Gargantua and Pantagruel
Part 16 out of 16
each of them was a flaming wick, partly of asbestine flax, as of old in the
temple of Jupiter Ammon, such as those which Cleombrotus, a most studious
philosopher, saw, and partly of Carpasian flax (Ozell's correction.
Motteux reads, 'which Cleombrotus, a most studious philosopher, and
Pandelinus of Carpasium had, which were,' &c.), which were rather renewed
than consumed by the fire.
About two foot and a half below that gold plate, the three chains were
fastened to three handles that were fixed to a large round lamp of most
pure crystal, whose diameter was a cubit and a half, and opened about two
hands' breadths o' top; by which open place a vessel of the same crystal,
shaped somewhat like the lower part of a gourd-like limbec, or an urinal,
was put at the bottom of the great lamp, with such a quantity of the afore-
mentioned burning water, that the flame of the asbestine wick reached the
centre of the great lamp. This made all its spherical body seem to burn
and be in a flame, because the fire was just at the centre and middle
point, so that it was not more easy to fix the eye on it than on the disc
of the sun, the matter being wonderfully bright and shining, and the work
most transparent and dazzling by the reflection of the various colours of
the precious stones whereof the four small lamps above the main lamp were
made, and their lustre was still variously glittering all over the temple.
Then this wandering light being darted on the polished marble and agate
with which all the inside of the temple was pargetted, our eyes were
entertained with a sight of all the admirable colours which the rainbow can
boast when the sun darts his fiery rays on some dropping clouds.
The design of the lamp was admirable in itself, but, in my opinion, what
added much to the beauty of the whole, was that round the body of the
crystal lamp there was carved in cataglyphic work a lively and pleasant
battle of naked boys, mounted on little hobby-horses, with little whirligig
lances and shields that seemed made of vine-branches with grapes on them;
their postures generally were very different, and their childish strife and
motions were so ingeniously expressed that art equalled nature in every
proportion and action. Neither did this seem engraved, but rather hewed
out and embossed in relief, or at least like grotesque, which, by the
artist's skill, has the appearance of the roundness of the object it
represents. This was partly the effect of the various and most charming
light, which, flowing out of the lamp, filled the carved places with its
Chapter 5.XLII ('This and the next chapter make really but one, tho' Mr.
Motteux has made two of them; the first of which contains but eight lines,
according to him, and ends at the words fantastic fountain.'--Ozell.).
How the Priestess Bacbuc showed us a fantastic fountain in the temple, and
how the fountain-water had the taste of wine, according to the imagination
of those who drank of it.
While we were admiring this incomparable lamp and the stupendous structure
of the temple, the venerable priestess Bacbuc and her attendants came to us
with jolly smiling looks, and seeing us duly accoutred, without the least
difficulty took us into the middle of the temple, where, just under the
aforesaid lamp, was the fine fantastic fountain. She then ordered some
cups, goblets, and talboys of gold, silver, and crystal to be brought, and
kindly invited us to drink of the liquor that sprung there, which we
readily did; for, to say the truth, this fantastic fountain was very
inviting, and its materials and workmanship more precious, rare, and
admirable than anything Plato ever dreamt of in limbo.
Its basis or groundwork was of most pure and limpid alabaster, and its
height somewhat more than three spans, being a regular heptagon on the
outside, with its stylobates or footsteps, arulets, cymasults or blunt
tops, and Doric undulations about it. It was exactly round within. On the
middle point of each angle brink stood a pillar orbiculated in form of
ivory or alabaster solid rings. These were seven in number, according to
the number of the angles (This sentence, restored by Ozell, is omitted by
Each pillar's length from the basis to the architraves was near seven
hands, taking an exact dimension of its diameter through the centre of its
circumference and inward roundness; and it was so disposed that, casting
our eyes behind one of them, whatever its cube might be, to view its
opposite, we found that the pyramidal cone of our visual line ended at the
said centre, and there, by the two opposites, formed an equilateral
triangle whose two lines divided the pillar into two equal parts.
That which we had a mind to measure, going from one side to another, two
pillars over, at the first third part of the distance between them, was met
by their lowermost and fundamental line, which, in a consult line drawn as
far as the universal centre, equally divided, gave, in a just partition,
the distance of the seven opposite pillars in a right line, beginning at
the obtuse angle on the brink, as you know that an angle is always found
placed between two others in all angular figures odd in number.
This tacitly gave us to understand that seven semidiameters are in
geometrical proportion, compass, and distance somewhat less than the
circumference of a circle, from the figure of which they are extracted;
that is to say, three whole parts, with an eighth and a half, a little
more, or a seventh and a half, a little less, according to the instructions
given us of old by Euclid, Aristotle, Archimedes, and others.
The first pillar, I mean that which faced the temple gate, was of azure,
The second, of hyacinth, a precious stone exactly of the colour of the
flower into which Ajax's choleric blood was transformed; the Greek letters
A I being seen on it in many places.
The third, an anachite diamond, as bright and glittering as lightning.
The fourth, a masculine ruby balas (peach-coloured) amethystizing, its
flame and lustre ending in violet or purple like an amethyst.
The fifth, an emerald, above five hundred and fifty times more precious
than that of Serapis in the labyrinth of the Egyptians, and more verdant
and shining than those that were fixed, instead of eyes, in the marble
lion's head near King Hermias's tomb.
The sixth, of agate, more admirable and various in the distinctions of its
veins, clouds, and colours than that which Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, so
The seventh, of syenites, transparent, of the colour of a beryl and the
clear hue of Hymetian honey; and within it the moon was seen, such as we
see it in the sky, silent, full, new, and in the wane.
These stones were assigned to the seven heavenly planets by the ancient
Chaldaeans; and that the meanest capacities might be informed of this, just
at the central perpendicular line, on the chapter of the first pillar,
which was of sapphire, stood the image of Saturn in elutian (Motteux reads
'Eliacim.') lead, with his scythe in his hand, and at his feet a crane of
gold, very artfully enamelled, according to the native hue of the saturnine
On the second, which was of hyacinth, towards the left, Jupiter was seen in
jovetian brass, and on his breast an eagle of gold enamelled to the life.
On the third was Phoebus of the purest gold, and a white cock in his right
On the fourth was Mars in Corinthian brass, and a lion at his feet.
On the fifth was Venus in copper, the metal of which Aristonides made
Athamas's statue, that expressed in a blushing whiteness his confusion at
the sight of his son Learchus, who died at his feet of a fall.
On the sixth was Mercury in hydrargyre. I would have said quicksilver, had
it not been fixed, malleable, and unmovable. That nimble deity had a stork
at his feet.
On the seventh was the Moon in silver, with a greyhound at her feet.
The size of these statues was somewhat more than a third part of the
pillars on which they stood, and they were so admirably wrought according
to mathematical proportion that Polycletus's canon could hardly have stood
in competition with them.
The bases of the pillars, the chapters, the architraves, zoophores, and
cornices were Phrygian work of massive gold, purer and finer than any that
is found in the rivers Leede near Montpellier, Ganges in India, Po in
Italy, Hebrus in Thrace, Tagus in Spain, and Pactolus in Lydia.
The small arches between the pillars were of the same precious stone of
which the pillars next to them were. Thus, that arch was of sapphire which
ended at the hyacinth pillar, and that was of hyacinth which went towards
the diamond, and so on.
Above the arches and chapters of the pillars, on the inward front, a cupola
was raised to cover the fountain. It was surrounded by the planetary
statues, heptagonal at the bottom, and spherical o' top, and of crystal so
pure, transparent, well-polished, whole and uniform in all its parts,
without veins, clouds, flaws, or streaks, that Xenocrates never saw such a
one in his life.
Within it were seen the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve months of
the year, with their properties, the two equinoxes, the ecliptic line, with
some of the most remarkable fixed stars about the antartic pole and
elsewhere, so curiously engraven that I fancied them to be the workmanship
of King Necepsus, or Petosiris, the ancient mathematician.
On the top of the cupola, just over the centre of the fountain, were three
noble long pearls, all of one size, pear fashion, perfectly imitating a
tear, and so joined together as to represent a flower-de-luce or lily, each
of the flowers seeming above a hand's breadth. A carbuncle jetted out of
its calyx or cup as big as an ostrich's egg, cut seven square (that number
so beloved of nature), and so prodigiously glorious that the sight of it
had like to have made us blind, for the fiery sun or the pointed lightning
are not more dazzling and unsufferably bright.
Now, were some judicious appraisers to judge of the value of this
incomparable fountain, and the lamp of which we have spoke, they would
undoubtedly affirm it exceeds that of all the treasures and curiosities in
Europe, Asia, and Africa put together. For that carbuncle alone would have
darkened the pantarbe of Iarchus (Motteux reads 'Joachas.') the Indian
magician, with as much ease as the sun outshines and dims the stars with
his meridian rays.
Nor let Cleopatra, that Egyptian queen, boast of her pair of pendants,
those two pearls, one of which she caused to be dissolved in vinegar, in
the presence of Antony the Triumvir, her gallant.
Or let Pompeia Plautina be proud of her dress covered all over with
emeralds and pearls curiously intermixed, she who attracted the eyes of all
Rome, and was said to be the pit and magazine of the conquering robbers of
The fountain had three tubes or channels of right pearl, seated in three
equilateral angles already mentioned, extended on the margin, and those
channels proceeded in a snail-like line, winding equally on both sides.
We looked on them a while, and had cast our eyes on another side, when
Bacbuc directed us to watch the water. We then heard a most harmonious
sound, yet somewhat stopped by starts, far distant, and subterranean, by
which means it was still more pleasing than if it had been free,
uninterrupted, and near us, so that our minds were as agreeably entertained
through our ears with that charming melody as they were through the windows
of our eyes with those delightful objects.
Bacbuc then said, Your philosophers will not allow that motion is begot by
the power of figures; look here, and see the contrary. By that single
snail-like motion, equally divided as you see, and a fivefold infoliature,
movable at every inward meeting, such as is the vena cava where it enters
into the right ventricle of the heart; just so is the flowing of this
fountain, and by it a harmony ascends as high as your world's ocean.
She then ordered her attendants to make us drink; and, to tell you the
truth of the matter as near as possible, we are not, heaven be praised! of
the nature of a drove of calf-lollies, who (as your sparrows can't feed
unless you bob them on the tail) must be rib-roasted with tough crabtree
and firked into a stomach, or at least into an humour to eat or drink. No,
we know better things, and scorn to scorn any man's civility who civilly
invites us to a drinking bout. Bacbuc asked us then how we liked our tiff.
We answered that it seemed to us good harmless sober Adam's liquor, fit to
keep a man in the right way, and, in a word, mere element; more cool and
clear than Argyrontes in Aetolia, Peneus in Thessaly, Axius in Mygdonia, or
Cydnus in Cilicia, a tempting sight of whose cool silver stream caused
Alexander to prefer the short-lived pleasure of bathing himself in it to
the inconveniences which he could not but foresee would attend so ill-
termed an action.
This, said Bacbuc, comes of not considering with ourselves, or
understanding the motions of the musculous tongue, when the drink glides on
it in its way to the stomach. Tell me, noble strangers, are your throats
lined, paved, or enamelled, as formerly was that of Pithyllus, nicknamed
Theutes, that you can have missed the taste, relish, and flavour of this
divine liquor? Here, said she, turning towards her gentlewomen, bring my
scrubbing-brushes, you know which, to scrape, rake, and clear their
They brought immediately some stately, swingeing, jolly hams, fine
substantial neat's tongues, good hung-beef, pure and delicate botargos,
venison, sausages, and such other gullet-sweepers. And, to comply with her
invitation, we crammed and twisted till we owned ourselves thoroughly cured
of thirst, which before did damnably plague us.
We are told, continued she, that formerly a learned and valiant Hebrew
chief, leading his people through the deserts, where they were in danger of
being famished, obtained of God some manna, whose taste was to them, by
imagination, such as that of meat was to them before in reality; thus,
drinking of this miraculous liquor, you'll find it taste like any wine that
you shall fancy you drink. Come, then, fancy and drink. We did so, and
Panurge had no sooner whipped off his brimmer but he cried, By Noah's open
shop, 'tis vin de Beaune, better than ever was yet tipped over tongue, or
may ninety-six devils swallow me. Oh! that to keep its taste the longer,
we gentlemen topers had but necks some three cubits long or so, as
Philoxenus desired to have, or, at least, like a crane's, as Melanthius
On the faith of true lanterners, quoth Friar John, 'tis gallant, sparkling
Greek wine. Now, for God's sake, sweetheart, do but teach me how the devil
you make it. It seems to me Mirevaux wine, said Pantagruel; for before I
drank I supposed it to be such. Nothing can be misliked in it, but that
'tis cold; colder, I say, than the very ice; colder than the Nonacrian and
Dercean (Motteux reads 'Deraen.') water, or the Conthoporian (Motteux,
'Conthopian.') spring at Corinth, that froze up the stomach and nutritive
parts of those that drank of it.
Drink once, twice, or thrice more, said Bacbuc, still changing your
imagination, and you shall find its taste and flavour to be exactly that on
which you shall have pitched. Then never presume to say that anything is
impossible to God. We never offered to say such a thing, said I; far from
it, we maintain he is omnipotent.
How the Priestess Bacbuc equipped Panurge in order to have the word of the
When we had thus chatted and tippled, Bacbuc asked, Who of you here would
have the word of the Bottle? I, your most humble little funnel, an't
please you, quoth Panurge. Friend, saith she, I have but one thing to tell
you, which is, that when you come to the Oracle, you take care to hearken
and hear the word only with one ear. This, cried Friar John, is wine of
one ear, as Frenchmen call it.
She then wrapped him up in a gaberdine, bound his noddle with a goodly
clean biggin, clapped over it a felt such as those through which hippocras
is distilled, at the bottom of which, instead of a cowl, she put three
obelisks, made him draw on a pair of old-fashioned codpieces instead of
mittens, girded him about with three bagpipes bound together, bathed his
jobbernowl thrice in the fountain; then threw a handful of meal on his
phiz, fixed three cock's feathers on the right side of the hippocratical
felt, made him take a jaunt nine times round the fountain, caused him to
take three little leaps and to bump his a-- seven times against the ground,
repeating I don't know what kind of conjurations all the while in the
Tuscan tongue, and ever and anon reading in a ritual or book of ceremonies,
carried after her by one of her mystagogues.
For my part, may I never stir if I don't really believe that neither Numa
Pompilius, the second King of the Romans, nor the Cerites of Tuscia, and
the old Hebrew captain ever instituted so many ceremonies as I then saw
performed; nor were ever half so many religious forms used by the
soothsayers of Memphis in Egypt to Apis, or by the Euboeans, at Rhamnus
(Motteux gives 'or by the Embrians, or at Rhamnus.'), to Rhamnusia, or to
Jupiter Ammon, or to Feronia.
When she had thus accoutred my gentleman, she took him out of our company,
and led him out of the temple, through a golden gate on the right, into a
round chapel made of transparent speculary stones, by whose solid clearness
the sun's light shined there through the precipice of the rock without any
windows or other entrance, and so easily and fully dispersed itself through
the greater temple that the light seemed rather to spring out of it than to
flow into it.
The workmanship was not less rare than that of the sacred temple at
Ravenna, or that in the island of Chemnis in Egypt. Nor must I forget to
tell you that the work of that round chapel was contrived with such a
symmetry that its diameter was just the height of the vault.
In the middle of it was an heptagonal fountain of fine alabaster most
artfully wrought, full of water, which was so clear that it might have
passed for element in its purity and singleness. The sacred Bottle was in
it to the middle, clad in pure fine crystal of an oval shape, except its
muzzle, which was somewhat wider than was consistent with that figure.
How Bacbuc, the high-priestess, brought Panurge before the Holy Bottle.
There the noble priestess Bacbuc made Panurge stoop and kiss the brink of
the fountain; then bade him rise and dance three ithymbi ('Dances in the
honour of Bacchus.'--Motteux.). Which done, she ordered him to sit down
between two stools placed there for that purpose, his arse upon the ground.
Then she opened her ceremonial book, and, whispering in his left ear, made
him sing an epileny, inserted here in the figure of the bottle.
Bottle, whose Mysterious Deep
Do's ten thousand Secrets keep,
With attentive Ear I wait;
Ease my Mind, and speak my Fate.
Soul of Joy! Like Bacchus, we
More than India gain by thee.
Truths unborn thy Juice reveals,
Which Futurity conceals.
Antidote to Frauds and Lies,
Wine, that mounts us to the Skies,
May thy Father Noah's Brood
Like him drown, but in thy Flood.
Speak, so may the Liquid Mine
Of Rubies, or of Diamonds shine.
Bottle, whose Mysterious Deep
Do's ten thousand Secrets keep,
With attentive Ear I wait;
Ease my Mind, and speak my Fate.
When Panurge had sung, Bacbuc threw I don't know what into the fountain,
and straight its water began to boil in good earnest, just for the world as
doth the great monastical pot at Bourgueil when 'tis high holiday there.
Friend Panurge was listening with one ear, and Bacbuc kneeled by him, when
such a kind of humming was heard out of the Bottle as is made by a swarm of
bees bred in the flesh of a young bull killed and dressed according to
Aristaeus's art, or such as is made when a bolt flies out of a crossbow, or
when a shower falls on a sudden in summer. Immediately after this was
heard the word Trinc. By cob's body, cried Panurge, 'tis broken, or
cracked at least, not to tell a lie for the matter; for even so do crystal
bottles speak in our country when they burst near the fire.
Bacbuc arose, and gently taking Panurge under the arms, said, Friend, offer
your thanks to indulgent heaven, as reason requires. You have soon had the
word of the Goddess-Bottle; and the kindest, most favourable, and certain
word of answer that I ever yet heard her give since I officiated here at
her most sacred oracle. Rise, let us go to the chapter, in whose gloss
that fine word is explained. With all my heart, quoth Panurge; by jingo, I
am just as wise as I was last year. Light, where's the book? Turn it
over, where's the chapter? Let's see this merry gloss.
How Bacbuc explained the word of the Goddess-Bottle.
Bacbuc having thrown I don't know what into the fountain, straight the
water ceased to boil; and then she took Panurge into the greater temple, in
the central place, where there was the enlivening fountain.
There she took out a hugeous silver book, in the shape of a half-tierce, or
hogshead, of sentences, and, having filled it at the fountain, said to him,
The philosophers, preachers, and doctors of your world feed you up with
fine words and cant at the ears; now, here we really incorporate our
precepts at the mouth. Therefore I'll not say to you, read this chapter,
see this gloss; no, I say to you, taste me this fine chapter, swallow me
this rare gloss. Formerly an ancient prophet of the Jewish nation ate a
book and became a clerk even to the very teeth! Now will I have you drink
one, that you may be a clerk to your very liver. Here, open your
Panurge gaping as wide as his jaws would stretch, Bacbuc took the silver
book--at least we took it for a real book, for it looked just for the world
like a breviary--but in truth it was a breviary, a flask of right Falernian
wine as it came from the grape, which she made him swallow every drop.
By Bacchus, quoth Panurge, this was a notable chapter, a most authentic
gloss, o' my word. Is this all that the trismegistian Bottle's word means?
I' troth, I like it extremely; it went down like mother's milk. Nothing
more, returned Bacbuc; for Trinc is a panomphean word, that is, a word
understood, used and celebrated by all nations, and signifies drink.
Some say in your world that sack is a word used in all tongues, and justly
admitted in the same sense among all nations; for, as Aesop's fable hath
it, all men are born with a sack at the neck, naturally needy and begging
of each other; neither can the most powerful king be without the help of
other men, or can anyone that's poor subsist without the rich, though he be
never so proud and insolent; as, for example, Hippias the philosopher, who
boasted he could do everything. Much less can anyone make shift without
drink than without a sack. Therefore here we hold not that laughing, but
that drinking is the distinguishing character of man. I don't say
drinking, taking that word singly and absolutely in the strictest sense;
no, beasts then might put in for a share; I mean drinking cool delicious
wine. For you must know, my beloved, that by wine we become divine;
neither can there be a surer argument or a less deceitful divination. Your
('Varro.'--Motteux) academics assert the same when they make the etymology
of wine, which the Greeks call OINOS, to be from vis, strength, virtue,
and power; for 'tis in its power to fill the soul with all truth, learning,
If you observe what is written in Ionic letters on the temple gate, you may
have understood that truth is in wine. The Goddess-Bottle therefore
directs you to that divine liquor; be yourself the expounder of your
It is impossible, said Pantagruel to Panurge, to speak more to the purpose
than does this true priestess; you may remember I told you as much when you
first spoke to me about it.
Trinc then: what says your heart, elevated by Bacchic enthusiasm?
With this quoth Panurge:
Trinc, trinc; by Bacchus, let us tope,
And tope again; for, now I hope
To see some brawny, juicy rump
Well tickled with my carnal stump.
Ere long, my friends, I shall be wedded,
Sure as my trap-stick has a red-head;
And my sweet wife shall hold the combat
Long as my baws can on her bum beat.
O what a battle of a-- fighting
Will there be, which I much delight in!
What pleasing pains then shall I take
To keep myself and spouse awake!
All heart and juice, I'll up and ride,
And make a duchess of my bride.
Sing Io paean! loudly sing
To Hymen, who all joys will bring.
Well, Friar John, I'll take my oath,
This oracle is full of troth;
Intelligible truth it bears,
More certain than the sieve and shears.
How Panurge and the rest rhymed with poetic fury.
What a pox ails the fellow? quoth Friar John. Stark staring mad, or
bewitched, o' my word! Do but hear the chiming dotterel gabble in rhyme.
What o' devil has he swallowed? His eyes roll in his loggerhead just for
the world like a dying goat's. Will the addle-pated wight have the grace
to sheer off? Will he rid us of his damned company, to go shite out his
nasty rhyming balderdash in some bog-house? Will nobody be so kind as to
cram some dog's-bur down the poor cur's gullet? or will he, monk-like, run
his fist up to the elbow into his throat to his very maw, to scour and
clear his flanks? Will he take a hair of the same dog?
Pantagruel chid Friar John, and said:
Bold monk, forbear! this, I'll assure ye,
Proceeds all from poetic fury;
Warmed by the god, inspired with wine,
His human soul is made divine.
For without jest,
His hallowed breast,
With wine possessed,
Could have no rest
Till he'd expressed
Some thoughts at least
Of his great guest.
Then straight he flies
Above the skies,
And since divinely he's inspired,
Adore the soul by wine acquired,
And let the tosspot be admired.
How, quoth the friar, the fit rhyming is upon you too? Is't come to that?
Then we are all peppered, or the devil pepper me. What would I not give to
have Gargantua see us while we are in this maggotty crambo-vein! Now may I
be cursed with living on that damned empty food, if I can tell whether I
shall scape the catching distemper. The devil a bit do I understand which
way to go about it; however, the spirit of fustian possesses us all, I
find. Well, by St. John, I'll poetize, since everybody does; I find it
coming. Stay, and pray pardon me if I don't rhyme in crimson; 'tis my
Thou, who canst water turn to wine,
Transform my bum, by power divine,
Into a lantern, that may light
My neighbour in the darkest night.
Panurge then proceeds in his rapture, and says:
From Pythian Tripos ne'er were heard
More truths, nor more to be revered.
I think from Delphos to this spring
Some wizard brought that conjuring thing.
Had honest Plutarch here been toping,
He then so long had ne'er been groping
To find, according to his wishes,
Why oracles are mute as fishes
At Delphos. Now the reason's clear;
No more at Delphos they're, but here.
Here is the tripos, out of which
Is spoke the doom of poor and rich.
For Athenaeus does relate
This Bottle is the Womb of Fate;
Prolific of mysterious wine,
And big with prescience divine,
It brings the truth with pleasure forth;
Besides you ha't a pennyworth.
So, Friar John, I must exhort you
To wait a word that may import you,
And to inquire, while here we tarry,
If it shall be your luck to marry.
Friar John answers him in a rage, and says:
How, marry! By St. Bennet's boot,
And his gambadoes, I'll never do't.
No man that knows me e'er shall judge
I mean to make myself a drudge;
Or that pilgarlic e'er will dote
Upon a paltry petticoat.
I'll ne'er my liberty betray
All for a little leapfrog play;
And ever after wear a clog
Like monkey or like mastiff-dog.
No, I'd not have, upon my life,
Great Alexander for my wife,
Nor Pompey, nor his dad-in-law,
Who did each other clapperclaw.
Not the best he that wears a head
Shall win me to his truckle-bed.
Panurge, pulling off his gaberdine and mystical accoutrements, replied:
Wherefore thou shalt, thou filthy beast,
Be damned twelve fathoms deep at least;
While I shall reign in Paradise,
Whence on thy loggerhead I'll piss.
Now when that dreadful hour is come,
That thou in hell receiv'st thy doom,
E'en there, I know, thou'lt play some trick,
And Proserpine shan't scape a prick
Of the long pin within thy breeches.
But when thou'rt using these capriches,
And caterwauling in her cavern,
Send Pluto to the farthest tavern
For the best wine that's to be had,
Lest he should see, and run horn-mad.
She's kind, and ever did admire
A well-fed monk or well-hung friar.
Go to, quoth Friar John, thou old noddy, thou doddipolled ninny, go to the
devil thou'rt prating of. I've done with rhyming; the rheum gripes me at
the gullet. Let's talk of paying and going; come.
How we took our leave of Bacbuc, and left the Oracle of the Holy Bottle.
Do not trouble yourself about anything here, said the priestess to the
friar; if you be but satisfied, we are. Here below, in these circumcentral
regions, we place the sovereign good, not in taking and receiving, but in
bestowing and giving; so that we esteem ourselves happy, not if we take and
receive much of others, as perhaps the sects of teachers do in your world,
but rather if we impart and give much. All I have to beg of you is that
you leave us here your names in writing, in this ritual. She then opened a
fine large book, and as we gave our names one of her mystagogues with a
gold pin drew some lines on it, as if she had been writing; but we could
not see any characters.
This done, she filled three glasses with fantastic water, and giving them
into our hands, said, Now, my friends, you may depart, and may that
intellectual sphere whose centre is everywhere and circumference nowhere,
whom we call GOD, keep you in his almighty protection. When you come into
your world, do not fail to affirm and witness that the greatest treasures
and most admirable things are hidden underground, and not without reason.
Ceres was worshipped because she taught mankind the art of husbandry, and
by the use of corn, which she invented, abolished that beastly way of
feeding on acorns; and she grievously lamented her daughter's banishment
into our subterranean regions, certainly foreseeing that Proserpine would
meet with more excellent things, more desirable enjoyments, below, than she
her mother could be blessed with above.
What do you think is become of the art of forcing the thunder and celestial
fire down, which the wise Prometheus had formerly invented? 'Tis most
certain you have lost it; 'tis no more on your hemisphere; but here below
we have it. And without a cause you sometimes wonder to see whole towns
burned and destroyed by lightning and ethereal fire, and are at a loss
about knowing from whom, by whom, and to what end those dreadful mischiefs
were sent. Now, they are familiar and useful to us; and your philosophers
who complain that the ancients have left them nothing to write of or to
invent, are very much mistaken. Those phenomena which you see in the sky,
whatever the surface of the earth affords you, and the sea, and every river
contain, is not to be compared with what is hid within the bowels of the
For this reason the subterranean ruler has justly gained in almost every
language the epithet of rich. Now when your sages shall wholly apply their
minds to a diligent and studious search after truth, humbly begging the
assistance of the sovereign God, whom formerly the Egyptians in their
language called The Hidden and the Concealed, and invoking him by that
name, beseech him to reveal and make himself known to them, that Almighty
Being will, out of his infinite goodness, not only make his creatures, but
even himself known to them.
Thus will they be guided by good lanterns. For all the ancient
philosophers and sages have held two things necessary safely and pleasantly
to arrive at the knowledge of God and true wisdom; first, God's gracious
guidance, then man's assistance.
So, among the philosophers, Zoroaster took Arimaspes for the companion of
his travels; Aesculapius, Mercury; Orpheus, Musaeus; Pythagoras,
Aglaophemus; and, among princes and warriors, Hercules in his most
difficult achievements had his singular friend Theseus; Ulysses, Diomedes;
Aeneas, Achates. You followed their examples, and came under the conduct
of an illustrious lantern. Now, in God's name depart, and may he go along
THE END OF THE FIFTH BOOK OF THE HEROIC DEEDS AND SAYINGS OF THE NOBLE
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