Part 15 out of 16
We saw a knot of others, about a baker's dozen in number, tippling under an
arbour. They toped out of jolly bottomless cups four sorts of cool,
sparkling, pure, delicious, vine-tree sirup, which went down like mother's
milk; and healths and bumpers flew about like lightning. We were told that
these true philosophers were fairly multiplying the stars by drinking till
the seven were fourteen, as brawny Hercules did with Atlas.
Others made a virtue of necessity, and the best of a bad market, which
seemed to me a very good piece of work.
Others made alchemy (i.e. sir-reverence) with their teeth, and clapping
their hind retort to the recipient, made scurvy faces, and then squeezed.
Others, in a large grass plot, exactly measured how far the fleas could go
at a hop, a step, and jump; and told us that this was exceedingly useful
for the ruling of kingdoms, the conduct of armies, and the administration
of commonwealths; and that Socrates, who first got philosophy out of
heaven, and from idling and trifling made it profitable and of moment, used
to spend half his philosophizing time in measuring the leaps of fleas, as
Aristophanes the quintessential affirms.
I saw two gibroins by themselves keeping watch on the top of a tower, and
we were told they guarded the moon from the wolves.
In a blind corner I met four more very hot at it, and ready to go to
loggerheads. I asked what was the cause of the stir and ado, the mighty
coil and pother they made. And I heard that for four livelong days those
overwise roisters had been at it ding-dong, disputing on three high, more
than metaphysical propositions, promising themselves mountains of gold by
solving them. The first was concerning a he-ass's shadow; the second, of
the smoke of a lantern; and the third of goat's hair, whether it were wool
or no. We heard that they did not think it a bit strange that two
contradictions in mode, form, figure, and time should be true; though I
will warrant the sophists of Paris had rather be unchristened than own so
While we were admiring all those men's wonderful doings, the evening star
already twinkling, the queen (God bless her!) appeared, attended with her
court, and again amazed and dazzled us. She perceived it, and said to us:
What occasions the aberrations of human cogitations through the perplexing
labyrinths and abysses of admiration, is not the source of the effects,
which sagacious mortals visibly experience to be the consequential result
of natural causes. 'Tis the novelty of the experiment which makes
impressions on their conceptive, cogitative faculties; that do not previse
the facility of the operation adequately, with a subact and sedate
intellection, associated with diligent and congruous study. Consequently
let all manner of perturbation abdicate the ventricles of your brains, if
anyone has invaded them while they were contemplating what is transacted by
my domestic ministers. Be spectators and auditors of every particular
phenomenon and every individual proposition within the extent of my
mansion; satiate yourselves with all that can fall here under the
consideration of your visual or auscultating powers, and thus emancipate
yourselves from the servitude of crassous ignorance. And that you may be
induced to apprehend how sincerely I desire this in consideration of the
studious cupidity that so demonstratively emicates at your external organs,
from this present particle of time I retain you as my abstractors. Geber,
my principal Tabachin, shall register and initiate you at your departing.
We humbly thanked her queenship without saying a word, accepting of the
noble office she conferred on us.
How the Queen was served at dinner, and of her way of eating.
Queen Whims after this said to her gentlemen: The orifice of the
ventricle, that ordinary embassador for the alimentation of all members,
whether superior or inferior, importunes us to restore, by the apposition
of idoneous sustenance, what was dissipated by the internal calidity's
action on the radical humidity. Therefore spodizators, gesinins, memains,
and parazons, be not culpable of dilatory protractions in the apposition of
every re-roborating species, but rather let them pullulate and superabound
on the tables. As for you, nobilissim praegustators, and my gentilissim
masticators, your frequently experimented industry, internected with
perdiligent sedulity and sedulous perdiligence, continually adjuvates you
to perficiate all things in so expeditious a manner that there is no
necessity of exciting in you a cupidity to consummate them. Therefore I
can only suggest to you still to operate as you are assuefacted
indefatigably to operate.
Having made this fine speech, she retired for a while with part of her
women, and we were told that 'twas to bathe, as the ancients did more
commonly than we use nowadays to wash our hands before we eat. The tables
were soon placed, the cloth spread, and then the queen sat down. She ate
nothing but celestial ambrosia, and drank nothing but divine nectar. As
for the lords and ladies that were there, they, as well as we, fared on as
rare, costly, and dainty dishes as ever Apicius wot or dreamed of in his
When we were as round as hoops, and as full as eggs, with stuffing the gut,
an olla podrida ('Some call it an Olio. Rabelais Pot-pourry.'--Motteux.)
was set before us to force hunger to come to terms with us, in case it had
not granted us a truce; and such a huge vast thing it was that the plate
which Pythius Althius gave King Darius would hardly have covered it. The
olla consisted of several sorts of pottages, salads, fricassees,
saugrenees, cabirotadoes, roast and boiled meat, carbonadoes, swingeing
pieces of powdered beef, good old hams, dainty somates, cakes, tarts, a
world of curds after the Moorish way, fresh cheese, jellies, and fruit of
all sorts. All this seemed to me good and dainty; however, the sight of it
made me sigh; for alas! I could not taste a bit on't, so full I had filled
my puddings before, and a bellyful is a bellyful you know. Yet I must tell
you what I saw that seemed to me odd enough o' conscience; 'twas some
pasties in paste; and what should those pasties in paste be, d'ye think,
but pasties in pots? At the bottom I perceived store of dice, cards,
tarots ('Great cards on which many different things are figured.'
--Motteux.), luettes ('Pieces of ivory to play withal.'--Motteux.),
chessmen, and chequers, besides full bowls of gold crowns, for those who had
a mind to have a game or two and try their chance. Under this I saw a jolly
company of mules in stately trappings, with velvet footcloths, and a troop
of ambling nags, some for men and some for women; besides I don't know how
many litters all lined with velvet, and some coaches of Ferrara make; all
this for those who had a mind to take the air.
This did not seem strange to me; but if anything did 'twas certainly the
queen's way of eating, and truly 'twas very new, and very odd; for she
chewed nothing, the good lady; not but that she had good sound teeth, and
her meat required to be masticated, but such was her highness's custom.
When her praegustators had tasted the meat, her masticators took it and
chewed it most nobly; for their dainty chops and gullets were lined through
with crimson satin, with little welts and gold purls, and their teeth were
of delicate white ivory. Thus, when they had chewed the meat ready for her
highness's maw, they poured it down her throat through a funnel of fine
gold, and so on to her craw. For that reason they told us she never
visited a close-stool but by proxy.
How there was a ball in the manner of a tournament, at which Queen Whims
After supper there was a ball in the form of a tilt or a tournament, not
only worth seeing, but also never to be forgotten. First, the floor of the
hall was covered with a large piece of velveted white and yellow chequered
tapestry, each chequer exactly square, and three full spans in breadth.
Then thirty-two young persons came into the hall; sixteen of them arrayed
in cloth of gold, and of these eight were young nymphs such as the ancients
described Diana's attendants; the other eight were a king, a queen, two
wardens of the castle, two knights, and two archers. Those of the other
band were clad in cloth of silver.
They posted themselves on the tapestry in the following manner: the kings
on the last line on the fourth square; so that the golden king was on a
white square, and the silvered king on a yellow square, and each queen by
her king; the golden queen on a yellow square, and the silvered queen on a
white one: and on each side stood the archers to guide their kings and
queens; by the archers the knights, and the wardens by them. In the next
row before 'em stood the eight nymphs; and between the two bands of nymphs
four rows of squares stood empty.
Each band had its musicians, eight on each side, dressed in its livery; the
one with orange-coloured damask, the other with white; and all played on
different instruments most melodiously and harmoniously, still varying in
time and measure as the figure of the dance required. This seemed to me an
admirable thing, considering the numerous diversity of steps, back-steps,
bounds, rebounds, jerks, paces, leaps, skips, turns, coupes, hops,
leadings, risings, meetings, flights, ambuscadoes, moves, and removes.
I was also at a loss when I strove to comprehend how the dancers could so
suddenly know what every different note meant; for they no sooner heard
this or that sound but they placed themselves in the place which was
denoted by the music, though their motions were all different. For the
nymphs that stood in the first file, as if they designed to begin the
fight, marched straight forwards to their enemies from square to square,
unless it were the first step, at which they were free to move over two
steps at once. They alone never fall back (which is not very natural to
other nymphs), and if any of them is so lucky as to advance to the opposite
king's row, she is immediately crowned queen of her king, and after that
moves with the same state and in the same manner as the queen; but till
that happens they never strike their enemies but forwards, and obliquely in
a diagonal line. However, they make it not their chief business to take
their foes; for, if they did, they would leave their queen exposed to the
adverse parties, who then might take her.
The kings move and take their enemies on all sides square-ways, and only
step from a white square into a yellow one, and vice versa, except at their
first step the rank should want other officers than the wardens; for then
they can set 'em in their place, and retire by him.
The queens take a greater liberty than any of the rest; for they move
backwards and forwards all manner of ways, in a straight line as far as
they please, provided the place be not filled with one of her own party,
and diagonally also, keeping to the colour on which she stands.
The archers move backwards or forwards, far and near, never changing the
colour on which they stand. The knights move and take in a lineal manner,
stepping over one square, though a friend or foe stand upon it, posting
themselves on the second square to the right or left, from one colour to
another, which is very unwelcome to the adverse party, and ought to be
carefully observed, for they take at unawares.
The wardens move and take to the right or left, before or behind them, like
the kings, and can advance as far as they find places empty; which liberty
the kings take not.
The law which both sides observe is, at the end of the fight, to besiege
and enclose the king of either party, so that he may not be able to move;
and being reduced to that extremity, the battle is over, and he loses the
Now, to avoid this, there is none of either sex of each party but is
willing to sacrifice his or her life, and they begin to take one another on
all sides in time, as soon as the music strikes up. When anyone takes a
prisoner, he makes his honours, and striking him gently in the hand, puts
him out of the field and combat, and encamps where he stood.
If one of the kings chance to stand where he might be taken, it is not
lawful for any of his adversaries that had discovered him to lay hold on
him; far from it, they are strictly enjoined humbly to pay him their
respects, and give him notice, saying, God preserve you, sir! that his
officers may relieve and cover him, or he may remove, if unhappily he could
not be relieved. However, he is not to be taken, but greeted with a
Good-morrow, the others bending the knee; and thus the tournament uses
How the thirty-two persons at the ball fought.
The two companies having taken their stations, the music struck up, and
with a martial sound, which had something of horrid in it, like a point of
war, roused and alarmed both parties, who now began to shiver, and then
soon were warmed with warlike rage; and having got in readiness to fight
desperately, impatient of delay stood waiting for the charge.
Then the music of the silvered band ceased playing, and the instruments of
the golden side alone were heard, which denoted that the golden party
attacked. Accordingly, a new movement was played for the onset, and we saw
the nymph who stood before the queen turn to the left towards her king, as
it were to ask leave to fight; and thus saluting her company at the same
time, she moved two squares forwards, and saluted the adverse party.
Now the music of the golden brigade ceased playing, and their antagonists
began again. I ought to have told you that the nymph who began by saluting
her company, had by that formality also given them to understand that they
were to fall on. She was saluted by them in the same manner, with a full
turn to the left, except the queen, who went aside towards her king to the
right; and the same manner of salutation was observed on both sides during
the whole ball.
The silvered nymph that stood before her queen likewise moved as soon as
the music of her party sounded a charge; her salutations, and those of her
side, were to the right, and her queen's to the left. She moved in the
second square forwards, and saluted her antagonists, facing the first
golden nymph; so that there was not any distance between them, and you
would have thought they two had been going to fight; but they only strike
Their comrades, whether silvered or golden, followed 'em in an intercalary
figure, and seemed to skirmish a while, till the golden nymph who had first
entered the lists, striking a silvered nymph in the hand on the right, put
her out of the field, and set herself in her place. But soon the music
playing a new measure, she was struck by a silvered archer, who after that
was obliged himself to retire. A silvered knight then sallied out, and the
golden queen posted herself before her king.
Then the silvered king, dreading the golden queen's fury, removed to the
right, to the place where his warden stood, which seemed to him strong and
The two knights on the left, whether golden or silvered, marched up, and on
either side took up many nymphs who could not retreat; principally the
golden knight, who made this his whole business; but the silvered knight
had greater designs, dissembling all along, and even sometimes not taking a
nymph when he could have done it, still moving on till he was come up to
the main body of the enemies in such a manner that he saluted their king
with a God save you, sir!
The whole golden brigade quaked for fear and anger, those words giving
notice of their king's danger; not but that they could soon relieve him,
but because their king being thus saluted they were to lose their warden on
the right wing without any hopes of a recovery. Then the golden king
retired to the left, and the silvered knight took the golden warden, which
was a mighty loss to that party. However, they resolved to be revenged,
and surrounded the knight that he might not escape. He tried to get off,
behaving himself with a great deal of gallantry, and his friends did what
they could to save him; but at last he fell into the golden queen's hands,
and was carried off.
Her forces, not yet satisfied, having lost one of her best men, with more
fury than conduct moved about, and did much mischief among their enemies.
The silvered party warily dissembled, watching their opportunity to be even
with them, and presented one of their nymphs to the golden queen, having
laid an ambuscado; so that the nymph being taken, a golden archer had like
to have seized the silvered queen. Then the golden knight undertakes to
take the silvered king and queen, and says, Good-morrow! Then the silvered
archer salutes them, and was taken by a golden nymph, and she herself by a
The fight was obstinate and sharp. The wardens left their posts, and
advanced to relieve their friends. The battle was doubtful, and victory
hovered over both armies. Now the silvered host charge and break through
their enemy's ranks as far as the golden king's tent, and now they are
beaten back. The golden queen distinguishes herself from the rest by her
mighty achievements still more than by her garb and dignity; for at once
she takes an archer, and, going sideways, seizes a silvered warden. Which
thing the silvered queen perceiving, she came forwards, and, rushing on
with equal bravery, takes the last golden warden and some nymphs. The two
queens fought a long while hand to hand; now striving to take each other by
surprise, then to save themselves, and sometimes to guard their kings.
Finally, the golden queen took the silvered queen; but presently after she
herself was taken by the silvered archer.
Then the silvered king had only three nymphs, an archer, and a warden left,
and the golden only three nymphs and the right knight, which made them
fight more slowly and warily than before. The two kings seemed to mourn
for the loss of their loving queens, and only studied and endeavoured to
get new ones out of all their nymphs to be raised to that dignity, and thus
be married to them. This made them excite those brave nymphs to strive to
reach the farthest rank, where stood the king of the contrary party,
promising them certainly to have them crowned if they could do this. The
golden nymphs were beforehand with the others, and out of their number was
created a queen, who was dressed in royal robes, and had a crown set on her
head. You need not doubt the silvered nymphs made also what haste they
could to be queens. One of them was within a step of the coronation place,
but there the golden knight lay ready to intercept her, so that she could
go no further.
The new golden queen, resolved to show herself valiant and worthy of her
advancement to the crown, achieved great feats of arms. But in the
meantime the silvered knight takes the golden warden who guarded the camp;
and thus there was a new silvered queen, who, like the other, strove to
excel in heroic deeds at the beginning of her reign. Thus the fight grew
hotter than before. A thousand stratagems, charges, rallyings, retreats,
and attacks were tried on both sides; till at last the silvered queen,
having by stealth advanced as far as the golden king's tent, cried, God
save you, sir! Now none but his new queen could relieve him; so she
bravely came and exposed herself to the utmost extremity to deliver him out
of it. Then the silvered warden with his queen reduced the golden king to
such a stress that, to save himself, he was forced to lose his queen; but
the golden king took him at last. However, the rest of the golden party
were soon taken; and that king being left alone, the silvered party made
him a low bow, crying, Good morrow, sir! which denoted that the silvered
king had got the day.
This being heard, the music of both parties loudly proclaimed the victory.
And thus the first battle ended to the unspeakable joy of all the
After this the two brigades took their former stations, and began to tilt a
second time, much as they had done before, only the music played somewhat
faster than at the first battle, and the motions were altogether different.
I saw the golden queen sally out one of the first, with an archer and a
knight, as it were angry at the former defeat, and she had like to have
fallen upon the silvered king in his tent among his officers; but having
been baulked in her attempt, she skirmished briskly, and overthrew so many
silvered nymphs and officers that it was a most amazing sight. You would
have sworn she had been another Penthesilea; for she behaved herself with
as much bravery as that Amazonian queen did at Troy.
But this havoc did not last long; for the silvered party, exasperated by
their loss, resolved to perish or stop her progress; and having posted an
archer in ambuscado on a distant angle, together with a knight-errant, her
highness fell into their hands and was carried out of the field. The rest
were soon routed after the taking of their queen, who, without doubt, from
that time resolved to be more wary and keep near her king, without
venturing so far amidst her enemies unless with more force to defend her.
Thus the silvered brigade once more got the victory.
This did not dishearten or deject the golden party; far from it. They soon
appeared again in the field to face their enemies; and being posted as
before, both the armies seemed more resolute and cheerful than ever. Now
the martial concert began, and the music was above a hemiole the quicker,
according to the warlike Phrygian mode, such as was invented by Marsyas.
Then our combatants began to wheel about, and charge with such a swiftness
that in an instant they made four moves, besides the usual salutations. So
that they were continually in action, flying, hovering, jumping, vaulting,
curvetting, with petauristical turns and motions, and often intermingled.
Seeing them then turn about on one foot after they had made their honours,
we compared them to your tops or gigs, such as boys use to whip about,
making them turn round so swiftly that they sleep, as they call it, and
motion cannot be perceived, but resembles rest, its contrary; so that if
you make a point or mark on some part of one of those gigs, 'twill be
perceived not as a point, but a continual line, in a most divine manner, as
Cusanus has wisely observed.
While they were thus warmly engaged, we heard continually the claps and
episemapsies which those of the two bands reiterated at the taking of their
enemies; and this, joined to the variety of their motions and music, would
have forced smiles out of the most severe Cato, the never-laughing Crassus,
the Athenian man-hater, Timon; nay, even whining Heraclitus, though he
abhorred laughing, the action that is most peculiar to man. For who could
have forborne? seeing those young warriors, with their nymphs and queens,
so briskly and gracefully advance, retire, jump, leap, skip, spring, fly,
vault, caper, move to the right, to the left, every way still in time, so
swiftly, and yet so dexterously, that they never touched one another but
As the number of the combatants lessened, the pleasure of the spectators
increased; for the stratagems and motions of the remaining forces were more
singular. I shall only add that this pleasing entertainment charmed us to
such a degree that our minds were ravished with admiration and delight, and
the martial harmony moved our souls so powerfully that we easily believed
what is said of Ismenias's having excited Alexander to rise from table and
run to his arms, with such a warlike melody. At last the golden king
remained master of the field; and while we were minding those dances, Queen
Whims vanished, so that we saw her no more from that day to this.
Then Geber's michelots conducted us, and we were set down among her
abstractors, as her queenship had commanded. After that we returned to the
port of Mateotechny, and thence straight aboard our ships; for the wind was
fair, and had we not hoisted out of hand, we could hardly have got off in
three quarters of a moon in the wane.
How we came to the island of Odes, where the ways go up and down.
We sailed before the wind, between a pair of courses, and in two days made
the island of Odes, at which place we saw a very strange thing. The ways
there are animals; so true is Aristotle's saying, that all self-moving
things are animals. Now the ways walk there. Ergo, they are then animals.
Some of them are strange unknown ways, like those of the planets; others
are highways, crossways, and byways. I perceived that the travellers and
inhabitants of that country asked, Whither does this way go? Whither does
that way go? Some answered, Between Midy and Fevrolles, to the parish
church, to the city, to the river, and so forth. Being thus in their right
way, they used to reach their journey's end without any further trouble,
just like those who go by water from Lyons to Avignon or Arles.
Now, as you know that nothing is perfect here below, we heard there was a
sort of people whom they called highwaymen, waybeaters, and makers of
inroads in roads; and that the poor ways were sadly afraid of them, and
shunned them as you do robbers. For these used to waylay them, as people
lay trains for wolves, and set gins for woodcocks. I saw one who was taken
up with a lord chief justice's warrant for having unjustly, and in spite of
Pallas, taken the schoolway, which is the longest. Another boasted that he
had fairly taken his shortest, and that doing so he first compassed his
design. Thus, Carpalin, meeting once Epistemon looking upon a wall with
his fiddle-diddle, or live urinal, in his hand, to make a little maid's
water, cried that he did not wonder now how the other came to be still the
first at Pantagruel's levee, since he held his shortest and least used.
I found Bourges highway among these. It went with the deliberation of an
abbot, but was made to scamper at the approach of some waggoners, who
threatened to have it trampled under their horses' feet, and make their
waggons run over it, as Tullia's chariot did over her father's body.
I also espied there the old way between Peronne and St. Quentin, which
seemed to me a very good, honest, plain way, as smooth as a carpet, and as
good as ever was trod upon by shoe of leather.
Among the rocks I knew again the good old way to La Ferrare, mounted on a
huge bear. This at a distance would have put me in mind of St. Jerome's
picture, had but the bear been a lion; for the poor way was all mortified,
and wore a long hoary beard uncombed and entangled, which looked like the
picture of winter, or at least like a white-frosted bush.
On that way were store of beads or rosaries, coarsely made of wild
pine-tree; and it seemed kneeling, not standing, nor lying flat; but its
sides and middle were beaten with huge stones, insomuch that it proved to us
at once an object of fear and pity.
While we were examining it, a runner, bachelor of the place, took us aside,
and showing us a white smooth way, somewhat filled with straw, said,
Henceforth, gentlemen, do not reject the opinion of Thales the Milesian,
who said that water is the beginning of all things, nor that of Homer, who
tells us that all things derive their original from the ocean; for this
same way which you see here had its beginning from water, and is to return
whence she came before two months come to an end; now carts are driven here
where boats used to be rowed.
Truly, said Pantagruel, you tell us no news; we see five hundred such
changes, and more, every year, in our world. Then reflecting on the
different manner of going of those moving ways, he told us he believed that
Philolaus and Aristarchus had philosophized in this island, and that
Seleucus (Motteux reads--'that some, indeed, were of opinion.'), indeed,
was of opinion the earth turns round about its poles, and not the heavens,
whatever we may think to the contrary; as, when we are on the river Loire,
we think the trees and the shore moves, though this is only an effect of
our boat's motion.
As we went back to our ships, we saw three waylayers, who, having been
taken in ambuscado, were going to be broken on the wheel; and a huge
fornicator was burned with a lingering fire for beating a way and breaking
one of its sides; we were told it was the way of the banks of the Nile in
How we came to the island of Sandals; and of the order of Semiquaver
Thence we went to the island of Sandals, whose inhabitants live on nothing
but ling-broth. However, we were very kindly received and entertained by
Benius the Third, king of the island, who, after he had made us drink, took
us with him to show us a spick-and-span new monastery which he had
contrived for the Semiquaver Friars; so he called the religious men whom he
had there. For he said that on t'other side the water lived friars who
styled themselves her sweet ladyship's most humble servants. Item, the
goodly Friar-minors, who are semibreves of bulls; the smoked-herring tribe
of Minim Friars; then the Crotchet Friars. So that these diminutives could
be no more than Semiquavers. By the statutes, bulls, and patents of Queen
Whims, they were all dressed like so many house-burners, except that, as in
Anjou your bricklayers use to quilt their knees when they tile houses, so
these holy friars had usually quilted bellies, and thick quilted paunches
were among them in much repute. Their codpieces were cut slipper-fashion,
and every monk among them wore two--one sewed before and another behind
--reporting that some certain dreadful mysteries were duly represented by
this duplicity of codpieces.
They wore shoes as round as basins, in imitation of those who inhabit the
sandy sea. Their chins were close-shaved, and their feet iron-shod; and to
show they did not value fortune, Benius made them shave and poll the hind
part of their polls as bare as a bird's arse, from the crown to the
shoulder-blades; but they had leave to let their hair grow before, from the
two triangular bones in the upper part of the skull.
Thus did they not value fortune a button, and cared no more for the goods
of this world than you or I do for hanging. And to show how much they
defied that blind jilt, all of them wore, not in their hands like her, but
at their waist, instead of beads, sharp razors, which they used to
new-grind twice a day and set thrice a night.
Each of them had a round ball on their feet, because Fortune is said to
have one under hers.
The flap of their cowls hanged forward, and not backwards, like those of
others. Thus none could see their noses, and they laughed without fear
both at fortune and the fortunate; neither more nor less than our ladies
laugh at barefaced trulls when they have those mufflers on which they call
masks, and which were formerly much more properly called charity, because
they cover a multitude of sins.
The hind part of their faces were always uncovered, as are our faces, which
made them either go with their belly or the arse foremost, which they
pleased. When their hind face went forwards, you would have sworn this had
been their natural gait, as well on account of their round shoes as of the
double codpiece, and their face behind, which was as bare as the back of my
hand, and coarsely daubed over with two eyes and a mouth, such as you see
on some Indian nuts. Now, if they offered to waddle along with their
bellies forwards, you would have thought they were then playing at
blindman's buff. May I never be hanged if 'twas not a comical sight.
Their way of living was thus: about owl-light they charitably began to
boot and spur one another. This being done, the least thing they did was
to sleep and snore; and thus sleeping, they had barnacles on the handles of
their faces, or spectacles at most.
You may swear we did not a little wonder at this odd fancy; but they
satisfied us presently, telling us that the day of judgment is to take
mankind napping; therefore, to show they did not refuse to make their
personal appearance as fortune's darlings use to do, they were always thus
booted and spurred, ready to mount whenever the trumpet should sound.
At noon, as soon as the clock struck, they used to awake. You must know
that their clock-bell, church-bells, and refectory-bells were all made
according to the pontial device, that is, quilted with the finest down, and
their clappers of fox-tails.
Having then made shift to get up at noon, they pulled off their boots, and
those that wanted to speak with a maid, alias piss, pissed; those that
wanted to scumber, scumbered; and those that wanted to sneeze, sneezed.
But all, whether they would or no (poor gentlemen!), were obliged largely
and plentifully to yawn; and this was their first breakfast (O rigorous
statute!). Methought 'twas very comical to observe their transactions;
for, having laid their boots and spurs on a rack, they went into the
cloisters. There they curiously washed their hands and mouths; then sat
them down on a long bench, and picked their teeth till the provost gave the
signal, whistling through his fingers; then every he stretched out his jaws
as much as he could, and they gaped and yawned for about half-an-hour,
sometimes more, sometimes less, according as the prior judged the breakfast
to be suitable to the day.
After that they went in procession, two banners being carried before them,
in one of which was the picture of Virtue, and that of Fortune in the
other. The last went before, carried by a semi-quavering friar, at whose
heels was another, with the shadow or image of Virtue in one hand and an
holy-water sprinkle in the other--I mean of that holy mercurial water which
Ovid describes in his Fasti. And as the preceding Semiquaver rang a
handbell, this shaked the sprinkle with his fist. With that says
Pantagruel, This order contradicts the rule which Tully and the academics
prescribed, that Virtue ought to go before, and Fortune follow. But they
told us they did as they ought, seeing their design was to breech, lash,
and bethwack Fortune.
During the processions they trilled and quavered most melodiously betwixt
their teeth I do not know what antiphones, or chantings, by turns. For my
part, 'twas all Hebrew-Greek to me, the devil a word I could pick out on't;
at last, pricking up my ears, and intensely listening, I perceived they
only sang with the tip of theirs. Oh, what a rare harmony it was! How
well 'twas tuned to the sound of their bells! You'll never find these to
jar, that you won't. Pantagruel made a notable observation upon the
processions; for says he, Have you seen and observed the policy of these
Semiquavers? To make an end of their procession they went out at one of
their church doors and came in at the other; they took a deal of care not
to come in at the place whereat they went out. On my honour, these are a
subtle sort of people, quoth Panurge; they have as much wit as three folks,
two fools and a madman; they are as wise as the calf that ran nine miles to
suck a bull, and when he came there 'twas a steer. This subtlety and
wisdom of theirs, cried Friar John, is borrowed from the occult philosophy.
May I be gutted like an oyster if I can tell what to make on't. Then the
more 'tis to be feared, said Pantagruel; for subtlety suspected, subtlety
foreseen, subtlety found out, loses the essence and very name of subtlety,
and only gains that of blockishness. They are not such fools as you take
them to be; they have more tricks than are good, I doubt.
After the procession they went sluggingly into the fratery-room, by the way
of walk and healthful exercise, and there kneeled under the tables, leaning
their breasts on lanterns. While they were in that posture, in came a huge
Sandal, with a pitchfork in his hand, who used to baste, rib-roast,
swaddle, and swinge them well-favouredly, as they said, and in truth
treated them after a fashion. They began their meal as you end yours, with
cheese, and ended it with mustard and lettuce, as Martial tells us the
ancients did. Afterwards a platterful of mustard was brought before every
one of them, and thus they made good the proverb, After meat comes mustard.
Their diet was this:
O' Sundays they stuffed their puddings with puddings, chitterlings, links,
Bologna sausages, forced-meats, liverings, hogs' haslets, young quails, and
teals. You must also always add cheese for the first course, and mustard
for the last.
O' Mondays they were crammed with peas and pork, cum commento, and
O' Tuesdays they used to twist store of holy-bread, cakes, buns, puffs,
lenten loaves, jumbles, and biscuits.
O' Wednesdays my gentlemen had fine sheep's heads, calves' heads, and
brocks' heads, of which there's no want in that country.
O' Thursdays they guzzled down seven sorts of porridge, not forgetting
O' Fridays they munched nothing but services or sorb-apples; neither were
these full ripe, as I guessed by their complexion.
O' Saturdays they gnawed bones; not that they were poor or needy, for every
mother's son of them had a very good fat belly-benefice.
As for their drink, 'twas an antifortunal; thus they called I don't know
what sort of a liquor of the place.
When they wanted to eat or drink, they turned down the back-points or flaps
of their cowls forwards below their chins, and that served 'em instead of
gorgets or slabbering-bibs.
When they had well dined, they prayed rarely all in quavers and shakes; and
the rest of the day, expecting the day of judgment, they were taken up with
acts of charity, and particularly--
O' Sundays, rubbers at cuffs.
O' Mondays, lending each other flirts and fillips on the nose.
O' Tuesdays, clapperclawing one another.
O' Wednesdays, sniting and fly-flapping.
O' Thursdays, worming and pumping.
O' Fridays, tickling.
O' Saturdays, jerking and firking one another.
Such was their diet when they resided in the convent, and if the prior of
the monk-house sent any of them abroad, then they were strictly enjoined
neither to touch nor eat any manner of fish as long as they were on sea or
rivers, and to abstain from all manner of flesh whenever they were at land,
that everyone might be convinced that, while they enjoyed the object, they
denied themselves the power, and even the desire, and were no more moved
with it than the Marpesian rock.
All this was done with proper antiphones, still sung and chanted by ear, as
we have already observed.
When the sun went to bed, they fairly booted and spurred each other as
before, and having clapped on their barnacles e'en jogged to bed too. At
midnight the Sandal came to them, and up they got, and having well whetted
and set their razors, and been a-processioning, they clapped the tables
over themselves, and like wire-drawers under their work fell to it as
Friar John des Entoumeures, having shrewdly observed these jolly Semiquaver
Friars, and had a full account of their statutes, lost all patience, and
cried out aloud: Bounce tail, and God ha' mercy guts; if every fool should
wear a bauble, fuel would be dear. A plague rot it, we must know how many
farts go to an ounce. Would Priapus were here, as he used to be at the
nocturnal festivals in Crete, that I might see him play backwards, and
wriggle and shake to the purpose. Ay, ay, this is the world, and t'other
is the country; may I never piss if this be not an antichthonian land, and
our very antipodes. In Germany they pull down monasteries and unfrockify
the monks; here they go quite kam, and act clean contrary to others,
setting new ones up, against the hair.
How Panurge asked a Semiquaver Friar many questions, and was only answered
Panurge, who had since been wholly taken up with staring at these royal
Semiquavers, at last pulled one of them by the sleeve, who was as lean as a
rake, and asked him,--
Hearkee me, Friar Quaver, Semiquaver, Demisemiquavering quaver, where is
The Friar, pointing downwards, answered, There.
Pan. Pray, have you many? Fri. Few.
Pan. How many scores have you? Fri. One.
Pan. How many would you have? Fri. Five.
Pan. Where do you hide 'em? Fri. Here.
Pan. I suppose they are not all of one age; but, pray, how is their shape?
Pan. Their complexion? Fri. Clear.
Pan. Their hair? Fri. Fair.
Pan. Their eyes? Fri. Black.
Pan. Their features? Fri. Good.
Pan. Their brows? Fri. Small.
Pan. Their graces? Fri. Ripe.
Pan. Their looks? Fri. Free.
Pan. Their feet? Fri. Flat.
Pan. Their heels? Fri. Short.
Pan. Their lower parts? Fri. Rare.
Pan. And their arms? Fri. Long.
Pan. What do they wear on their hands? Fri. Gloves.
Pan. What sort of rings on their fingers? Fri. Gold.
Pan. What rigging do you keep 'em in? Fri. Cloth.
Pan. What sort of cloth is it? Fri. New.
Pan. What colour? Fri. Sky.
Pan. What kind of cloth is it? Fri. Fine.
Pan. What caps do they wear? Fri. Blue.
Pan. What's the colour of their stockings? Fri. Red.
Pan. What wear they on their feet? Fri. Pumps.
Pan. How do they use to be? Fri. Foul.
Pan. How do they use to walk? Fri. Fast.
Pan. Now let us talk of the kitchen, I mean that of the harlots, and
without going hand over head let's a little examine things by particulars.
What is in their kitchens? Fri. Fire.
Pan. What fuel feeds it? Fri. Wood.
Pan. What sort of wood is't? Fri. Dry.
Pan. And of what kind of trees? Fri. Yews.
Pan. What are the faggots and brushes of? Fri. Holm.
Pan. What wood d'ye burn in your chambers? Fri. Pine.
Pan. And of what other trees? Fri. Lime.
Pan. Hearkee me; as for the buttocks, I'll go your halves. Pray, how do
you feed 'em? Fri. Well.
Pan. First, what do they eat? Fri. Bread.
Pan. Of what complexion? Fri. White.
Pan. And what else? Fri. Meat.
Pan. How do they love it dressed? Fri. Roast.
Pan. What sort of porridge? Fri. None.
Pan. Are they for pies and tarts? Fri. Much.
Pan. Then I'm their man. Will fish go down with them? Fri. Well.
Pan. And what else? Fri. Eggs.
Pan. How do they like 'em? Fri. Boiled.
Pan. How must they be done? Fri. Hard.
Pan. Is this all they have? Fri. No.
Pan. What have they besides, then? Fri. Beef.
Pan. And what else? Fri. Pork.
Pan. And what more? Fri. Geese.
Pan. What then? Fri. Ducks.
Pan. And what besides? Fri. Cocks.
Pan. What do they season their meat with? Fri. Salt.
Pan. What sauce are they most dainty for? Fri. Must.
Pan. What's their last course? Fri. Rice.
Pan. And what else? Fri. Milk.
Pan. What besides? Fri. Peas.
Pan. What sort? Fri. Green.
Pan. What do they boil with 'em? Fri. Pork.
Pan. What fruit do they eat? Fri. Good.
Pan. How? Fri. Raw.
Pan. What do they end with? Fri. Nuts.
Pan. How do they drink? Fri. Neat.
Pan. What liquor? Fri. Wine.
Pan. What sort? Fri. White.
Pan. In winter? Fri. Strong.
Pan. In the spring. Fri. Brisk.
Pan. In summer? Fri. Cool.
Pan. In autumn? Fri. New.
Buttock of a monk! cried Friar John; how plump these plaguy trulls, these
arch Semiquavering strumpets, must be! That damned cattle are so high fed
that they must needs be high-mettled, and ready to wince and give two ups
for one go-down when anyone offers to ride them below the crupper.
Prithee, Friar John, quoth Panurge, hold thy prating tongue; stay till I
Till what time do the doxies sit up? Fri. Night.
Pan. When do they get up? Fri. Late.
Pan. May I ride on a horse that was foaled of an acorn, if this be not as
honest a cod as ever the ground went upon, and as grave as an old gate-post
into the bargain. Would to the blessed St. Semiquaver, and the blessed
worthy virgin St. Semiquavera, he were lord chief president (justice) of
Paris! Ods-bodikins, how he'd despatch! With what expedition would he
bring disputes to an upshot! What an abbreviator and clawer off of
lawsuits, reconciler of differences, examiner and fumbler of bags, peruser
of bills, scribbler of rough drafts, and engrosser of deeds would he not
make! Well, friar, spare your breath to cool your porridge. Come, let's
now talk with deliberation, fairly and softly, as lawyers go to heaven.
Let's know how you victual the venereal camp. How is the snatchblatch?
Pan. How is the gateway? Fri. Free.
Pan. And how is it within? Fri. Deep.
Pan. I mean, what weather is it there? Fri. Hot.
Pan. What shadows the brooks? Fri. Groves.
Pan. Of what's the colour of the twigs? Fri. Red.
Pan. And that of the old? Fri. Grey.
Pan. How are you when you shake? Fri. Brisk.
Pan. How is their motion? Fri. Quick.
Pan. Would you have them vault or wriggle more? Fri. Less.
Pan. What kind of tools are yours? Fri. Big.
Pan. And in their helves? Fri. Round.
Pan. Of what colour is the tip? Fri. Red.
Pan. When they've even used, how are they? Fri. Shrunk.
Pan. How much weighs each bag of tools? Fri. Pounds.
Pan. How hang your pouches? Fri. Tight.
Pan. How are they when you've done? Fri. Lank.
Pan. Now, by the oath you have taken, tell me, when you have a mind to
cohabit, how you throw 'em? Fri. Down.
Pan. And what do they say then? Fri. Fie.
Pan. However, like maids, they say nay, and take it; and speak the less,
but think the more, minding the work in hand; do they not? Fri. True.
Pan. Do they get you bairns? Fri. None.
Pan. How do you pig together? Fri. Bare.
Pan. Remember you're upon your oath, and tell me justly and bona fide how
many times a day you monk it? Fri. Six.
Pan. How many bouts a-nights? Fri. Ten.
Catso, quoth Friar John, the poor fornicating brother is bashful, and
sticks at sixteen, as if that were his stint. Right, quoth Panurge, but
couldst thou keep pace with him, Friar John, my dainty cod? May the
devil's dam suck my teat if he does not look as if he had got a blow over
the nose with a Naples cowl-staff.
Pan. Pray, Friar Shakewell, does your whole fraternity quaver and shake at
that rate? Fri. All.
Pan. Who of them is the best cock o' the game? Fri. I.
Pan. Do you never commit dry-bobs or flashes in the pan? Fri. None.
Pan. I blush like any black dog, and could be as testy as an old cook when
I think on all this; it passes my understanding. But, pray, when you have
been pumped dry one day, what have you got the next? Fri. More.
Pan. By Priapus, they have the Indian herb of which Theophrastus spoke, or
I'm much out. But, hearkee me, thou man of brevity, should some
impediment, honestly or otherwise, impair your talents and cause your
benevolence to lessen, how would it fare with you, then? Fri. Ill.
Pan. What would the wenches do? Fri. Rail.
Pan. What if you skipped, and let 'em fast a whole day? Fri. Worse.
Pan. What do you give 'em then? Fri. Thwacks.
Pan. What do they say to this? Fri. Bawl.
Pan. And what else? Fri. Curse.
Pan. How do you correct 'em? Fri. Hard.
Pan. What do you get out of 'em then? Fri. Blood.
Pan. How's their complexion then? Fri. Odd.
Pan. What do they mend it with? Fri. Paint.
Pan. Then what do they do? Fri. Fawn.
Pan. By the oath you have taken, tell me truly what time of the year do
you do it least in? Fri. Now (August.).
Pan. What season do you do it best in? Fri. March.
Pan. How is your performance the rest of the year? Fri. Brisk.
Then quoth Panurge, sneering, Of all, and of all, commend me to Ball; this
is the friar of the world for my money. You've heard how short, concise,
and compendious he is in his answers. Nothing is to be got out of him but
monosyllables. By jingo, I believe he would make three bites of a cherry.
Damn him, cried Friar John, that's as true as I am his uncle. The dog
yelps at another gate's rate when he is among his bitches; there he is
polysyllable enough, my life for yours. You talk of making three bites of
a cherry! God send fools more wit and us more money! May I be doomed to
fast a whole day if I don't verily believe he would not make above two
bites of a shoulder of mutton and one swoop of a whole pottle of wine.
Zoons, do but see how down o' the mouth the cur looks! He's nothing but
skin and bones; he has pissed his tallow.
Truly, truly, quoth Epistemon, this rascally monastical vermin all over the
world mind nothing but their gut, and are as ravenous as any kites, and
then, forsooth, they tell us they've nothing but food and raiment in this
world. 'Sdeath, what more have kings and princes?
How Epistemon disliked the institution of Lent.
Pray did you observe, continued Epistemon, how this damned ill-favoured
Semiquaver mentioned March as the best month for caterwauling? True, said
Pantagruel; yet Lent and March always go together, and the first was
instituted to macerate and bring down our pampered flesh, to weaken and
subdue its lusts, to curb and assuage the venereal rage.
By this, said Epistemon, you may guess what kind of a pope it was who first
enjoined it to be kept, since this filthy wooden-shoed Semiquaver owns that
his spoon is never oftener nor deeper in the porringer of lechery than in
Lent. Add to this the evident reasons given by all good and learned
physicians, affirming that throughout the whole year no food is eaten that
can prompt mankind to lascivious acts more than at that time.
As, for example, beans, peas, phasels, or long-peason, ciches, onions,
nuts, oysters, herrings, salt-meats, garum (a kind of anchovy), and salads
wholly made up of venereous herbs and fruits, as--
Rocket, Parsley, Hop-buds,
Nose-smart, Rampions, Figs,
Taragon, Poppy, Rice,
Cresses, Celery, Raisins, and others.
It would not a little surprise you, said Pantagruel, should a man tell you
that the good pope who first ordered the keeping of Lent, perceiving that
at that time o' year the natural heat (from the centre of the body, whither
it was retired during the winter's cold) diffuses itself, as the sap does
in trees, through the circumference of the members, did therefore in a
manner prescribe that sort of diet to forward the propagation of mankind.
What makes me think so, is that by the registers of christenings at Touars
it appears that more children are born in October and November than in the
other ten months of the year, and reckoning backwards 'twill be easily
found that they were all made, conceived, and begotten in Lent.
I listen to you with both my ears, quoth Friar John, and that with no small
pleasure, I'll assure you. But I must tell you that the vicar of Jambert
ascribed this copious prolification of the women, not to that sort of food
that we chiefly eat in Lent, but to the little licensed stooping mumpers,
your little booted Lent-preachers, your little draggle-tailed father
confessors, who during all that time of their reign damn all husbands that
run astray three fathom and a half below the very lowest pit of hell. So
the silly cod's-headed brothers of the noose dare not then stumble any more
at the truckle-bed, to the no small discomfort of their maids, and are even
forced, poor souls, to take up with their own bodily wives. Dixi; I have
You may descant on the institution of Lent as much as you please, cried
Epistemon; so many men so many minds; but certainly all the physicians will
be against its being suppressed, though I think that time is at hand. I
know they will, and have heard 'em say were it not for Lent their art would
soon fall into contempt, and they'd get nothing, for hardly anybody would
All distempers are sowed in lent; 'tis the true seminary and native bed of
all diseases; nor does it only weaken and putrefy bodies, but it also makes
souls mad and uneasy. For then the devils do their best, and drive a
subtle trade, and the tribe of canting dissemblers come out of their holes.
'Tis then term-time with your cucullated pieces of formality that have one
face to God and another to the devil; and a wretched clutter they make with
their sessions, stations, pardons, syntereses, confessions, whippings,
anathematizations, and much prayer with as little devotion. However, I'll
not offer to infer from this that the Arimaspians are better than we are in
that point; yet I speak to the purpose.
Well, quoth Panurge to the Semiquaver friar, who happened to be by, dear
bumbasting, shaking, trilling, quavering cod, what thinkest thou of this
fellow? Is he a rank heretic? Fri. Much.
Pan. Ought he not to be singed? Fri. Well.
Pan. As soon as may be? Fri. Right.
Pan. Should not he be scalded first? Fri. No.
Pan. How then, should he be roasted? Fri. Quick.
Pan. Till at last he be? Fri. Dead.
Pan. What has he made you? Fri. Mad.
Pan. What d'ye take him to be? Fri. Damned.
Pan. What place is he to go to? Fri. Hell.
Pan. But, first, how would you have 'em served here? Fri. Burnt.
Pan. Some have been served so? Fri. Store.
Pan. That were heretics? Fri. Less.
Pan. And the number of those that are to be warmed thus hereafter is?
Pan. How many of 'em do you intend to save? Fri. None.
Pan. So you'd have them burned? Fri. All.
I wonder, said Epistemon to Panurge, what pleasure you can find in talking
thus with this lousy tatterdemalion of a monk. I vow, did I not know you
well, I might be ready to think you had no more wit in your head than he
has in both his shoulders. Come, come, scatter no words, returned Panurge;
everyone as they like, as the woman said when she kissed her cow. I wish I
might carry him to Gargantua; when I'm married he might be my wife's fool.
And make you one, cried Epistemon. Well said, quoth Friar John. Now, poor
Panurge, take that along with thee, thou'rt e'en fitted; 'tis a plain case
thou'lt never escape wearing the bull's feather; thy wife will be as common
as the highway, that's certain.
How we came to the land of Satin.
Having pleased ourselves with observing that new order of Semiquaver
Friars, we set sail, and in three days our skipper made the finest and most
delightful island that ever was seen. He called it the island of Frieze,
for all the ways were of frieze.
In that island is the land of Satin, so celebrated by our court pages. Its
trees and herbage never lose their leaves or flowers, and are all damask
and flowered velvet. As for the beasts and birds, they are all of tapestry
work. There we saw many beasts, birds on trees, of the same colour,
bigness, and shape of those in our country; with this difference, however,
that these did eat nothing, and never sung or bit like ours; and we also
saw there many sorts of creatures which we never had seen before.
Among the rest, several elephants in various postures; twelve of which were
the six males and six females that were brought to Rome by their governor
in the time of Germanicus, Tiberius's nephew. Some of them were learned
elephants, some musicians, others philosophers, dancers, and showers of
tricks; and all sat down at table in good order, silently eating and
drinking like so many fathers in a fratery-room.
With their snouts or proboscises, some two cubits long, they draw up water
for their own drinking, and take hold of palm leaves, plums, and all manner
of edibles, using them offensively or defensively as we do our fists; with
them tossing men high into the air in fight, and making them burst with
laughing when they come to the ground.
They have joints (in their legs), whatever some men, who doubtless never
saw any but painted, may have written to the contrary. Between their teeth
they have two huge horns; thus Juba called 'em, and Pausanias tells us they
are not teeth, but horns; however, Philostratus will have 'em to be teeth,
and not horns. 'Tis all one to me, provided you will be pleased to own
them to be true ivory. These are some three or four cubits long, and are
fixed in the upper jawbone, and consequently not in the lowermost. If you
hearken to those who will tell you to the contrary, you will find yourself
damnably mistaken, for that's a lie with a latchet; though 'twere Aelian,
that long-bow man, that told you so, never believe him, for he lies as fast
as a dog can trot. 'Twas in this very island that Pliny, his brother
tell-truth, had seen some elephants dance on the rope with bells, and whip
over the tables, presto, begone, while people were at feasts, without so
much as touching the toping topers or the topers toping.
I saw a rhinoceros there, just such a one as Harry Clerberg had formerly
showed me. Methought it was not much unlike a certain boar which I had
formerly seen at Limoges, except the sharp horn on its snout, that was
about a cubit long; by the means of which that animal dares encounter with
an elephant, that is sometimes killed with its point thrust into its belly,
which is its most tender and defenceless part.
I saw there two and thirty unicorns. They are a curst sort of creatures,
much resembling a fine horse, unless it be that their heads are like a
stag's, their feet like an elephant's, their tails like a wild boar's, and
out of each of their foreheads sprouts out a sharp black horn, some six or
seven feet long; commonly it dangles down like a turkey-cock's comb. When
a unicorn has a mind to fight, or put it to any other use, what does it do
but make it stand, and then 'tis as straight as an arrow.
I saw one of them, which was attended with a throng of other wild beasts,
purify a fountain with its horn. With that Panurge told me that his
prancer, alias his nimble-wimble, was like the unicorn, not altogether in
length indeed, but in virtue and propriety; for as the unicorn purified
pools and fountains from filth and venom, so that other animals came and
drank securely there afterwards, in the like manner others might water
their nags, and dabble after him without fear of shankers, carnosities,
gonorrhoeas, buboes, crinkams, and such other plagues caught by those who
venture to quench their amorous thirst in a common puddle; for with his
nervous horn he removed all the infection that might be lurking in some
blind cranny of the mephitic sweet-scented hole.
Well, quoth Friar John, when you are sped, that is, when you are married,
we will make a trial of this on thy spouse, merely for charity sake, since
you are pleased to give us so beneficial an instruction.
Ay, ay, returned Panurge, and then immediately I'll give you a pretty
gentle aggregative pill of God, made up of two and twenty kind stabs with a
dagger, after the Caesarian way. Catso, cried Friar John, I had rather
take off a bumper of good cool wine.
I saw there the golden fleece formerly conquered by Jason, and can assure
you, on the word of an honest man, that those who have said it was not a
fleece but a golden pippin, because melon signifies both an apple and a
sheep, were utterly mistaken.
I saw also a chameleon, such as Aristotle describes it, and like that which
had been formerly shown me by Charles Maris, a famous physician of the
noble city of Lyons on the Rhone; and the said chameleon lived on air just
as the other did.
I saw three hydras, like those I had formerly seen. They are a kind of
serpent, with seven different heads.
I saw also fourteen phoenixes. I had read in many authors that there was
but one in the whole world in every century; but, if I may presume to speak
my mind, I declare that those who said this had never seen any, unless it
were in the land of Tapestry; though 'twere vouched by Claudian or
I saw the skin of Apuleius's golden ass.
I saw three hundred and nine pelicans.
Item, six thousand and sixteen Seleucid birds marching in battalia, and
picking up straggling grasshoppers in cornfields.
Item, some cynamologi, argatiles, caprimulgi, thynnunculs, onocrotals, or
bitterns, with their wide swallows, stymphalides, harpies, panthers,
dorcasses, or bucks, cemades, cynocephalises, satyrs, cartasans, tarands,
uri, monopses, or bonasi, neades, steras, marmosets, or monkeys, bugles,
musimons, byturoses, ophyri, screech-owls, goblins, fairies, and griffins.
I saw Mid-Lent o' horseback, with Mid-August and Mid-March holding its
I saw some mankind wolves, centaurs, tigers, leopards, hyenas,
camelopardals, and orixes, or huge wild goats with sharp horns.
I saw a remora, a little fish called echineis by the Greeks, and near it a
tall ship that did not get ahead an inch, though she was in the offing with
top and top-gallants spread before the wind. I am somewhat inclined to
believe that 'twas the very numerical ship in which Periander the tyrant
happened to be when it was stopped by such a little fish in spite of wind
and tide. It was in this land of Satin, and in no other, that Mutianus had
seen one of them.
Friar John told us that in the days of yore two sorts of fishes used to
abound in our courts of judicature, and rotted the bodies and tormented the
souls of those who were at law, whether noble or of mean descent, high or
low, rich or poor: the first were your April fish or mackerel (pimps,
panders, and bawds); the others your beneficial remoras, that is, the
eternity of lawsuits, the needless lets that keep 'em undecided.
I saw some sphynges, some raphes, some ounces, and some cepphi, whose
fore-feet are like hands and their hind-feet like man's.
Also some crocutas and some eali as big as sea-horses, with elephants'
tails, boars' jaws and tusks, and horns as pliant as an ass's ears.
The crocutas, most fleet animals, as big as our asses of Mirebalais, have
necks, tails, and breasts like a lion's, legs like a stag's, have mouths up
to the ears, and but two teeth, one above and one below; they speak with
human voices, but when they do they say nothing.
Some people say that none e'er saw an eyrie, or nest of sakers; if you'll
believe me, I saw no less than eleven, and I'm sure I reckoned right.
I saw some left-handed halberds, which were the first that I had ever seen.
I saw some manticores, a most strange sort of creatures, which have the
body of a lion, red hair, a face and ears like a man's, three rows of teeth
which close together as if you joined your hands with your fingers between
each other; they have a sting in their tails like a scorpion's, and a very
I saw some catablepases, a sort of serpents, whose bodies are small, but
their heads large, without any proportion, so that they've much ado to lift
them up; and their eyes are so infectious that whoever sees 'em dies upon
the spot, as if he had seen a basilisk.
I saw some beasts with two backs, and those seemed to me the merriest
creatures in the world. They were most nimble at wriggling the buttocks,
and more diligent in tail-wagging than any water-wagtails, perpetually
jogging and shaking their double rumps.
I saw there some milched crawfish, creatures that I never had heard of
before in my life. These moved in very good order, and 'twould have done
your heart good to have seen 'em.
How in the land of Satin we saw Hearsay, who kept a school of vouching.
We went a little higher up into the country of Tapestry, and saw the
Mediterranean Sea open to the right and left down to the very bottom; just
as the Red Sea very fairly left its bed at the Arabian Gulf to make a lane
for the Jews when they left Egypt.
There I found Triton winding his silver shell instead of a horn, and also
Glaucus, Proteus, Nereus, and a thousand other godlings and sea monsters.
I also saw an infinite number of fish of all kinds, dancing, flying,
vaulting, fighting, eating, breathing, billing, shoving, milting, spawning,
hunting, fishing, skirmishing, lying in ambuscado, making truces,
cheapening, bargaining, swearing, and sporting.
In a blind corner we saw Aristotle holding a lantern in the posture in
which the hermit uses to be drawn near St. Christopher, watching, prying,
thinking, and setting everything down.
Behind him stood a pack of other philosophers, like so many bums by a
head-bailiff, as Appian, Heliodorus, Athenaeus, Porphyrius, Pancrates,
Arcadian, Numenius, Possidonius, Ovidius, Oppianus, Olympius, Seleucus,
Leonides, Agathocles, Theophrastus, Damostratus, Mutianus, Nymphodorus,
Aelian, and five hundred other such plodding dons, who were full of
business, yet had little to do; like Chrysippus or Aristarchus of Soli, who
for eight-and-fifty years together did nothing in the world but examine the
state and concerns of bees.
I spied Peter Gilles among these, with a urinal in his hand, narrowly
watching the water of those goodly fishes.
When we had long beheld everything in this land of Satin, Pantagruel said,
I have sufficiently fed my eyes, but my belly is empty all this while, and
chimes to let me know 'tis time to go to dinner. Let's take care of the
body lest the soul abdicate it; and to this effect let's taste some of
these anacampserotes ('An herb, the touching of which is said to reconcile
lovers.'--Motteux.) that hang over our heads. Psha, cried one, they are
mere trash, stark naught, o' my word; they're good for nothing.
I then went to pluck some mirobolans off of a piece of tapestry whereon
they hung, but the devil a bit I could chew or swallow 'em; and had you had
them betwixt your teeth you would have sworn they had been thrown silk;
there was no manner of savour in 'em.
One might be apt to think Heliogabalus had taken a hint from thence, to
feast those whom he had caused to fast a long time, promising them a
sumptuous, plentiful, and imperial feast after it; for all the treat used
to amount to no more than several sorts of meat in wax, marble,
earthenware, painted and figured tablecloths.
While we were looking up and down to find some more substantial food, we
heard a loud various noise, like that of paper-mills (or women bucking of
linen); so with all speed we went to the place whence the noise came, where
we found a diminutive, monstrous, misshapen old fellow, called Hearsay.
His mouth was slit up to his ears, and in it were seven tongues, each of
them cleft into seven parts. However, he chattered, tattled, and prated
with all the seven at once, of different matters, and in divers languages.
He had as many ears all over his head and the rest of his body as Argus
formerly had eyes, and was as blind as a beetle, and had the palsy in his
About him stood an innumerable number of men and women, gaping, listening,
and hearing very intensely. Among 'em I observed some who strutted like
crows in a gutter, and principally a very handsome bodied man in the face,
who held then a map of the world, and with little aphorisms compendiously
explained everything to 'em; so that those men of happy memories grew
learned in a trice, and would most fluently talk with you of a world of
prodigious things, the hundredth part of which would take up a man's whole
life to be fully known.
Among the rest they descanted with great prolixity on the pyramids and
hieroglyphics of Egypt, of the Nile, of Babylon, of the Troglodytes, the
Hymantopodes, or crump-footed nation, the Blemiae, people that wear their
heads in the middle of their breasts, the Pigmies, the Cannibals, the
Hyperborei and their mountains, the Egypanes with their goat's feet, and
the devil and all of others; every individual word of it by hearsay.
I am much mistaken if I did not see among them Herodotus, Pliny, Solinus,
Berosus, Philostratus, Pomponius Mela, Strabo, and God knows how many other
Then Albert, the great Jacobin friar, Peter Tesmoin, alias Witness, Pope
Pius the Second, Volaterranus, Paulus Jovius the valiant, Jemmy Cartier,
Chaton the Armenian, Marco Polo the Venetian, Ludovico Romano, Pedro
Aliares, and forty cartloads of other modern historians, lurking behind a
piece of tapestry, where they were at it ding-dong, privately scribbling
the Lord knows what, and making rare work of it; and all by hearsay.
Behind another piece of tapestry (on which Naboth and Susanna's accusers
were fairly represented), I saw close by Hearsay, good store of men of the
country of Perce and Maine, notable students, and young enough.
I asked what sort of study they applied themselves to; and was told that
from their youth they learned to be evidences, affidavit-men, and vouchers,
and were instructed in the art of swearing; in which they soon became such
proficients, that when they left that country, and went back into their
own, they set up for themselves and very honestly lived by their trade of
evidencing, positively giving their testimony of all things whatsoever to
those who feed them most roundly to do a job of journey-work for them; and
all this by hearsay.
You may think what you will of it; but I can assure you they gave some of
us corners of their cakes, and we merrily helped to empty their hogsheads.
Then, in a friendly manner, they advised us to be as sparing of truth as
possibly we could if ever we had a mind to get court preferment.
How we came in sight of Lantern-land.
Having been but scurvily entertained in the land of Satin, we went o'
board, and having set sail, in four days came near the coast of
Lantern-land. We then saw certain little hovering fires on the sea.
For my part, I did not take them to be lanterns, but rather thought they
were fishes which lolled their flaming tongues on the surface of the sea,
or lampyrides, which some call cicindelas, or glowworms, shining there as
ripe barley does o' nights in my country.
But the skipper satisfied us that they were the lanterns of the watch, or,
more properly, lighthouses, set up in many places round the precinct of the
place to discover the land, and for the safe piloting in of some outlandish
lanterns, which, like good Franciscan and Jacobin friars, were coming to
make their personal appearance at the provincial chapter.
However, some of us were somewhat suspicious that these fires were the
forerunners of some storm, but the skipper assured us again they were not.
How we landed at the port of the Lychnobii, and came to Lantern-land.
Soon after we arrived at the port of Lantern-land, where Pantagruel
discovered on a high tower the lantern of Rochelle, that stood us in good
stead, for it cast a great light. We also saw the lantern of Pharos, that
of Nauplion, and that of Acropolis at Athens, sacred to Pallas.
Near the port there's a little hamlet inhabited by the Lychnobii, that live
by lanterns, as the gulligutted friars in our country live by nuns; they
are studious people, and as honest men as ever shit in a trumpet.
Demosthenes had formerly lanternized there.
We were conducted from that place to the palace by three obeliscolichnys
('A kind of beacons.'--Motteux.), military guards of the port, with
high-crowned hats, whom we acquainted with the cause of our voyage, and our
design, which was to desire the queen of the country to grant us a lantern
to light and conduct us during our voyage to the Oracle of the Holy Bottle.
They promised to assist us in this, and added that we could never have come
in a better time, for then the lanterns held their provincial chapter.
When we came to the royal palace we had audience of her highness the Queen
of Lantern-land, being introduced by two lanterns of honour, that of
Aristophanes and that of Cleanthes (Motteux adds here--'Mistresses of the
ceremonies.'). Panurge in a few words acquainted her with the causes of
our voyage, and she received us with great demonstrations of friendship,
desiring us to come to her at supper-time that we might more easily make
choice of one to be our guide; which pleased us extremely. We did not fail
to observe intensely everything we could see, as the garbs, motions, and
deportment of the queen's subjects, principally the manner after which she
The bright queen was dressed in virgin crystal of Tutia wrought damaskwise,
and beset with large diamonds.
The lanterns of the royal blood were clad partly with bastard-diamonds,
partly with diaphanous stones; the rest with horn, paper, and oiled cloth.
The cresset-lights took place according to the antiquity and lustre of
An earthen dark-lantern, shaped like a pot, notwithstanding this took place
of some of the first quality; at which I wondered much, till I was told it
was that of Epictetus, for which three thousand drachmas had been formerly
Martial's polymix lantern (Motteux gives a footnote:--'A lamp with many
wicks, or a branch'd candlestick with many springs coming out of it, that
supply all the branches with oil.') made a very good figure there. I took
particular notice of its dress, and more yet of the lychnosimity formerly
consecrated by Canopa, the daughter of Tisias.
I saw the lantern pensile formerly taken out of the temple of Apollo
Palatinus at Thebes, and afterwards by Alexander the Great (carried to the
town of Cymos). (The words in brackets have been omitted by Motteux.)
I saw another that distinguished itself from the rest by a bushy tuft of
crimson silk on its head. I was told 'twas that of Bartolus, the lantern
of the civilians.
Two others were very remarkable for glister-pouches that dangled at their
waist. We were told that one was the greater light and the other the
lesser light of the apothecaries.
When 'twas supper-time, the queen's highness first sat down, and then the
lady lanterns, according to their rank and dignity. For the first course
they were all served with large Christmas candles, except the queen, who
was served with a hugeous, thick, stiff, flaming taper of white wax,
somewhat red towards the tip; and the royal family, as also the provincial
lantern of Mirebalais, who were served with nutlights; and the provincial
of Lower Poitou, with an armed candle.
After that, God wot, what a glorious light they gave with their wicks! I
do not say all, for you must except a parcel of junior lanterns, under the
government of a high and mighty one. These did not cast a light like the
rest, but seemed to me dimmer than any long-snuff farthing candle whose
tallow has been half melted away in a hothouse.
After supper we withdrew to take some rest, and the next day the queen made
us choose one of the most illustrious lanterns to guide us; after which we
took our leave.
How we arrived at the Oracle of the Bottle.
Our glorious lantern lighting and directing us to heart's content, we at
last arrived at the desired island where was the Oracle of the Bottle. As
soon as friend Panurge landed, he nimbly cut a caper with one leg for joy,
and cried to Pantagruel, Now we are where we have wished ourselves long
ago. This is the place we've been seeking with such toil and labour. He
then made a compliment to our lantern, who desired us to be of good cheer,
and not be daunted or dismayed whatever we might chance to see.
To come to the Temple of the Holy Bottle we were to go through a large
vineyard, in which were all sorts of vines, as the Falernian, Malvoisian,
the Muscadine, those of Taige, Beaune, Mirevaux, Orleans, Picardent,
Arbois, Coussi, Anjou, Grave, Corsica, Vierron, Nerac, and others. This
vineyard was formerly planted by the good Bacchus, with so great a blessing
that it yields leaves, flowers, and fruit all the year round, like the
orange trees at Suraine.
Our magnificent lantern ordered every one of us to eat three grapes, to put
some vine-leaves in his shoes, and take a vine-branch in his left hand.
At the end of the close we went under an arch built after the manner of
those of the ancients. The trophies of a toper were curiously carved on
First, on one side was to be seen a long train of flagons, leathern
bottles, flasks, cans, glass bottles, barrels, nipperkins, pint pots, quart
pots, pottles, gallons, and old-fashioned semaises (swingeing wooden pots,
such as those out of which the Germans fill their glasses); these hung on a
On another side was store of garlic, onions, shallots, hams, botargos,
caviare, biscuits, neat's tongues, old cheese, and such like comfits, very
artificially interwoven, and packed together with vine-stocks.
On another were a hundred sorts of drinking glasses, cups, cisterns, ewers,
false cups, tumblers, bowls, mazers, mugs, jugs, goblets, talboys, and such
other Bacchic artillery.
On the frontispiece of the triumphal arch, under the zoophore, was the
You who presume to move this way,
Get a good lantern, lest you stray.
We took special care of that, cried Pantagruel when he had read them; for
there is not a better or a more divine lantern than ours in all
This arch ended at a fine large round alley covered over with the interlaid
branches of vines, loaded and adorned with clusters of five hundred
different colours, and of as many various shapes, not natural, but due to
the skill of agriculture; some were golden, others bluish, tawny, azure,
white, black, green, purple, streaked with many colours, long, round,
triangular, cod-like, hairy, great-headed, and grassy. That pleasant alley
ended at three old ivy-trees, verdant, and all loaden with rings. Our
enlightened lantern directed us to make ourselves hats with some of their
leaves, and cover our heads wholly with them, which was immediately done.
Jupiter's priestess, said Pantagruel, in former days would not like us have
walked under this arbour. There was a mystical reason, answered our most
perspicuous lantern, that would have hindered her; for had she gone under
it, the wine, or the grapes of which 'tis made, that's the same thing, had
been over her head, and then she would have seemed overtopped and mastered
by wine. Which implies that priests, and all persons who devote themselves
to the contemplation of divine things, ought to keep their minds sedate and
calm, and avoid whatever might disturb and discompose their tranquillity,
which nothing is more apt to do than drunkenness.
You also, continued our lantern, could not come into the Holy Bottle's
presence, after you have gone through this arch, did not that noble
priestess Bacbuc first see your shoes full of vine-leaves; which action is
diametrically opposite to the other, and signifies that you despise wine,
and having mastered it, as it were, tread it under foot.
I am no scholar, quoth Friar John, for which I'm heartily sorry, yet I find
by my breviary that in the Revelation a woman was seen with the moon under
her feet, which was a most wonderful sight. Now, as Bigot explained it to
me, this was to signify that she was not of the nature of other women; for
they have all the moon at their heads, and consequently their brains are
always troubled with a lunacy. This makes me willing to believe what you
said, dear Madam Lantern.
How we went underground to come to the Temple of the Holy Bottle, and how
Chinon is the oldest city in the world.
We went underground through a plastered vault, on which was coarsely
painted a dance of women and satyrs waiting on old Silenus, who was
grinning o' horseback on his ass. This made me say to Pantagruel, that
this entry put me in mind of the painted cellar in the oldest city in the
world, where such paintings are to be seen, and in as cool a place.
Which is the oldest city in the world? asked Pantagruel. 'Tis Chinon, sir,
or Cainon in Touraine, said I. I know, returned Pantagruel, where Chinon
lies, and the painted cellar also, having myself drunk there many a glass
of cool wine; neither do I doubt but that Chinon is an ancient town
--witness its blazon. I own 'tis said twice or thrice:
On old stone
Long has stood;
There's the Vienne, if you look down;
If you look up, there's the wood.
But how, continued he, can you make it out that 'tis the oldest city in the
world? Where did you find this written? I have found it in the sacred
writ, said I, that Cain was the first that built a town; we may then
reasonably conjecture that from his name he gave it that of Cainon. Thus,
after his example, most other founders of towns have given them their
names: Athena, that's Minerva in Greek, to Athens; Alexander to
Alexandria; Constantine to Constantinople; Pompey to Pompeiopolis in
Cilicia; Adrian to Adrianople; Canaan, to the Canaanites; Saba, to the
Sabaeans; Assur, to the Assyrians; and so Ptolemais, Caesarea, Tiberias,
and Herodium in Judaea got their names.
While we were thus talking, there came to us the great flask whom our
lantern called the philosopher, her holiness the Bottle's governor. He was
attended with a troop of the temple-guards, all French bottles in wicker
armour; and seeing us with our javelins wrapped with ivy, with our
illustrious lantern, whom he knew, he desired us to come in with all manner
of safety, and ordered we should be immediately conducted to the Princess
Bacbuc, the Bottle's lady of honour, and priestess of all the mysteries;
which was done.
How we went down the tetradic steps, and of Panurge's fear.
We went down one marble step under ground, where there was a resting, or,
as our workmen call it, a landing-place; then, turning to the left, we went
down two other steps, where there was another resting-place; after that we
came to three other steps, turning about, and met a third; and the like at
four steps which we met afterwards. There quoth Panurge, Is it here? How
many steps have you told? asked our magnificent lantern. One, two, three,
four, answered Pantagruel. How much is that? asked she. Ten, returned he.
Multiply that, said she, according to the same Pythagorical tetrad. That
is, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, cried Pantagruel. How much is the whole?
said she. One hundred, answered Pantagruel. Add, continued she, the first
cube--that's eight. At the end of that fatal number you'll find the temple
gate; and pray observe, this is the true psychogony of Plato, so celebrated
by the Academics, yet so little understood; one moiety of which consists of
the unity of the two first numbers full of two square and two cubic
numbers. We then went down those numerical stairs, all under ground, and I
can assure you, in the first place, that our legs stood us in good stead;
for had it not been for 'em, we had rolled just like so many hogsheads into
a vault. Secondly, our radiant lantern gave us just so much light as is in
St. Patrick's hole in Ireland, or Trophonius's pit in Boeotia; which caused
Panurge to say to her, after we had got down some seventy-eight steps:
Dear madam, with a sorrowful, aching heart, I most humbly beseech your
lanternship to lead us back. May I be led to hell if I be not half dead
with fear; my heart is sunk down into my hose; I am afraid I shall make
buttered eggs in my breeches. I freely consent never to marry. You have
given yourself too much trouble on my account. The Lord shall reward you
in his great rewarder; neither will I be ungrateful when I come out of this
cave of Troglodytes. Let's go back, I pray you. I'm very much afraid this
is Taenarus, the low way to hell, and methinks I already hear Cerberus
bark. Hark! I hear the cur, or my ears tingle. I have no manner of
kindness for the dog, for there never is a greater toothache than when dogs
bite us by the shins. And if this be only Trophonius's pit, the lemures,
hobthrushes, and goblins will certainly swallow us alive, just as they
devoured formerly one of Demetrius's halberdiers for want of bridles. Art
thou here, Friar John? Prithee, dear, dear cod, stay by me; I'm almost
dead with fear. Hast thou got thy bilbo? Alas! poor pilgarlic's
defenceless. I'm a naked man, thou knowest; let's go back. Zoons, fear
nothing, cried Friar John; I'm by thee, and have thee fast by the collar;
eighteen devils shan't get thee out of my clutches, though I were unarmed.
Never did a man yet want weapons who had a good arm with as stout a heart.
Heaven would sooner send down a shower of them; even as in Provence, in the
fields of La Crau, near Mariannes, there rained stones (they are there to
this day) to help Hercules, who otherwise wanted wherewithal to fight
Neptune's two bastards. But whither are we bound? Are we a-going to the
little children's limbo? By Pluto, they'll bepaw and conskite us all. Or
are we going to hell for orders? By cob's body, I'll hamper, bethwack, and
belabour all the devils, now I have some vine-leaves in my shoes. Thou
shalt see me lay about me like mad, old boy. Which way? where the devil
are they? I fear nothing but their damned horns; but cuckoldy Panurge's
bull-feather will altogether secure me from 'em. Lo! in a prophetic spirit
I already see him, like another Actaeon, horned, horny, hornified.
Prithee, quoth Panurge, take heed thyself, dear frater, lest, till monks
have leave to marry, thou weddest something thou dostn't like, as some
cat-o'-nine-tails or the quartan ague; if thou dost, may I never come safe
and sound out of this hypogeum, this subterranean cave, if I don't tup and
ram that disease merely for the sake of making thee a cornuted, corniferous
property; otherwise I fancy the quartan ague is but an indifferent
bedfellow. I remember Gripe-men-all threatened to wed thee to some such
thing; for which thou calledest him heretic.
Here our splendid lantern interrupted them, letting us know this was the
place where we were to have a taste of the creature, and be silent; bidding
us not despair of having the word of the Bottle before we went back, since
we had lined our shoes with vine-leaves.
Come on then, cried Panurge, let's charge through and through all the
devils of hell; we can but perish, and that's soon done. However, I
thought to have reserved my life for some mighty battle. Move, move, move
forwards; I am as stout as Hercules, my breeches are full of courage; my
heart trembles a little, I own, but that's only an effect of the coldness
and dampness of this vault; 'tis neither fear nor ague. Come on, move on,
piss, pish, push on. My name's William Dreadnought.
How the temple gates in a wonderful manner opened of themselves.
After we were got down the steps, we came to a portal of fine jasper, of
Doric order, on whose front we read this sentence in the finest gold,
EN OINO ALETHEIA--that is, In wine truth. The gates were of
Corinthian-like brass, massy, wrought with little vine-branches, finely
embossed and engraven, and were equally joined and closed together in their
mortise without padlock, key-chain, or tie whatsoever. Where they joined,
there hanged an Indian loadstone as big as an Egyptian bean, set in gold,
having two points, hexagonal, in a right line; and on each side, towards the
wall, hung a handful of scordium (garlic germander).
There our noble lantern desired us not to take it amiss that she went no
farther with us, leaving us wholly to the conduct of the priestess Bacbuc;
for she herself was not allowed to go in, for certain causes rather to be
concealed than revealed to mortals. However, she advised us to be resolute
and secure, and to trust to her for the return. She then pulled the
loadstone that hung at the folding of the gates, and threw it into a silver
box fixed for that purpose; which done, from the threshold of each gate she
drew a twine of crimson silk about nine feet long, by which the scordium
hung, and having fastened it to two gold buckles that hung at the sides,
Immediately the gates flew open without being touched; not with a creaking
or loud harsh noise like that made by heavy brazen gates, but with a soft
pleasing murmur that resounded through the arches of the temple.
Pantagruel soon knew the cause of it, having discovered a small cylinder or
roller that joined the gates over the threshold, and, turning like them
towards the wall on a hard well-polished ophites stone, with rubbing and
rolling caused that harmonious murmur.
I wondered how the gates thus opened of themselves to the right and left,
and after we were all got in, I cast my eye between the gates and the wall
to endeavour to know how this happened; for one would have thought our kind
lantern had put between the gates the herb aethiopis, which they say opens
some things that are shut. But I perceived that the parts of the gates
that joined on the inside were covered with steel, and just where the said
gates touched when they were opened I saw two square Indian loadstones of a
bluish hue, well polished, and half a span broad, mortised in the temple
wall. Now, by the hidden and admirable power of the loadstones, the steel
plates were put into motion, and consequently the gates were slowly drawn;
however, not always, but when the said loadstone on the outside was
removed, after which the steel was freed from its power, the two bunches of
scordium being at the same time put at some distance, because it deadens
the magnes and robs it of its attractive virtue.
On the loadstone that was placed on the right side the following iambic
verse was curiously engraven in ancient Roman characters:
Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt.
Fate leads the willing, and th' unwilling draws.
The following sentence was neatly cut in the loadstone that was on the
ALL THINGS TEND TO THEIR END.
Of the Temple's admirable pavement.
When I had read those inscriptions, I admired the beauty of the temple, and
particularly the disposition of its pavement, with which no work that is
now, or has been under the cope of heaven, can justly be compared; not that
of the Temple of Fortune at Praeneste in Sylla's time, or the pavement of
the Greeks, called asarotum, laid by Sosistratus at Pergamus. For this
here was wholly in compartments of precious stones, all in their natural
colours: one of red jasper, most charmingly spotted; another of ophites; a
third of porphyry; a fourth of lycophthalmy, a stone of four different
colours, powdered with sparks of gold as small as atoms; a fifth of agate,
streaked here and there with small milk-coloured waves; a sixth of costly
chalcedony or onyx-stone; and another of green jasper, with certain red and
yellowish veins. And all these were disposed in a diagonal line.
At the portico some small stones were inlaid and evenly joined on the
floor, all in their native colours, to embellish the design of the figures;
and they were ordered in such a manner that you would have thought some
vine-leaves and branches had been carelessly strewed on the pavement; for
in some places they were thick, and thin in others. That inlaying was very
wonderful everywhere. Here were seen, as it were in the shade, some snails
crawling on the grapes; there, little lizards running on the branches. On
this side were grapes that seemed yet greenish; on another, some clusters
that seemed full ripe, so like the true that they could as easily have
deceived starlings and other birds as those which Zeuxis drew.
Nay, we ourselves were deceived; for where the artist seemed to have
strewed the vine-branches thickest, we could not forbear walking with great
strides lest we should entangle our feet, just as people go over an unequal
I then cast my eyes on the roof and walls of the temple, that were all
pargetted with porphyry and mosaic work, which from the left side at the
coming in most admirably represented the battle in which the good Bacchus
overthrew the Indians; as followeth.
How we saw Bacchus's army drawn up in battalia in mosaic work.
At the beginning, divers towns, hamlets, castles, fortresses, and forests
were seen in flames; and several mad and loose women, who furiously ripped
up and tore live calves, sheep, and lambs limb from limb, and devoured
their flesh. There we learned how Bacchus, at his coming into India,
destroyed all things with fire and sword.
Notwithstanding this, he was so despised by the Indians that they did not
think it worth their while to stop his progress, having been certainly
informed by their spies that his camp was destitute of warriors, and that
he had only with him a crew of drunken females, a low-built, old,
effeminate, sottish fellow, continually addled, and as drunk as a
wheelbarrow, with a pack of young clownish doddipolls, stark naked, always
skipping and frisking up and down, with tails and horns like those of young
For this reason the Indians had resolved to let them go through their
country without the least opposition, esteeming a victory over such enemies
more dishonourable than glorious.
In the meantime Bacchus marched on, burning everything; for, as you know,
fire and thunder are his paternal arms, Jupiter having saluted his mother
Semele with his thunder, so that his maternal house was ruined by fire.
Bacchus also caused a great deal of blood to be spilt; which, when he is
roused and angered, principally in war, is as natural to him as to make
some in time of peace.
Thus the plains of the island of Samos are called Panema, which signifies
bloody, because Bacchus there overtook the Amazons, who fled from the
country of Ephesus, and there let 'em blood, so that they all died of
phlebotomy. This may give you a better insight into the meaning of an
ancient proverb than Aristotle has done in his problems, viz., Why 'twas
formerly said, Neither eat nor sow any mint in time of war. The reason is,
that blows are given then without any distinction of parts or persons, and
if a man that's wounded has that day handled or eaten any mint, 'tis
impossible, or at least very hard, to stanch his blood.
After this, Bacchus was seen marching in battalia, riding in a stately
chariot drawn by six young leopards. He looked as young as a child, to
show that all good topers never grow old. He was as red as a cherry, or a
cherub, which you please, and had no more hair on his chin than there's in
the inside of my hand. His forehead was graced with pointed horns, above
which he wore a fine crown or garland of vine-leaves and grapes, and a
mitre of crimson velvet, having also gilt buskins on.
He had not one man with him that looked like a man; his guards and all his
forces consisted wholly of Bassarides, Evantes, Euhyades, Edonides,
Trietherides, Ogygiae, Mimallonides, Maenades, Thyades, and Bacchae,
frantic, raving, raging, furious, mad women, begirt with live snakes and
serpents instead of girdles, dishevelled, their hair flowing about their
shoulders, with garlands of vine-branches instead of forehead-cloths, clad
with stag's or goat's skins, and armed with torches, javelins, spears, and
halberds whose ends were like pineapples. Besides, they had certain small
light bucklers that gave a loud sound if you touched 'em never so little,
and these served them instead of drums. They were just seventy-nine
thousand two hundred and twenty-seven.
Silenus, who led the van, was one on whom Bacchus relied very much, having
formerly had many proofs of his valour and conduct. He was a diminutive,
stooping, palsied, plump, gorbellied old fellow, with a swingeing pair of
stiff-standing lugs of his own, a sharp Roman nose, large rough eyebrows,
mounted on a well-hung ass. In his fist he held a staff to lean upon, and
also bravely to fight whenever he had occasion to alight; and he was
dressed in a woman's yellow gown. His followers were all young, wild,
clownish people, as hornified as so many kids and as fell as so many
tigers, naked, and perpetually singing and dancing country-dances. They
were called tityri and satyrs, and were in all eighty-five thousand one
hundred and thirty-three.
Pan, who brought up the rear, was a monstrous sort of a thing; for his
lower parts were like a goat's, his thighs hairy, and his horns bolt
upright; a crimson fiery phiz, and a beard that was none of the shortest.
He was a bold, stout, daring, desperate fellow, very apt to take pepper in
the nose for yea and nay.
In his left hand he held a pipe, and a crooked stick in his right. His
forces consisted also wholly of satyrs, aegipanes, agripanes, sylvans,
fauns, lemures, lares, elves, and hobgoblins, and their number was
seventy-eight thousand one hundred and fourteen. The signal or word
common to all the army was Evohe.
How the battle in which the good Bacchus overthrew the Indians was
represented in mosaic work.
In the next place we saw the representation of the good Bacchus's
engagement with the Indians. Silenus, who led the van, was sweating,
puffing, and blowing, belabouring his ass most grievously. The ass
dreadfully opened its wide jaws, drove away the flies that plagued it,
winced, flounced, went back, and bestirred itself in a most terrible
manner, as if some damned gad-bee had stung it at the breech.
The satyrs, captains, sergeants, and corporals of companies, sounding the
orgies with cornets, in a furious manner went round the army, skipping,
capering, bounding, jerking, farting, flying out at heels, kicking and
prancing like mad, encouraging their companions to fight bravely; and all
the delineated army cried out Evohe!
First, the Maenades charged the Indians with dreadful shouts, and a horrid
din of their brazen drums and bucklers; the air rung again all around, as
the mosaic work well expressed it. And pray for the future don't so much
admire Apelles, Aristides the Theban, and others who drew claps of thunder,
lightnings, winds, words, manners, and spirits.
We then saw the Indian army, who had at last taken the field to prevent the
devastation of the rest of their country. In the front were the elephants,
with castles well garrisoned on their backs. But the army and themselves
were put into disorder; the dreadful cries of the Bacchae having filled
them with consternation, and those huge animals turned tail and trampled on
the men of their party.
There you might have seen gaffer Silenus on his ass, putting on as hard as
he could, striking athwart and alongst, and laying about him lustily with
his staff after the old fashion of fencing. His ass was prancing and
making after the elephants, gaping and martially braying, as it were to
sound a charge, as he did when formerly in the Bacchanalian feasts he waked
the nymph Lottis, when Priapus, full of priapism, had a mind to priapize
while the pretty creature was taking a nap.
There you might have seen Pan frisk it with his goatish shanks about the
Maenades, and with his rustic pipe excite them to behave themselves like
A little further you might have blessed your eyes with the sight of a young
satyr who led seventeen kings his prisoners; and a Bacchis, who with her
snakes hauled along no less than two and forty captains; a little faun, who
carried a whole dozen of standards taken from the enemy; and goodman
Bacchus on his chariot, riding to and fro fearless of danger, making much
of his dear carcass, and cheerfully toping to all his merry friends.
Finally, we saw the representation of his triumph, which was thus: first,
his chariot was wholly lined with ivy gathered on the mountain Meros; this
for its scarcity, which you know raises the price of everything, and
principally of those leaves in India. In this Alexander the Great followed
his example at his Indian triumph. The chariot was drawn by elephants
joined together, wherein he was imitated by Pompey the Great at Rome in his
African triumph. The good Bacchus was seen drinking out of a mighty urn,
which action Marius aped after his victory over the Cimbri near Aix in
Provence. All his army were crowned with ivy; their javelins, bucklers,
and drums were also wholly covered with it; there was not so much as
Silenus's ass but was betrapped with it.
The Indian kings were fastened with chains of gold close by the wheels of
the chariot. All the company marched in pomp with unspeakable joy, loaded
with an infinite number of trophies, pageants, and spoils, playing and
singing merry epiniciums, songs of triumph, and also rural lays and
At the farthest end was a prospect of the land of Egypt; the Nile with its
crocodiles, marmosets, ibides, monkeys, trochiloses, or wrens, ichneumons,
or Pharoah's mice, hippopotami, or sea-horses, and other creatures, its
guests and neighbours. Bacchus was moving towards that country under the
conduct of a couple of horned beasts, on one of which was written in gold,
Apis, and Osiris on the other; because no ox or cow had been seen in Egypt
till Bacchus came thither.
How the temple was illuminated with a wonderful lamp.
Before I proceed to the description of the Bottle, I'll give you that of an
admirable lamp that dispensed so large a light over all the temple that,
though it lay underground, we could distinguish every object as clearly as
above it at noonday.
In the middle of the roof was fixed a ring of massive gold, as thick as my
clenched fist. Three chains somewhat less, most curiously wrought, hung
about two feet and a half below it, and in a triangle supported a round