Gargantua and Pantagruel
Part 13 out of 16
Homenas then said to us: 'Tis enjoined us by our holy decretals to visit
churches first and taverns after. Therefore, not to decline that fine
institution, let us go to church; we will afterwards go and feast
ourselves. Man of God, quoth Friar John, do you go before, we'll follow
you. You spoke in the matter properly, and like a good Christian; 'tis
long since we saw any such. For my part, this rejoices my mind very much,
and I verily believe that I shall have the better stomach after it. Well,
'tis a happy thing to meet with good men! Being come near the gate of the
church, we spied a huge thick book, gilt, and covered all over with
precious stones, as rubies, emeralds, (diamonds,) and pearls, more, or at
least as valuable as those which Augustus consecrated to Jupiter
Capitolinus. This book hanged in the air, being fastened with two thick
chains of gold to the zoophore of the porch. We looked on it and admired
it. As for Pantagruel, he handled it and dandled it and turned it as he
pleased, for he could reach it without straining; and he protested that
whenever he touched it, he was seized with a pleasant tickling at his
fingers' end, new life and activity in his arms, and a violent temptation
in his mind to beat one or two sergeants, or such officers, provided they
were not of the shaveling kind. Homenas then said to us, The law was
formerly given to the Jews by Moses, written by God himself. At Delphos,
before the portal of Apollo's temple, this sentence, GNOTHI SEAUTON, was
found written with a divine hand. And some time after it, EI was also
seen, and as divinely written and transmitted from heaven. Cybele's image
was brought out of heaven, into a field called Pessinunt, in Phrygia; so
was that of Diana to Tauris, if you will believe Euripides; the oriflamme,
or holy standard, was transmitted out of heaven to the noble and most
Christian kings of France, to fight against the unbelievers. In the reign
of Numa Pompilius, second King of the Romans, the famous copper buckler
called Ancile was seen to descend from heaven. At Acropolis, near Athens,
Minerva's statue formerly fell from the empyreal heaven. In like manner
the sacred decretals which you see were written with the hand of an angel
of the cherubim kind. You outlandish people will hardly believe this, I
fear. Little enough, of conscience, said Panurge. And then, continued
Homenas, they were miraculously transmitted to us here from the very heaven
of heavens; in the same manner as the river Nile is called Diipetes by
Homer, the father of all philosophy--the holy decretals always excepted.
Now, because you have seen the pope, their evangelist and everlasting
protector, we will give you leave to see and kiss them on the inside, if
you think meet. But then you must fast three days before, and canonically
confess; nicely and strictly mustering up and inventorizing your sins,
great and small, so thick that one single circumstance of them may not
escape you; as our holy decretals, which you see, direct. This will take
up some time. Man of God, answered Panurge, we have seen and descried
decrees, and eke decretals enough o' conscience; some on paper, other on
parchment, fine and gay like any painted paper lantern, some on vellum,
some in manuscript, and others in print; so you need not take half these
pains to show us these. We'll take the goodwill for the deed, and thank
you as much as if we had. Ay, marry, said Homenas, but you never saw these
that are angelically written. Those in your country are only transcripts
from ours; as we find it written by one of our old decretaline scholiasts.
For me, do not spare me; I do not value the labour, so I may serve you. Do
but tell me whether you will be confessed and fast only three short little
days of God? As for shriving, answered Panurge, there can be no great harm
in't; but this same fasting, master of mine, will hardly down with us at
this time, for we have so very much overfasted ourselves at sea that the
spiders have spun their cobwebs over our grinders. Do but look on this
good Friar John des Entomeures (Homenas then courteously demi-clipped him
about the neck), some moss is growing in his throat for want of bestirring
and exercising his chaps. He speaks the truth, vouched Friar John; I have
so much fasted that I'm almost grown hump-shouldered. Come, then, let's go
into the church, said Homenas; and pray forgive us if for the present we do
not sing you a fine high mass. The hour of midday is past, and after it
our sacred decretals forbid us to sing mass, I mean your high and lawful
mass. But I'll say a low and dry one for you. I had rather have one
moistened with some good Anjou wine, cried Panurge; fall to, fall to your
low mass, and despatch. Ods-bodikins, quoth Friar John, it frets me to the
guts that I must have an empty stomach at this time of day; for, had I
eaten a good breakfast and fed like a monk, if he should chance to sing us
the Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, I had then brought thither bread and
wine for the traits passes (those that are gone before). Well, patience;
pull away, and save tide; short and sweet, I pray you, and this for a
How Homenas showed us the archetype, or representation of a pope.
Mass being mumbled over, Homenas took a huge bundle of keys out of a trunk
near the head altar, and put thirty-two of them into so many keyholes; put
back so many springs; then with fourteen more mastered so many padlocks,
and at last opened an iron window strongly barred above the said altar.
This being done, in token of great mystery he covered himself with wet
sackcloth, and drawing a curtain of crimson satin, showed us an image
daubed over, coarsely enough, to my thinking; then he touched it with a
pretty long stick, and made us all kiss the part of the stick that had
touched the image. After this he said unto us, What think you of this
image? It is the likeness of a pope, answered Pantagruel; I know it by the
triple crown, his furred amice, his rochet, and his slipper. You are in
the right, said Homenas; it is the idea of that same good god on earth
whose coming we devoutly await, and whom we hope one day to see in this
country. O happy, wished-for, and much-expected day! and happy, most happy
you, whose propitious stars have so favoured you as to let you see the
living and real face of this good god on earth! by the single sight of
whose picture we obtain full remission of all the sins which we remember
that we have committed, as also a third part and eighteen quarantaines of
the sins which we have forgot; and indeed we only see it on high annual
This caused Pantagruel to say that it was a work like those which Daedalus
used to make, since, though it were deformed and ill drawn, nevertheless
some divine energy, in point of pardons, lay hid and concealed in it.
Thus, said Friar John, at Seuille, the rascally beggars being one evening
on a solemn holiday at supper in the spital, one bragged of having got six
blancs, or twopence halfpenny; another eight liards, or twopence; a third,
seven caroluses, or sixpence; but an old mumper made his vaunts of having
got three testons, or five shillings. Ah, but, cried his comrades, thou
hast a leg of God; as if, continued Friar John, some divine virtue could
lie hid in a stinking ulcerated rotten shank. Pray, said Pantagruel, when
you are for telling us some such nauseous tale, be so kind as not to forget
to provide a basin, Friar John; I'll assure you, I had much ado to forbear
bringing up my breakfast. Fie! I wonder a man of your coat is not ashamed
to use thus the sacred name of God in speaking of things so filthy and
abominable! fie, I say. If among your monking tribes such an abuse of
words is allowed, I beseech you leave it there, and do not let it come out
of the cloisters. Physicians, said Epistemon, thus attribute a kind of
divinity to some diseases. Nero also extolled mushrooms, and, in a Greek
proverb, termed them divine food, because with them he had poisoned
Claudius his predecessor. But methinks, gentlemen, this same picture is
not over-like our late popes. For I have seen them, not with their
pallium, amice, or rochet on, but with helmets on their heads, more like
the top of a Persian turban; and while the Christian commonwealth was in
peace, they alone were most furiously and cruelly making war. This must
have been then, returned Homenas, against the rebellious, heretical
Protestants; reprobates who are disobedient to the holiness of this good
god on earth. 'Tis not only lawful for him to do so, but it is enjoined
him by the sacred decretals; and if any dare transgress one single iota
against their commands, whether they be emperors, kings, dukes, princes, or
commonwealths, he is immediately to pursue them with fire and sword, strip
them of all their goods, take their kingdoms from them, proscribe them,
anathematize them, and destroy not only their bodies, those of their
children, relations, and others, but damn also their souls to the very
bottom of the most hot and burning cauldron in hell. Here, in the devil's
name, said Panurge, the people are no heretics; such as was our
Raminagrobis, and as they are in Germany and England. You are Christians
of the best edition, all picked and culled, for aught I see. Ay, marry are
we, returned Homenas, and for that reason we shall all be saved. Now let
us go and bless ourselves with holy water, and then to dinner.
Table-talk in praise of the decretals.
Now, topers, pray observe that while Homenas was saying his dry mass, three
collectors, or licensed beggars of the church, each of them with a large
basin, went round among the people, with a loud voice: Pray remember the
blessed men who have seen his face. As we came out of the temple they
brought their basins brimful of Papimany chink to Homenas, who told us that
it was plentifully to feast with; and that, of this contribution and
voluntary tax, one part should be laid out in good drinking, another in
good eating, and the remainder in both, according to an admirable
exposition hidden in a corner of their holy decretals; which was performed
to a T, and that at a noted tavern not much unlike that of Will's at
Amiens. Believe me, we tickled it off there with copious cramming and
I made two notable observations at that dinner: the one, that there was
not one dish served up, whether of cabrittas, capons, hogs (of which latter
there is great plenty in Papimany), pigeons, coneys, leverets, turkeys, or
others, without abundance of magistral stuff; the other, that every course,
and the fruit also, were served up by unmarried females of the place, tight
lasses, I'll assure you, waggish, fair, good-conditioned, and comely,
spruce, and fit for business. They were all clad in fine long white albs,
with two girts; their hair interwoven with narrow tape and purple ribbon,
stuck with roses, gillyflowers, marjoram, daffadowndillies, thyme, and
other sweet flowers.
At every cadence they invited us to drink and bang it about, dropping us
neat and genteel courtesies; nor was the sight of them unwelcome to all the
company; and as for Friar John, he leered on them sideways, like a cur that
steals a capon. When the first course was taken off, the females
melodiously sung us an epode in the praise of the sacrosanct decretals; and
then the second course being served up, Homenas, joyful and cheery, said to
one of the she-butlers, Light here, Clerica. Immediately one of the girls
brought him a tall-boy brimful of extravagant wine. He took fast hold of
it, and fetching a deep sigh, said to Pantagruel, My lord, and you, my good
friends, here's t'ye, with all my heart; you are all very welcome. When he
had tipped that off, and given the tall-boy to the pretty creature, he
lifted up his voice and said, O most holy decretals, how good is good wine
found through your means! This is the best jest we have had yet, observed
Panurge. But it would still be a better, said Pantagruel, if they could
turn bad wine into good.
O seraphic Sextum! continued Homenas, how necessary are you not to the
salvation of poor mortals! O cherubic Clementinae! how perfectly the
perfect institution of a true Christian is contained and described in you!
O angelical Extravagantes! how many poor souls that wander up and down in
mortal bodies through this vale of misery would perish were it not for you!
When, ah! when shall this special gift of grace be bestowed on mankind, as
to lay aside all other studies and concerns, to use you, to peruse you, to
understand you, to know you by heart, to practise you, to incorporate you,
to turn you into blood, and incentre you into the deepest ventricles of
their brains, the inmost marrow of their bones, and most intricate
labyrinth of their arteries? Then, ah! then, and no sooner than then, nor
otherwise than thus, shall the world be happy! While the old man was thus
running on, Epistemon rose and softly said to Panurge: For want of a
close-stool, I must even leave you for a moment or two; this stuff has
unbunged the orifice of my mustard-barrel; but I'll not tarry long.
Then, ah! then, continued Homenas, no hail, frost, ice, snow, overflowing,
or vis major; then plenty of all earthly goods here below. Then
uninterrupted and eternal peace through the universe, an end of all wars,
plunderings, drudgeries, robbing, assassinates, unless it be to destroy
these cursed rebels the heretics. Oh! then, rejoicing, cheerfulness,
jollity, solace, sports, and delicious pleasures, over the face of the
earth. Oh! what great learning, inestimable erudition, and god-like
precepts are knit, linked, rivetted, and mortised in the divine chapters of
these eternal decretals!
Oh! how wonderfully, if you read but one demi-canon, short paragraph, or
single observation of these sacrosanct decretals, how wonderfully, I say,
do you not perceive to kindle in your hearts a furnace of divine love,
charity towards your neighbour (provided he be no heretic), bold contempt
of all casual and sublunary things, firm content in all your affections,
and ecstatic elevation of soul even to the third heaven.
A continuation of the miracles caused by the decretals.
Wisely, brother Timothy, quoth Panurge, did am, did am; he says blew; but,
for my part, I believe as little of it as I can. For one day by chance I
happened to read a chapter of them at Poictiers, at the most
decretalipotent Scotch doctor's, and old Nick turn me into bumfodder, if
this did not make me so hide-bound and costive, that for four or five days
I hardly scumbered one poor butt of sir-reverence; and that, too, was full
as dry and hard, I protest, as Catullus tells us were those of his
Nec toto decies cacas in anno,
Atque id durius est faba, et lapillis:
Quod tu si manibus teras, fricesque,
Non unquam digitum inquinare posses.
Oh, ho! cried Homenas; by'r lady, it may be you were then in the state of
mortal sin, my friend. Well turned, cried Panurge; this was a new strain,
One day, said Friar John, at Seuille, I had applied to my posteriors, by
way of hind-towel, a leaf of an old Clementinae which our rent-gatherer,
John Guimard, had thrown out into the green of our cloister. Now the devil
broil me like a black pudding, if I wasn't so abominably plagued with
chaps, chawns, and piles at the fundament, that the orifice of my poor
nockandroe was in a most woeful pickle for I don't know how long. By'r our
lady, cried Homenas, it was a plain punishment of God for the sin that you
had committed in beraying that sacred book, which you ought rather to have
kissed and adored; I say with an adoration of latria, or of hyperdulia at
least. The Panormitan never told a lie in the matter.
Saith Ponocrates: At Montpelier, John Chouart having bought of the monks
of St. Olary a delicate set of decretals, written on fine large parchment
of Lamballe, to beat gold between the leaves, not so much as a piece that
was beaten in them came to good, but all were dilacerated and spoiled.
Mark this! cried Homenas; 'twas a divine punishment and vengeance.
At Mans, said Eudemon, Francis Cornu, apothecary, had turned an old set of
Extravagantes into waste paper. May I never stir, if whatever was lapped
up in them was not immediately corrupted, rotten, and spoiled; incense,
pepper, cloves, cinnamon, saffron, wax, cassia, rhubarb, tamarinds, all
drugs and spices, were lost without exception. Mark, mark, quoth Homenas,
an effect of divine justice! This comes of putting the sacred Scriptures
to such profane uses.
At Paris, said Carpalin, Snip Groignet the tailor had turned an old
Clementinae into patterns and measures, and all the clothes that were cut
on them were utterly spoiled and lost; gowns, hoods, cloaks, cassocks,
jerkins, jackets, waistcoats, capes, doublets, petticoats, corps de robes,
farthingales, and so forth. Snip, thinking to cut a hood, would cut you
out a codpiece; instead of a cassock he would make you a high-crowned hat;
for a waistcoat he'd shape you out a rochet; on the pattern of a doublet
he'd make you a thing like a frying-pan. Then his journeymen having
stitched it up did jag it and pink it at the bottom, and so it looked like
a pan to fry chestnuts. Instead of a cape he made a buskin; for a
farthingale he shaped a montero cap; and thinking to make a cloak, he'd cut
out a pair of your big out-strouting Swiss breeches, with panes like the
outside of a tabor. Insomuch that Snip was condemned to make good the
stuffs to all his customers; and to this day poor Cabbage's hair grows
through his hood and his arse through his pocket-holes. Mark, an effect of
heavenly wrath and vengeance! cried Homenas.
At Cahusac, said Gymnast, a match being made by the lords of Estissac and
Viscount Lausun to shoot at a mark, Perotou had taken to pieces a set of
decretals and set one of the leaves for the white to shoot at. Now I sell,
nay, I give and bequeath for ever and aye, the mould of my doublet to
fifteen hundred hampers full of black devils, if ever any archer in the
country (though they are singular marksmen in Guienne) could hit the white.
Not the least bit of the holy scribble was contaminated or touched; nay,
and Sansornin the elder, who held stakes, swore to us, figues dioures, hard
figs (his greatest oath), that he had openly, visibly, and manifestly seen
the bolt of Carquelin moving right to the round circle in the middle of the
white; and that just on the point, when it was going to hit and enter, it
had gone aside above seven foot and four inches wide of it towards the
Miracle! cried Homenas, miracle! miracle! Clerica, come wench, light,
light here. Here's to you all, gentlemen; I vow you seem to me very sound
Christians. While he said this, the maidens began to snicker at his elbow,
grinning, giggling, and twittering among themselves. Friar John began to
paw, neigh, and whinny at the snout's end, as one ready to leap, or at
least to play the ass, and get up and ride tantivy to the devil like a
beggar on horseback.
Methinks, said Pantagruel, a man might have been more out of danger near
the white of which Gymnast spoke than was formerly Diogenes near another.
How is that? asked Homenas; what was it? Was he one of our decretalists?
Rarely fallen in again, egad, said Epistemon, returning from stool; I see
he will hook his decretals in, though by the head and shoulders.
Diogenes, said Pantagruel, one day for pastime went to see some archers
that shot at butts, one of whom was so unskilful, that when it was his turn
to shoot all the bystanders went aside, lest he should mistake them for the
mark. Diogenes had seen him shoot extremely wide of it; so when the other
was taking aim a second time, and the people removed at a great distance to
the right and left of the white, he placed himself close by the mark,
holding that place to be the safest, and that so bad an archer would
certainly rather hit any other.
One of the Lord d'Estissac's pages at last found out the charm, pursued
Gymnast, and by his advice Perotou put in another white made up of some
papers of Pouillac's lawsuit, and then everyone shot cleverly.
At Landerousse, said Rhizotome, at John Delif's wedding were very great
doings, as 'twas then the custom of the country. After supper several
farces, interludes, and comical scenes were acted; they had also several
morris-dancers with bells and tabors, and divers sorts of masks and mummers
were let in. My schoolfellows and I, to grace the festival to the best of
our power (for fine white and purple liveries had been given to all of us
in the morning), contrived a merry mask with store of cockle-shells, shells
of snails, periwinkles, and such other. Then for want of cuckoo-pint, or
priest-pintle, lousebur, clote, and paper, we made ourselves false faces
with the leaves of an old Sextum that had been thrown by and lay there for
anyone that would take it up, cutting out holes for the eyes, nose, and
mouth. Now, did you ever hear the like since you were born? When we had
played our little boyish antic tricks, and came to take off our sham faces,
we appeared more hideous and ugly than the little devils that acted the
Passion at Douay; for our faces were utterly spoiled at the places which
had been touched by those leaves. One had there the small-pox; another,
God's token, or the plague-spot; a third, the crinckums; a fourth, the
measles; a fifth, botches, pushes, and carbuncles; in short, he came off
the least hurt who only lost his teeth by the bargain. Miracle! bawled out
Hold, hold! cried Rhizotome; it is not yet time to clap. My sister Kate
and my sister Ren had put the crepines of their hoods, their ruffles,
snuffekins, and neck-ruffs new washed, starched, and ironed, into that very
book of decretals; for, you must know, it was covered with thick boards and
had strong clasps. Now, by the virtue of God--Hold, interrupted Homenas,
what god do you mean? There is but one, answered Rhizotome. In heaven, I
grant, replied Homenas; but we have another here on earth, do you see? Ay,
marry have we, said Rhizotome; but on my soul I protest I had quite forgot
it. Well then, by the virtue of god the pope, their pinners, neck-ruffs,
bib, coifs, and other linen turned as black as a charcoal-man's sack.
Miracle! cried Homenas. Here, Clerica, light me here; and prithee, girl,
observe these rare stories. How comes it to pass then, asked Friar John,
that people say,
Ever since decrees had tails,
And gendarmes lugged heavy mails,
Since each monk would have a horse,
All went here from bad to worse.
I understand you, answered Homenas; this is one of the quirks and little
satires of the new-fangled heretics.
How by the virtue of the decretals, gold is subtilely drawn out of France
I would, said Epistemon, it had cost me a pint of the best tripe that ever
can enter into gut, so we had but compared with the original the dreadful
chapters, Execrabilis, De multa, Si plures; De annatis per totum; Nisi
essent; Cum ad monasterium; Quod delectio; Mandatum; and certain others,
that draw every year out of France to Rome four hundred thousand ducats and
Do you make nothing of this? asked Homenas. Though, methinks, after all,
it is but little, if we consider that France, the most Christian, is the
only nurse the see of Rome has. However, find me in the whole world a
book, whether of philosophy, physic, law, mathematics, or other humane
learning, nay, even, by my God, of the Holy Scripture itself, will draw as
much money thence? None, none, psha, tush, blurt, pish; none can. You may
look till your eyes drop out of your head, nay, till doomsday in the
afternoon, before you can find another of that energy; I'll pass my word
Yet these devilish heretics refuse to learn and know it. Burn 'em, tear
'em, nip 'em with hot pincers, drown 'em, hang 'em, spit 'em at the
bunghole, pelt 'em, paut 'em, bruise 'em, beat 'em, cripple 'em, dismember
'em, cut 'em, gut 'em, bowel 'em, paunch 'em, thrash 'em, slash 'em, gash
'em, chop 'em, slice 'em, slit 'em, carve 'em, saw 'em, bethwack 'em, pare
'em, hack 'em, hew 'em, mince 'em, flay 'em, boil 'em, broil 'em, roast
'em, toast 'em, bake 'em, fry 'em, crucify 'em, crush 'em, squeeze 'em,
grind 'em, batter 'em, burst 'em, quarter 'em, unlimb 'em, behump 'em,
bethump 'em, belam 'em, belabour 'em, pepper 'em, spitchcock 'em, and
carbonade 'em on gridirons, these wicked heretics! decretalifuges,
decretalicides, worse than homicides, worse than patricides,
decretalictones of the devil of hell.
As for you other good people, I must earnestly pray and beseech you to
believe no other thing, to think on, say, undertake, or do no other thing,
than what's contained in our sacred decretals and their corollaries, this
fine Sextum, these fine Clementinae, these fine Extravagantes. O deific
books! So shall you enjoy glory, honour, exaltation, wealth, dignities,
and preferments in this world; be revered and dreaded by all, preferred,
elected, and chosen above all men.
For there is not under the cope of heaven a condition of men out of which
you'll find persons fitter to do and handle all things than those who by
divine prescience, eternal predestination, have applied themselves to the
study of the holy decretals.
Would you choose a worthy emperor, a good captain, a fit general in time of
war, one that can well foresee all inconveniences, avoid all dangers,
briskly and bravely bring his men on to a breach or attack, still be on
sure grounds, always overcome without loss of his men, and know how to make
a good use of his victory? Take me a decretist. No, no, I mean a
decretalist. Ho, the foul blunder, whispered Epistemon.
Would you, in time of peace, find a man capable of wisely governing the
state of a commonwealth, of a kingdom, of an empire, of a monarchy;
sufficient to maintain the clergy, nobility, senate, and commons in wealth,
friendship, unity, obedience, virtue, and honesty? Take a decretalist.
Would you find a man who, by his exemplary life, eloquence, and pious
admonitions, may in a short time, without effusion of human blood, conquer
the Holy Land, and bring over to the holy Church the misbelieving Turks,
Jews, Tartars, Muscovites, Mamelukes, and Sarrabonites? Take me a
What makes, in many countries, the people rebellious and depraved, pages
saucy and mischievous, students sottish and duncical? Nothing but that
their governors and tutors were not decretalists.
But what, on your conscience, was it, do you think, that established,
confirmed, and authorized those fine religious orders with whom you see the
Christian world everywhere adorned, graced, and illustrated, as the
firmament is with its glorious stars? The holy decretals.
What was it that founded, underpropped, and fixed, and now maintains,
nourishes, and feeds the devout monks and friars in convents, monasteries,
and abbeys; so that did they not daily and mightily pray without ceasing,
the world would be in evident danger of returning to its primitive chaos?
The sacred decretals.
What makes and daily increases the famous and celebrated patrimony of St.
Peter in plenty of all temporal, corporeal, and spiritual blessings? The
What made the holy apostolic see and pope of Rome, in all times, and at
this present, so dreadful in the universe, that all kings, emperors,
potentates, and lords, willing, nilling, must depend upon him, hold of him,
be crowned, confirmed, and authorized by him, come thither to strike sail,
buckle, and fall down before his holy slipper, whose picture you have seen?
The mighty decretals of God.
I will discover you a great secret. The universities of your world have
commonly a book, either open or shut, in their arms and devices; what book
do you think it is? Truly, I do not know, answered Pantagruel; I never
read it. It is the decretals, said Homenas, without which the privileges
of all universities would soon be lost. You must own that I have taught
you this; ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
Here Homenas began to belch, to fart, to funk, to laugh, to slaver, and to
sweat; and then he gave his huge greasy four-cornered cap to one of the
lasses, who clapped it on her pretty head with a great deal of joy, after
she had lovingly bussed it, as a sure token that she should be first
married. Vivat, cried Epistemon, fifat, bibat, pipat.
O apocalyptic secret! continued Homenas; light, light, Clerica; light here
with double lanterns. Now for the fruit, virgins.
I was saying, then, that giving yourselves thus wholly to the study of the
holy decretals, you will gain wealth and honour in this world. I add, that
in the next you will infallibly be saved in the blessed kingdom of heaven,
whose keys are given to our good god and decretaliarch. O my good god,
whom I adore and never saw, by thy special grace open unto us, at the point
of death at least, this most sacred treasure of our holy Mother Church,
whose protector, preserver, butler, chief-larder, administrator, and
disposer thou art; and take care, I beseech thee, O lord, that the precious
works of supererogation, the goodly pardons, do not fail us in time of
need; so that the devils may not find an opportunity to gripe our precious
souls, and the dreadful jaws of hell may not swallow us. If we must pass
through purgatory thy will be done. It is in thy power to draw us out of
it when thou pleasest. Here Homenas began to shed huge hot briny tears, to
beat his breast, and kiss his thumbs in the shape of a cross.
How Homenas gave Pantagruel some bon-Christian pears.
Epistemon, Friar John, and Panurge, seeing this doleful catastrophe, began,
under the cover of their napkins, to cry Meeow, meeow, meeow; feigning to
wipe their eyes all the while as if they had wept. The wenches were doubly
diligent, and brought brimmers of Clementine wine to every one, besides
store of sweetmeats; and thus the feasting was revived.
Before we arose from table, Homenas gave us a great quantity of fair large
pears, saying, Here, my good friends, these are singular good pears. You
will find none such anywhere else, I dare warrant. Every soil bears not
everything, you know. India alone boasts black ebony; the best incense is
produced in Sabaea; the sphragitid earth at Lemnos; so this island is the
only place where such fine pears grow. You may, if you please, make
seminaries with their pippins in your country.
I like their taste extremely, said Pantagruel. If they were sliced, and
put into a pan on the fire with wine and sugar, I fancy they would be very
wholesome meat for the sick, as well as for the healthy. Pray what do you
call 'em? No otherwise than you have heard, replied Homenas. We are a
plain downright sort of people, as God would have it, and call figs, figs;
plums, plums; and pears, pears. Truly, said Pantagruel, if I live to go
home--which I hope will be speedily, God willing--I'll set off and graff
some in my garden in Touraine, by the banks of the Loire, and will call
them bon-Christian or good-Christian pears, for I never saw better
Christians than are these good Papimans. I would like him two to one
better yet, said Friar John, would he but give us two or three cartloads of
yon buxom lasses. Why, what would you do with them? cried Homenas. Quoth
Friar John, No harm, only bleed the kind-hearted souls straight between the
two great toes with certain clever lancets of the right stamp; by which
operation good Christian children would be inoculated upon them, and the
breed be multiplied in our country, in which there are not many over-good,
the more's the pity.
Nay, verily, replied Homenas, we cannot do this; for you would make them
tread their shoes awry, crack their pipkins, and spoil their shapes. You
love mutton, I see; you will run at sheep. I know you by that same nose
and hair of yours, though I never saw your face before. Alas! alas! how
kind you are! And would you indeed damn your precious soul? Our decretals
forbid this. Ah, I wish you had them at your finger's-end. Patience, said
Friar John; but, si tu non vis dare, praesta, quaesumus. Matter of
breviary. As for that, I defy all the world, and I fear no man that wears
a head and a hood, though he were a crystalline, I mean a decretaline
Dinner being over, we took our leave of the right reverend Homenas, and of
all the good people, humbly giving thanks; and, to make them amends for
their kind entertainment, promised them that, at our coming to Rome, we
would make our applications so effectually to the pope that he would
speedily be sure to come to visit them in person. After this we went
Pantagruel, by an act of generosity, and as an acknowledgment of the sight
of the pope's picture, gave Homenas nine pieces of double friezed cloth of
gold to be set before the grates of the window. He also caused the church
box for its repairs and fabric to be quite filled with double crowns of
gold; and ordered nine hundred and fourteen angels to be delivered to each
of the lasses who had waited at table, to buy them husbands when they could
How Pantagruel, being at sea, heard various unfrozen words.
When we were at sea, junketting, tippling, discoursing, and telling
stories, Pantagruel rose and stood up to look out; then asked us, Do you
hear nothing, gentlemen? Methinks I hear some people talking in the air,
yet I can see nobody. Hark! According to his command we listened, and
with full ears sucked in the air as some of you suck oysters, to find if we
could hear some sound scattered through the sky; and to lose none of it,
like the Emperor Antoninus some of us laid their hands hollow next to their
ears; but all this would not do, nor could we hear any voice. Yet
Pantagruel continued to assure us he heard various voices in the air, some
of men, and some of women.
At last we began to fancy that we also heard something, or at least that
our ears tingled; and the more we listened, the plainer we discerned the
voices, so as to distinguish articulate sounds. This mightily frightened
us, and not without cause; since we could see nothing, yet heard such
various sounds and voices of men, women, children, horses, &c., insomuch
that Panurge cried out, Cods-belly, there is no fooling with the devil; we
are all beshit, let's fly. There is some ambuscado hereabouts. Friar
John, art thou here my love? I pray thee, stay by me, old boy. Hast thou
got thy swindging tool? See that it do not stick in thy scabbard; thou
never scourest it half as it should be. We are undone. Hark! They are
guns, gad judge me. Let's fly, I do not say with hands and feet, as Brutus
said at the battle of Pharsalia; I say, with sails and oars. Let's whip it
away. I never find myself to have a bit of courage at sea; in cellars and
elsewhere I have more than enough. Let's fly and save our bacon. I do not
say this for any fear that I have; for I dread nothing but danger, that I
don't; I always say it that shouldn't. The free archer of Baignolet said
as much. Let us hazard nothing, therefore, I say, lest we come off bluely.
Tack about, helm a-lee, thou son of a bachelor. Would I were now well in
Quinquenais, though I were never to marry. Haste away, let's make all the
sail we can. They'll be too hard for us; we are not able to cope with
them; they are ten to our one, I'll warrant you. Nay, and they are on
their dunghill, while we do not know the country. They will be the death
of us. We'll lose no honour by flying. Demosthenes saith that the man
that runs away may fight another day. At least let us retreat to the
leeward. Helm a-lee; bring the main-tack aboard, haul the bowlines, hoist
the top-gallants. We are all dead men; get off, in the devil's name, get
Pantagruel, hearing the sad outcry which Panurge made, said, Who talks of
flying? Let's first see who they are; perhaps they may be friends. I can
discover nobody yet, though I can see a hundred miles round me. But let's
consider a little. I have read that a philosopher named Petron was of
opinion that there were several worlds that touched each other in an
equilateral triangle; in whose centre, he said, was the dwelling of truth;
and that the words, ideas, copies, and images of all things past and to
come resided there; round which was the age; and that with success of time
part of them used to fall on mankind like rheums and mildews, just as the
dew fell on Gideon's fleece, till the age was fulfilled.
I also remember, continued he, that Aristotle affirms Homer's words to be
flying, moving, and consequently animated. Besides, Antiphanes said that
Plato's philosophy was like words which, being spoken in some country
during a hard winter, are immediately congealed, frozen up, and not heard;
for what Plato taught young lads could hardly be understood by them when
they were grown old. Now, continued he, we should philosophize and search
whether this be not the place where those words are thawed.
You would wonder very much should this be the head and lyre of Orpheus.
When the Thracian women had torn him to pieces they threw his head and lyre
into the river Hebrus, down which they floated to the Euxine sea as far as
the island of Lesbos; the head continually uttering a doleful song, as it
were lamenting the death of Orpheus, and the lyre, with the wind's impulse
moving its strings and harmoniously accompanying the voice. Let's see if
we cannot discover them hereabouts.
How among the frozen words Pantagruel found some odd ones.
The skipper made answer: Be not afraid, my lord; we are on the confines of
the Frozen Sea, on which, about the beginning of last winter, happened a
great and bloody fight between the Arimaspians and the Nephelibates. Then
the words and cries of men and women, the hacking, slashing, and hewing of
battle-axes, the shocking, knocking, and jolting of armours and harnesses,
the neighing of horses, and all other martial din and noise, froze in the
air; and now, the rigour of the winter being over, by the succeeding
serenity and warmth of the weather they melt and are heard.
By jingo, quoth Panurge, the man talks somewhat like. I believe him. But
couldn't we see some of 'em? I think I have read that, on the edge of the
mountain on which Moses received the Judaic law, the people saw the voices
sensibly. Here, here, said Pantagruel, here are some that are not yet
thawed. He then threw us on the deck whole handfuls of frozen words, which
seemed to us like your rough sugar-plums, of many colours, like those used
in heraldry; some words gules (this means also jests and merry sayings),
some vert, some azure, some black, some or (this means also fair words);
and when we had somewhat warmed them between our hands, they melted like
snow, and we really heard them, but could not understand them, for it was a
barbarous gibberish. One of them only, that was pretty big, having been
warmed between Friar John's hands, gave a sound much like that of chestnuts
when they are thrown into the fire without being first cut, which made us
all start. This was the report of a field-piece in its time, cried Friar
Panurge prayed Pantagruel to give him some more; but Pantagruel told him
that to give words was the part of a lover. Sell me some then, I pray you,
cried Panurge. That's the part of a lawyer, returned Pantagruel. I would
sooner sell you silence, though at a dearer rate; as Demosthenes formerly
sold it by the means of his argentangina, or silver squinsy.
However, he threw three or four handfuls of them on the deck; among which I
perceived some very sharp words, and some bloody words, which the pilot
said used sometimes to go back and recoil to the place whence they came,
but it was with a slit weasand. We also saw some terrible words, and some
others not very pleasant to the eye.
When they had been all melted together, we heard a strange noise, hin, hin,
hin, hin, his, tick, tock, taack, bredelinbrededack, frr, frr, frr, bou,
bou, bou, bou, bou, bou, bou, bou, track, track, trr, trr, trr, trrr,
trrrrrr, on, on, on, on, on, on, ououououon, gog, magog, and I do not know
what other barbarous words, which the pilot said were the noise made by the
charging squadrons, the shock and neighing of horses.
Then we heard some large ones go off like drums and fifes, and others like
clarions and trumpets. Believe me, we had very good sport with them. I
would fain have saved some merry odd words, and have preserved them in oil,
as ice and snow are kept, and between clean straw. But Pantagruel would
not let me, saying that 'tis a folly to hoard up what we are never like to
want or have always at hand, odd, quaint, merry, and fat words of gules
never being scarce among all good and jovial Pantagruelists.
Panurge somewhat vexed Friar John, and put him in the pouts; for he took
him at his word while he dreamed of nothing less. This caused the friar to
threaten him with such a piece of revenge as was put upon G. Jousseaume,
who having taken the merry Patelin at his word when he had overbid himself
in some cloth, was afterwards fairly taken by the horns like a bullock by
his jovial chapman, whom he took at his word like a man. Panurge, well
knowing that threatened folks live long, bobbed and made mouths at him in
token of derision, then cried, Would I had here the word of the Holy
Bottle, without being thus obliged to go further in pilgrimage to her.
How Pantagruel went ashore at the dwelling of Gaster, the first master of
arts in the world.
That day Pantagruel went ashore in an island which, for situation and
governor, may be said not to have its fellow. When you just come into it,
you find it rugged, craggy, and barren, unpleasant to the eye, painful to
the feet, and almost as inaccessible as the mountain of Dauphine, which is
somewhat like a toadstool, and was never climbed as any can remember by any
but Doyac, who had the charge of King Charles the Eighth's train of
This same Doyac with strange tools and engines gained that mountain's top,
and there he found an old ram. It puzzled many a wise head to guess how it
got thither. Some said that some eagle or great horncoot, having carried
it thither while it was yet a lambkin, it had got away and saved itself
among the bushes.
As for us, having with much toil and sweat overcome the difficult ways at
the entrance, we found the top of the mountain so fertile, healthful, and
pleasant, that I thought I was then in the true garden of Eden, or earthly
paradise, about whose situation our good theologues are in such a quandary
and keep such a pother.
As for Pantagruel, he said that here was the seat of Arete--that is as much
as to say, virtue--described by Hesiod. This, however, with submission to
better judgments. The ruler of this place was one Master Gaster, the first
master of arts in this world. For, if you believe that fire is the great
master of arts, as Tully writes, you very much wrong him and yourself;
alas! Tully never believed this. On the other side, if you fancy Mercury
to be the first inventor of arts, as our ancient Druids believed of old,
you are mightily beside the mark. The satirist's sentence, that affirms
Master Gaster to be the master of all arts, is true. With him peacefully
resided old goody Penia, alias Poverty, the mother of the ninety-nine
Muses, on whom Porus, the lord of Plenty, formerly begot Love, that noble
child, the mediator of heaven and earth, as Plato affirms in Symposio.
We were all obliged to pay our homage and swear allegiance to that mighty
sovereign; for he is imperious, severe, blunt, hard, uneasy, inflexible;
you cannot make him believe, represent to him, or persuade him anything.
He does not hear; and as the Egyptians said that Harpocrates, the god of
silence, named Sigalion in Greek, was astome, that is, without a mouth, so
Gaster was created without ears, even like the image of Jupiter in Candia.
He only speaks by signs, but those signs are more readily obeyed by
everyone than the statutes of senates or commands of monarchs. Neither
will he admit the least let or delay in his summons. You say that when a
lion roars all the beasts at a considerable distance round about, as far as
his roar can be heard, are seized with a shivering. This is written, it is
true, I have seen it. I assure you that at Master Gaster's command the very
heavens tremble, and all the earth shakes. His command is called, Do this
or die. Needs must when the devil drives; there's no gainsaying of it.
The pilot was telling us how, on a certain time, after the manner of the
members that mutinied against the belly, as Aesop describes it, the whole
kingdom of the Somates went off into a direct faction against Gaster,
resolving to throw off his yoke; but they soon found their mistake, and
most humbly submitted, for otherwise they had all been famished.
What company soever he is in, none dispute with him for precedence or
superiority; he still goes first, though kings, emperors, or even the pope,
were there. So he held the first place at the council of Basle; though
some will tell you that the council was tumultuous by the contention and
ambition of many for priority.
Everyone is busied and labours to serve him, and indeed, to make amends for
this, he does this good to mankind, as to invent for them all arts,
machines, trades, engines, and crafts; he even instructs brutes in arts
which are against their nature, making poets of ravens, jackdaws,
chattering jays, parrots, and starlings, and poetesses of magpies, teaching
them to utter human language, speak, and sing; and all for the gut. He
reclaims and tames eagles, gerfalcons, falcons gentle, sakers, lanners,
goshawks, sparrowhawks, merlins, haggards, passengers, wild rapacious
birds; so that, setting them free in the air whenever he thinks fit, as
high and as long as he pleases, he keeps them suspended, straying, flying,
hovering, and courting him above the clouds. Then on a sudden he makes
them stoop, and come down amain from heaven next to the ground; and all for
Elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, bears, horses, mares, and dogs, he teaches
to dance, prance, vault, fight, swim, hide themselves, fetch and carry what
he pleases; and all for the gut.
Salt and fresh-water fish, whales, and the monsters of the main, he brings
them up from the bottom of the deep; wolves he forces out of the woods,
bears out of the rocks, foxes out of their holes, and serpents out of the
ground, and all for the gut.
In short, he is so unruly, that in his rage he devours all men and beasts;
as was seen among the Vascons, when Q. Metellus besieged them in the
Sertorian wars, among the Saguntines besieged by Hannibal; among the Jews
besieged by the Romans, and six hundred more; and all for the gut. When
his regent Penia takes a progress, wherever she moves all senates are shut
up, all statutes repealed, all orders and proclamations vain; she knows,
obeys, and has no law. All shun her, in every place choosing rather to
expose themselves to shipwreck at sea, and venture through fire, rocks,
caves, and precipices, than be seized by that most dreadful tormentor.
How, at the court of the master of ingenuity, Pantagruel detested the
Engastrimythes and the Gastrolaters.
At the court of that great master of ingenuity, Pantagruel observed two
sorts of troublesome and too officious apparitors, whom he very much
detested. The first were called Engastrimythes; the others, Gastrolaters.
The first pretended to be descended of the ancient race of Eurycles, and
for this brought the authority of Aristophanes in his comedy called the
Wasps; whence of old they were called Euryclians, as Plato writes, and
Plutarch in his book of the Cessation of Oracles. In the holy decrees, 26,
qu. 3, they are styled Ventriloqui; and the same name is given them in
Ionian by Hippocrates, in his fifth book of Epid., as men who speak from
the belly. Sophocles calls them Sternomantes. These were soothsayers,
enchanters, cheats, who gulled the mob, and seemed not to speak and give
answers from the mouth, but from the belly.
Such a one, about the year of our Lord 1513, was Jacoba Rodogina, an
Italian woman of mean extract; from whose belly we, as well as an infinite
number of others at Ferrara and elsewhere, have often heard the voice of
the evil spirit speak, low, feeble, and small, indeed, but yet very
distinct, articulate, and intelligible, when she was sent for out of
curiosity by the lords and princes of the Cisalpine Gaul. To remove all
manner of doubt, and be assured that this was not a trick, they used to
have her stripped stark naked, and caused her mouth and nose to be stopped.
This evil spirit would be called Curled-pate, or Cincinnatulo, seeming
pleased when any called him by that name, at which he was always ready to
answer. If any spoke to him of things past or present, he gave pertinent
answers, sometimes to the amazement of the hearers; but if of things to
come, then the devil was gravelled, and used to lie as fast as a dog can
trot. Nay, sometimes he seemed to own his ignorance, instead of an answer
letting out a rousing fart, or muttering some words with barbarous and
uncouth inflexions, and not to be understood.
As for the Gastrolaters, they stuck close to one another in knots and
gangs. Some of them merry, wanton, and soft as so many milk-sops; others
louring, grim, dogged, demure, and crabbed; all idle, mortal foes to
business, spending half their time in sleeping and the rest in doing
nothing, a rent-charge and dead unnecessary weight on the earth, as Hesiod
saith; afraid, as we judged, of offending or lessening their paunch.
Others were masked, disguised, and so oddly dressed that it would have done
you good to have seen them.
There's a saying, and several ancient sages write, that the skill of nature
appears wonderful in the pleasure which she seems to have taken in the
configuration of sea-shells, so great is their variety in figures, colours,
streaks, and inimitable shapes. I protest the variety we perceived in the
dresses of the gastrolatrous coquillons was not less. They all owned
Gaster for their supreme god, adored him as a god, offered him sacrifices
as to their omnipotent deity, owned no other god, served, loved, and
honoured him above all things.
You would have thought that the holy apostle spoke of those when he said
(Phil. chap. 3), Many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you
even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is
destruction, whose God is their belly. Pantagruel compared them to the
Cyclops Polyphemus, whom Euripides brings in speaking thus: I only
sacrifice to myself--not to the gods--and to this belly of mine, the
greatest of all the gods.
Of the ridiculous statue Manduce; and how and what the Gastrolaters
sacrifice to their ventripotent god.
While we fed our eyes with the sight of the phizzes and actions of these
lounging gulligutted Gastrolaters, we on a sudden heard the sound of a
musical instrument called a bell; at which all of them placed themselves in
rank and file as for some mighty battle, everyone according to his office,
degree, and seniority.
In this order they moved towards Master Gaster, after a plump, young,
lusty, gorbellied fellow, who on a long staff fairly gilt carried a wooden
statue, grossly carved, and as scurvily daubed over with paint; such a one
as Plautus, Juvenal, and Pomp. Festus describe it. At Lyons during the
Carnival it is called Maschecroute or Gnawcrust; they call'd this Manduce.
It was a monstrous, ridiculous, hideous figure, fit to fright little
children; its eyes were bigger than its belly, and its head larger than all
the rest of its body; well mouth-cloven however, having a goodly pair of
wide, broad jaws, lined with two rows of teeth, upper tier and under tier,
which, by the magic of a small twine hid in the hollow part of the golden
staff, were made to clash, clatter, and rattle dreadfully one against
another; as they do at Metz with St. Clement's dragon.
Coming near the Gastrolaters I saw they were followed by a great number of
fat waiters and tenders, laden with baskets, dossers, hampers, dishes,
wallets, pots, and kettles. Then, under the conduct of Manduce, and
singing I do not know what dithyrambics, crepalocomes, and epenons, opening
their baskets and pots, they offered their god:
White hippocras, Fricassees, nine Cold loins of veal,
with dry toasts. sorts. with spice.
White bread. Monastical brewis. Zinziberine.
Brown bread. Gravy soup. Beatille pies.
Carbonadoes, six Hotch-pots. Brewis.
sorts. Soft bread. Marrow-bones, toast,
Brawn. Household bread. and cabbage.
Sweetbreads. Capirotadoes. Hashes.
Eternal drink intermixed. Brisk delicate white wine led the van; claret
and champagne followed, cool, nay, as cold as the very ice, I say, filled
and offered in large silver cups. Then they offered:
Chitterlings, gar- Chines and peas. Hams.
nished with mus- Hog's haslets. Brawn heads.
tard. Scotch collops. Powdered venison,
Sausages. Puddings. with turnips.
Neats' tongues. Cervelats. Pickled olives.
Hung beef. Bologna sausages.
All this associated with sempiternal liquor. Then they housed within his
Legs of mutton, with Ribs of pork, with Caponets.
shallots. onion sauce. Caviare and toast.
Olias. Roast capons, basted Fawns, deer.
Lumber pies, with with their own Hares, leverets.
hot sauce. dripping. Plovers.
Partridges and young Flamingoes. Herons, and young
partridges. Cygnets. herons.
Dwarf-herons. A reinforcement of Olives.
Teals. vinegar intermixed. Thrushes.
Duckers. Venison pasties. Young sea-ravens.
Bitterns. Lark pies. Geese, goslings.
Shovellers. Dormice pies. Queests.
Curlews. Cabretto pasties. Widgeons.
Wood-hens. Roebuck pasties. Mavises.
Coots, with leeks. Pigeon pies. Grouses.
Fat kids. Kid pasties. Turtles.
Shoulders of mutton, Capon pies. Doe-coneys.
with capers. Bacon pies. Hedgehogs.
Sirloins of beef. Soused hog's feet. Snites.
Breasts of veal. Fried pasty-crust. Then large puffs.
Pheasants and phea- Forced capons. Thistle-finches.
sant poots. Parmesan cheese. Whore's farts.
Peacocks. Red and pale hip- Fritters.
Storks. pocras. Cakes, sixteen sorts.
Woodcocks. Gold-peaches. Crisp wafers.
Snipes. Artichokes. Quince tarts.
Ortolans. Dry and wet sweet- Curds and cream.
Turkey cocks, hen meats, seventy- Whipped cream.
turkeys, and turkey eight sorts. Preserved mirabo-
poots. Boiled hens, and fat lans.
Stock-doves, and capons marinated. Jellies.
wood-culvers. Pullets, with eggs. Welsh barrapyclids.
Pigs, with wine sauce. Chickens. Macaroons.
Blackbirds, ousels, and Rabbits, and sucking Tarts, twenty sorts.
rails. rabbits. Lemon cream, rasp-
Moorhens. Quails, and young berry cream, &c.
Bustards, and bustard quails. Comfits, one hundred
poots. Pigeons, squabs, and colours.
Fig-peckers. squeakers. Cream wafers.
Young Guinea hens. Fieldfares. Cream cheese.
Vinegar brought up the rear to wash the mouth, and for fear of the squinsy;
also toasts to scour the grinders.
What the Gastrolaters sacrificed to their god on interlarded fish-days.
Pantagruel did not like this pack of rascally scoundrels with their
manifold kitchen sacrifices, and would have been gone had not Epistemon
prevailed with him to stay and see the end of the farce. He then asked the
skipper what the idle lobcocks used to sacrifice to their gorbellied god on
interlarded fish-days. For his first course, said the skipper, they gave
Caviare. tops, bishop's-cods, Red herrings.
Botargoes. celery, chives, ram- Pilchards.
Fresh butter. pions, jew's-ears (a Anchovies.
Pease soup. sort of mushrooms Fry of tunny.
Spinach. that sprout out of Cauliflowers.
Fresh herrings, full old elders), spara- Beans.
roed. gus, wood-bind, Salt salmon.
Salads, a hundred and a world of Pickled grigs.
varieties, of cres- others. Oysters in the shell.
ses, sodden hop-
Then he must drink, or the devil would gripe him at the throat; this,
therefore, they take care to prevent, and nothing is wanting. Which being
done, they give him lampreys with hippocras sauce:
Gurnards. Thornbacks. Fried oysters.
Salmon trouts. Sleeves. Cockles.
Barbels, great and Sturgeons. Prawns.
small. Sheath-fish. Smelts.
Roaches. Mackerels. Rock-fish.
Cockerels. Maids. Gracious lords.
Minnows. Plaice. Sword-fish.
Skate-fish. Sharplings. Soles.
Lamprels. Tunnies. Mussels.
Jegs. Silver eels. Lobsters.
Pickerels. Chevins. Great prawns.
Golden carps. Crayfish. Dace.
Burbates. Pallours. Bleaks.
Salmons. Shrimps. Tenches.
Salmon-peels. Congers. Ombres.
Dolphins. Porpoises. Fresh cods.
Barn trouts. Bases. Dried melwels.
Miller's-thumbs. Shads. Darefish.
Precks. Murenes, a sort of Fausens, and grigs.
Bret-fish. lampreys. Eel-pouts.
Flounders. Graylings. Tortoises.
Sea-nettles. Smys. Serpents, i.e. wood-
Mullets. Turbots. eels.
Gudgeons. Trout, not above a Dories.
Dabs and sandings. foot long. Moor-game.
Haddocks. Salmons. Perches.
Carps. Meagers. Loaches.
Pikes. Sea-breams. Crab-fish.
Bottitoes. Halibuts. Snails and whelks.
Rochets. Dog's tongue, or kind Frogs.
If, when he had crammed all this down his guttural trapdoor, he did not
immediately make the fish swim again in his paunch, death would pack him
off in a trice. Special care is taken to antidote his godship with vine-
tree syrup. Then is sacrificed to him haberdines, poor-jack,
minglemangled, mismashed, &c.
Eggs fried, beaten, sliced, roasted in Green-fish.
buttered, poached, the embers, tossed Sea-batts.
hardened, boiled, in the chimney, &c. Cod's sounds.
broiled, stewed, Stock-fish. Sea-pikes.
Which to concoct and digest the more easily, vinegar is multiplied. For
the latter part of their sacrifices they offer:
Rice milk, and hasty Stewed prunes, and Raisins.
pudding. baked bullace. Dates.
Buttered wheat, and Pistachios, or fistic Chestnut and wal-
flummery. nuts. nuts.
Water-gruel, and Figs. Filberts.
milk-porridge. Almond butter. Parsnips.
Frumenty and bonny Skirret root. Artichokes.
Perpetuity of soaking with the whole.
It was none of their fault, I will assure you, if this same god of theirs
was not publicly, preciously, and plentifully served in the sacrifices,
better yet than Heliogabalus's idol; nay, more than Bel and the Dragon in
Babylon, under King Belshazzar. Yet Gaster had the manners to own that he
was no god, but a poor, vile, wretched creature. And as King Antigonus,
first of the name, when one Hermodotus (as poets will flatter, especially
princes) in some of his fustian dubbed him a god, and made the sun adopt
him for his son, said to him: My lasanophore (or, in plain English, my
groom of the close-stool) can give thee the lie; so Master Gaster very
civilly used to send back his bigoted worshippers to his close-stool, to
see, smell, taste, philosophize, and examine what kind of divinity they
could pick out of his sir-reverence.
How Gaster invented means to get and preserve corn.
Those gastrolatrous hobgoblins being withdrawn, Pantagruel carefully minded
the famous master of arts, Gaster. You know that, by the institution of
nature, bread has been assigned him for provision and food; and that, as an
addition to this blessing, he should never want the means to get bread.
Accordingly, from the beginning he invented the smith's art, and husbandry
to manure the ground, that it might yield him corn; he invented arms and
the art of war to defend corn; physic and astronomy, with other parts of
mathematics which might be useful to keep corn a great number of years in
safety from the injuries of the air, beasts, robbers, and purloiners; he
invented water, wind, and handmills, and a thousand other engines to grind
corn and to turn it into meal; leaven to make the dough ferment, and the
use of salt to give it a savour; for he knew that nothing bred more
diseases than heavy, unleavened, unsavoury bread.
He found a way to get fire to bake it; hour-glasses, dials, and clocks to
mark the time of its baking; and as some countries wanted corn, he
contrived means to convey some out of one country into another.
He had the wit to pimp for asses and mares, animals of different species,
that they might copulate for the generation of a third, which we call
mules, more strong and fit for hard service than the other two. He
invented carts and waggons to draw him along with greater ease; and as seas
and rivers hindered his progress, he devised boats, galleys, and ships (to
the astonishment of the elements) to waft him over to barbarous, unknown,
and far distant nations, thence to bring, or thither to carry corn.
Besides, seeing that when he had tilled the ground, some years the corn
perished in it for want of rain in due season, in others rotted or was
drowned by its excess, sometimes spoiled by hail, eat by worms in the ear,
or beaten down by storms, and so his stock was destroyed on the ground; we
were told that ever since the days of yore he has found out a way to
conjure the rain down from heaven only with cutting certain grass, common
enough in the field, yet known to very few, some of which was then shown
us. I took it to be the same as the plant, one of whose boughs being
dipped by Jove's priest in the Agrian fountain on the Lycian mountain in
Arcadia, in time of drought raised vapours which gathered into clouds, and
then dissolved into rain that kindly moistened the whole country.
Our master of arts was also said to have found a way to keep the rain up in
the air, and make it to fall into the sea; also to annihilate the hail,
suppress the winds, and remove storms as the Methanensians of Troezene used
to do. And as in the fields thieves and plunderers sometimes stole and
took by force the corn and bread which others had toiled to get, he
invented the art of building towns, forts, and castles, to hoard and secure
that staff of life. On the other hand, finding none in the fields, and
hearing that it was hoarded up and secured in towns, forts, and castles,
and watched with more care than ever were the golden pippins of the
Hesperides, he turned engineer, and found ways to beat, storm, and demolish
forts and castles with machines and warlike thunderbolts, battering-rams,
ballists, and catapults, whose shapes were shown to us, not over-well
understood by our engineers, architects, and other disciples of Vitruvius;
as Master Philibert de l'Orme, King Megistus's principal architect, has
owned to us.
And seeing that sometimes all these tools of destruction were baffled by
the cunning subtlety or the subtle cunning (which you please) of
fortifiers, he lately invented cannons, field-pieces, culverins, bombards,
basiliskos, murdering instruments that dart iron, leaden, and brazen balls,
some of them outweighing huge anvils. This by the means of a most dreadful
powder, whose hellish compound and effect has even amazed nature, and made
her own herself outdone by art, the Oxydracian thunders, hails, and storms
by which the people of that name immediately destroyed their enemies in the
field being but mere potguns to these. For one of our great guns when used
is more dreadful, more terrible, more diabolical, and maims, tears, breaks,
slays, mows down, and sweeps away more men, and causes a greater
consternation and destruction than a hundred thunderbolts.
How Gaster invented an art to avoid being hurt or touched by cannon-balls.
Gaster having secured himself with his corn within strongholds, has
sometimes been attacked by enemies; his fortresses, by that thrice
threefold cursed instrument, levelled and destroyed; his dearly beloved
corn and bread snatched out of his mouth and sacked by a titanic force;
therefore he then sought means to preserve his walls, bastions, rampiers,
and sconces from cannon-shot, and to hinder the bullets from hitting him,
stopping them in their flight, or at least from doing him or the besieged
walls any damage. He showed us a trial of this which has been since used
by Fronton, and is now common among the pastimes and harmless recreations
of the Thelemites. I will tell you how he went to work, and pray for the
future be a little more ready to believe what Plutarch affirms to have
tried. Suppose a herd of goats were all scampering as if the devil drove
them, do but put a bit of eringo into the mouth of the hindmost nanny, and
they will all stop stock still in the time you can tell three.
Thus Gaster, having caused a brass falcon to be charged with a sufficient
quantity of gunpowder well purged from its sulphur, and curiously made up
with fine camphor, he then had a suitable ball put into the piece, with
twenty-four little pellets like hail-shot, some round, some pearl fashion;
then taking his aim and levelling it at a page of his, as if he would have
hit him on the breast. About sixty strides off the piece, halfway between
it and the page in a right line, he hanged on a gibbet by a rope a very
large siderite or iron-like stone, otherwise called herculean, formerly
found on Ida in Phrygia by one Magnes, as Nicander writes, and commonly
called loadstone; then he gave fire to the prime on the piece's touch-hole,
which in an instant consuming the powder, the ball and hail-shot were with
incredible violence and swiftness hurried out of the gun at its muzzle,
that the air might penetrate to its chamber, where otherwise would have
been a vacuum, which nature abhors so much, that this universal machine,
heaven, air, land, and sea, would sooner return to the primitive chaos than
admit the least void anywhere. Now the ball and small shot, which
threatened the page with no less than quick destruction, lost their
impetuosity and remained suspended and hovering round the stone; nor did
any of them, notwithstanding the fury with which they rushed, reach the
Master Gaster could do more than all this yet, if you will believe me; for
he invented a way how to cause bullets to fly backwards, and recoil on
those that sent them with as great a force, and in the very numerical
parallel for which the guns were planted. And indeed, why should he have
thought this difficult? seeing the herb ethiopis opens all locks
whatsoever, and an echinus or remora, a silly weakly fish, in spite of all
the winds that blow from the thirty-two points of the compass, will in the
midst of a hurricane make you the biggest first-rate remain stock still, as
if she were becalmed or the blustering tribe had blown their last. Nay,
and with the flesh of that fish, preserved with salt, you may fish gold out
of the deepest well that was ever sounded with a plummet; for it will
certainly draw up the precious metal, since Democritus affirmed it.
Theophrastus believed and experienced that there was an herb at whose
single touch an iron wedge, though never so far driven into a huge log of
the hardest wood that is, would presently come out; and it is this same
herb your hickways, alias woodpeckers, use, when with some mighty axe
anyone stops up the hole of their nests, which they industriously dig and
make in the trunk of some sturdy tree. Since stags and hinds, when deeply
wounded with darts, arrows, and bolts, if they do but meet the herb called
dittany, which is common in Candia, and eat a little of it, presently the
shafts come out and all is well again; even as kind Venus cured her beloved
byblow Aeneas when he was wounded on the right thigh with an arrow by
Juturna, Turnus's sister. Since the very wind of laurels, fig-trees, or
sea-calves makes the thunder sheer off insomuch that it never strikes them.
Since at the sight of a ram, mad elephants recover their former senses.
Since mad bulls coming near wild fig-trees, called caprifici, grow tame,
and will not budge a foot, as if they had the cramp. Since the venomous
rage of vipers is assuaged if you but touch them with a beechen bough.
Since also Euphorion writes that in the isle of Samos, before Juno's temple
was built there, he has seen some beasts called neades, whose voice made
the neighbouring places gape and sink into a chasm and abyss. In short,
since elders grow of a more pleasing sound, and fitter to make flutes, in
such places where the crowing of cocks is not heard, as the ancient sages
have writ and Theophrastus relates; as if the crowing of a cock dulled,
flattened, and perverted the wood of the elder, as it is said to astonish
and stupify with fear that strong and resolute animal, a lion. I know that
some have understood this of wild elder, that grows so far from towns or
villages that the crowing of cocks cannot reach near it; and doubtless that
sort ought to be preferred to the stenching common elder that grows about
decayed and ruined places; but others have understood this in a higher
sense, not literal, but allegorical, according to the method of the
Pythagoreans, as when it was said that Mercury's statue could not be made
of every sort of wood; to which sentence they gave this sense, that God is
not to be worshipped in a vulgar form, but in a chosen and religious
manner. In the same manner, by this elder which grows far from places
where cocks are heard, the ancients meant that the wise and studious ought
not to give their minds to trivial or vulgar music, but to that which is
celestial, divine, angelical, more abstracted, and brought from remoter
parts, that is, from a region where the crowing of cocks is not heard; for,
to denote a solitary and unfrequented place, we say cocks are never heard
to crow there.
How Pantagruel fell asleep near the island of Chaneph, and of the problems
proposed to be solved when he waked.
The next day, merrily pursuing our voyage, we came in sight of the island
of Chaneph, where Pantagruel's ship could not arrive, the wind chopping
about, and then failing us so that we were becalmed, and could hardly get
ahead, tacking about from starboard to larboard, and larboard to starboard,
though to our sails we added drabblers.
With this accident we were all out of sorts, moping, drooping,
metagrabolized, as dull as dun in the mire, in C sol fa ut flat, out of
tune, off the hinges, and I-don't-know-howish, without caring to speak one
single syllable to each other.
Pantagruel was taking a nap, slumbering and nodding on the quarter-deck by
the cuddy, with an Heliodorus in his hand; for still it was his custom to
sleep better by book than by heart.
Epistemon was conjuring, with his astrolabe, to know what latitude we were
Friar John was got into the cook-room, examining, by the ascendant of the
spits and the horoscope of ragouts and fricassees, what time of day it
might then be.
Panurge (sweet baby!) held a stalk of Pantagruelions, alias hemp, next his
tongue, and with it made pretty bubbles and bladders.
Gymnast was making tooth-pickers with lentisk.
Ponocrates, dozing, dozed, and dreaming, dreamed; tickled himself to make
himself laugh, and with one finger scratched his noddle where it did not
Carpalin, with a nutshell and a trencher of verne (that's a card in
Gascony), was making a pretty little merry windmill, cutting the card
longways into four slips, and fastening them with a pin to the convex of
the nut, and its concave to the tarred side of the gunnel of the ship.
Eusthenes, bestriding one of the guns, was playing on it with his fingers
as if it had been a trump-marine.
Rhizotome, with the soft coat of a field tortoise, alias ycleped a mole,
was making himself a velvet purse.
Xenomanes was patching up an old weather-beaten lantern with a hawk's
Our pilot (good man!) was pulling maggots out of the seamen's noses.
At last Friar John, returning from the forecastle, perceived that
Pantagruel was awake. Then breaking this obstinate silence, he briskly and
cheerfully asked him how a man should kill time, and raise good weather,
during a calm at sea.
Panurge, whose belly thought his throat cut, backed the motion presently,
and asked for a pill to purge melancholy.
Epistemon also came on, and asked how a man might be ready to bepiss
himself with laughing when he has no heart to be merry.
Gymnast, arising, demanded a remedy for a dimness of eyes.
Ponocrates, after he had a while rubbed his noddle and shaken his ears,
asked how one might avoid dog-sleep. Hold! cried Pantagruel, the
Peripatetics have wisely made a rule that all problems, questions, and
doubts which are offered to be solved ought to be certain, clear, and
intelligible. What do you mean by dog-sleep? I mean, answered Ponocrates,
to sleep fasting in the sun at noonday, as the dogs do.
Rhizotome, who lay stooping on the pump, raised his drowsy head, and lazily
yawning, by natural sympathy set almost everyone in the ship a-yawning too;
then he asked for a remedy against oscitations and gapings.
Xenomanes, half puzzled, and tired out with new-vamping his antiquated
lantern, asked how the hold of the stomach might be so well ballasted and
freighted from the keel to the main hatch, with stores well stowed, that
our human vessels might not heel or be walt, but well trimmed and stiff.
Carpalin, twirling his diminutive windmill, asked how many motions are to
be felt in nature before a gentleman may be said to be hungry.
Eusthenes, hearing them talk, came from between decks, and from the capstan
called out to know why a man that is fasting, bit by a serpent also
fasting, is in greater danger of death than when man and serpent have eat
their breakfasts;--why a man's fasting-spittle is poisonous to serpents and
One single solution may serve for all your problems, gentlemen, answered
Pantagruel; and one single medicine for all such symptoms and accidents.
My answer shall be short, not to tire you with a long needless train of
pedantic cant. The belly has no ears, nor is it to be filled with fair
words; you shall be answered to content by signs and gestures. As formerly
at Rome, Tarquin the Proud, its last king, sent an answer by signs to his
son Sextus, who was among the Gabii at Gabii. (Saying this, he pulled the
string of a little bell, and Friar John hurried away to the cook-room.)
The son having sent his father a messenger to know how he might bring the
Gabii under a close subjection, the king, mistrusting the messenger, made
him no answer, and only took him into his privy garden, and in his presence
with his sword lopped off the heads of the tall poppies that were there.
The express returned without any other despatch, yet having related to the
prince what he had seen his father do, he easily understood that by those
signs he advised him to cut off the heads of the chief men in the town, the
better to keep under the rest of the people.
How Pantagruel gave no answer to the problems.
Pantagruel then asked what sort of people dwelt in that damned island.
They are, answered Xenomanes, all hypocrites, holy mountebanks, tumblers of
beads, mumblers of ave-marias, spiritual comedians, sham saints, hermits,
all of them poor rogues who, like the hermit of Lormont between Blaye and
Bordeaux, live wholly on alms given them by passengers. Catch me there if
you can, cried Panurge; may the devil's head-cook conjure my bumgut into a
pair of bellows if ever you find me among them! Hermits, sham saints,
living forms of mortification, holy mountebanks, avaunt! in the name of
your father Satan, get out of my sight! When the devil's a hog, you shall
eat bacon. I shall not forget yet awhile our fat Concilipetes of Chesil.
O that Beelzebub and Astaroth had counselled them to hang themselves out of
the way, and they had done't! we had not then suffered so much by devilish
storms as we did for having seen 'em. Hark ye me, dear rogue, Xenomanes,
my friend, I prithee are these hermits, hypocrites, and eavesdroppers maids
or married? Is there anything of the feminine gender among them? Could a
body hypocritically take there a small hypocritical touch? Will they lie
backwards, and let out their fore-rooms? There's a fine question to be
asked, cried Pantagruel. Yes, yes, answered Xenomanes; you may find there
many goodly hypocritesses, jolly spiritual actresses, kind hermitesses,
women that have a plaguy deal of religion; then there's the copies of 'em,
little hypocritillons, sham sanctitos, and hermitillons. Foh! away with
them, cried Friar John; a young saint, an old devil! (Mark this, an old
saying, and as true a one as, a young whore, an old saint.) Were there not
such, continued Xenomanes, the isle of Chaneph, for want of a
multiplication of progeny, had long ere this been desert and desolate.
Pantagruel sent them by Gymnast in the pinnace seventy-eight thousand fine
pretty little gold half-crowns, of those that are marked with a lantern.
After this he asked, What's o'clock? Past nine, answered Epistemon. It is
then the best time to go to dinner, said Pantagruel; for the sacred line so
celebrated by Aristophanes in his play called Concionatrices is at hand,
never failing when the shadow is decempedal.
Formerly, among the Persians, dinner-time was at a set hour only for kings;
as for all others, their appetite and their belly was their clock; when
that chimed, they thought it time to go to dinner. So we find in Plautus a
certain parasite making a heavy do, and sadly railing at the inventors of
hour-glasses and dials as being unnecessary things, there being no clock
more regular than the belly.
Diogenes being asked at what times a man ought to eat, answered, The rich
when he is hungry, the poor when he has anything to eat. Physicians more
properly say that the canonical hours are,
To rise at five, to dine at nine,
To sup at five, to sleep at nine.
The famous king Petosiris's magic was different,--Here the officers for the
gut came in, and got ready the tables and cupboards; laid the cloth, whose
sight and pleasant smell were very comfortable; and brought plates,
napkins, salts, tankards, flagons, tall-boys, ewers, tumblers, cups,
goblets, basins, and cisterns.
Friar John, at the head of the stewards, sewers, yeomen of the pantry, and
of the mouth, tasters, carvers, cupbearers, and cupboard-keepers, brought
four stately pasties, so huge that they put me in mind of the four bastions
at Turin. Ods-fish, how manfully did they storm them! What havoc did they
make with the long train of dishes that came after them! How bravely did
they stand to their pan-puddings, and paid off their dust! How merrily did
they soak their noses!
The fruit was not yet brought in, when a fresh gale at west and by north
began to fill the main-course, mizen-sail, fore-sail, tops, and top-
gallants; for which blessing they all sung divers hymns of thanks and
When the fruit was on the table, Pantagruel asked, Now tell me, gentlemen,
are your doubts fully resolved or no? I gape and yawn no more, answered
Rhizotome. I sleep no longer like a dog, said Ponocrates. I have cleared
my eyesight, said Gymnast. I have broke my fast, said Eusthenes; so that
for this whole day I shall be secure from the danger of my spittle.
Asps. Black wag leg-flies. Domeses.
Amphisbenes. Spanish flies. Dryinades.
Anerudutes. Catoblepes. Dragons.
Abedissimons. Horned snakes. Elopes.
Alhartrafz. Caterpillars. Enhydrides.
Ammobates. Crocodiles. Falvises.
Apimaos. Toads. Galeotes.
Alhatrabans. Nightmares. Harmenes.
Aractes. Mad dogs. Handons.
Asterions. Colotes. Icles.
Alcharates. Cychriodes. Jarraries.
Arges. Cafezates. Ilicines.
Spiders. Cauhares. Pharaoh's mice.
Starry lizards. Snakes. Kesudures.
Attelabes. Cuhersks, two- Sea-hares.
Ascalabotes. tongued adders. Chalcidic newts.
Haemorrhoids. Amphibious ser- Footed serpents.
Basilisks. pents. Manticores.
Fitches. Cenchres. Molures.
Sucking water- Cockatrices. Mouse-serpents.
snakes. Dipsades. Shrew-mice.
Miliares. Salamanders. Stinkfish.
Megalaunes. Slowworms. Stuphes.
Spitting-asps. Stellions. Sabrins.
Porphyri. Scorpenes. Blood-sucking flies.
Pareades. Scorpions. Hornfretters.
Phalanges. Hornworms. Scolopendres.
Penphredons. Scalavotins. Tarantulas.
Pinetree-worms. Solofuidars. Blind worms.
Ruteles. Deaf-asps. Tetragnathias.
Worms. Horseleeches. Teristales.
Rhagions. Salt-haters. Vipers, &c.
How Pantagruel passed the time with his servants.
In what hierarchy of such venomous creatures do you place Panurge's future
spouse? asked Friar John. Art thou speaking ill of women, cried Panurge,
thou mangy scoundrel, thou sorry, noddy-peaked shaveling monk? By the
cenomanic paunch and gixy, said Epistemon, Euripides has written, and makes
Andromache say it, that by industry, and the help of the gods, men had
found remedies against all poisonous creatures; but none was yet found
against a bad wife.
This flaunting Euripides, cried Panurge, was gabbling against women every
foot, and therefore was devoured by dogs, as a judgment from above; as
Aristophanes observes. Let's go on. Let him speak that is next. I can
leak now like any stone-horse, said then Epistemon. I am, said Xenomanes,
full as an egg and round as a hoop; my ship's hold can hold no more, and
will now make shift to bear a steady sail. Said Carpalin, A truce with
thirst, a truce with hunger; they are strong, but wine and meat are
stronger. I'm no more in the dumps cried Panurge; my heart's a pound
lighter. I'm in the right cue now, as brisk as a body-louse, and as merry
as a beggar. For my part, I know what I do when I drink; and it is a true
thing (though 'tis in your Euripides) that is said by that jolly toper
Silenus of blessed memory, that--
The man's emphatically mad,
Who drinks the best, yet can be sad.
We must not fail to return our humble and hearty thanks to the Being who,
with this good bread, this cool delicious wine, these good meats and rare
dainties, removes from our bodies and minds these pains and perturbations,
and at the same time fills us with pleasure and with food.
But methinks, sir, you did not give an answer to Friar John's question;
which, as I take it, was how to raise good weather. Since you ask no more
than this easy question, answered Pantagruel, I'll strive to give you
satisfaction; and some other time we'll talk of the rest of the problems,
if you will.
Well then, Friar John asked how good weather might be raised. Have we not
raised it? Look up and see our full topsails. Hark how the wind whistles
through the shrouds, what a stiff gale it blows. Observe the rattling of
the tacklings, and see the sheets that fasten the mainsail behind; the
force of the wind puts them upon the stretch. While we passed our time
merrily, the dull weather also passed away; and while we raised the glasses
to our mouths, we also raised the wind by a secret sympathy in nature.
Thus Atlas and Hercules clubbed to raise and underprop the falling sky, if
you'll believe the wise mythologists, but they raised it some half an inch
too high, Atlas to entertain his guest Hercules more pleasantly, and
Hercules to make himself amends for the thirst which some time before had
tormented him in the deserts of Africa. Your good father, said Friar John,
interrupting him, takes care to free many people from such an
inconveniency; for I have been told by many venerable doctors that his
chief-butler, Turelupin, saves above eighteen hundred pipes of wine yearly
to make servants, and all comers and goers, drink before they are a-dry.
As the camels and dromedaries of a caravan, continued Pantagruel, use to
drink for the thirst that's past, for the present, and for that to come, so
did Hercules; and being thus excessively raised, this gave new motion to
the sky, which is that of titubation and trepidation, about which our
crackbrained astrologers make such a pother. This, said Panurge, makes the
While jolly companions carouse it together,
A fig for the storm, it gives way to good weather.
Nay, continued Pantagruel, some will tell you that we have not only
shortened the time of the calm, but also much disburthened the ship; not
like Aesop's basket, by easing it of the provision, but by breaking our
fasts; and that a man is more terrestrial and heavy when fasting than when
he has eaten and drank, even as they pretend that he weighs more dead than
living. However it is, you will grant they are in the right who take their
morning's draught and breakfast before a long journey; then say that the
horses will perform the better, and that a spur in the head is worth two in
the flank; or, in the same horse dialect--
That a cup in the pate
Is a mile in the gate.
Don't you know that formerly the Amycleans worshipped the noble Bacchus
above all other gods, and gave him the name of Psila, which in the Doric
dialect signifies wings; for, as the birds raise themselves by a towering
flight with their wings above the clouds, so, with the help of soaring
Bacchus, the powerful juice of the grape, our spirits are exalted to a
pitch above themselves, our bodies are more sprightly, and their earthly
parts become soft and pliant.
How, by Pantagruel's order, the Muses were saluted near the isle of
This fair wind and as fine talk brought us in sight of a high land, which
Pantagruel discovering afar off, showed it Xenomanes, and asked him, Do you
see yonder to the leeward a high rock with two tops, much like Mount
Parnassus in Phocis? I do plainly, answered Xenomanes; 'tis the isle of
Ganabim. Have you a mind to go ashore there? No, returned Pantagruel.
You do well, indeed, said Xenomanes; for there is nothing worth seeing in
the place. The people are all thieves; yet there is the finest fountain in
the world, and a very large forest towards the right top of the mountain.
Your fleet may take in wood and water there.
He that spoke last, spoke well, quoth Panurge; let us not by any means be
so mad as to go among a parcel of thieves and sharpers. You may take my
word for't, this place is just such another as, to my knowledge, formerly
were the islands of Sark and Herm, between the smaller and the greater
Britain; such as was the Poneropolis of Philip in Thrace; islands of
thieves, banditti, picaroons, robbers, ruffians, and murderers, worse than
raw-head and bloody-bones, and full as honest as the senior fellows of the
college of iniquity, the very outcasts of the county gaol's common-side.
As you love yourself, do not go among 'em. If you go you'll come off but
bluely, if you come off at all. If you will not believe me, at least
believe what the good and wise Xenomanes tells you; for may I never stir if
they are not worse than the very cannibals; they would certainly eat us
alive. Do not go among 'em, I pray you; it were safer to take a journey to
hell. Hark! by Cod's body, I hear 'em ringing the alarm-bell most
dreadfully, as the Gascons about Bordeaux used formerly to do against the
commissaries and officers for the tax on salt, or my ears tingle. Let's
Believe me, sir, said Friar John, let's rather land; we will rid the world
of that vermin, and inn there for nothing. Old Nick go with thee for me,
quoth Panurge. This rash hairbrained devil of a friar fears nothing, but
ventures and runs on like a mad devil as he is, and cares not a rush what
becomes of others; as if everyone was a monk, like his friarship. A pox on
grinning honour, say I. Go to, returned the friar, thou mangy noddy-peak!
thou forlorn druggle-headed sneaksby! and may a million of black devils
anatomize thy cockle brain. The hen-hearted rascal is so cowardly that he
berays himself for fear every day. If thou art so afraid, dunghill, do not
go; stay here and be hanged; or go and hide thy loggerhead under Madam
Panurge hearing this, his breech began to make buttons; so he slunk in in
an instant, and went to hide his head down in the bread-room among the
musty biscuits and the orts and scraps of broken bread.
Pantagruel in the meantime said to the rest: I feel a pressing retraction
in my soul, which like a voice admonishes me not to land there. Whenever I
have felt such a motion within me I have found myself happy in avoiding
what it directed me to shun, or in undertaking what it prompted me to do;
and I never had occasion to repent following its dictates.
As much, said Epistemon, is related of the daemon of Socrates, so
celebrated among the Academics. Well then, sir, said Friar John, while the
ship's crew water have you a mind to have good sport? Panurge is got down
somewhere in the hold, where he is crept into some corner, and lurks like a
mouse in a cranny. Let 'em give the word for the gunner to fire yon gun
over the round-house on the poop; this will serve to salute the Muses of
this Anti-parnassus; besides, the powder does but decay in it. You are in
the right, said Pantagruel; here, give the word for the gunner.
The gunner immediately came, and was ordered by Pantagruel to fire that
gun, and then charge it with fresh powder, which was soon done. The
gunners of the other ships, frigates, galleons, and galleys of the fleet,
hearing us fire, gave every one a gun to the island; which made such a
horrid noise that you would have sworn heaven had been tumbling about our
How Panurge berayed himself for fear; and of the huge cat Rodilardus, which
he took for a puny devil.
Panurge, like a wild, addle-pated, giddy-goat, sallies out of the bread-
room in his shirt, with nothing else about him but one of his stockings,
half on, half off, about his heel, like a rough-footed pigeon; his hair and
beard all bepowdered with crumbs of bread in which he had been over head
and ears, and a huge and mighty puss partly wrapped up in his other
stocking. In this equipage, his chaps moving like a monkey's who's
a-louse-hunting, his eyes staring like a dead pig's, his teeth chattering,
and his bum quivering, the poor dog fled to Friar John, who was then
sitting by the chain-wales of the starboard side of the ship, and prayed
him heartily to take pity on him and keep him in the safeguard of his
trusty bilbo; swearing, by his share of Papimany, that he had seen all hell
Woe is me, my Jacky, cried he, my dear Johnny, my old crony, my brother, my
ghostly father! all the devils keep holiday, all the devils keep their
feast to-day, man. Pork and peas choke me if ever thou sawest such
preparations in thy life for an infernal feast. Dost thou see the smoke of
hell's kitchens? (This he said, showing him the smoke of the gunpowder
above the ships.) Thou never sawest so many damned souls since thou wast
born; and so fair, so bewitching they seem, that one would swear they are
Stygian ambrosia. I thought at first, God forgive me! that they had been
English souls; and I don't know but that this morning the isle of Horses,
near Scotland, was sacked, with all the English who had surprised it, by
the lords of Termes and Essay.
Friar John, at the approach of Panurge, was entertained with a kind of
smell that was not like that of gunpowder, nor altogether so sweet as musk;
which made him turn Panurge about, and then he saw that his shirt was
dismally bepawed and berayed with fresh sir-reverence. The retentive
faculty of the nerve which restrains the muscle called sphincter ('tis the
arse-hole, an it please you) was relaxated by the violence of the fear
which he had been in during his fantastic visions. Add to this the
thundering noise of the shooting, which seems more dreadful between decks
than above. Nor ought you to wonder at such a mishap; for one of the
symptoms and accidents of fear is, that it often opens the wicket of the
cupboard wherein second-hand meat is kept for a time. Let's illustrate
this noble theme with some examples.
Messer Pantolfe de la Cassina of Siena, riding post from Rome, came to
Chambery, and alighting at honest Vinet's took one of the pitchforks in the
stable; then turning to the innkeeper, said to him, Da Roma in qua io non
son andato del corpo. Di gratia piglia in mano questa forcha, et fa mi
paura. (I have not had a stool since I left Rome. I pray thee take this
pitchfork and fright me.) Vinet took it, and made several offers as if he
would in good earnest have hit the signor, but all in vain; so the Sienese
said to him, Si tu non fai altramente, tu non fai nulla; pero sforzati di
adoperarli piu guagliardamente. (If thou dost not go another way to work,
thou hadst as good do nothing; therefore try to bestir thyself more
briskly.) With this, Vinet lent him such a swinging stoater with the
pitchfork souse between the neck and the collar of his jerkin, that down
fell signor on the ground arsyversy, with his spindle shanks wide
straggling over his poll. Then mine host sputtering, with a full-mouthed
laugh, said to his guest, By Beelzebub's bumgut, much good may it do you,
Signore Italiano. Take notice this is datum Camberiaci, given at Chambery.
'Twas well the Sienese had untrussed his points and let down his drawers;
for this physic worked with him as soon as he took it, and as copious was
the evacuation as that of nine buffaloes and fourteen missificating arch-
lubbers. Which operation being over, the mannerly Sienese courteously gave
mine host a whole bushel of thanks, saying to him, Io ti ringratio, bel
messere; cosi facendo tu m' ai esparmiata la speza d'un servitiale. (I
thank thee, good landlord; by this thou hast e'en saved me the expense of a
I'll give you another example of Edward V., King of England. Master
Francis Villon, being banished France, fled to him, and got so far into his
favour as to be privy to all his household affairs. One day the king,
being on his close-stool, showed Villon the arms of France, and said to
him, Dost thou see what respect I have for thy French kings? I have none
of their arms anywhere but in this backside, near my close-stool. Ods-
life, said the buffoon, how wise, prudent, and careful of your health your
highness is! How carefully your learned doctor, Thomas Linacre, looks
after you! He saw that now you grow old you are inclined to be somewhat
costive, and every day were fain to have an apothecary, I mean a
suppository or clyster, thrust into your royal nockandroe; so he has, much
to the purpose, induced you to place here the arms of France; for the very
sight of them puts you into such a dreadful fright that you immediately let
fly as much as would come from eighteen squattering bonasi of Paeonia. And
if they were painted in other parts of your house, by jingo, you would
presently conskite yourself wherever you saw them. Nay, had you but here a
picture of the great oriflamme of France, ods-bodikins, your tripes and
bowels would be in no small danger of dropping out at the orifice of your
posteriors. But henh, henh, atque iterum henh.
A silly cockney am I not,
As ever did from Paris come?
And with a rope and sliding knot
My neck shall know what weighs my bum.
A cockney of short reach, I say, shallow of judgment and judging shallowly,
to wonder that you should cause your points to be untrussed in your chamber
before you come into this closet. By'r lady, at first I thought your
close-stool had stood behind the hangings of your bed; otherwise it seemed
very odd to me you should untruss so far from the place of evacuation. But
now I find I was a gull, a wittol, a woodcock, a mere ninny, a dolt-head, a
noddy, a changeling, a calf-lolly, a doddipoll. You do wisely, by the
mass, you do wisely; for had you not been ready to clap your hind face on
the mustard-pot as soon as you came within sight of these arms--mark ye me,
cop's body--the bottom of your breeches had supplied the office of a close-
Friar John, stopping the handle of his face with his left hand, did, with
the forefinger of the right, point out Panurge's shirt to Pantagruel, who,
seeing him in this pickle, scared, appalled, shivering, raving, staring,
berayed, and torn with the claws of the famous cat Rodilardus, could not
choose but laugh, and said to him, Prithee what wouldst thou do with this
cat? With this cat? quoth Panurge; the devil scratch me if I did not think
it had been a young soft-chinned devil, which, with this same stocking
instead of mitten, I had snatched up in the great hutch of hell as
thievishly as any sizar of Montague college could have done. The devil
take Tybert! I feel it has all bepinked my poor hide, and drawn on it to
the life I don't know how many lobsters' whiskers. With this he threw his
Go, go, said Pantagruel, be bathed and cleaned, calm your fears, put on a
clean shift, and then your clothes. What! do you think I am afraid? cried
Panurge. Not I, I protest. By the testicles of Hercules, I am more
hearty, bold, and stout, though I say it that should not, than if I had
swallowed as many flies as are put into plumcakes and other paste at Paris
from Midsummer to Christmas. But what's this? Hah! oh, ho! how the devil
came I by this? Do you call this what the cat left in the malt, filth,
dirt, dung, dejection, faecal matter, excrement, stercoration,
sir-reverence, ordure, second-hand meats, fumets, stronts, scybal, or
spyrathe? 'Tis Hibernian saffron, I protest. Hah, hah, hah! 'tis Irish
saffron, by Shaint Pautrick, and so much for this time. Selah. Let's
THE FIFTH BOOK
The Author's Prologue.
Indefatigable topers, and you, thrice precious martyrs of the smock, give
me leave to put a serious question to your worships while you are idly
striking your codpieces, and I myself not much better employed. Pray, why
is it that people say that men are not such sots nowadays as they were in
the days of yore? Sot is an old word that signifies a dunce, dullard,
jolthead, gull, wittol, or noddy, one without guts in his brains, whose
cockloft is unfurnished, and, in short, a fool. Now would I know whether
you would have us understand by this same saying, as indeed you logically
may, that formerly men were fools and in this generation are grown wise?
How many and what dispositions made them fools? How many and what
dispositions were wanting to make 'em wise? Why were they fools? How
should they be wise? Pray, how came you to know that men were formerly
fools? How did you find that they are now wise? Who the devil made 'em
fools? Who a God's name made 'em wise? Who d'ye think are most, those
that loved mankind foolish, or those that love it wise? How long has it
been wise? How long otherwise? Whence proceeded the foregoing folly?
Whence the following wisdom? Why did the old folly end now, and no later?
Why did the modern wisdom begin now, and no sooner? What were we the worse
for the former folly? What the better for the succeeding wisdom? How
should the ancient folly be come to nothing? How should this same new
wisdom be started up and established?
Now answer me, an't please you. I dare not adjure you in stronger terms,
reverend sirs, lest I make your pious fatherly worships in the least
uneasy. Come, pluck up a good heart; speak the truth and shame the devil.
Be cheery, my lads; and if you are for me, take me off three or five
bumpers of the best, while I make a halt at the first part of the sermon;
then answer my question. If you are not for me, avaunt! avoid, Satan! For
I swear by my great-grandmother's placket (and that's a horrid oath), that
if you don't help me to solve that puzzling problem, I will, nay, I already
do repent having proposed it; for still I must remain nettled and
gravelled, and a devil a bit I know how to get off. Well, what say you?
I'faith, I begin to smell you out. You are not yet disposed to give me an
answer; nor I neither, by these whiskers. Yet to give some light into the
business, I'll e'en tell you what had been anciently foretold in the matter
by a venerable doctor, who, being moved by the spirit in a prophetic vein,
wrote a book ycleped the Prelatical Bagpipe. What d'ye think the old
fornicator saith? Hearken, you old noddies, hearken now or never.
The jubilee's year, when all like fools were shorn,
Is about thirty supernumerary.
O want of veneration! fools they seemed,
But, persevering, with long breves, at last
No more they shall be gaping greedy fools.
For they shall shell the shrub's delicious fruit,
Whose flower they in the spring so much had feared.
Now you have it, what do you make on't? The seer is ancient, the style
laconic, the sentences dark like those of Scotus, though they treat of
matters dark enough in themselves. The best commentators on that good
father take the jubilee after the thirtieth to be the years that are
included in this present age till 1550 (there being but one jubilee every
fifty years). Men shall no longer be thought fools next green peas season.
The fools, whose number, as Solomon certifies, is infinite, shall go to pot
like a parcel of mad bedlamites as they are; and all manner of folly shall
have an end, that being also numberless, according to Avicenna, maniae
infinitae sunt species. Having been driven back and hidden towards the
centre during the rigour of the winter, 'tis now to be seen on the surface,
and buds out like the trees. This is as plain as a nose in a man's face;
you know it by experience; you see it. And it was formerly found out by
that great good man Hippocrates, Aphorism Verae etenim maniae, &c. This
world therefore wisifying itself, shall no longer dread the flower and
blossoms of every coming spring, that is, as you may piously believe,
bumper in hand and tears in eyes, in the woeful time of Lent, which used to
keep them company.
Whole cartloads of books that seemed florid, flourishing, and flowery, gay,
and gaudy as so many butterflies, but in the main were tiresome, dull,
soporiferous, irksome, mischievous, crabbed, knotty, puzzling, and dark as
those of whining Heraclitus, as unintelligible as the numbers of
Pythagoras, that king of the bean, according to Horace; those books, I say,
have seen their best days and shall soon come to nothing, being delivered
to the executing worms and merciless petty chandlers; such was their
destiny, and to this they were predestinated.
In their stead beans in cod are started up; that is, these merry and
fructifying Pantagruelian books, so much sought nowadays in expectation of
the following jubilee's period; to the study of which writings all people
have given their minds, and accordingly have gained the name of wise.
Now I think I have fairly solved and resolved your problem; then reform,
and be the better for it. Hem once or twice like hearts of oak; stand to
your pan-puddings, and take me off your bumpers, nine go-downs, and huzza!
since we are like to have a good vintage, and misers hang themselves. Oh!
they will cost me an estate in hempen collars if fair weather hold. For I
hereby promise to furnish them with twice as much as will do their business
on free cost, as often as they will take the pains to dance at a rope's end
providently to save charges, to the no small disappointment of the finisher
of the law.
Now, my friends, that you may put in for a share of this new wisdom, and
shake off the antiquated folly this very moment, scratch me out of your
scrolls and quite discard the symbol of the old philosopher with the golden
thigh, by which he has forbidden you to eat beans; for you may take it for
a truth granted among all professors in the science of good eating, that he
enjoined you not to taste of them only with the same kind intent that a
certain fresh-water physician had when he did forbid to Amer, late Lord of
Camelotiere, kinsman to the lawyer of that name, the wing of the partridge,
the rump of the chicken, and the neck of the pigeon, saying, Ala mala,
rumpum dubium, collum bonum, pelle remota. For the duncical dog-leech was
so selfish as to reserve them for his own dainty chops, and allowed his
poor patients little more than the bare bones to pick, lest they should
overload their squeamish stomachs.
To the heathen philosopher succeeded a pack of Capuchins, monks who forbid
us the use of beans, that is, Pantagruelian books. They seem to follow the
example of Philoxenus and Gnatho, one of whom was a Sicilian of fulsome
memory, the ancient master-builders of their monastic cram-gut
voluptuousness, who, when some dainty bit was served up at a feast,
filthily used to spit on it, that none but their nasty selves might have
the stomach to eat of it, though their liquorish chops watered never so
much after it.
So those hideous, snotty, phthisicky, eaves-dropping, musty, moving forms
of mortification, both in public and private, curse those dainty books, and
like toads spit their venom upon them.
Now, though we have in our mother-tongue several excellent works in verse
and prose, and, heaven be praised! but little left of the trash and
trumpery stuff of those duncical mumblers of ave-maries and the barbarous
foregoing Gothic age, I have made bold to choose to chirrup and warble my
plain ditty, or, as they say, to whistle like a goose among the swans,
rather than be thought deaf among so many pretty poets and eloquent
orators. And thus I am prouder of acting the clown, or any other under-
part, among the many ingenious actors in that noble play, than of herding
among those mutes, who, like so many shadows and ciphers, only serve to
fill up the house and make up a number, gaping and yawning at the flies,
and pricking up their lugs, like so many Arcadian asses, at the striking up
of the music; thus silently giving to understand that their fopships are
tickled in the right place.
Having taken this resolution, I thought it would not be amiss to move my
Diogenical tub, that you might not accuse me of living without example. I
see a swarm of our modern poets and orators, your Colinets, Marots,
Drouets, Saint Gelais, Salels, Masuels, and many more, who, having
commenced masters in Apollo's academy on Mount Parnassus, and drunk
brimmers at the Caballin fountain among the nine merry Muses, have raised
our vulgar tongue, and made it a noble and everlasting structure. Their
works are all Parian marble, alabaster, porphyry, and royal cement; they
treat of nothing but heroic deeds, mighty things, grave and difficult
matters, and this in a crimson, alamode, rhetorical style. Their writings
are all divine nectar, rich, racy, sparkling, delicate, and luscious wine.
Nor does our sex wholly engross this honour; ladies have had their share of
the glory; one of them, of the royal blood of France, whom it were a
profanation but to name here, surprises the age at once by the transcendent
and inventive genius in her writings and the admirable graces of her style.
Imitate those great examples if you can; for my part I cannot. Everyone,
you know, cannot go to Corinth. When Solomon built the temple, all could
not give gold by handfuls.
Since then 'tis not in my power to improve our architecture as much as
they, I am e'en resolved to do like Renault of Montauban: I'll wait on the
masons, set on the pot for the masons, cook for the stone-cutters; and
since it was not my good luck to be cut out for one of them, I will live
and die the admirer of their divine writings.
As for you, little envious prigs, snarling bastards, puny critics, you'll
soon have railed your last; go hang yourselves, and choose you out some
well-spread oak, under whose shade you may swing in state, to the
admiration of the gaping mob; you shall never want rope enough. While I
here solemnly protest before my Helicon, in the presence of my nine
mistresses the Muses, that if I live yet the age of a dog, eked out with
that of three crows, sound wind and limbs, like the old Hebrew captain
Moses, Xenophilus the musician, and Demonax the philosopher, by arguments
no ways impertinent, and reasons not to be disputed, I will prove, in the
teeth of a parcel of brokers and retailers of ancient rhapsodies and such
mouldy trash, that our vulgar tongue is not so mean, silly, inept, poor,
barren, and contemptible as they pretend. Nor ought I to be afraid of I
know not what botchers of old threadbare stuff, a hundred and a hundred
times clouted up and pieced together; wretched bunglers that can do nothing
but new-vamp old rusty saws; beggarly scavengers that rake even the
muddiest canals of antiquity for scraps and bits of Latin as insignificant
as they are often uncertain. Beseeching our grandees of Witland that, as
when formerly Apollo had distributed all the treasures of his poetical
exchequer to his favourites, little hulchbacked Aesop got for himself the
office of apologue-monger; in the same manner, since I do not aspire
higher, they would not deny me that of puny rhyparographer, or riffraff
follower of the sect of Pyreicus.
I dare swear they will grant me this; for they are all so kind, so good-
natured, and so generous, that they'll ne'er boggle at so small a request.
Therefore, both dry and hungry souls, pot and trenchermen, fully enjoying
those books, perusing, quoting them in their merry conventicles, and
observing the great mysteries of which they treat, shall gain a singular
profit and fame; as in the like case was done by Alexander the Great with
the books of prime philosophy composed by Aristotle.
O rare! belly on belly! what swillers, what twisters will there be!
Then be sure all you that take care not to die of the pip, be sure, I say,
you take my advice, and stock yourselves with good store of such books as
soon as you meet with them at the booksellers; and do not only shell those
beans, but e'en swallow them down like an opiate cordial, and let them be
in you; I say, let them be within you; then you shall find, my beloved,
what good they do to all clever shellers of beans.
Here is a good handsome basketful of them, which I here lay before your
worships; they were gathered in the very individual garden whence the
former came. So I beseech you, reverend sirs, with as much respect as was
ever paid by dedicating author, to accept of the gift, in hopes of somewhat
better against next visit the swallows give us.
THE FIFTH BOOK.
How Pantagruel arrived at the Ringing Island, and of the noise that we
Pursuing our voyage, we sailed three days without discovering anything; on
the fourth we made land. Our pilot told us that it was the Ringing Island,
and indeed we heard a kind of a confused and often repeated noise, that
seemed to us at a great distance not unlike the sound of great, middle-
sized, and little bells rung all at once, as 'tis customary at Paris,
Tours, Gergeau, Nantes, and elsewhere on high holidays; and the nearer we
came to the land the louder we heard that jangling.
Some of us doubted that it was the Dodonian kettle, or the portico called
Heptaphone in Olympia, or the eternal humming of the colossus raised on
Memnon's tomb in Thebes of Egypt, or the horrid din that used formerly to
be heard about a tomb at Lipara, one of the Aeolian islands. But this did
not square with chorography.
I do not know, said Pantagruel, but that some swarms of bees hereabouts may
be taking a ramble in the air, and so the neighbourhood make this dingle-
dangle with pans, kettles, and basins, the corybantine cymbals of Cybele,
grandmother of the gods, to call them back. Let's hearken. When we were
nearer, among the everlasting ringing of these indefatigable bells we heard
the singing, as we thought, of some men. For this reason, before we
offered to land on the Ringing Island, Pantagruel was of opinion that we
should go in the pinnace to a small rock, near which we discovered an
hermitage and a little garden. There we found a diminutive old hermit,
whose name was Braguibus, born at Glenay. He gave us a full account of all
the jangling, and regaled us after a strange sort of fashion--four livelong
days did he make us fast, assuring us that we should not be admitted into
the Ringing Island otherwise, because it was then one of the four fasting,
or ember weeks. As I love my belly, quoth Panurge, I by no means
understand this riddle. Methinks this should rather be one of the four
windy weeks; for while we fast we are only puffed up with wind. Pray now,
good father hermit, have not you here some other pastime besides fasting?
Methinks it is somewhat of the leanest; we might well enough be without so
many palace holidays and those fasting times of yours. In my Donatus,
quoth Friar John, I could find yet but three times or tenses, the preterit,
the present, and the future; doubtless here the fourth ought to be a work
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