly gave her the name
of Entelechy. Her true name then is Entelechy, and may he be in tail
beshit, and entail a shit-a-bed faculty and nothing else on his family, who
dares call her by any other name; for whoever he is, he does her wrong, and
is a very impudent person. You are heartily welcome, gentlemen. With
this they colled and clipped us about the neck, which was no small comfort
to us, I'll assure you.
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