Gargantua and Pantagruel
Francois Rabelais

Part 10 out of 16

savouring of the unspeakable benignity of God, that all those his preceding
sentences, awards, and judgments, have been confirmed and approved of by
yourselves in this your own venerable and sovereign court. For it is
usual, as you know well, with him whose ways are inscrutable, to manifest
his own ineffable glory in blunting the perspicacy of the eyes of the wise,
in weakening the strength of potent oppressors, in depressing the pride of
rich extortioners, and in erecting, comforting, protecting, supporting,
upholding, and shoring up the poor, feeble, humble, silly, and foolish ones
of the earth. But, waiving all these matters, I shall only beseech you,
not by the obligations which you pretend to owe to my family, for which I
thank you, but for that constant and unfeigned love and affection which you
have always found in me, both on this and on the other side of Loire, for
the maintenance and establishment of your places, offices, and dignities,
that for this one time you would pardon and forgive him upon these two
conditions. First, that he satisfy, or put a sufficient surety for the
satisfaction of the party wronged by the injustice of the sentence in
question. For the fulfilment of this article I will provide sufficiently.
And, secondly, that for his subsidiary aid in the weighty charge of
administrating justice you would be pleased to appoint and assign unto him
some pretty little virtuous counsellor, younger, learneder, and wiser than
he, by the square and rule of whose advice he may regulate, guide, temper,
and moderate in times coming all his judiciary procedures; or otherwise, if
you intend totally to depose him from his office, and to deprive him
altogether of the state and dignity of a judge, I shall cordially entreat
you to make a present and free gift of him to me, who shall find in my
kingdoms charges and employments enough wherewith to embusy him, for the
bettering of his own fortunes and furtherance of my service. In the
meantime, I implore the Creator, Saviour, and Sanctifier of all good
things, in his grace, mercy, and kindness, to preserve you all now and
evermore, world without end.

These words thus spoken, Pantagruel, vailing his cap and making a leg with
such a majestic garb as became a person of his paramount degree and
eminency, farewelled Trinquamelle, the president and master-speaker of that
Mirelinguesian parliament, took his leave of the whole court, and went out
of the chamber; at the door whereof finding Panurge, Epistemon, Friar John,
and others, he forthwith, attended by them, walked to the outer gate, where
all of them immediately took horse to return towards Gargantua. Pantagruel
by the way related to them from point to point the manner of Bridlegoose's
sententiating differences at law. Friar John said that he had seen Peter
Dandin, and was acquainted with him at that time when he sojourned in the
monastery of Fontaine le Comte, under the noble Abbot Ardillon. Gymnast
likewise affirmed that he was in the tent of the grand Christian cavalier
De Crissie, when the Gascon, after his sleep, made answer to the
adventurer. Panurge was somewhat incredulous in the matter of believing
that it was morally possible Bridlegoose should have been for such a long
space of time so continually fortunate in that aleatory way of deciding law
debates. Epistemon said to Pantagruel, Such another story, not much unlike
to that in all the circumstances thereof, is vulgarly reported of the
provost of Montlehery. In good sooth, such a perpetuity of good luck is to
be wondered at. To have hit right twice or thrice in a judgment so given
by haphazard might have fallen out well enough, especially in controversies
that were ambiguous, intricate, abstruse, perplexed, and obscure.

Chapter 3.XLIV.

How Pantagruel relateth a strange history of the perplexity of human

Seeing you talk, quoth Pantagruel, of dark, difficult, hard, and knotty
debates, I will tell you of one controverted before Cneius Dolabella,
proconsul in Asia. The case was this.

A wife in Smyrna had of her first husband a child named Abece. He dying,
she, after the expiring of a year and day, married again, and to her second
husband bore a boy called Effege. A pretty long time thereafter it
happened, as you know the affection of stepfathers and stepdams is very
rare towards the children of the first fathers and mothers deceased, that
this husband, with the help of his son Effege, secretly, wittingly,
willingly, and treacherously murdered Abece. The woman came no sooner to
get information of the fact, but, that it might not go unpunished, she
caused kill them both, to revenge the death of her first son. She was
apprehended and carried before Cneius Dolabella, in whose presence she,
without dissembling anything, confessed all that was laid to her charge;
yet alleged that she had both right and reason on her side for the killing
of them. Thus was the state of the question. He found the business so
dubious and intricate, that he knew not what to determine therein, nor
which of the parties to incline to. On the one hand, it was an execrable
crime to cut off at once both her second husband and her son. On the other
hand, the cause of the murder seemed to be so natural, as to be grounded
upon the law of nations and the rational instinct of all the people of the
world, seeing they two together had feloniously and murderously destroyed
her first son; not that they had been in any manner of way wronged,
outraged, or injured by him, but out of an avaricious intent to possess his
inheritance. In this doubtful quandary and uncertainty what to pitch upon,
he sent to the Areopagites then sitting at Athens to learn and obtain their
advice and judgment. That judicious senate, very sagely perpending the
reasons of his perplexity, sent him word to summon her personally to
compear before him a precise hundred years thereafter, to answer to some
interrogatories touching certain points which were not contained in the
verbal defence. Which resolution of theirs did import that it was in their
opinion a so difficult and inextricable matter that they knew not what to
say or judge therein. Who had decided that plea by the chance and fortune
of the dice, could not have erred nor awarded amiss on which side soever he
had passed his casting and condemnatory sentence. If against the woman,
she deserved punishment for usurping sovereign authority by taking that
vengeance at her own hand, the inflicting whereof was only competent to the
supreme power to administer justice in criminal cases. If for her, the
just resentment of a so atrocious injury done unto her, in murdering her
innocent son, did fully excuse and vindicate her of any trespass or offence
about that particular committed by her. But this continuation of
Bridlegoose for so many years still hitting the nail on the head, never
missing the mark, and always judging aright, by the mere throwing of the
dice and chance thereof, is that which most astonisheth and amazeth me.

To answer, quoth Pantagruel (Epistemon, says the English edition of 1694,
following the reading of the modern French editions. Le Duchat has pointed
out the mistake.--M.), categorically to that which you wonder at, I must
ingeniously confess and avow that I cannot; yet, conjecturally to guess at
the reason of it, I would refer the cause of that marvellously long-
continued happy success in the judiciary results of his definitive
sentences to the favourable aspect of the heavens and benignity of the
intelligences; who, out of their love to goodness, after having
contemplated the pure simplicity and sincere unfeignedness of Judge
Bridlegoose in the acknowledgment of his inabilities, did regulate that for
him by chance which by the profoundest act of his maturest deliberation he
was not able to reach unto. That, likewise, which possibly made him to
diffide in his own skill and capacity, notwithstanding his being an expert
and understanding lawyer, for anything that I know to the contrary, was the
knowledge and experience which he had of the antinomies, contrarieties,
antilogies, contradictions, traversings, and thwartings of laws, customs,
edicts, statutes, orders, and ordinances, in which dangerous opposition,
equity and justice being structured and founded on either of the opposite
terms, and a gap being thereby opened for the ushering in of injustice and
iniquity through the various interpretations of self-ended lawyers, being
assuredly persuaded that the infernal calumniator, who frequently
transformeth himself into the likeness of a messenger or angel of light,
maketh use of these cross glosses and expositions in the mouths and pens of
his ministers and servants, the perverse advocates, bribing judges, law-
monging attorneys, prevaricating counsellors, and other such-like law-
wresting members of a court of justice, to turn by those means black to
white, green to grey, and what is straight to a crooked ply. For the more
expedient doing whereof, these diabolical ministers make both the pleading
parties believe that their cause is just and righteous; for it is well
known that there is no cause, how bad soever, which doth not find an
advocate to patrocinate and defend it,--else would there be no process in
the world, no suits at law, nor pleadings at the bar. He did in these
extremities, as I conceive, most humbly recommend the direction of his
judicial proceedings to the upright judge of judges, God Almighty; did
submit himself to the conduct and guideship of the blessed Spirit in the
hazard and perplexity of the definitive sentence, and, by this aleatory
lot, did as it were implore and explore the divine decree of his goodwill
and pleasure, instead of that which we call the final judgment of a court.
To this effect, to the better attaining to his purpose, which was to judge
righteously, he did, in my opinion, throw and turn the dice, to the end
that by the providence aforesaid the best chance might fall to him whose
action was uprightest, and backed with greatest reason. In doing whereof
he did not stray from the sense of Talmudists, who say that there is so
little harm in that manner of searching the truth, that in the anxiety and
perplexedness of human wits God oftentimes manifesteth the secret pleasure
of his divine will.

Furthermore, I will neither think nor say, nor can I believe, that the
unstraightness is so irregular, or the corruption so evident, of those of
the parliament of Mirelingois in Mirelingues, before whom Bridlegoose was
arraigned for prevarication, that they will maintain it to be a worse
practice to have the decision of a suit at law referred to the chance and
hazard of a throw of the dice, hab nab, or luck as it will, than to have it
remitted to and passed by the determination of those whose hands are full
of blood and hearts of wry affections. Besides that, their principal
direction in all law matters comes to their hands from one Tribonian, a
wicked, miscreant, barbarous, faithless and perfidious knave, so
pernicious, unjust, avaricious, and perverse in his ways, that it was his
ordinary custom to sell laws, edicts, declarations, constitutions, and
ordinances, as at an outroop or putsale, to him who offered most for them.
Thus did he shape measures for the pleaders, and cut their morsels to them
by and out of these little parcels, fragments, bits, scantlings, and shreds
of the law now in use, altogether concealing, suppressing, disannulling,
and abolishing the remainder, which did make for the total law; fearing
that, if the whole law were made manifest and laid open to the knowledge of
such as are interested in it, and the learned books of the ancient doctors
of the law upon the exposition of the Twelve Tables and Praetorian Edicts,
his villainous pranks, naughtiness, and vile impiety should come to the
public notice of the world. Therefore were it better, in my conceit, that
is to say, less inconvenient, that parties at variance in any juridical
case should in the dark march upon caltrops than submit the determination
of what is their right to such unhallowed sentences and horrible decrees;
as Cato in his time wished and advised that every judiciary court should be
paved with caltrops.

Chapter 3.XLV.

How Panurge taketh advice of Triboulet.

On the sixth day thereafter Pantagruel was returned home at the very same
hour that Triboulet was by water come from Blois. Panurge, at his arrival,
gave him a hog's bladder puffed up with wind, and resounding because of the
hard peas that were within it. Moreover he did present him with a gilt
wooden sword, a hollow budget made of a tortoise shell, an osier-wattled
wicker-bottle full of Breton wine, and five-and-twenty apples of the
orchard of Blandureau.

If he be such a fool, quoth Carpalin, as to be won with apples, there is no
more wit in his pate than in the head of an ordinary cabbage. Triboulet
girded the sword and scrip to his side, took the bladder in his hand, ate
some few of the apples, and drunk up all the wine. Panurge very wistly and
heedfully looking upon him said, I never yet saw a fool, and I have seen
ten thousand francs worth of that kind of cattle, who did not love to drink
heartily, and by good long draughts. When Triboulet had done with his
drinking, Panurge laid out before him and exposed the sum of the business
wherein he was to require his advice, in eloquent and choicely-sorted
terms, adorned with flourishes of rhetoric. But, before he had altogether
done, Triboulet with his fist gave him a bouncing whirret between the
shoulders, rendered back into his hand again the empty bottle, fillipped
and flirted him in the nose with the hog's bladder, and lastly, for a final
resolution, shaking and wagging his head strongly and disorderly, he
answered nothing else but this, By God, God, mad fool, beware the monk,
Buzansay hornpipe! These words thus finished, he slipped himself out of
the company, went aside, and, rattling the bladder, took a huge delight in
the melody of the rickling crackling noise of the peas. After which time
it lay not in the power of them all to draw out of his chaps the articulate
sound of one syllable, insomuch that, when Panurge went about to
interrogate him further, Triboulet drew his wooden sword, and would have
stuck him therewith. I have fished fair now, quoth Panurge, and brought my
pigs to a fine market. Have I not got a brave determination of all my
doubts, and a response in all things agreeable to the oracle that gave it?
He is a great fool, that is not to be denied, yet is he a greater fool who
brought him hither to me,--That bolt, quoth Carpalin, levels point-blank at
me,--but of the three I am the greatest fool, who did impart the secret of
my thoughts to such an idiot ass and native ninny.

Without putting ourselves to any stir or trouble in the least, quoth
Pantagruel, let us maturely and seriously consider and perpend the gestures
and speech which he hath made and uttered. In them, veritably, quoth he,
have I remarked and observed some excellent and notable mysteries; yea, of
such important worth and weight, that I shall never henceforth be
astonished, nor think strange, why the Turks with a great deal of worship
and reverence honour and respect natural fools equally with their primest
doctors, muftis, divines, and prophets. Did not you take heed, quoth he, a
little before he opened his mouth to speak, what a shogging, shaking, and
wagging his head did keep? By the approved doctrine of the ancient
philosophers, the customary ceremonies of the most expert magicians, and
the received opinions of the learnedest lawyers, such a brangling agitation
and moving should by us all be judged to proceed from, and be quickened and
suscitated by the coming and inspiration of the prophetizing and fatidical
spirit, which, entering briskly and on a sudden into a shallow receptacle
of a debile substance (for, as you know, and as the proverb shows it, a
little head containeth not much brains), was the cause of that commotion.
This is conform to what is avouched by the most skilful physicians, when
they affirm that shakings and tremblings fall upon the members of a human
body, partly because of the heaviness and violent impetuosity of the burden
and load that is carried, and, other part, by reason of the weakness and
imbecility that is in the virtue of the bearing organ. A manifest example
whereof appeareth in those who, fasting, are not able to carry to their
head a great goblet full of wine without a trembling and a shaking in the
hand that holds it. This of old was accounted a prefiguration and mystical
pointing out of the Pythian divineress, who used always, before the
uttering of a response from the oracle, to shake a branch of her domestic
laurel. Lampridius also testifieth that the Emperor Heliogabalus, to
acquire unto himself the reputation of a soothsayer, did, on several holy
days of prime solemnnity, in the presence of the fanatic rabble, make the
head of his idol by some slight within the body thereof publicly to shake.
Plautus, in his Asinaria, declareth likewise, that Saurias, whithersoever
he walked, like one quite distracted of his wits kept such a furious
lolling and mad-like shaking of his head, that he commonly affrighted those
who casually met with him in his way. The said author in another place,
showing a reason why Charmides shook and brangled his head, assevered that
he was transported and in an ecstasy. Catullus after the same manner
maketh mention, in his Berecynthia and Atys, of the place wherein the
Menades, Bacchical women, she-priests of the Lyaean god, and demented
prophetesses, carrying ivy boughs in their hands, did shake their heads.
As in the like case, amongst the Galli, the gelded priests of Cybele were
wont to do in the celebrating of their festivals. Whence, too, according
to the sense of the ancient theologues, she herself has her denomination,
for kubistan signifieth to turn round, whirl about, shake the head, and
play the part of one that is wry-necked.

Semblably Titus Livius writeth that, in the solemnization time of the
Bacchanalian holidays at Rome, both men and women seemed to prophetize and
vaticinate, because of an affected kind of wagging of the head, shrugging
of the shoulders, and jectigation of the whole body, which they used then
most punctually. For the common voice of the philosophers, together with
the opinion of the people, asserteth for an irrefragable truth that
vaticination is seldom by the heavens bestowed on any without the
concomitancy of a little frenzy and a head-shaking, not only when the said
presaging virtue is infused, but when the person also therewith inspired
declareth and manifesteth it unto others. The learned lawyer Julian, being
asked on a time if that slave might be truly esteemed to be healthful and
in a good plight who had not only conversed with some furious, maniac, and
enraged people, but in their company had also prophesied, yet without a
noddle-shaking concussion, answered that, seeing there was no head-wagging
at the time of his predictions, he might be held for sound and compotent
enough. Is it not daily seen how schoolmasters, teachers, tutors, and
instructors of children shake the heads of their disciples, as one would do
a pot in holding it by the lugs, that by this erection, vellication,
stretching, and pulling their ears, which, according to the doctrine of the
sage Egyptians, is a member consecrated to the memory, they may stir them
up to recollect their scattered thoughts, bring home those fancies of
theirs which perhaps have been extravagantly roaming abroad upon strange
and uncouth objects, and totally range their judgments, which possibly by
disordinate affections have been made wild, to the rule and pattern of a
wise, discreet, virtuous, and philosophical discipline. All which Virgil
acknowledgeth to be true, in the branglement of Apollo Cynthius.

Chapter 3.XLVI.

How Pantagruel and Panurge diversely interpret the words of Triboulet.

He says you are a fool. And what kind of fool? A mad fool, who in your
old age would enslave yourself to the bondage of matrimony, and shut your
pleasures up within a wedlock whose key some ruffian carries in his
codpiece. He says furthermore, Beware of the monk. Upon mine honour, it
gives me in my mind that you will be cuckolded by a monk. Nay, I will
engage mine honour, which is the most precious pawn I could have in my
possession although I were sole and peaceable dominator over all Europe,
Asia, and Africa, that, if you marry, you will surely be one of the horned
brotherhood of Vulcan. Hereby may you perceive how much I do attribute to
the wise foolery of our morosoph Triboulet. The other oracles and
responses did in the general prognosticate you a cuckold, without
descending so near to the point of a particular determination as to pitch
upon what vocation amongst the several sorts of men he should profess who
is to be the copesmate of your wife and hornifier of your proper self.
Thus noble Triboulet tells it us plainly, from whose words we may gather
with all ease imaginable that your cuckoldry is to be infamous, and so much
the more scandalous that your conjugal bed will be incestuously
contaminated with the filthiness of a monkery lecher. Moreover, he says
that you will be the hornpipe of Buzansay, that is to say, well-horned,
hornified, and cornuted. And, as Triboulet's uncle asked from Louis the
Twelfth, for a younger brother of his own who lived at Blois, the hornpipes
of Buzansay, for the organ pipes, through the mistake of one word for
another, even so, whilst you think to marry a wise, humble, calm, discreet,
and honest wife, you shall unhappily stumble upon one witless, proud, loud,
obstreperous, bawling, clamorous, and more unpleasant than any Buzansay
hornpipe. Consider withal how he flirted you on the nose with the bladder,
and gave you a sound thumping blow with his fist upon the ridge of the
back. This denotates and presageth that you shall be banged, beaten, and
fillipped by her, and that also she will steal of your goods from you, as
you stole the hog's bladder from the little boys of Vaubreton.

Flat contrary, quoth Panurge;--not that I would impudently exempt myself
from being a vassal in the territory of folly. I hold of that
jurisdiction, and am subject thereto, I confess it. And why should I not?
For the whole world is foolish. In the old Lorraine language, fou for tou,
all and fool, were the same thing. Besides, it is avouched by Solomon that
infinite is the number of fools. From an infinity nothing can be deducted
or abated, nor yet, by the testimony of Aristotle, can anything thereto be
added or subjoined. Therefore were I a mad fool if, being a fool, I should
not hold myself a fool. After the same manner of speaking, we may aver the
number of the mad and enraged folks to be infinite. Avicenna maketh no
bones to assert that the several kinds of madness are infinite. Though
this much of Triboulet's words tend little to my advantage, howbeit the
prejudice which I sustain thereby be common with me to all other men, yet
the rest of his talk and gesture maketh altogether for me. He said to my
wife, Be wary of the monkey; that is as much as if she should be cheery,
and take as much delight in a monkey as ever did the Lesbia of Catullus in
her sparrow; who will for his recreation pass his time no less joyfully at
the exercise of snatching flies than heretofore did the merciless fly-
catcher Domitian. Withal he meant, by another part of his discourse, that
she should be of a jovial country-like humour, as gay and pleasing as a
harmonious hornpipe of Saulieau or Buzansay. The veridical Triboulet did
therein hint at what I liked well, as perfectly knowing the inclinations
and propensions of my mind, my natural disposition, and the bias of my
interior passions and affections. For you may be assured that my humour is
much better satisfied and contented with the pretty, frolic, rural,
dishevelled shepherdesses, whose bums through their coarse canvas smocks
smell of the clover grass of the field, than with those great ladies in
magnific courts, with their flandan top-knots and sultanas, their polvil,
pastillos, and cosmetics. The homely sound, likewise, of a rustical
hornpipe is more agreeable to my ears than the curious warbling and musical
quavering of lutes, theorbos, viols, rebecs, and violins. He gave me a
lusty rapping thwack on my back,--what then? Let it pass, in the name and
for the love of God, as an abatement of and deduction from so much of my
future pains in purgatory. He did it not out of any evil intent. He
thought, belike, to have hit some of the pages. He is an honest fool, and
an innocent changeling. It is a sin to harbour in the heart any bad
conceit of him. As for myself, I heartily pardon him. He flirted me on
the nose. In that there is no harm; for it importeth nothing else but that
betwixt my wife and me there will occur some toyish wanton tricks which
usually happen to all new-married folks.

Chapter 3.XLVII.

How Pantagruel and Panurge resolved to make a visit to the oracle of the
holy bottle.

There is as yet another point, quoth Panurge, which you have not at all
considered on, although it be the chief and principal head of the matter.
He put the bottle in my hand and restored it me again. How interpret you
that passage? What is the meaning of that? He possibly, quoth Pantagruel,
signifieth thereby that your wife will be such a drunkard as shall daily
take in her liquor kindly, and ply the pots and bottles apace. Quite
otherwise, quoth Panurge; for the bottle was empty. I swear to you, by the
prickling brambly thorn of St. Fiacre in Brie, that our unique morosoph,
whom I formerly termed the lunatic Triboulet, referreth me, for attaining
to the final resolution of my scruple, to the response-giving bottle.
Therefore do I renew afresh the first vow which I made, and here in your
presence protest and make oath, by Styx and Acheron, to carry still
spectacles in my cap, and never to wear a codpiece in my breeches, until
upon the enterprise in hand of my nuptial undertaking I shall have obtained
an answer from the holy bottle. I am acquainted with a prudent,
understanding, and discreet gentleman, and besides a very good friend of
mine, who knoweth the land, country, and place where its temple and oracle
is built and posited. He will guide and conduct us thither sure and
safely. Let us go thither, I beseech you. Deny me not, and say not nay;
reject not the suit I make unto you, I entreat you. I will be to you an
Achates, a Damis, and heartily accompany you all along in the whole voyage,
both in your going forth and coming back. I have of a long time known you
to be a great lover of peregrination, desirous still to learn new things,
and still to see what you had never seen before.

Very willingly, quoth Pantagruel, I condescend to your request. But before
we enter in upon our progress towards the accomplishment of so far a
journey, replenished and fraught with eminent perils, full of innumerable
hazards, and every way stored with evident and manifest dangers,--What
dangers? quoth Panurge, interrupting him. Dangers fly back, run from, and
shun me whithersoever I go, seven leagues around, as in the presence of the
sovereign a subordinate magistracy is eclipsed; or as clouds and darkness
quite evanish at the bright coming of a radiant sun; or as all sores and
sicknesses did suddenly depart at the approach of the body of St. Martin a
Quande. Nevertheless, quoth Pantagruel, before we adventure to set
forwards on the road of our projected and intended voyage, some few points
are to be discussed, expedited, and despatched. First, let us send back
Triboulet to Blois. Which was instantly done, after that Pantagruel had
given him a frieze coat. Secondly, our design must be backed with the
advice and counsel of the king my father. And, lastly, it is most needful
and expedient for us that we search for and find out some sibyl to serve us
for a guide, truchman, and interpreter. To this Panurge made answer, that
his friend Xenomanes would abundantly suffice for the plenary discharge and
performance of the sibyl's office; and that, furthermore, in passing
through the Lanternatory revelling country, they should take along with
them a learned and profitable Lanternesse, which would be no less useful to
them in their voyage than was the sibyl to Aeneas in his descent to the
Elysian fields. Carpalin, in the interim, as he was upon the conducting
away of Triboulet, in his passing by hearkened a little to the discourse
they were upon; then spoke out, saying, Ho, Panurge, master freeman, take
my Lord Debitis at Calais alongst with you, for he is goud-fallot, a good
fellow. He will not forget those who have been debitors; these are
Lanternes. Thus shall you not lack for both fallot and lanterne. I may
safely with the little skill I have, quoth Pantagruel, prognosticate that
by the way we shall engender no melancholy. I clearly perceive it already.
The only thing that vexeth me is, that I cannot speak the Lanternatory
language. I shall, answered Panurge, speak for you all. I understand it
every whit as well as I do mine own maternal tongue; I have been no less
used to it than to the vulgar French.

Briszmarg dalgotbrick nubstzne zos.
Isquebsz prusq: albok crinqs zacbac.
Mizbe dilbarskz morp nipp stancz bos,
Strombtz, Panurge, walmap quost gruszbac.

Now guess, friend Epistemon, what this is. They are, quoth Epistemon,
names of errant devils, passant devils, and rampant devils. These words of
thine, dear friend of mine, are true, quoth Panurge; yet are they terms
used in the language of the court of the Lanternish people. By the way, as
we go upon our journey, I will make to thee a pretty little dictionary,
which, notwithstanding, shall not last you much longer than a pair of new
shoes. Thou shalt have learned it sooner than thou canst perceive the
dawning of the next subsequent morning. What I have said in the foregoing
tetrastich is thus translated out of the Lanternish tongue into our vulgar

All miseries attended me, whilst I
A lover was, and had no good thereby.
Of better luck the married people tell;
Panurge is one of those, and knows it well.

There is little more, then, quoth Pantagruel, to be done, but that we
understand what the will of the king my father will be therein, and
purchase his consent.

Chapter 3.XLVIII.

How Gargantua showeth that the children ought not to marry without the
special knowledge and advice of their fathers and mothers.

No sooner had Pantagruel entered in at the door of the great hall of the
castle, than that he encountered full butt with the good honest Gargantua
coming forth from the council board, unto whom he made a succinct and
summary narrative of what had passed and occurred, worthy of his
observation, in his travels abroad, since their last interview; then,
acquainting him with the design he had in hand, besought him that it might
stand with his goodwill and pleasure to grant him leave to prosecute and go
through-stitch with the enterprise which he had undertaken. The good man
Gargantua, having in one hand two great bundles of petitions endorsed and
answered, and in the other some remembrancing notes and bills, to put him
in mind of such other requests of supplicants, which, albeit presented, had
nevertheless been neither read nor heard, he gave both to Ulric Gallet, his
ancient and faithful Master of Requests; then drew aside Pantagruel, and,
with a countenance more serene and jovial than customary, spoke to him
thus: I praise God, and have great reason so to do, my most dear son, that
he hath been pleased to entertain in you a constant inclination to virtuous
actions. I am well content that the voyage which you have motioned to me
be by you accomplished, but withal I could wish you would have a mind and
desire to marry, for that I see you are of competent years. Panurge in the
meanwhile was in a readiness of preparing and providing for remedies,
salves, and cures against all such lets, obstacles, and impediments as he
could in the height of his fancy conceive might by Gargantua be cast in the
way of their itinerary design. Is it your pleasure, most dear father, that
you speak? answered Pantagruel. For my part, I have not yet thought upon
it. In all this affair I wholly submit and rest in your good liking and
paternal authority. For I shall rather pray unto God that he would throw
me down stark dead at your feet, in your pleasure, than that against your
pleasure I should be found married alive. I never yet heard that by any
law, whether sacred or profane, yea, amongst the rudest and most barbarous
nations in the world, it was allowed and approved of that children may be
suffered and tolerated to marry at their own goodwill and pleasure, without
the knowledge, advice, or consent asked and had thereto of their fathers,
mothers, and nearest kindred. All legislators, everywhere upon the face of
the whole earth, have taken away and removed this licentious liberty from
children, and totally reserved it to the discretion of the parents.

My dearly beloved son, quoth Gargantua, I believe you, and from my heart
thank God for having endowed you with the grace of having both a perfect
notice of and entire liking to laudable and praiseworthy things; and that
through the windows of your exterior senses he hath vouchsafed to transmit
unto the interior faculties of your mind nothing but what is good and
virtuous. For in my time there hath been found on the continent a certain
country, wherein are I know not what kind of Pastophorian mole-catching
priests, who, albeit averse from engaging their proper persons into a
matrimonial duty, like the pontifical flamens of Cybele in Phrygia, as if
they were capons, and not cocks full of lasciviousness, salacity, and
wantonness, who yet have, nevertheless, in the matter of conjugal affairs,
taken upon them to prescribe laws and ordinances to married folks. I
cannot goodly determine what I should most abhor, detest, loathe, and
abominate,--whether the tyrannical presumption of those dreaded sacerdotal
mole-catchers, who, not being willing to contain and coop up themselves
within the grates and trellises of their own mysterious temples, do deal
in, meddle with, obtrude upon, and thrust their sickles into harvests of
secular businesses quite contrary and diametrically opposite to the
quality, state, and condition of their callings, professions, and
vocations; or the superstitious stupidity and senseless scrupulousness of
married folks, who have yielded obedience, and submitted their bodies,
fortunes, and estates to the discretion and authority of such odious,
perverse, barbarous, and unreasonable laws. Nor do they see that which is
clearer than the light and splendour of the morning star,--how all these
nuptial and connubial sanctions, statutes, and ordinances have been
decreed, made, and instituted for the sole benefit, profit, and advantage
of the flaminal mysts and mysterious flamens, and nothing at all for the
good, utility, or emolument of the silly hoodwinked married people. Which
administereth unto others a sufficient cause for rendering these churchmen
suspicious of iniquity, and of an unjust and fraudulent manner of dealing,
no more to be connived at nor countenanced, after that it be well weighed
in the scales of reason, than if with a reciprocal temerity the laics, by
way of compensation, would impose laws to be followed and observed by those
mysts and flamens, how they should behave themselves in the making and
performance of their rites and ceremonies, and after what manner they ought
to proceed in the offering up and immolating of their various oblations,
victims, and sacrifices; seeing that, besides the decimation and tithe-
haling of their goods, they cut off and take parings, shreddings, and
clippings of the gain proceeding from the labour of their hands and sweat
of their brows, therewith to entertain themselves the better. Upon which
consideration, in my opinion, their injunctions and commands would not
prove so pernicious and impertinent as those of the ecclesiastic power unto
which they had tendered their blind obedience. For, as you have very well
said, there is no place in the world where, legally, a licence is granted
to the children to marry without the advice and consent of their parents
and kindred. Nevertheless, by those wicked laws and mole-catching customs,
whereat there is a little hinted in what I have already spoken to you,
there is no scurvy, measly, leprous, or pocky ruffian, pander, knave,
rogue, skellum, robber, or thief, pilloried, whipped, and burn-marked in
his own country for his crimes and felonies, who may not violently snatch
away and ravish what maid soever he had a mind to pitch upon, how noble,
how fair, how rich, honest, and chaste soever she be, and that out of the
house of her own father, in his own presence, from the bosom of her mother,
and in the sight and despite of her friends and kindred looking on a so
woeful spectacle, provided that the rascal villain be so cunning as to
associate unto himself some mystical flamen, who, according to the covenant
made betwixt them two, shall be in hope some day to participate of the

Could the Goths, the Scyths, or Massagets do a worse or more cruel act to
any of the inhabitants of a hostile city, when, after the loss of many of
their most considerable commanders, the expense of a great deal of money,
and a long siege, they shall have stormed and taken it by a violent and
impetuous assault? May not these fathers and mothers, think you, be
sorrowful and heavy-hearted when they see an unknown fellow, a vagabond
stranger, a barbarous lout, a rude cur, rotten, fleshless, putrified,
scraggy, boily, botchy, poor, a forlorn caitiff and miserable sneak, by an
open rapt snatch away before their own eyes their so fair, delicate, neat,
well-behavioured, richly-provided-for and healthful daughters, on whose
breeding and education they had spared no cost nor charges, by bringing
them up in an honest discipline to all the honourable and virtuous
employments becoming one of their sex descended of a noble parentage,
hoping by those commendable and industrious means in an opportune and
convenient time to bestow them on the worthy sons of their well-deserving
neighbours and ancient friends, who had nourished, entertained, taught,
instructed, and schooled their children with the same care and solicitude,
to make them matches fit to attain to the felicity of a so happy marriage,
that from them might issue an offspring and progeny no less heirs to the
laudable endowments and exquisite qualifications of their parents, whom
they every way resemble, than to their personal and real estates, movables,
and inheritances? How doleful, trist, and plangorous would such a sight
and pageantry prove unto them? You shall not need to think that the
collachrymation of the Romans and their confederates at the decease of
Germanicus Drusus was comparable to this lamentation of theirs? Neither
would I have you to believe that the discomfort and anxiety of the
Lacedaemonians, when the Greek Helen, by the perfidiousness of the
adulterous Trojan, Paris, was privily stolen away out of their country, was
greater or more pitiful than this ruthful and deplorable collugency of
theirs? You may very well imagine that Ceres at the ravishment of her
daughter Proserpina was not more attristed, sad, nor mournful than they.
Trust me, and your own reason, that the loss of Osiris was not so
regrettable to Isis, nor did Venus so deplore the death of Adonis, nor yet
did Hercules so bewail the straying of Hylas, nor was the rapt of Polyxena
more throbbingly resented and condoled by Priamus and Hecuba, than this
aforesaid accident would be sympathetically bemoaned, grievous, ruthful,
and anxious to the woefully desolate and disconsolate parents.

Notwithstanding all this, the greater part of so vilely abused parents are
so timorous and afraid of devils and hobgoblins, and so deeply plunged in
superstition, that they dare not gainsay nor contradict, much less oppose
and resist those unnatural and impious actions, when the mole-catcher hath
been present at the perpetrating of the fact, and a party contractor and
covenanter in that detestable bargain. What do they do then? They
wretchedly stay at their own miserable homes, destitute of their well-
beloved daughters, the fathers cursing the days and the hours wherein they
were married, and the mothers howling and crying that it was not their
fortune to have brought forth abortive issues when they happened to be
delivered of such unfortunate girls, and in this pitiful plight spend at
best the remainder of their time with tears and weeping for those their
children, of and from whom they expected, (and, with good reason, should
have obtained and reaped,) in these latter days of theirs, joy and comfort.
Other parents there have been, so impatient of that affront and indignity
put upon them and their families, that, transported with the extremity of
passion, in a mad and frantic mood, through the vehemency of a grievous
fury and raging sorrow, have drowned, hanged, killed, and otherwise put
violent hands on themselves. Others, again, of that parental relation
have, upon the reception of the like injury, been of a more magnanimous and
heroic spirit, who, in imitation and at the example of the children of
Jacob revenging upon the Sichemites the rapt of their sister Dinah, having
found the rascally ruffian in the association of his mystical mole-catcher
closely and in hugger-mugger conferring, parleying, and coming with their
daughters, for the suborning, corrupting, depraving, perverting, and
enticing these innocent unexperienced maids unto filthy lewdnesses, have,
without any further advisement on the matter, cut them instantly into
pieces, and thereupon forthwith thrown out upon the fields their so
dismembered bodies, to serve for food unto the wolves and ravens. Upon the
chivalrous, bold, and courageous achievement of a so valiant, stout, and
manlike act, the other mole-catching symmysts have been so highly incensed,
and have so chafed, fretted, and fumed thereat, that, bills of complaint
and accusations having been in a most odious and detestable manner put in
before the competent judges, the arm of secular authority hath with much
importunity and impetuosity been by them implored and required, they
proudly contending that the servants of God would become contemptible if
exemplary punishment were not speedily taken upon the persons of the
perpetrators of such an enormous, horrid, sacrilegious, crying, heinous,
and execrable crime.

Yet neither by natural equity, by the law of nations, nor by any imperial
law whatsoever, hath there been found so much as one rubric, paragraph,
point, or tittle, by the which any kind of chastisement or correction hath
been adjudged due to be inflicted upon any for their delinquency in that
kind. Reason opposeth, and nature is repugnant. For there is no virtuous
man in the world who both naturally and with good reason will not be more
hugely troubled in mind, hearing of the news of the rapt, disgrace,
ignominy, and dishonour of his daughter, than of her death. Now any man,
finding in hot blood one who with a forethought felony hath murdered his
daughter, may, without tying himself to the formalities and circumstances
of a legal proceeding, kill him on a sudden and out of hand without
incurring any hazard of being attainted and apprehended by the officers of
justice for so doing. What wonder is it then? Or how little strange
should it appear to any rational man, if a lechering rogue, together with
his mole-catching abettor, be entrapped in the flagrant act of suborning
his daughter, and stealing her out of his house, though herself consent
thereto, that the father in such a case of stain and infamy by them brought
upon his family, should put them both to a shameful death, and cast their
carcasses upon dunghills to be devoured and eaten up by dogs and swine, or
otherwise fling them a little further off to the direption, tearing, and
rending asunder of their joints and members by the wild beasts of the field
(as unworthy to receive the gentle, the desired, the last kind embraces of
the great Alma Mater, the earth, commonly called burial).

Dearly beloved son, have an especial care that after my decease none of
these laws be received in any of your kingdoms; for whilst I breathe, by
the grace and assistance of God, I shall give good order. Seeing,
therefore, you have totally referred unto my discretion the disposure of
you in marriage, I am fully of an opinion that I shall provide sufficiently
well for you in that point. Make ready and prepare yourself for Panurge's
voyage. Take along with you Epistemon, Friar John, and such others as you
will choose. Do with my treasures what unto yourself shall seem most
expedient. None of your actions, I promise you, can in any manner of way
displease me. Take out of my arsenal Thalasse whatsoever equipage,
furniture, or provision you please, together with such pilots, mariners,
and truchmen as you have a mind to, and with the first fair and favourable
wind set sail and make out to sea in the name of God our Saviour. In the
meanwhile, during your absence, I shall not be neglective of providing a
wife for you, nor of those preparations which are requisite to be made for
the more sumptuous solemnizing of your nuptials with a most splendid feast,
if ever there was any in the world, since the days of Ahasuerus.

Chapter 3.XLIX.

How Pantagruel did put himself in a readiness to go to sea; and of the herb
named Pantagruelion.

Within very few days after that Pantagruel had taken his leave of the good
Gargantua, who devoutly prayed for his son's happy voyage, he arrived at
the seaport, near to Sammalo, accompanied with Panurge, Epistemon, Friar
John of the Funnels, Abbot of Theleme, and others of the royal house,
especially with Xenomanes the great traveller and thwarter of dangerous
ways, who was come at the bidding and appointment of Panurge, of whose
castlewick of Salmigondin he did hold some petty inheritance by the tenure
of a mesne fee. Pantagruel, being come thither, prepared and made ready
for launching a fleet of ships, to the number of those which Ajax of
Salamine had of old equipped in convoy of the Grecian soldiery against the
Trojan state. He likewise picked out for his use so many mariners, pilots,
sailors, interpreters, artificers, officers, and soldiers, as he thought
fitting, and therewithal made provision of so much victuals of all sorts,
artillery, munition of divers kinds, clothes, moneys, and other such
luggage, stuff, baggage, chaffer, and furniture, as he deemed needful for
carrying on the design of a so tedious, long, and perilous voyage. Amongst
other things, it was observed how he caused some of his vessels to be
fraught and loaded with a great quantity of an herb of his called
Pantagruelion, not only of the green and raw sort of it, but of the
confected also, and of that which was notably well befitted for present use
after the fashion of conserves. The herb Pantagruelion hath a little root
somewhat hard and rough, roundish, terminating in an obtuse and very blunt
point, and having some of its veins, strings, or filaments coloured with
some spots of white, never fixeth itself into the ground above the
profoundness almost of a cubit, or foot and a half. From the root thereof
proceedeth the only stalk, orbicular, cane-like, green without, whitish
within, and hollow like the stem of smyrnium, olus atrum, beans, and
gentian, full of long threads, straight, easy to be broken, jagged,
snipped, nicked, and notched a little after the manner of pillars and
columns, slightly furrowed, chamfered, guttered, and channelled, and full
of fibres, or hairs like strings, in which consisteth the chief value and
dignity of the herb, especially in that part thereof which is termed mesa,
as he would say the mean, and in that other, which hath got the
denomination of milasea. Its height is commonly of five or six foot. Yet
sometimes it is of such a tall growth as doth surpass the length of a
lance, but that is only when it meeteth with a sweet, easy, warm, wet, and
well-soaked soil--as is the ground of the territory of Olone, and that of
Rasea, near to Preneste in Sabinia--and that it want not for rain enough
about the season of the fishers' holidays and the estival solstice. There
are many trees whose height is by it very far exceeded, and you might call
it dendromalache by the authority of Theophrastus. The plant every year
perisheth,--the tree neither in the trunk, root, bark, or boughs being

From the stalk of this Pantagruelian plant there issue forth several large
and great branches, whose leaves have thrice as much length as breadth,
always green, roughish, and rugged like the orcanet, or Spanish bugloss,
hardish, slit round about like unto a sickle, or as the saxifragum, betony,
and finally ending as it were in the points of a Macedonian spear, or of
such a lancet as surgeons commonly make use of in their phlebotomizing
tiltings. The figure and shape of the leaves thereof is not much different
from that of those of the ash-tree, or of agrimony; the herb itself being
so like the Eupatorian plant that many skilful herbalists have called it
the Domestic Eupator, and the Eupator the Wild Pantagruelion. These leaves
are in equal and parallel distances spread around the stalk by the number
in every rank either of five or seven, nature having so highly favoured and
cherished this plant that she hath richly adorned it with these two odd,
divine, and mysterious numbers. The smell thereof is somewhat strong, and
not very pleasing to nice, tender, and delicate noses. The seed enclosed
therein mounteth up to the very top of its stalk, and a little above it.

This is a numerous herb; for there is no less abundance of it than of any
other whatsoever. Some of these plants are spherical, some rhomboid, and
some of an oblong shape, and all of those either black, bright-coloured, or
tawny, rude to the touch, and mantled with a quickly-blasted-away coat, yet
such a one as is of a delicious taste and savour to all shrill and sweetly-
singing birds, such as linnets, goldfinches, larks, canary birds, yellow-
hammers, and others of that airy chirping choir; but it would quite
extinguish the natural heat and procreative virtue of the semence of any
man who would eat much and often of it. And although that of old amongst
the Greeks there was certain kinds of fritters and pancakes, buns and
tarts, made thereof, which commonly for a liquorish daintiness were
presented on the table after supper to delight the palate and make the wine
relish the better; yet is it of a difficult concoction, and offensive to
the stomach. For it engendereth bad and unwholesome blood, and with its
exorbitant heat woundeth them with grievous, hurtful, smart, and noisome
vapours. And, as in divers plants and trees there are two sexes, male and
female, which is perceptible in laurels, palms, cypresses, oaks, holms, the
daffodil, mandrake, fern, the agaric, mushroom, birthwort, turpentine,
pennyroyal, peony, rose of the mount, and many other such like, even so in
this herb there is a male which beareth no flower at all, yet it is very
copious of and abundant in seed. There is likewise in it a female, which
hath great store and plenty of whitish flowers, serviceable to little or no
purpose, nor doth it carry in it seed of any worth at all, at least
comparable to that of the male. It hath also a larger leaf, and much
softer than that of the male, nor doth it altogether grow to so great a
height. This Pantagruelion is to be sown at the first coming of the
swallows, and is to be plucked out of the ground when the grasshoppers
begin to be a little hoarse.

Chapter 3.L.

How the famous Pantagruelion ought to be prepared and wrought.

The herb Pantagruelion, in September, under the autumnal equinox, is
dressed and prepared several ways, according to the various fancies of the
people and diversity of the climates wherein it groweth. The first
instruction which Pantagruel gave concerning it was to divest and despoil
the stalk and stem thereof of all its flowers and seeds, to macerate and
mortify it in pond, pool, or lake water, which is to be made run a little
for five days together (Properly--'lake water, which is to be made
stagnant, not current, for five days together.'--M.) if the season be dry
and the water hot, or for full nine or twelve days if the weather be
cloudish and the water cold. Then must it be parched before the sun till
it be drained of its moisture. After this it is in the shadow, where the
sun shines not, to be peeled and its rind pulled off. Then are the fibres
and strings thereof to be parted, wherein, as we have already said,
consisteth its prime virtue, price, and efficacy, and severed from the
woody part thereof, which is unprofitable, and serveth hardly to any other
use than to make a clear and glistering blaze, to kindle the fire, and for
the play, pastime, and disport of little children, to blow up hogs'
bladders and make them rattle. Many times some use is made thereof by
tippling sweet-lipped bibbers, who out of it frame quills and pipes,
through which they with their liquor-attractive breath suck up the new
dainty wine from the bung of the barrel. Some modern Pantagruelists, to
shun and avoid that manual labour which such a separating and partitional
work would of necessity require, employ certain cataractic instruments,
composed and formed after the same manner that the froward, pettish, and
angry Juno did hold the fingers of both her hands interwovenly clenched
together when she would have hindered the childbirth delivery of Alcmena at
the nativity of Hercules; and athwart those cataracts they break and bruise
to very trash the woody parcels, thereby to preserve the better the fibres,
which are the precious and excellent parts. In and with this sole
operation do these acquiesce and are contented, who, contrary to the
received opinion of the whole earth, and in a manner paradoxical to all
philosophers, gain their livelihoods backwards, and by recoiling. But
those that love to hold it at a higher rate, and prize it according to its
value, for their own greater profit do the very same which is told us of
the recreation of the three fatal sister Parcae, or of the nocturnal
exercise of the noble Circe, or yet of the excuse which Penelope made to
her fond wooing youngsters and effeminate courtiers during the long absence
of her husband Ulysses.

By these means is this herb put into a way to display its inestimable
virtues, whereof I will discover a part; for to relate all is a thing
impossible to do. I have already interpreted and exposed before you the
denomination thereof. I find that plants have their names given and
bestowed upon them after several ways. Some got the name of him who first
found them out, knew them, sowed them, improved them by culture, qualified
them to tractability, and appropriated them to the uses and subserviences
they were fit for, as the Mercuriale from Mercury; Panacea from Panace, the
daughter of Aesculapius; Armois from Artemis, who is Diana; Eupatoria from
the king Eupator; Telephion from Telephus; Euphorbium from Euphorbus, King
Juba's physician; Clymenos from Clymenus; Alcibiadium from Alcibiades;
Gentiane from Gentius, King of Sclavonia, and so forth, through a great
many other herbs or plants. Truly, in ancient times this prerogative of
imposing the inventor's name upon an herb found out by him was held in a so
great account and estimation, that, as a controversy arose betwixt Neptune
and Pallas from which of them two that land should receive its denomination
which had been equally found out by them both together--though thereafter
it was called and had the appellation of Athens, from Athene, which is
Minerva--just so would Lynceus, King of Scythia, have treacherously slain
the young Triptolemus, whom Ceres had sent to show unto mankind the
invention of corn, which until then had been utterly unknown, to the end
that, after the murder of the messenger, whose death he made account to
have kept secret, he might, by imposing, with the less suspicion of false
dealing, his own name upon the said found out seed, acquire unto himself an
immortal honour and glory for having been the inventor of a grain so
profitable and necessary to and for the use of human life. For the
wickedness of which treasonable attempt he was by Ceres transformed into
that wild beast which by some is called a lynx and by others an ounce.
Such also was the ambition of others upon the like occasion, as appeareth
by that very sharp wars and of a long continuance have been made of old
betwixt some residentiary kings in Cappadocia upon this only debate, of
whose name a certain herb should have the appellation; by reason of which
difference, so troublesome and expensive to them all, it was by them called
Polemonion, and by us for the same cause termed Make-bate.

Other herbs and plants there are which retain the names of the countries
from whence they were transported, as the Median apples from Media, where
they first grew; Punic apples from Punicia, that is to say, Carthage;
Ligusticum, which we call lovage, from Liguria, the coast of Genoa; Rhubarb
from a flood in Barbary, as Ammianus attesteth, called Ru; Santonica from a
region of that name; Fenugreek from Greece; Gastanes from a country so
called; Persicaria from Persia; Sabine from a territory of that
appellation; Staechas from the Staechad Islands; Spica Celtica from the
land of the Celtic Gauls, and so throughout a great many other, which were
tedious to enumerate. Some others, again, have obtained their
denominations by way of antiphrasis, or contrariety; as Absinth, because it
is contrary to Psinthos, for it is bitter to the taste in drinking;
Holosteon, as if it were all bones, whilst, on the contrary, there is no
frailer, tenderer, nor brittler herb in the whole production of nature than

There are some other sorts of herbs which have got their names from their
virtues and operations, as Aristolochia, because it helpeth women in
childbirth; Lichen, for that it cureth the disease of that name; Mallow,
because it mollifieth; Callithricum, because it maketh the hair of a bright
colour; Alyssum, Ephemerum, Bechium, Nasturtium, Aneban (Henbane), and so
forth through many more.

Other some there are which have obtained their names from the admirable
qualities that are found to be in them, as Heliotropium, which is the
marigold, because it followeth the sun, so that at the sun rising it
displayeth and spreads itself out, at his ascending it mounteth, at his
declining it waneth, and when he is set it is close shut; Adianton,
because, although it grow near unto watery places, and albeit you should
let it lie in water a long time, it will nevertheless retain no moisture
nor humidity; Hierachia, Eringium, and so throughout a great many more.
There are also a great many herbs and plants which have retained the very
same names of the men and women who have been metamorphosed and transformed
in them, as from Daphne the laurel is called also Daphne; Myrrh from
Myrrha, the daughter of Cinarus; Pythis from Pythis; Cinara, which is the
artichoke, from one of that name; Narcissus, with Saffron, Smilax, and
divers others.

Many herbs likewise have got their names of those things which they seem to
have some resemblance to; as Hippuris, because it hath the likeness of a
horse's tail; Alopecuris, because it representeth in similitude the tail of
a fox; Psyllion, from a flea which it resembleth; Delphinium, for that it
is like a dolphin fish; Bugloss is so called because it is an herb like an
ox's tongue; Iris, so called because in its flowers it hath some
resemblance of the rainbow; Myosota, because it is like the ear of a mouse;
Coronopus, for that it is of the likeness of a crow's foot. A great many
other such there are, which here to recite were needless. Furthermore, as
there are herbs and plants which have had their names from those of men, so
by a reciprocal denomination have the surnames of many families taken their
origin from them, as the Fabii, a fabis, beans; the Pisons, a pisis, peas;
the Lentuli from lentils; the Cicerons; a ciceribus, vel ciceris, a sort of
pulse called chickpease, and so forth. In some plants and herbs the
resemblance or likeness hath been taken from a higher mark or object, as
when we say Venus' navel, Venus' hair, Venus' tub, Jupiter's beard,
Jupiter's eye, Mars' blood, the Hermodactyl or Mercury's fingers, which are
all of them names of herbs, as there are a great many more of the like
appellation. Others, again, have received their denomination from their
forms, such as the Trefoil, because it is three-leaved; Pentaphylon, for
having five leaves; Serpolet, because it creepeth along the ground;
Helxine, Petast, Myrobalon, which the Arabians called Been, as if you would
say an acorn, for it hath a kind of resemblance thereto, and withal is very

Chapter 3.LI.

Why it is called Pantagruelion, and of the admirable virtues thereof.

By such-like means of attaining to a denomination--the fabulous ways being
only from thence excepted, for the Lord forbid that we should make use of
any fables in this a so veritable history--is this herb called
Pantagruelion, for Pantagruel was the inventor thereof. I do not say of
the plant itself, but of a certain use which it serves for, exceeding
odious and hateful to thieves and robbers, unto whom it is more contrarious
and hurtful than the strangle-weed and chokefitch is to the flax, the cats-
tail to the brakes, the sheave-grass to the mowers of hay, the fitches to
the chickney-pease, the darnel to barley, the hatchet-fitch to the lentil
pulse, the antramium to the beans, tares to wheat, ivy to walls, the water-
lily to lecherous monks, the birchen rod to the scholars of the college of
Navarre in Paris, colewort to the vine-tree, garlic to the loadstone,
onions to the sight, fern-seed to women with child, willow-grain to vicious
nuns, the yew-tree shade to those that sleep under it, wolfsbane to wolves
and libbards, the smell of fig-tree to mad bulls, hemlock to goslings,
purslane to the teeth, or oil to trees. For we have seen many of those
rogues, by virtue and right application of this herb, finish their lives
short and long, after the manner of Phyllis, Queen of Thracia, of Bonosus,
Emperor of Rome, of Amata, King Latinus's wife, of Iphis, Autolycus,
Lycambe, Arachne, Phaedra, Leda, Achius, King of Lydia, and many thousands
more, who were chiefly angry and vexed at this disaster therein, that,
without being otherwise sick or evil-disposed in their bodies, by a touch
only of the Pantagruelion they came on a sudden to have the passage
obstructed, and their pipes, through which were wont to bolt so many jolly
sayings and to enter so many luscious morsels, stopped, more cleverly than
ever could have done the squinancy.

Others have been heard most woefully to lament, at the very instant when
Atropos was about to cut the thread of their life, that Pantagruel held
them by the gorge. But, well-a-day, it was not Pantagruel; he never was an
executioner. It was the Pantagruelion, manufactured and fashioned into an
halter; and serving in the place and office of a cravat. In that, verily,
they solecized and spoke improperly, unless you would excuse them by a
trope, which alloweth us to posit the inventor in the place of the thing
invented, as when Ceres is taken for bread, and Bacchus put instead of
wine. I swear to you here, by the good and frolic words which are to issue
out of that wine-bottle which is a-cooling below in the copper vessel full
of fountain water, that the noble Pantagruel never snatched any man by the
throat, unless it was such a one as was altogether careless and neglective
of those obviating remedies which were preventive of the thirst to come.

It is also termed Pantagruelion by a similitude. For Pantagruel, at the
very first minute of his birth, was no less tall than this herb is long
whereof I speak unto you, his measure having been then taken the more easy
that he was born in the season of the great drought, when they were busiest
in the gathering of the said herb, to wit, at that time when Icarus's dog,
with his fiery bawling and barking at the sun, maketh the whole world
Troglodytic, and enforceth people everywhere to hide themselves in dens and
subterranean caves. It is likewise called Pantagruelion because of the
notable and singular qualities, virtues, and properties thereof. For as
Pantagruel hath been the idea, pattern, prototype, and exemplary of all
jovial perfection and accomplishment--in the truth whereof I believe there
is none of you gentlemen drinkers that putteth any question--so in this
Pantagruelion have I found so much efficacy and energy, so much
completeness and excellency, so much exquisiteness and rarity, and so many
admirable effects and operations of a transcendent nature, that if the
worth and virtue thereof had been known when those trees, by the relation
of the prophet, made election of a wooden king to rule and govern over
them, it without all doubt would have carried away from all the rest the
plurality of votes and suffrages.

Shall I yet say more? If Oxylus, the son of Orius, had begotten this plant
upon his sister Hamadryas, he had taken more delight in the value and
perfection of it alone than in all his eight children, so highly renowned
by our ablest mythologians that they have sedulously recommended their
names to the never-failing tuition of an eternal remembrance. The eldest
child was a daughter, whose name was Vine; the next born was a boy, and his
name was Fig-tree; the third was called Walnut-tree; the fourth Oak; the
fifth Sorbapple-tree; the sixth Ash; the seventh Poplar, and the last had
the name of Elm, who was the greatest surgeon in his time. I shall forbear
to tell you how the juice or sap thereof, being poured and distilled within
the ears, killeth every kind of vermin that by any manner of putrefaction
cometh to be bred and engendered there, and destroyeth also any whatsoever
other animal that shall have entered in thereat. If, likewise, you put a
little of the said juice within a pail or bucket full of water, you shall
see the water instantly turn and grow thick therewith as if it were milk-
curds, whereof the virtue is so great that the water thus curded is a
present remedy for horses subject to the colic, and such as strike at their
own flanks. The root thereof well boiled mollifieth the joints, softeneth
the hardness of shrunk-in sinews, is every way comfortable to the nerves,
and good against all cramps and convulsions, as likewise all cold and
knotty gouts. If you would speedily heal a burning, whether occasioned by
water or fire, apply thereto a little raw Pantagruelion, that is to say,
take it so as it cometh out of the ground, without bestowing any other
preparation or composition upon it; but have a special care to change it
for some fresher in lieu thereof as soon as you shall find it waxing dry
upon the sore.

Without this herb kitchens would be detested, the tables of dining-rooms
abhorred, although there were great plenty and variety of most dainty and
sumptuous dishes of meat set down upon them, and the choicest beds also,
how richly soever adorned with gold, silver, amber, ivory, porphyry, and
the mixture of most precious metals, would without it yield no delight or
pleasure to the reposers in them. Without it millers could neither carry
wheat, nor any other kind of corn to the mill, nor would they be able to
bring back from thence flour, or any other sort of meal whatsoever.
Without it, how could the papers and writs of lawyers' clients be brought
to the bar? Seldom is the mortar, lime, or plaster brought to the
workhouse without it. Without it, how should the water be got out of a
draw-well? In what case would tabellions, notaries, copists, makers of
counterpanes, writers, clerks, secretaries, scriveners, and such-like
persons be without it? Were it not for it, what would become of the toll-
rates and rent-rolls? Would not the noble art of printing perish without
it? Whereof could the chassis or paper-windows be made? How should the
bells be rung? The altars of Isis are adorned therewith, the Pastophorian
priests are therewith clad and accoutred, and whole human nature covered
and wrapped therein at its first position and production in and into this
world. All the lanific trees of Seres, the bumbast and cotton bushes in
the territories near the Persian Sea and Gulf of Bengala, the Arabian
swans, together with the plants of Malta, do not all the them clothe,
attire, and apparel so many persons as this one herb alone. Soldiers are
nowadays much better sheltered under it than they were in former times,
when they lay in tents covered with skins. It overshadows the theatres and
amphitheatres from the heat of a scorching sun. It begirdeth and
encompasseth forests, chases, parks, copses, and groves, for the pleasure
of hunters. It descendeth into the salt and fresh of both sea and river-
waters for the profit of fishers. By it are boots of all sizes, buskins,
gamashes, brodkins, gambadoes, shoes, pumps, slippers, and every cobbled
ware wrought and made steadable for the use of man. By it the butt and
rover-bows are strung, the crossbows bended, and the slings made fixed.
And, as if it were an herb every whit as holy as the vervain, and
reverenced by ghosts, spirits, hobgoblins, fiends, and phantoms, the bodies
of deceased men are never buried without it.

I will proceed yet further. By the means of this fine herb the invisible
substances are visibly stopped, arrested, taken, detained, and prisoner-
like committed to their receptive gaols. Heavy and ponderous weights are
by it heaved, lifted up, turned, veered, drawn, carried, and every way
moved quickly, nimbly, and easily, to the great profit and emolument of
humankind. When I perpend with myself these and such-like marvellous
effects of this wonderful herb, it seemeth strange unto me how the
invention of so useful a practice did escape through so many by-past ages
the knowledge of the ancient philosophers, considering the inestimable
utility which from thence proceeded, and the immense labour which without
it they did undergo in their pristine elucubrations. By virtue thereof,
through the retention of some aerial gusts, are the huge rambarges, mighty
galleons, the large floats, the Chiliander, the Myriander ships launched
from their stations and set a-going at the pleasure and arbitrament of
their rulers, conders, and steersmen. By the help thereof those remote
nations whom nature seemed so unwilling to have discovered to us, and so
desirous to have kept them still in abscondito and hidden from us, that the
ways through which their countries were to be reached unto were not only
totally unknown, but judged also to be altogether impermeable and
inaccessible, are now arrived to us, and we to them.

Those voyages outreached flights of birds and far surpassed the scope of
feathered fowls, how swift soever they had been on the wing, and
notwithstanding that advantage which they have of us in swimming through
the air. Taproban hath seen the heaths of Lapland, and both the Javas and
Riphaean mountains; wide distant Phebol shall see Theleme, and the
Islanders drink of the flood Euphrates. By it the chill-mouthed Boreas
hath surveyed the parched mansions of the torrid Auster, and Eurus visited
the regions which Zephyrus hath under his command; yea, in such sort have
interviews been made by the assistance of this sacred herb, that, maugre
longitudes and latitudes, and all the variations of the zones, the
Periaecian people, and Antoecian, Amphiscian, Heteroscian, and Periscian
had oft rendered and received mutual visits to and from other, upon all the
climates. These strange exploits bred such astonishment to the celestial
intelligences, to all the marine and terrestrial gods, that they were on a
sudden all afraid. From which amazement, when they saw how, by means of
this blest Pantagruelion, the Arctic people looked upon the Antarctic,
scoured the Atlantic Ocean, passed the tropics, pushed through the torrid
zone, measured all the zodiac, sported under the equinoctial, having both
poles level with their horizon, they judged it high time to call a council
for their own safety and preservation.

The Olympic gods, being all and each of them affrighted at the sight of
such achievements, said: Pantagruel hath shapen work enough for us, and
put us more to a plunge and nearer our wits' end by this sole herb of his
than did of old the Aloidae by overturning mountains. He very speedily is
to be married, and shall have many children by his wife. It lies not in
our power to oppose this destiny; for it hath passed through the hands and
spindles of the Fatal Sisters, necessity's inexorable daughters. Who knows
but by his sons may be found out an herb of such another virtue and
prodigious energy, as that by the aid thereof, in using it aright according
to their father's skill, they may contrive a way for humankind to pierce
into the high aerian clouds, get up unto the springhead of the hail, take
an inspection of the snowy sources, and shut and open as they please the
sluices from whence proceed the floodgates of the rain; then, prosecuting
their aethereal voyage, they may step in unto the lightning workhouse and
shop, where all the thunderbolts are forged, where, seizing on the magazine
of heaven and storehouse of our warlike fire-munition, they may discharge a
bouncing peal or two of thundering ordnance for joy of their arrival to
these new supernal places, and, charging those tonitrual guns afresh, turn
the whole force of that artillery against ourselves wherein we most
confided. Then is it like they will set forward to invade the territories
of the Moon, whence, passing through both Mercury and Venus, the Sun will
serve them for a torch, to show the way from Mars to Jupiter and Saturn.
We shall not then be able to resist the impetuosity of their intrusion, nor
put a stoppage to their entering in at all, whatever regions, domiciles, or
mansions of the spangled firmament they shall have any mind to see, to stay
in, to travel through for their recreation. All the celestial signs
together, with the constellations of the fixed stars, will jointly be at
their devotion then. Some will take up their lodging at the Ram, some at
the Bull, and others at the Twins; some at the Crab, some at the Lion Inn,
and others at the sign of the Virgin; some at the Balance, others at the
Scorpion, and others will be quartered at the Archer; some will be
harboured at the Goat, some at the Water-pourer's sign, some at the Fishes;
some will lie at the Crown, some at the Harp, some at the Golden Eagle and
the Dolphin; some at the Flying Horse, some at the Ship, some at the great,
some at the little Bear; and so throughout the glistening hostelries of the
whole twinkling asteristic welkin. There will be sojourners come from the
earth, who, longing after the taste of the sweet cream, of their own
skimming off, from the best milk of all the dairy of the Galaxy, will set
themselves at table down with us, drink of our nectar and ambrosia, and
take to their own beds at night for wives and concubines our fairest
goddesses, the only means whereby they can be deified. A junto hereupon
being convocated, the better to consult upon the manner of obviating a so
dreadful danger, Jove, sitting in his presidential throne, asked the votes
of all the other gods, which, after a profound deliberation amongst
themselves on all contingencies, they freely gave at last, and then
resolved unanimously to withstand the shocks of all whatsoever sublunary

Chapter 3.LII.

How a certain kind of Pantagruelion is of that nature that the fire is not
able to consume it.

I have already related to you great and admirable things; but, if you might
be induced to adventure upon the hazard of believing some other divinity of
this sacred Pantagruelion, I very willingly would tell it you. Believe it,
if you will, or otherwise, believe it not, I care not which of them you do,
they are both alike to me. It shall be sufficient for my purpose to have
told you the truth, and the truth I will tell you. But to enter in
thereat, because it is of a knaggy, difficult, and rugged access, this is
the question which I ask of you. If I had put within this bottle two
pints, the one of wine and the other of water, thoroughly and exactly
mingled together, how would you unmix them? After what manner would you go
about to sever them, and separate the one liquor from the other, in such
sort that you render me the water apart, free from the wine, and the wine
also pure, without the intermixture of one drop of water, and both of them
in the same measure, quantity, and taste that I had embottled them? Or, to
state the question otherwise. If your carmen and mariners, entrusted for
the provision of your houses with the bringing of a certain considerable
number of tuns, puncheons, pipes, barrels, and hogsheads of Graves wine, or
of the wine of Orleans, Beaune, and Mireveaux, should drink out the half,
and afterwards with water fill up the other empty halves of the vessels as
full as before, as the Limosins use to do in their carriages by wains and
carts of the wines of Argenton and Sangaultier; after that, how would you
part the water from the wine, and purify them both in such a case? I
understand you well enough. Your meaning is, that I must do it with an ivy
funnel. That is written, it is true, and the verity thereof explored by a
thousand experiments; you have learned to do this feat before, I see it.
But those that have never known it, nor at any time have seen the like,
would hardly believe that it were possible. Let us nevertheless proceed.

But put the case, we were now living in the age of Sylla, Marius, Caesar,
and other such Roman emperors, or that we were in the time of our ancient
Druids, whose custom was to burn and calcine the dead bodies of their
parents and lords, and that you had a mind to drink the ashes or cinders of
your wives or fathers in the infused liquor of some good white-wine, as
Artemisia drunk the dust and ashes of her husband Mausolus; or otherwise,
that you did determine to have them reserved in some fine urn or reliquary
pot; how would you save the ashes apart, and separate them from those other
cinders and ashes into which the fuel of the funeral and bustuary fire hath
been converted? Answer, if you can. By my figgins, I believe it will
trouble you so to do.

Well, I will despatch, and tell you that, if you take of this celestial
Pantagruelion so much as is needful to cover the body of the defunct, and
after that you shall have enwrapped and bound therein as hard and closely
as you can the corpse of the said deceased persons, and sewed up the
folding-sheet with thread of the same stuff, throw it into the fire, how
great or ardent soever it be it matters not a straw, the fire through this
Pantagruelion will burn the body and reduce to ashes the bones thereof, and
the Pantagruelion shall be not only not consumed nor burnt, but also shall
neither lose one atom of the ashes enclosed within it, nor receive one atom
of the huge bustuary heap of ashes resulting from the blazing conflagration
of things combustible laid round about it, but shall at last, when taken
out of the fire, be fairer, whiter, and much cleaner than when you did put
it in at first. Therefore it is called Asbeston, which is as much to say
as incombustible. Great plenty is to be found thereof in Carpasia, as
likewise in the climate Dia Sienes, at very easy rates. O how rare and
admirable a thing it is, that the fire which devoureth, consumeth, and
destroyeth all such things else, should cleanse, purge, and whiten this
sole Pantagruelion Carpasian Asbeston! If you mistrust the verity of this
relation, and demand for further confirmation of my assertion a visible
sign, as the Jews and such incredulous infidels use to do, take a fresh
egg, and orbicularly, or rather ovally, enfold it within this divine
Pantagruelion. When it is so wrapped up, put it in the hot embers of a
fire, how great or ardent soever it be, and having left it there as long as
you will, you shall at last, at your taking it out of the fire, find the
egg roasted hard, and as it were burnt, without any alteration, change,
mutation, or so much as a calefaction of the sacred Pantagruelion. For
less than a million of pounds sterling, modified, taken down, and
amoderated to the twelfth part of one fourpence halfpenny farthing, you are
able to put it to a trial and make proof thereof.

Do not think to overmatch me here, by paragoning with it in the way of a
more eminent comparison the Salamander. That is a fib; for, albeit a
little ordinary fire, such as is used in dining-rooms and chambers,
gladden, cheer up, exhilarate, and quicken it, yet may I warrantably enough
assure that in the flaming fire of a furnace it will, like any other
animated creature, be quickly suffocated, choked, consumed, and destroyed.
We have seen the experiment thereof, and Galen many ages ago hath clearly
demonstrated and confirmed it, Lib. 3, De temperamentis, and Dioscorides
maintaineth the same doctrine, Lib. 2. Do not here instance in competition
with this sacred herb the feather alum or the wooden tower of Pyraeus,
which Lucius Sylla was never able to get burnt; for that Archelaus,
governor of the town for Mithridates, King of Pontus, had plastered it all
over on the outside with the said alum. Nor would I have you to compare
therewith the herb which Alexander Cornelius called Eonem, and said that it
had some resemblance with that oak which bears the mistletoe, and that it
could neither be consumed nor receive any manner of prejudice by fire nor
by water, no more than the mistletoe, of which was built, said he, the so
renowned ship Argos. Search where you please for those that will believe
it. I in that point desire to be excused. Neither would I wish you to
parallel therewith--although I cannot deny but that it is of a very
marvellous nature--that sort of tree which groweth alongst the mountains of
Brianson and Ambrun, which produceth out of his root the good agaric. From
its body it yieldeth unto us a so excellent rosin, that Galen hath been
bold to equal it to the turpentine. Upon the delicate leaves thereof it
retaineth for our use that sweet heavenly honey which is called the manna,
and, although it be of a gummy, oily, fat, and greasy substance, it is,
notwithstanding, unconsumable by any fire. It is in Greek and Latin called
Larix. The Alpinese name is Melze. The Antenorides and Venetians term it
Larege; which gave occasion to that castle in Piedmont to receive the
denomination of Larignum, by putting Julius Caesar to a stand at his return
from amongst the Gauls.

Julius Caesar commanded all the yeomen, boors, hinds, and other inhabitants
in, near unto, and about the Alps and Piedmont, to bring all manner of
victuals and provision for an army to those places which on the military
road he had appointed to receive them for the use of his marching soldiery.
To which ordinance all of them were obedient, save only those as were
within the garrison of Larignum, who, trusting in the natural strength of
the place, would not pay their contribution. The emperor, purposing to
chastise them for their refusal, caused his whole army to march straight
towards that castle, before the gate whereof was erected a tower built of
huge big spars and rafters of the larch-tree, fast bound together with pins
and pegs of the same wood, and interchangeably laid on one another, after
the fashion of a pile or stack of timber, set up in the fabric thereof to
such an apt and convenient height that from the parapet above the
portcullis they thought with stones and levers to beat off and drive away
such as should approach thereto.

When Caesar had understood that the chief defence of those within the
castle did consist in stones and clubs, and that it was not an easy matter
to sling, hurl, dart, throw, or cast them so far as to hinder the
approaches, he forthwith commanded his men to throw great store of bavins,
faggots, and fascines round about the castle, and when they had made the
heap of a competent height, to put them all in a fair fire; which was
thereupon incontinently done. The fire put amidst the faggots was so great
and so high that it covered the whole castle, that they might well imagine
the tower would thereby be altogether burnt to dust, and demolished.
Nevertheless, contrary to all their hopes and expectations, when the flame
ceased, and that the faggots were quite burnt and consumed, the tower
appeared as whole, sound, and entire as ever. Caesar, after a serious
consideration had thereof, commanded a compass to be taken without the
distance of a stone cast from the castle round about it there, with ditches
and entrenchments to form a blockade; which when the Larignans understood,
they rendered themselves upon terms. And then by a relation from them it
was that Caesar learned the admirable nature and virtue of this wood, which
of itself produceth neither fire, flame, nor coal, and would, therefore, in
regard of that rare quality of incombustibility, have been admitted into
this rank and degree of a true Pantagruelional plant; and that so much the
rather, for that Pantagruel directed that all the gates, doors, angiports,
windows, gutters, fretticed and embowed ceilings, cans, (cants?) and other
whatsoever wooden furniture in the abbey of Theleme, should be all
materiated of this kind of timber. He likewise caused to cover therewith
the sterns, stems, cook-rooms or laps, hatches, decks, courses, bends, and
walls of his carricks, ships, galleons, galleys, brigantines, foists,
frigates, crears, barques, floats, pinks, pinnaces, hoys, ketches, capers,
and other vessels of his Thalassian arsenal; were it not that the wood or
timber of the larch-tree, being put within a large and ample furnace full
of huge vehemently flaming fire proceeding from the fuel of other sorts and
kinds of wood, cometh at last to be corrupted, consumed, dissipated, and
destroyed, as are stones in a lime-kiln. But this Pantagruelion Asbeston
is rather by the fire renewed and cleansed than by the flames thereof
consumed or changed. Therefore,

Arabians, Indians, Sabaeans,
Sing not, in hymns and Io Paeans,
Your incense, myrrh, or ebony.
Come here, a nobler plant to see,
And carry home, at any rate,
Some seed, that you may propagate.
If in your soil it takes, to heaven
A thousand thousand thanks be given;
And say with France, it goodly goes,
Where the Pantagruelion grows.




The Translator's Preface.

Reader,--I don't know what kind of a preface I must write to find thee
courteous, an epithet too often bestowed without a cause. The author of
this work has been as sparing of what we call good nature, as most readers
are nowadays. So I am afraid his translator and commentator is not to
expect much more than has been showed them. What's worse, there are but
two sorts of taking prefaces, as there are but two kinds of prologues to
plays; for Mr. Bays was doubtless in the right when he said that if thunder
and lightning could not fright an audience into complaisance, the sight of
the poet with a rope about his neck might work them into pity. Some,
indeed, have bullied many of you into applause, and railed at your faults
that you might think them without any; and others, more safely, have spoken
kindly of you, that you might think, or at least speak, as favourably of
them, and be flattered into patience. Now, I fancy, there's nothing less
difficult to attempt than the first method; for, in this blessed age, 'tis
as easy to find a bully without courage, as a whore without beauty, or a
writer without wit; though those qualifications are so necessary in their
respective professions. The mischief is, that you seldom allow any to rail
besides yourselves, and cannot bear a pride which shocks your own. As for
wheedling you into a liking of a work, I must confess it seems the safest
way; but though flattery pleases you well when it is particular, you hate
it, as little concerning you, when it is general. Then we knights of the
quill are a stiff-necked generation, who as seldom care to seem to doubt
the worth of our writings, and their being liked, as we love to flatter
more than one at a time; and had rather draw our pens, and stand up for the
beauty of our works (as some arrant fools use to do for that of their
mistresses) to the last drop of our ink. And truly this submission, which
sometimes wheedles you into pity, as seldom decoys you into love, as the
awkward cringing of an antiquated fop, as moneyless as he is ugly, affects
an experienced fair one. Now we as little value your pity as a lover his
mistress's, well satisfied that it is only a less uncivil way of dismissing
us. But what if neither of these two ways will work upon you, of which
doleful truth some of our playwrights stand so many living monuments? Why,
then, truly I think on no other way at present but blending the two into
one; and, from this marriage of huffing and cringing, there will result a
new kind of careless medley, which, perhaps, will work upon both sorts of
readers, those who are to be hectored, and those whom we must creep to. At
least, it is like to please by its novelty; and it will not be the first
monster that has pleased you when regular nature could not do it.

If uncommon worth, lively wit, and deep learning, wove into wholesome
satire, a bold, good, and vast design admirably pursued, truth set out in
its true light, and a method how to arrive to its oracle, can recommend a
work, I am sure this has enough to please any reasonable man. The three
books published some time since, which are in a manner an entire work, were
kindly received; yet, in the French, they come far short of these two,
which are also entire pieces; for the satire is all general here, much more
obvious, and consequently more entertaining. Even my long explanatory
preface was not thought improper. Though I was so far from being allowed
time to make it methodical, that at first only a few pages were intended;
yet as fast as they were printed I wrote on, till it proved at last like
one of those towns built little at first, then enlarged, where you see
promiscuously an odd variety of all sorts of irregular buildings. I hope
the remarks I give now will not please less; for, as I have translated the
work which they explain, I had more time to make them, though as little to
write them. It would be needless to give here a large account of my
performance; for, after all, you readers care no more for this or that
apology, or pretence of Mr. Translator, if the version does not please you,
than we do for a blundering cook's excuse after he has spoiled a good dish
in the dressing. Nor can the first pretend to much praise, besides that of
giving his author's sense in its full extent, and copying his style, if it
is to be copied; since he has no share in the invention or disposition of
what he translates. Yet there was no small difficulty in doing Rabelais
justice in that double respect; the obsolete words and turns of phrase, and
dark subjects, often as darkly treated, make the sense hard to be
understood even by a Frenchman, and it cannot be easy to give it the free
easy air of an original; for even what seems most common talk in one
language, is what is often the most difficult to be made so in another; and
Horace's thoughts of comedy may be well applied to this:

Creditur, ex medio quia res arcessit, habere
Sudoris minimum; sed habet commoedia tantum
Plus oneris, quanto veniae minus.

Far be it from me, for all this, to value myself upon hitting the words of
cant in which my drolling author is so luxuriant; for though such words
have stood me in good stead, I scarce can forbear thinking myself unhappy
in having insensibly hoarded up so much gibberish and Billingsgate trash in
my memory; nor could I forbear asking of myself, as an Italian cardinal
said on another account, D'onde hai tu pigliato tante coglionerie? Where
the devil didst thou rake up all these fripperies?

It was not less difficult to come up to the author's sublime expressions.
Nor would I have attempted such a task, but that I was ambitious of giving
a view of the most valuable work of the greatest genius of his age, to the
Mecaenas and best genius of this. For I am not overfond of so ungrateful a
task as translating, and would rejoice to see less versions and more
originals; so the latter were not as bad as many of the first are, through
want of encouragement. Some indeed have deservedly gained esteem by
translating; yet not many condescend to translate, but such as cannot
invent; though to do the first well requires often as much genius as to do
the latter.

I wish, reader, thou mayest be as willing to do my author justice, as I
have strove to do him right. Yet, if thou art a brother of the quill, it
is ten to one thou art too much in love with thy own dear productions to
admire those of one of thy trade. However, I know three or four who have
not such a mighty opinion of themselves; but I'll not name them, lest I
should be obliged to place myself among them. If thou art one of those
who, though they never write, criticise everyone that does; avaunt!--Thou
art a professed enemy of mankind and of thyself, who wilt never be pleased
nor let anybody be so, and knowest no better way to fame than by striving
to lessen that of others; though wouldst thou write thou mightst be soon
known, even by the butterwomen, and fly through the world in bandboxes. If
thou art of the dissembling tribe, it is thy office to rail at those books
which thou huggest in a corner. If thou art one of those eavesdroppers,
who would have their moroseness be counted gravity, thou wilt condemn a
mirth which thou art past relishing; and I know no other way to quit the
score than by writing (as like enough I may) something as dull, or duller
than thyself, if possible. If thou art one of those critics in dressing,
those extempores of fortune, who, having lost a relation and got an estate,
in an instant set up for wit and every extravagance, thou'lt either praise
or discommend this book, according to the dictates of some less foolish
than thyself, perhaps of one of those who, being lodged at the sign of the
box and dice, will know better things than to recommend to thee a work
which bids thee beware of his tricks. This book might teach thee to leave
thy follies; but some will say it does not signify much to some fools
whether they are so or not; for when was there a fool that thought himself
one? If thou art one of those who would put themselves upon us for learned
men in Greek and Hebrew, yet are mere blockheads in English, and patch
together old pieces of the ancients to get themselves clothes out of them,
thou art too severely mauled in this work to like it. Who then will? some
will cry. Nay, besides these, many societies that make a great figure in
the world are reflected on in this book; which caused Rabelais to study to
be dark, and even bedaub it with many loose expressions, that he might not
be thought to have any other design than to droll; in a manner bewraying
his book that his enemies might not bite it. Truly, though now the riddle
is expounded, I would advise those who read it not to reflect on the
author, lest he be thought to have been beforehand with them, and they be
ranked among those who have nothing to show for their honesty but their
money, nothing for their religion but their dissembling, or a fat benefice,
nothing for their wit but their dressing, for their nobility but their
title, for their gentility but their sword, for their courage but their
huffing, for their preferment but their assurance, for their learning but
their degrees, or for their gravity but their wrinkles or dulness. They
had better laugh at one another here, as it is the custom of the world.
Laughing is of all professions; the miser may hoard, the spendthrift
squander, the politician plot, the lawyer wrangle, and the gamester cheat;
still their main design is to be able to laugh at one another; and here
they may do it at a cheap and easy rate. After all, should this work fail
to please the greater number of readers, I am sure it cannot miss being
liked by those who are for witty mirth and a chirping bottle; though not by
those solid sots who seem to have drudged all their youth long only that
they might enjoy the sweet blessing of getting drunk every night in their
old age. But those men of sense and honour who love truth and the good of
mankind in general above all other things will undoubtedly countenance this
work. I will not gravely insist upon its usefulness, having said enough of
it in the preface (Motteux' Preface to vol. I of Rabelais, ed. 1694.) to
the first part. I will only add, that as Homer in his Odyssey makes his
hero wander ten years through most parts of the then known world, so
Rabelais, in a three months' voyage, makes Pantagruel take a view of almost
all sorts of people and professions; with this difference, however, between
the ancient mythologist and the modern, that while the Odyssey has been
compared to a setting sun in respect to the Iliads, Rabelais' last work,
which is this Voyage to the Oracle of the Bottle (by which he means truth)
is justly thought his masterpiece, being wrote with more spirit, salt, and
flame, than the first part of his works. At near seventy years of age, his
genius, far from being drained, seemed to have acquired fresh vigour and
new graces the more it exerted itself; like those rivers which grow more
deep, large, majestic, and useful by their course. Those who accuse the
French of being as sparing of their wit as lavish of their words will find
an Englishman in our author. I must confess indeed that my countrymen and
other southern nations temper the one with the other in a manner as they do
their wine with water, often just dashing the latter with a little of the
first. Now here men love to drink their wine pure; nay, sometimes it will
not satisfy unless in its very quintessence, as in brandies; though an
excess of this betrays want of sobriety, as much as an excess of wit
betrays a want of judgment. But I must conclude, lest I be justly taxed
with wanting both. I will only add, that as every language has its
peculiar graces, seldom or never to be acquired by a foreigner, I cannot
think I have given my author those of the English in every place; but as
none compelled me to write, I fear to ask a pardon which yet the generous
temper of this nation makes me hope to obtain. Albinus, a Roman, who had
written in Greek, desired in his preface to be forgiven his faults of
language; but Cato asked him in derision whether any had forced him to
write in a tongue of which he was not an absolute master. Lucullus wrote a
history in the same tongue, and said he had scattered some false Greek in
it to let the world know it was the work of a Roman. I will not say as
much of my writings, in which I study to be as little incorrect as the
hurry of business and shortness of time will permit; but I may better say,
as Tully did of the history of his consulship, which he also had written in
Greek, that what errors may be found in the diction are crept in against my
intent. Indeed, Livius Andronicus and Terence, the one a Greek, the other
a Carthaginian, wrote successfully in Latin, and the latter is perhaps the
most perfect model of the purity and urbanity of that tongue; but I ought
not to hope for the success of those great men. Yet am I ambitious of
being as subservient to the useful diversion of the ingenious of this
nation as I can, which I have endeavoured in this work, with hopes to
attempt some greater tasks if ever I am happy enough to have more leisure.
In the meantime it will not displease me, if it is known that this is given
by one who, though born and educated in France, has the love and veneration
of a loyal subject for this nation, one who, by a fatality, which with many
more made him say,

Nos patriam fugimus et dulcia linquimus arva,

is obliged to make the language of these happy regions as natural to him as
he can, and thankfully say with the rest, under this Protestant government,

Deus nobis haec otia fecit.

The Author's Epistle Dedicatory.

To the most Illustrious Prince and most Reverend Lord Odet, Cardinal de

You know, most illustrious prince, how often I have been, and am daily
pressed and required by great numbers of eminent persons, to proceed in the
Pantagruelian fables; they tell me that many languishing, sick, and
disconsolate persons, perusing them, have deceived their grief, passed
their time merrily, and been inspired with new joy and comfort. I commonly
answer that I aimed not at glory and applause when I diverted myself with
writing, but only designed to give by my pen, to the absent who labour
under affliction, that little help which at all times I willingly strive to
give to the present that stand in need of my art and service. Sometimes I
at large relate to them how Hippocrates in several places, and particularly
in lib. 6. Epidem., describing the institution of the physician his
disciple, and also Soranus of Ephesus, Oribasius, Galen, Hali Abbas, and
other authors, have descended to particulars, in the prescription of his
motions, deportment, looks, countenance, gracefulness, civility,
cleanliness of face, clothes, beard, hair, hands, mouth, even his very
nails; as if he were to play the part of a lover in some comedy, or enter
the lists to fight some enemy. And indeed the practice of physic is
properly enough compared by Hippocrates to a fight, and also to a farce
acted between three persons, the patient, the physician, and the disease.
Which passage has sometimes put me in mind of Julia's saying to Augustus
her father. One day she came before him in a very gorgeous, loose,
lascivious dress, which very much displeased him, though he did not much
discover his discontent. The next day she put on another, and in a modest
garb, such as the chaste Roman ladies wore, came into his presence. The
kind father could not then forbear expressing the pleasure which he took to
see her so much altered, and said to her: Oh! how much more this garb
becomes and is commendable in the daughter of Augustus. But she, having
her excuse ready, answered: This day, sir, I dressed myself to please my
father's eye; yesterday, to gratify that of my husband. Thus disguised in
looks and garb, nay even, as formerly was the fashion, with a rich and
pleasant gown with four sleeves, which was called philonium according to
Petrus Alexandrinus in 6. Epidem., a physician might answer to such as
might find the metamorphosis indecent: Thus have I accoutred myself, not
that I am proud of appearing in such a dress, but for the sake of my
patient, whom alone I wholly design to please, and no wise offend or
dissatisfy. There is also a passage in our father Hippocrates, in the book
I have named, which causes some to sweat, dispute, and labour; not indeed
to know whether the physician's frowning, discontented, and morose Catonian
look render the patient sad, and his joyful, serene, and pleasing
countenance rejoice him; for experience teaches us that this is most
certain; but whether such sensations of grief or pleasure are produced by
the apprehension of the patient observing his motions and qualities in his
physician, and drawing from thence conjectures of the end and catastrophe
of his disease; as, by his pleasing look, joyful and desirable events, and
by his sorrowful and unpleasing air, sad and dismal consequences; or
whether those sensations be produced by a transfusion of the serene or
gloomy, aerial or terrestrial, joyful or melancholic spirits of the
physician into the person of the patient, as is the opinion of Plato,
Averroes, and others.

Above all things, the forecited authors have given particular directions to
physicians about the words, discourse, and converse which they ought to
have with their patients; everyone aiming at one point, that is, to rejoice
them without offending God, and in no wise whatsoever to vex or displease
them. Which causes Herophilus much to blame the physician Callianax, who,
being asked by a patient of his, Shall I die? impudently made him this

Patroclus died, whom all allow
By much a better man than you.

Another, who had a mind to know the state of his distemper, asking him,
after our merry Patelin's way: Well, doctor, does not my water tell you I
shall die? He foolishly answered, No; if Latona, the mother of those
lovely twins, Phoebus and Diana, begot thee. Galen, lib. 4, Comment. 6.
Epidem., blames much also Quintus his tutor, who, a certain nobleman of
Rome, his patient, saying to him, You have been at breakfast, my master,
your breath smells of wine; answered arrogantly, Yours smells of fever;
which is the better smell of the two, wine or a putrid fever? But the
calumny of certain cannibals, misanthropes, perpetual eavesdroppers, has
been so foul and excessive against me, that it had conquered my patience,
and I had resolved not to write one jot more. For the least of their
detractions were that my books are all stuffed with various heresies, of
which, nevertheless, they could not show one single instance; much, indeed,
of comical and facetious fooleries, neither offending God nor the king (and
truly I own they are the only subject and only theme of these books), but
of heresy not a word, unless they interpreted wrong, and against all use of
reason and common language, what I had rather suffer a thousand deaths, if
it were possible, than have thought; as who should make bread to be stone,
a fish to be a serpent, and an egg to be a scorpion. This, my lord,
emboldened me once to tell you, as I was complaining of it in your
presence, that if I did not esteem myself a better Christian than they show
themselves towards me, and if my life, writings, words, nay thoughts,
betrayed to me one single spark of heresy, or I should in a detestable
manner fall into the snares of the spirit of detraction, Diabolos, who, by
their means, raises such crimes against me; I would then, like the phoenix,
gather dry wood, kindle a fire, and burn myself in the midst of it. You
were then pleased to say to me that King Francis, of eternal memory, had
been made sensible of those false accusations; and that having caused my
books (mine, I say, because several, false and infamous, have been wickedly
laid to me) to be carefully and distinctly read to him by the most learned
and faithful anagnost in this kingdom, he had not found any passage
suspicious; and that he abhorred a certain envious, ignorant, hypocritical
informer, who grounded a mortal heresy on an n put instead of an m by the
carelessness of the printers.

As much was done by his son, our most gracious, virtuous, and blessed
sovereign, Henry, whom Heaven long preserve! so that he granted you his
royal privilege and particular protection for me against my slandering

You kindly condescended since to confirm me these happy news at Paris; and
also lately, when you visited my Lord Cardinal du Bellay, who, for the
benefit of his health, after a lingering distemper, was retired to St.
Maur, that place (or rather paradise) of salubrity, serenity, conveniency,
and all desirable country pleasures.

Thus, my lord, under so glorious a patronage, I am emboldened once more to
draw my pen, undaunted now and secure; with hopes that you will still prove
to me, against the power of detraction, a second Gallic Hercules in
learning, prudence, and eloquence; an Alexicacos in virtue, power, and
authority; you, of whom I may truly say what the wise monarch Solomon saith
of Moses, that great prophet and captain of Israel, Ecclesiast. 45: A man
fearing and loving God, who found favour in the sight of all flesh, well-
beloved both of God and man; whose memorial is blessed. God made him like
to the glorious saints, and magnified him so, that his enemies stood in
fear of him; and for him made wonders; made him glorious in the sight of
kings, gave him a commandment for his people, and by him showed his light;
he sanctified him in his faithfulness and meekness, and chose him out of
all men. By him he made us to hear his voice, and caused by him the law of
life and knowledge to be given.

Accordingly, if I shall be so happy as to hear anyone commend those merry
composures, they shall be adjured by me to be obliged and pay their thanks
to you alone, as also to offer their prayers to Heaven for the continuance
and increase of your greatness; and to attribute no more to me than my
humble and ready obedience to your commands; for by your most honourable
encouragement you at once have inspired me with spirit and with invention;
and without you my heart had failed me, and the fountain-head of my animal
spirits had been dry. May the Lord keep you in his blessed mercy!

My Lord,

Your most humble, and most devoted Servant,

Francis Rabelais, Physician.

Paris, this 28th of January, MDLII.

The Author's Prologue.

Good people, God save and keep you! Where are you? I can't see you:
stay--I'll saddle my nose with spectacles--oh, oh! 'twill be fair anon: I
see you. Well, you have had a good vintage, they say: this is no bad news
to Frank, you may swear. You have got an infallible cure against thirst:
rarely performed of you, my friends! You, your wives, children, friends,
and families are in as good case as hearts can wish; it is well, it is as I
would have it: God be praised for it, and if such be his will, may you
long be so. For my part, I am thereabouts, thanks to his blessed goodness;
and by the means of a little Pantagruelism (which you know is a certain
jollity of mind, pickled in the scorn of fortune), you see me now hale and
cheery, as sound as a bell, and ready to drink, if you will. Would you
know why I'm thus, good people? I will even give you a positive answer--
Such is the Lord's will, which I obey and revere; it being said in his
word, in great derision to the physician neglectful of his own health,
Physician, heal thyself.

Galen had some knowledge of the Bible, and had conversed with the
Christians of his time, as appears lib. 11. De Usu Partium; lib. 2. De
Differentiis Pulsuum, cap. 3, and ibid. lib. 3. cap. 2. and lib. De Rerum
Affectibus (if it be Galen's). Yet 'twas not for any such veneration of
holy writ that he took care of his own health. No, it was for fear of
being twitted with the saying so well known among physicians:

Iatros allon autos elkesi bruon.

He boasts of healing poor and rich,
Yet is himself all over itch.

This made him boldly say, that he did not desire to be esteemed a
physician, if from his twenty-eighth year to his old age he had not lived
in perfect health, except some ephemerous fevers, of which he soon rid
himself; yet he was not naturally of the soundest temper, his stomach being
evidently bad. Indeed, as he saith, lib. 5, De Sanitate tuenda, that
physician will hardly be thought very careful of the health of others who
neglects his own. Asclepiades boasted yet more than this; for he said that
he had articled with fortune not to be reputed a physician if he could be
said to have been sick since he began to practise physic to his latter age,
which he reached, lusty in all his members and victorious over fortune;
till at last the old gentleman unluckily tumbled down from the top of a
certain ill-propped and rotten staircase, and so there was an end of him.

If by some disaster health is fled from your worships to the right or to
the left, above or below, before or behind, within or without, far or near,
on this side or the other side, wheresoever it be, may you presently, with
the help of the Lord, meet with it. Having found it, may you immediately
claim it, seize it, and secure it. The law allows it; the king would have
it so; nay, you have my advice for it. Neither more nor less than the law-
makers of old did fully empower a master to claim and seize his runaway
servant wherever he might be found. Odds-bodikins, is it not written and
warranted by the ancient customs of this noble, so rich, so flourishing
realm of France, that the dead seizes the quick? See what has been
declared very lately in that point by that learned, wise, courteous, humane
and just civilian, Andrew Tiraqueau, one of the judges in the most
honourable court of Parliament at Paris. Health is our life, as Ariphron
the Sicyonian wisely has it; without health life is not life, it is not
living life: abios bios, bios abiotos. Without health life is only a
languishment and an image of death. Therefore, you that want your health,
that is to say, that are dead, seize the quick; secure life to yourselves,
that is to say, health.

I have this hope in the Lord, that he will hear our supplications,
considering with what faith and zeal we pray, and that he will grant this
our wish because it is moderate and mean. Mediocrity was held by the
ancient sages to be golden, that is to say, precious, praised by all men,
and pleasing in all places. Read the sacred Bible, you will find the
prayers of those who asked moderately were never unanswered. For example,
little dapper Zaccheus, whose body and relics the monks of St. Garlick,
near Orleans, boast of having, and nickname him St. Sylvanus; he only
wished to see our blessed Saviour near Jerusalem. It was but a small
request, and no more than anybody then might pretend to. But alas! he was
but low-built; and one of so diminutive a size, among the crowd, could not
so much as get a glimpse of him. Well then he struts, stands on tiptoes,
bustles, and bestirs his stumps, shoves and makes way, and with much ado
clambers up a sycamore. Upon this, the Lord, who knew his sincere
affection, presented himself to his sight, and was not only seen by him,
but heard also; nay, what is more, he came to his house and blessed his

One of the sons of the prophets in Israel felling would near the river
Jordan, his hatchet forsook the helve and fell to the bottom of the river;
so he prayed to have it again ('twas but a small request, mark ye me), and
having a strong faith, he did not throw the hatchet after the helve, as
some spirits of contradiction say by way of scandalous blunder, but the
helve after the hatchet, as you all properly have it. Presently two great
miracles were seen: up springs the hatchet from the bottom of the water,
and fixes itself to its old acquaintance the helve. Now had he wished to
coach it to heaven in a fiery chariot like Elias, to multiply in seed like
Abraham, be as rich as Job, strong as Samson, and beautiful as Absalom,
would he have obtained it, d'ye think? I' troth, my friends, I question it
very much.

Now I talk of moderate wishes in point of hatchet (but harkee me, be sure
you don't forget when we ought to drink), I will tell you what is written
among the apologues of wise Aesop the Frenchman. I mean the Phrygian and
Trojan, as Max. Planudes makes him; from which people, according to the
most faithful chroniclers, the noble French are descended. Aelian writes
that he was of Thrace and Agathias, after Herodotus, that he was of Samos;
'tis all one to Frank.

In his time lived a poor honest country fellow of Gravot, Tom Wellhung by
name, a wood-cleaver by trade, who in that low drudgery made shift so to
pick up a sorry livelihood. It happened that he lost his hatchet. Now
tell me who ever had more cause to be vexed than poor Tom? Alas, his whole
estate and life depended on his hatchet; by his hatchet he earned many a
fair penny of the best woodmongers or log-merchants among whom he went
a-jobbing; for want of his hatchet he was like to starve; and had death but
met with him six days after without a hatchet, the grim fiend would have
mowed him down in the twinkling of a bedstaff. In this sad case he began
to be in a heavy taking, and called upon Jupiter with the most eloquent
prayers--for you know necessity was the mother of eloquence. With the
whites of his eyes turned up towards heaven, down on his marrow-bones, his
arms reared high, his fingers stretched wide, and his head bare, the poor
wretch without ceasing was roaring out, by way of litany, at every
repetition of his supplications, My hatchet, Lord Jupiter, my hatchet! my
hatchet! only my hatchet, O Jupiter, or money to buy another, and nothing
else! alas, my poor hatchet!

Jupiter happened then to be holding a grand council about certain urgent
affairs, and old gammer Cybele was just giving her opinion, or, if you
would rather have it so, it was young Phoebus the beau; but, in short,
Tom's outcries and lamentations were so loud that they were heard with no
small amazement at the council-board, by the whole consistory of the gods.
What a devil have we below, quoth Jupiter, that howls so horridly? By the
mud of Styx, have not we had all along, and have not we here still enough
to do, to set to rights a world of damned puzzling businesses of
consequence? We made an end of the fray between Presthan, King of Persia,
and Soliman the Turkish emperor, we have stopped up the passages between
the Tartars and the Muscovites; answered the Xeriff's petition; done the
same to that of Golgots Rays; the state of Parma's despatched; so is that
of Maidenburg, that of Mirandola, and that of Africa, that town on the
Mediterranean which we call Aphrodisium; Tripoli by carelessness has got a
new master; her hour was come.

Here are the Gascons cursing and damning, demanding the restitution of
their bells.

In yonder corner are the Saxons, Easterlings, Ostrogoths, and Germans,
nations formerly invincible, but now aberkeids, bridled, curbed, and
brought under a paltry diminutive crippled fellow; they ask us revenge,
relief, restitution of their former good sense and ancient liberty.

But what shall we do with this same Ramus and this Galland, with a pox to
them, who, surrounded with a swarm of their scullions, blackguard
ragamuffins, sizars, vouchers, and stipulators, set together by the ears
the whole university of Paris? I am in a sad quandary about it, and for
the heart's blood of me cannot tell yet with whom of the two to side.

Both seem to me notable fellows, and as true cods as ever pissed. The one
has rose-nobles, I say fine and weighty ones; the other would gladly have
some too. The one knows something; the other's no dunce. The one loves
the better sort of men; the other's beloved by 'em. The one is an old
cunning fox; the other with tongue and pen, tooth and nail, falls foul on
the ancient orators and philosophers, and barks at them like a cur.

What thinkest thou of it, say, thou bawdy Priapus? I have found thy
counsel just before now, et habet tua mentula mentem.

King Jupiter, answered Priapus, standing up and taking off his cowl, his
snout uncased and reared up, fiery and stiffly propped, since you compare
the one to a yelping snarling cur and the other to sly Reynard the fox, my
advice is, with submission, that without fretting or puzzling your brains
any further about 'em, without any more ado, even serve 'em both as, in the
days of yore, you did the dog and the fox. How? asked Jupiter; when? who
were they? where was it? You have a rare memory, for aught I see! returned
Priapus. This right worshipful father Bacchus, whom we have here nodding
with his crimson phiz, to be revenged on the Thebans had got a fairy fox,
who, whatever mischief he did, was never to be caught or wronged by any
beast that wore a head.

The noble Vulcan here present had framed a dog of Monesian brass, and with
long puffing and blowing put the spirit of life into him; he gave it to
you, you gave it your Miss Europa, Miss Europa gave it Minos, Minos gave it
Procris, Procris gave it Cephalus. He was also of the fairy kind; so that,
like the lawyers of our age, he was too hard for all other sorts of
creatures; nothing could scape the dog. Now who should happen to meet but
these two? What do you think they did? Dog by his destiny was to take
fox, and fox by his fate was not to be taken.

The case was brought before your council: you protested that you would not
act against the fates; and the fates were contradictory. In short, the end
and result of the matter was, that to reconcile two contradictions was an
impossibility in nature. The very pang put you into a sweat; some drops of
which happening to light on the earth, produced what the mortals call
cauliflowers. All our noble consistory, for want of a categorical
resolution, were seized with such a horrid thirst, that above seventy-eight
hogsheads of nectar were swilled down at that sitting. At last you took my
advice, and transmogrified them into stones; and immediately got rid of
your perplexity, and a truce with thirst was proclaimed through this vast
Olympus. This was the year of flabby cods, near Teumessus, between Thebes
and Chalcis.

After this manner, it is my opinion that you should petrify this dog and
this fox. The metamorphosis will not be incongruous; for they both bear
the name of Peter. And because, according to the Limosin proverb, to make
an oven's mouth there must be three stones, you may associate them with
Master Peter du Coignet, whom you formerly petrified for the same cause.
Then those three dead pieces shall be put in an equilateral trigone
somewhere in the great temple at Paris--in the middle of the porch, if you
will--there to perform the office of extinguishers, and with their noses
put out the lighted candles, torches, tapers, and flambeaux; since, while
they lived, they still lighted, ballock-like, the fire of faction,
division, ballock sects, and wrangling among those idle bearded boys, the
students. And this will be an everlasting monument to show that those puny
self-conceited pedants, ballock-framers, were rather contemned than
condemned by you. Dixi, I have said my say.

You deal too kindly by them, said Jupiter, for aught I see, Monsieur
Priapus. You do not use to be so kind to everybody, let me tell you; for
as they seek to eternize their names, it would be much better for them to
be thus changed into hard stones than to return to earth and putrefaction.
But now to other matters. Yonder behind us, towards the Tuscan sea and the
neighbourhood of Mount Apennine, do you see what tragedies are stirred up
by certain topping ecclesiastical bullies? This hot fit will last its
time, like the Limosins' ovens, and then will be cooled, but not so fast.

We shall have sport enough with it; but I foresee one inconveniency; for
methinks we have but little store of thunder ammunition since the time that
you, my fellow gods, for your pastime lavished them away to bombard new
Antioch, by my particular permission; as since, after your example, the
stout champions who had undertaken to hold the fortress of Dindenarois
against all comers fairly wasted their powder with shooting at sparrows,
and then, not having wherewith to defend themselves in time of need,
valiantly surrendered to the enemy, who were already packing up their awls,
full of madness and despair, and thought on nothing but a shameful retreat.
Take care this be remedied, son Vulcan; rouse up your drowsy Cyclopes,
Asteropes, Brontes, Arges, Polyphemus, Steropes, Pyracmon, and so forth,
set them at work, and make them drink as they ought.

Never spare liquor to such as are at hot work. Now let us despatch this
bawling fellow below. You, Mercury, go see who it is, and know what he
wants. Mercury looked out at heaven's trapdoor, through which, as I am
told, they hear what is said here below. By the way, one might well enough
mistake it for the scuttle of a ship; though Icaromenippus said it was like
the mouth of a well. The light-heeled deity saw that it was honest Tom,
who asked for his lost hatchet; and accordingly he made his report to the
synod. Marry, said Jupiter, we are finely helped up, as if we had now
nothing else to do here but to restore lost hatchets. Well, he must have
it then for all this, for so 'tis written in the Book of Fate (do you
hear?), as well as if it was worth the whole duchy of Milan. The truth is,
the fellow's hatchet is as much to him as a kingdom to a king. Come, come,
let no more words be scattered about it; let him have his hatchet again.

Now, let us make an end of the difference betwixt the Levites and mole-
catchers of Landerousse. Whereabouts were we? Priapus was standing in the
chimney-corner, and having heard what Mercury had reported, said in a most
courteous and jovial manner: King Jupiter, while by your order and
particular favour I was garden-keeper-general on earth, I observed that
this word hatchet is equivocal to many things; for it signifies a certain
instrument by the means of which men fell and cleave timber. It also
signifies (at least I am sure it did formerly) a female soundly and
frequently thumpthumpriggletickletwiddletobyed. Thus I perceived that
every cock of the game used to call his doxy his hatchet; for with that
same tool (this he said lugging out and exhibiting his nine-inch knocker)
they so strongly and resolutely shove and drive in their helves, that the
females remain free from a fear epidemical amongst their sex, viz., that
from the bottom of the male's belly the instrument should dangle at his
heel for want of such feminine props. And I remember, for I have a member,
and a memory too, ay, and a fine memory, large enough to fill a butter-
firkin; I remember, I say, that one day of tubilustre (horn-fair) at the
festivals of goodman Vulcan in May, I heard Josquin Des Prez, Olkegan,
Hobrecht, Agricola, Brumel, Camelin, Vigoris, De la Fage, Bruyer, Prioris,
Seguin, De la Rue, Midy, Moulu, Mouton, Gascogne, Loyset, Compere, Penet,
Fevin, Rousee, Richard Fort, Rousseau, Consilion, Constantio Festi, Jacquet
Bercan, melodiously singing the following catch on a pleasant green:

Long John to bed went to his bride,
And laid a mallet by his side:
What means this mallet, John? saith she.
Why! 'tis to wedge thee home, quoth he.
Alas! cried she, the man's a fool:
What need you use a wooden tool?
When lusty John does to me come,
He never shoves but with his bum.

Nine Olympiads, and an intercalary year after (I have a rare member, I
would say memory; but I often make blunders in the symbolization and
colligance of those two words), I heard Adrian Villart, Gombert, Janequin,
Arcadet, Claudin, Certon, Manchicourt, Auxerre, Villiers, Sandrin, Sohier,
Hesdin, Morales, Passereau, Maille, Maillart, Jacotin, Heurteur, Verdelot,
Carpentras, L'Heritier, Cadeac, Doublet, Vermont, Bouteiller, Lupi,
Pagnier, Millet, Du Moulin, Alaire, Maraut, Morpain, Gendre, and other
merry lovers of music, in a private garden, under some fine shady trees,
round about a bulwark of flagons, gammons, pasties, with several coated
quails, and laced mutton, waggishly singing:

Since tools without their hafts are useless lumber,
And hatchets without helves are of that number;
That one may go in t'other, and may match it,
I'll be the helve, and thou shalt be the hatchet.

Now would I know what kind of hatchet this bawling Tom wants? This threw
all the venerable gods and goddesses into a fit of laughter, like any
microcosm of flies; and even set limping Vulcan a-hopping and jumping
smoothly three or four times for the sake of his dear. Come, come, said
Jupiter to Mercury, run down immediately, and cast at the poor fellow's
feet three hatchets: his own, another of gold, and a third of massy
silver, all of one size; then having left it to his will to take his
choice, if he take his own, and be satisfied with it, give him the other
two; if he take another, chop his head off with his own; and henceforth
serve me all those losers of hatchets after that manner. Having said this,
Jupiter, with an awkward turn of his head, like a jackanapes swallowing of
pills, made so dreadful a phiz that all the vast Olympus quaked again.
Heaven's foot messenger, thanks to his low-crowned narrow-brimmed hat, his
plume of feathers, heel-pieces, and running stick with pigeon wings, flings
himself out at heaven's wicket, through the idle deserts of the air, and in
a trice nimbly alights upon the earth, and throws at friend Tom's feet the
three hatchets, saying unto him: Thou hast bawled long enough to be a-dry;
thy prayers and request are granted by Jupiter: see which of these three
is thy hatchet, and take it away with thee. Wellhung lifts up the golden
hatchet, peeps upon it, and finds it very heavy; then staring on Mercury,
cries, Codszouks, this is none of mine; I won't ha't: the same he did with
the silver one, and said, 'Tis not this neither, you may e'en take them
again. At last he takes up his own hatchet, examines the end of the helve,
and finds his mark there; then, ravished with joy, like a fox that meets
some straggling poultry, and sneering from the tip of the nose, he cried,
By the mass, this is my hatchet, master god; if you will leave it me, I
will sacrifice to you a very good and huge pot of milk brimful, covered
with fine strawberries, next ides of May.


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