Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais

Part 4 out of 16

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

invade others; and that which heretofore the Barbars and Saracens called
prowess and valour, we do now call robbing, thievery, and wickedness. It
would have been more commendable in him to have contained himself within
the bounds of his own territories, royally governing them, than to insult
and domineer in mine, pillaging and plundering everywhere like a most
unmerciful enemy; for, by ruling his own with discretion, he might have
increased his greatness, but by robbing me he cannot escape destruction.
Go your ways in the name of God, prosecute good enterprises, show your king
what is amiss, and never counsel him with regard unto your own particular
profit, for the public loss will swallow up the private benefit. As for
your ransom, I do freely remit it to you, and will that your arms and horse
be restored to you; so should good neighbours do, and ancient friends,
seeing this our difference is not properly war. As Plato, Lib. 5 de
Repub., would not have it called war, but sedition, when the Greeks took up
arms against one another, and that therefore, when such combustions should
arise amongst them, his advice was to behave themselves in the managing of
them with all discretion and modesty. Although you call it war, it is but
superficial; it entereth not into the closet and inmost cabinet of our
hearts. For neither of us hath been wronged in his honour, nor is there
any question betwixt us in the main, but only how to redress, by the bye,
some petty faults committed by our men,--I mean, both yours and ours,
which, although you knew, you ought to let pass; for these quarrelsome
persons deserve rather to be contemned than mentioned, especially seeing I
offered them satisfaction according to the wrong. God shall be the just
judge of our variances, whom I beseech by death rather to take me out of
this life, and to permit my goods to perish and be destroyed before mine
eyes, than that by me or mine he should in any sort be wronged. These
words uttered, he called the monk, and before them all thus spoke unto him,
Friar John, my good friend, it is you that took prisoner the Captain
Touchfaucet here present? Sir, said the monk, seeing himself is here, and
that he is of the years of discretion, I had rather you should know it by
his confession than by any words of mine. Then said Touchfaucet, My
sovereign lord it is he indeed that took me, and I do therefore most freely
yield myself his prisoner. Have you put him to any ransom? said
Grangousier to the monk. No, said the monk, of that I take no care. How
much would you have for having taken him? Nothing, nothing, said the monk;
I am not swayed by that, nor do I regard it. Then Grangousier commanded
that, in presence of Touchfaucet, should be delivered to the monk for
taking him the sum of three score and two thousand saluts (in English
money, fifteen thousand and five hundred pounds), which was done, whilst
they made a collation or little banquet to the said Touchfaucet, of whom
Grangousier asked if he would stay with him, or if he loved rather to
return to his king. Touchfaucet answered that he was content to take
whatever course he would advise him to. Then, said Grangousier, return
unto your king, and God be with you.

Then he gave him an excellent sword of a Vienne blade, with a golden
scabbard wrought with vine-branch-like flourishes, of fair goldsmith's
work, and a collar or neck-chain of gold, weighing seven hundred and two
thousand marks (at eight ounces each), garnished with precious stones of
the finest sort, esteemed at a hundred and sixty thousand ducats, and ten
thousand crowns more, as an honourable donative, by way of present.

After this talk Touchfaucet got to his horse, and Gargantua for his safety
allowed him the guard of thirty men-at-arms and six score archers to attend
him, under the conduct of Gymnast, to bring him even unto the gate of the
rock Clermond, if there were need. As soon as he was gone, the monk
restored unto Grangousier the three score and two thousand saluts which he
had received, saying, Sir, it is not as yet the time for you to give such
gifts; stay till this war be at an end, for none can tell what accidents
may occur, and war begun without good provision of money beforehand for
going through with it, is but as a breathing of strength, and blast that
will quickly pass away. Coin is the sinews of war. Well then, said
Grangousier, at the end I will content you by some honest recompense, as
also all those who shall do me good service.

Chapter 1.XLVII.

How Grangousier sent for his legions, and how Touchfaucet slew Rashcalf,
and was afterwards executed by the command of Picrochole.

About this same time those of Besse, of the Old Market, of St. James'
Bourg, of the Draggage, of Parille, of the Rivers, of the rocks St. Pol, of
the Vaubreton, of Pautille, of the Brehemont, of Clainbridge, of Cravant,
of Grammont, of the town at the Badgerholes, of Huymes, of Segre, of Husse,
of St. Lovant, of Panzoust, of the Coldraux, of Verron, of Coulaines, of
Chose, of Varenes, of Bourgueil, of the Bouchard Island, of the Croullay,
of Narsay, of Cande, of Montsoreau, and other bordering places, sent
ambassadors unto Grangousier, to tell him that they were advised of the
great wrongs which Picrochole had done him, and, in regard of their ancient
confederacy, offered him what assistance they could afford, both in men,
money, victuals, and ammunition, and other necessaries for war. The money
which by the joint agreement of them all was sent unto him, amounted to six
score and fourteen millions, two crowns and a half of pure gold. The
forces wherewith they did assist him did consist in fifteen thousand
cuirassiers, two-and-thirty thousand light horsemen, four score and nine
thousand dragoons, and a hundred-and-forty thousand volunteer adventurers.
These had with them eleven thousand and two hundred cannons, double
cannons, long pieces of artillery called basilisks, and smaller sized ones
known by the name of spirols, besides the mortar-pieces and grenadoes. Of
pioneers they had seven-and-forty thousand, all victualled and paid for six
months and four days of advance. Which offer Gargantua did not altogether
refuse, nor wholly accept of; but, giving them hearty thanks, said that he
would compose and order the war by such a device, that there should not be
found great need to put so many honest men to trouble in the managing of
it; and therefore was content at that time to give order only for bringing
along the legions which he maintained in his ordinary garrison towns of the
Deviniere, of Chavigny, of Gravot, and of the Quinquenais, amounting to the
number of two thousand cuirassiers, three score and six thousand foot-
soldiers, six-and-twenty thousand dragoons, attended by two hundred pieces
of great ordnance, two-and-twenty thousand pioneers, and six thousand light
horsemen, all drawn up in troops, so well befitted and accommodated with
their commissaries, sutlers, farriers, harness-makers, and other such like
necessary members in a military camp, so fully instructed in the art of
warfare, so perfectly knowing and following their colours, so ready to hear
and obey their captains, so nimble to run, so strong at their charging, so
prudent in their adventures, and every day so well disciplined, that they
seemed rather to be a concert of organ-pipes, or mutual concord of the
wheels of a clock, than an infantry and cavalry, or army of soldiers.

Touchfaucet immediately after his return presented himself before
Picrochole, and related unto him at large all that he had done and seen,
and at last endeavoured to persuade him with strong and forcible arguments
to capitulate and make an agreement with Grangousier, whom he found to be
the honestest man in the world; saying further, that it was neither right
nor reason thus to trouble his neighbours, of whom they had never received
anything but good. And in regard of the main point, that they should never
be able to go through stitch with that war, but to their great damage and
mischief; for the forces of Picrochole were not so considerable but that
Grangousier could easily overthrow them.

He had not well done speaking when Rashcalf said out aloud, Unhappy is that
prince which is by such men served, who are so easily corrupted, as I know
Touchfaucet is. For I see his courage so changed that he had willingly
joined with our enemies to fight against us and betray us, if they would
have received him; but as virtue is of all, both friends and foes, praised
and esteemed, so is wickedness soon known and suspected, and although it
happen the enemies to make use thereof for their profit, yet have they
always the wicked and the traitors in abomination.

Touchfaucet being at these words very impatient, drew out his sword, and
therewith ran Rashcalf through the body, a little under the nipple of his
left side, whereof he died presently, and pulling back his sword out of his
body said boldly, So let him perish that shall a faithful servant blame.
Picrochole incontinently grew furious, and seeing Touchfaucet's new sword
and his scabbard so richly diapered with flourishes of most excellent
workmanship, said, Did they give thee this weapon so feloniously therewith
to kill before my face my so good friend Rashcalf? Then immediately
commanded he his guard to hew him in pieces, which was instantly done, and
that so cruelly that the chamber was all dyed with blood. Afterwards he
appointed the corpse of Rashcalf to be honourably buried, and that of
Touchfaucet to be cast over the walls into the ditch.

The news of these excessive violences were quickly spread through all the
army; whereupon many began to murmur against Picrochole, in so far that
Pinchpenny said to him, My sovereign lord, I know not what the issue of
this enterprise will be. I see your men much dejected, and not well
resolved in their minds, by considering that we are here very ill provided
of victual, and that our number is already much diminished by three or four
sallies. Furthermore, great supplies and recruits come daily in to your
enemies; but we so moulder away that, if we be once besieged, I do not see
how we can escape a total destruction. Tush, pish, said Picrochole, you
are like the Melun eels, you cry before they come to you. Let them come,
let them come, if they dare.

Chapter 1.XLVIII.

How Gargantua set upon Picrochole within the rock Clermond, and utterly
defeated the army of the said Picrochole.

Gargantua had the charge of the whole army, and his father Grangousier
stayed in his castle, who, encouraging them with good words, promised great
rewards unto those that should do any notable service. Having thus set
forward, as soon as they had gained the pass at the ford of Vede, with
boats and bridges speedily made they passed over in a trice. Then
considering the situation of the town, which was on a high and advantageous
place, Gargantua thought fit to call his council, and pass that night in
deliberation upon what was to be done. But Gymnast said unto him, My
sovereign lord, such is the nature and complexion of the French, that they
are worth nothing but at the first push. Then are they more fierce than
devils. But if they linger a little and be wearied with delays, they'll
prove more faint and remiss than women. My opinion is, therefore, that now
presently, after your men have taken breath and some small refection, you
give order for a resolute assault, and that we storm them instantly. His
advice was found very good, and for effectuating thereof he brought forth
his army into the plain field, and placed the reserves on the skirt or
rising of a little hill. The monk took along with him six companies of
foot and two hundred horsemen well armed, and with great diligence crossed
the marsh, and valiantly got upon the top of the green hillock even unto
the highway which leads to Loudun. Whilst the assault was thus begun,
Picrochole's men could not tell well what was best, to issue out and
receive the assailants, or keep within the town and not to stir. Himself
in the mean time, without deliberation, sallied forth in a rage with the
cavalry of his guard, who were forthwith received and royally entertained
with great cannon-shot that fell upon them like hail from the high grounds
on which the artillery was planted. Whereupon the Gargantuists betook
themselves unto the valleys, to give the ordnance leave to play and range
with the larger scope.

Those of the town defended themselves as well as they could, but their shot
passed over us without doing us any hurt at all. Some of Picrochole's men
that had escaped our artillery set most fiercely upon our soldiers, but
prevailed little; for they were all let in betwixt the files, and there
knocked down to the ground, which their fellow-soldiers seeing, they would
have retreated, but the monk having seized upon the pass by the which they
were to return, they ran away and fled in all the disorder and confusion
that could be imagined.

Some would have pursued after them and followed the chase, but the monk
withheld them, apprehending that in their pursuit the pursuers might lose
their ranks, and so give occasion to the besieged to sally out of the town
upon them. Then staying there some space and none coming against him, he
sent the Duke Phrontist to advise Gargantua to advance towards the hill
upon the left hand, to hinder Picrochole's retreat at that gate; which
Gargantua did with all expedition, and sent thither four brigades under the
conduct of Sebast, which had no sooner reached the top of the hill, but
they met Picrochole in the teeth, and those that were with him scattered.

Then charged they upon them stoutly, yet were they much endamaged by those
that were upon the walls, who galled them with all manner of shot, both
from the great ordnance, small guns, and bows. Which Gargantua perceiving,
he went with a strong party to their relief, and with his artillery began
to thunder so terribly upon that canton of the wall, and so long, that all
the strength within the town, to maintain and fill up the breach, was drawn
thither. The monk seeing that quarter which he kept besieged void of men
and competent guards, and in a manner altogether naked and abandoned, did
most magnanimously on a sudden lead up his men towards the fort, and never
left it till he had got up upon it, knowing that such as come to the
reserve in a conflict bring with them always more fear and terror than
those that deal about them with they hands in the fight.

Nevertheless, he gave no alarm till all his soldiers had got within the
wall, except the two hundred horsemen, whom he left without to secure his
entry. Then did he give a most horrible shout, so did all these who were
with him, and immediately thereafter, without resistance, putting to the
edge of the sword the guard that was at that gate, they opened it to the
horsemen, with whom most furiously they altogether ran towards the east
gate, where all the hurlyburly was, and coming close upon them in the rear
overthrew all their forces.

The besieged, seeing that the Gargantuists had won the town upon them, and
that they were like to be secure in no corner of it, submitted themselves
unto the mercy of the monk, and asked for quarter, which the monk very
nobly granted to them, yet made them lay down their arms; then, shutting
them up within churches, gave order to seize upon all the staves of the
crosses, and placed men at the doors to keep them from coming forth. Then
opening that east gate, he issued out to succour and assist Gargantua. But
Picrochole, thinking it had been some relief coming to him from the town,
adventured more forwardly than before, and was upon the giving of a most
desperate home-charge, when Gargantua cried out, Ha, Friar John, my friend
Friar John, you are come in a good hour. Which unexpected accident so
affrighted Picrochole and his men, that, giving all for lost, they betook
themselves to their heels, and fled on all hands. Gargantua chased them
till they came near to Vaugaudry, killing and slaying all the way, and then
sounded the retreat.

Chapter 1.XLIX.

How Picrochole in his flight fell into great misfortunes, and what
Gargantua did after the battle.

Picrochole thus in despair fled towards the Bouchard Island, and in the way
to Riviere his horse stumbled and fell down, whereat he on a sudden was so
incensed, that he with his sword without more ado killed him in his choler;
then, not finding any that would remount him, he was about to have taken an
ass at the mill that was thereby; but the miller's men did so baste his
bones and so soundly bethwack him that they made him both black and blue
with strokes; then stripping him of all his clothes, gave him a scurvy old
canvas jacket wherewith to cover his nakedness. Thus went along this poor
choleric wretch, who, passing the water at Port-Huaulx, and relating his
misadventurous disasters, was foretold by an old Lourpidon hag that his
kingdom should be restored to him at the coming of the Cocklicranes, which
she called Coquecigrues. What is become of him since we cannot certainly
tell, yet was I told that he is now a porter at Lyons, as testy and pettish
in humour as ever he was before, and would be always with great lamentation
inquiring at all strangers of the coming of the Cocklicranes, expecting
assuredly, according to the old woman's prophecy, that at their coming he
shall be re-established in his kingdom. The first thing Gargantua did
after his return into the town was to call the muster-roll of his men,
which when he had done, he found that there were very few either killed or
wounded, only some few foot of Captain Tolmere's company, and Ponocrates,
who was shot with a musket-ball through the doublet. Then he caused them
all at and in their several posts and divisions to take a little
refreshment, which was very plenteously provided for them in the best drink
and victuals that could be had for money, and gave order to the treasurers
and commissaries of the army to pay for and defray that repast, and that
there should be no outrage at all nor abuse committed in the town, seeing
it was his own. And furthermore commanded, that immediately after the
soldiers had done with eating and drinking for that time sufficiently and
to their own hearts' desire, a gathering should be beaten for bringing them
altogether, to be drawn up on the piazza before the castle, there to
receive six months' pay completely. All which was done. After this, by
his direction, were brought before him in the said place all those that
remained of Picrochole's party, unto whom, in the presence of the princes,
nobles, and officers of his court and army, he spoke as followeth.

Chapter 1.L.

Gargantua's speech to the vanquished.

Our forefathers and ancestors of all times have been of this nature and
disposition, that, upon the winning of a battle, they have chosen rather,
for a sign and memorial of their triumphs and victories, to erect trophies
and monuments in the hearts of the vanquished by clemency than by
architecture in the lands which they had conquered. For they did hold in
greater estimation the lively remembrance of men purchased by liberality
than the dumb inscription of arches, pillars, and pyramids, subject to the
injury of storms and tempests, and to the envy of everyone. You may very
well remember of the courtesy which by them was used towards the Bretons in
the battle of St. Aubin of Cormier and at the demolishing of Partenay. You
have heard, and hearing admire, their gentle comportment towards those at
the barriers (the barbarians) of Spaniola, who had plundered, wasted, and
ransacked the maritime borders of Olone and Thalmondois. All this
hemisphere of the world was filled with the praises and congratulations
which yourselves and your fathers made, when Alpharbal, King of Canarre,
not satisfied with his own fortunes, did most furiously invade the land of
Onyx, and with cruel piracies molest all the Armoric Islands and confine
regions of Britany. Yet was he in a set naval fight justly taken and
vanquished by my father, whom God preserve and protect. But what? Whereas
other kings and emperors, yea, those who entitle themselves Catholics,
would have dealt roughly with him, kept him a close prisoner, and put him
to an extreme high ransom, he entreated him very courteously, lodged him
kindly with himself in his own palace, and out of his incredible mildness
and gentle disposition sent him back with a safe conduct, laden with gifts,
laden with favours, laden with all offices of friendship. What fell out
upon it? Being returned into his country, he called a parliament, where
all the princes and states of his kingdom being assembled, he showed them
the humanity which he had found in us, and therefore wished them to take
such course by way of compensation therein as that the whole world might be
edified by the example, as well of their honest graciousness to us as of
our gracious honesty towards them. The result hereof was, that it was
voted and decreed by an unanimous consent, that they should offer up
entirely their lands, dominions, and kingdoms, to be disposed of by us
according to our pleasure.

Alpharbal in his own person presently returned with nine thousand and
thirty-eight great ships of burden, bringing with him the treasures, not
only of his house and royal lineage, but almost of all the country besides.
For he embarking himself, to set sail with a west-north-east wind, everyone
in heaps did cast into the ship gold, silver, rings, jewels, spices, drugs,
and aromatical perfumes, parrots, pelicans, monkeys, civet-cats, black-
spotted weasels, porcupines, &c. He was accounted no good mother's son
that did not cast in all the rare and precious things he had.

Being safely arrived, he came to my said father, and would have kissed his
feet. That action was found too submissively low, and therefore was not
permitted, but in exchange he was most cordially embraced. He offered his
presents; they were not received, because they were too excessive: he
yielded himself voluntarily a servant and vassal, and was content his whole
posterity should be liable to the same bondage; this was not accepted of,
because it seemed not equitable: he surrendered, by virtue of the decree
of his great parliamentary council, his whole countries and kingdoms to
him, offering the deed and conveyance, signed, sealed, and ratified by all
those that were concerned in it; this was altogether refused, and the
parchments cast into the fire. In end, this free goodwill and simple
meaning of the Canarians wrought such tenderness in my father's heart that
he could not abstain from shedding tears, and wept most profusely; then, by
choice words very congruously adapted, strove in what he could to diminish
the estimation of the good offices which he had done them, saying, that any
courtesy he had conferred upon them was not worth a rush, and what favour
soever he had showed them he was bound to do it. But so much the more did
Alpharbal augment the repute thereof. What was the issue? Whereas for his
ransom, in the greatest extremity of rigour and most tyrannical dealing,
could not have been exacted above twenty times a hundred thousand crowns,
and his eldest sons detained as hostages till that sum had been paid, they
made themselves perpetual tributaries, and obliged to give us every year
two millions of gold at four-and-twenty carats fine. The first year we
received the whole sum of two millions; the second year of their own accord
they paid freely to us three-and-twenty hundred thousand crowns; the third
year, six-and-twenty hundred thousand; the fourth year, three millions, and
do so increase it always out of their own goodwill that we shall be
constrained to forbid them to bring us any more. This is the nature of
gratitude and true thankfulness. For time, which gnaws and diminisheth all
things else, augments and increaseth benefits; because a noble action of
liberality, done to a man of reason, doth grow continually by his generous
thinking of it and remembering it.

Being unwilling therefore any way to degenerate from the hereditary
mildness and clemency of my parents, I do now forgive you, deliver you from
all fines and imprisonments, fully release you, set you at liberty, and
every way make you as frank and free as ever you were before. Moreover, at
your going out of the gate, you shall have every one of you three months'
pay to bring you home into your houses and families, and shall have a safe
convoy of six hundred cuirassiers and eight thousand foot under the conduct
of Alexander, esquire of my body, that the clubmen of the country may not
do you any injury. God be with you! I am sorry from my heart that
Picrochole is not here; for I would have given him to understand that this
war was undertaken against my will and without any hope to increase either
my goods or renown. But seeing he is lost, and that no man can tell where
nor how he went away, it is my will that his kingdom remain entire to his
son; who, because he is too young, he not being yet full five years old,
shall be brought up and instructed by the ancient princes and learned men
of the kingdom. And because a realm thus desolate may easily come to ruin,
if the covetousness and avarice of those who by their places are obliged to
administer justice in it be not curbed and restrained, I ordain and will
have it so, that Ponocrates be overseer and superintendent above all his
governors, with whatever power and authority is requisite thereto, and that
he be continually with the child until he find him able and capable to rule
and govern by himself.

Now I must tell you, that you are to understand how a too feeble and
dissolute facility in pardoning evildoers giveth them occasion to commit
wickedness afterwards more readily, upon this pernicious confidence of
receiving favour. I consider that Moses, the meekest man that was in his
time upon the earth, did severely punish the mutinous and seditious people
of Israel. I consider likewise that Julius Caesar, who was so gracious an
emperor that Cicero said of him that his fortune had nothing more excellent
than that he could, and his virtue nothing better than that he would always
save and pardon every man--he, notwithstanding all this, did in certain
places most rigorously punish the authors of rebellion. After the example
of these good men, it is my will and pleasure that you deliver over unto me
before you depart hence, first, that fine fellow Marquet, who was the prime
cause, origin, and groundwork of this war by his vain presumption and
overweening; secondly, his fellow cake-bakers, who were neglective in
checking and reprehending his idle hairbrained humour in the instant time;
and lastly, all the councillors, captains, officers, and domestics of
Picrochole, who had been incendiaries or fomenters of the war by provoking,
praising, or counselling him to come out of his limits thus to trouble us.

Chapter 1.LI.

How the victorious Gargantuists were recompensed after the battle.

When Gargantua had finished his speech, the seditious men whom he required
were delivered up unto him, except Swashbuckler, Dirt-tail, and Smalltrash,
who ran away six hours before the battle--one of them as far as to Lainiel-
neck at one course, another to the valley of Vire, and the third even unto
Logroine, without looking back or taking breath by the way--and two of the
cake-bakers who were slain in the fight. Gargantua did them no other hurt
but that he appointed them to pull at the presses of his printing-house
which he had newly set up. Then those who died there he caused to be
honourably buried in Black-soile valley and Burn-hag field, and gave order
that the wounded should be dressed and had care of in his great hospital or
nosocome. After this, considering the great prejudice done to the town and
its inhabitants, he reimbursed their charges and repaired all the losses
that by their confession upon oath could appear they had sustained; and,
for their better defence and security in times coming against all sudden
uproars and invasions, commanded a strong citadel to be built there with a
competent garrison to maintain it. At his departure he did very graciously
thank all the soldiers of the brigades that had been at this overthrow, and
sent them back to their winter-quarters in their several stations and
garrisons; the decumane legion only excepted, whom in the field on that day
he saw do some great exploit, and their captains also, whom he brought
along with himself unto Grangousier.

At the sight and coming of them, the good man was so joyful, that it is not
possible fully to describe it. He made them a feast the most magnificent,
plentiful, and delicious that ever was seen since the time of the king
Ahasuerus. At the taking up of the table he distributed amongst them his
whole cupboard of plate, which weighed eight hundred thousand and fourteen
bezants (Each bezant is worth five pounds English money.) of gold, in great
antique vessels, huge pots, large basins, big tasses, cups, goblets,
candlesticks, comfit-boxes, and other such plate, all of pure massy gold,
besides the precious stones, enamelling, and workmanship, which by all
men's estimation was more worth than the matter of the gold. Then unto
every one of them out of his coffers caused he to be given the sum of
twelve hundred thousand crowns ready money. And, further, he gave to each
of them for ever and in perpetuity, unless he should happen to decease
without heirs, such castles and neighbouring lands of his as were most
commodious for them. To Ponocrates he gave the rock Clermond; to Gymnast,
the Coudray; to Eudemon, Montpensier; Rivau, to Tolmere, to Ithibolle,
Montsoreau; to Acamas, Cande; Varenes, to Chironacte; Gravot, to Sebast;
Quinquenais, to Alexander; Legre, to Sophrone, and so of his other places.

Chapter 1.LII.

How Gargantua caused to be built for the Monk the Abbey of Theleme.

There was left only the monk to provide for, whom Gargantua would have made
Abbot of Seville, but he refused it. He would have given him the Abbey of
Bourgueil, or of Sanct Florent, which was better, or both, if it pleased
him; but the monk gave him a very peremptory answer, that he would never
take upon him the charge nor government of monks. For how shall I be able,
said he, to rule over others, that have not full power and command of
myself? If you think I have done you, or may hereafter do any acceptable
service, give me leave to found an abbey after my own mind and fancy. The
motion pleased Gargantua very well, who thereupon offered him all the
country of Theleme by the river of Loire till within two leagues of the
great forest of Port-Huaulx. The monk then requested Gargantua to
institute his religious order contrary to all others. First, then, said
Gargantua, you must not build a wall about your convent, for all other
abbeys are strongly walled and mured about. See, said the monk, and not
without cause (seeing wall and mur signify but one and the same thing);
where there is mur before and mur behind, there is store of murmur, envy,
and mutual conspiracy. Moreover, seeing there are certain convents in the
world whereof the custom is, if any woman come in, I mean chaste and honest
women, they immediately sweep the ground which they have trod upon;
therefore was it ordained, that if any man or woman entered into religious
orders should by chance come within this new abbey, all the rooms should be
thoroughly washed and cleansed through which they had passed. And because
in all other monasteries and nunneries all is compassed, limited, and
regulated by hours, it was decreed that in this new structure there should
be neither clock nor dial, but that according to the opportunities and
incident occasions all their hours should be disposed of; for, said
Gargantua, the greatest loss of time that I know is to count the hours.
What good comes of it? Nor can there be any greater dotage in the world
than for one to guide and direct his courses by the sound of a bell, and
not by his own judgment and discretion.

Item, Because at that time they put no women into nunneries but such as
were either purblind, blinkards, lame, crooked, ill-favoured, misshapen,
fools, senseless, spoiled, or corrupt; nor encloistered any men but those
that were either sickly, subject to defluxions, ill-bred louts, simple
sots, or peevish trouble-houses. But to the purpose, said the monk. A
woman that is neither fair nor good, to what use serves she? To make a nun
of, said Gargantua. Yea, said the monk, and to make shirts and smocks.
Therefore was it ordained that into this religious order should be admitted
no women that were not fair, well-featured, and of a sweet disposition; nor
men that were not comely, personable, and well conditioned.

Item, Because in the convents of women men come not but underhand, privily,
and by stealth, it was therefore enacted that in this house there shall be
no women in case there be not men, nor men in case there be not women.

Item, Because both men and women that are received into religious orders
after the expiring of their noviciate or probation year were constrained
and forced perpetually to stay there all the days of their life, it was
therefore ordered that all whatever, men or women, admitted within this
abbey, should have full leave to depart with peace and contentment
whensoever it should seem good to them so to do.

Item, for that the religious men and women did ordinarily make three vows,
to wit, those of chastity, poverty, and obedience, it was therefore
constituted and appointed that in this convent they might be honourably
married, that they might be rich, and live at liberty. In regard of the
legitimate time of the persons to be initiated, and years under and above
which they were not capable of reception, the women were to be admitted
from ten till fifteen, and the men from twelve till eighteen.

Chapter 1.LIII.

How the abbey of the Thelemites was built and endowed.

For the fabric and furniture of the abbey Gargantua caused to be delivered
out in ready money seven-and-twenty hundred thousand, eight hundred and
one-and-thirty of those golden rams of Berry which have a sheep stamped on
the one side and a flowered cross on the other; and for every year, until
the whole work were completed, he allotted threescore nine thousand crowns
of the sun, and as many of the seven stars, to be charged all upon the
receipt of the custom. For the foundation and maintenance thereof for
ever, he settled a perpetual fee-farm-rent of three-and-twenty hundred,
three score and nine thousand, five hundred and fourteen rose nobles,
exempted from all homage, fealty, service, or burden whatsoever, and
payable every year at the gate of the abbey; and of this by letters patent
passed a very good grant. The architecture was in a figure hexagonal, and
in such a fashion that in every one of the six corners there was built a
great round tower of threescore foot in diameter, and were all of a like
form and bigness. Upon the north side ran along the river of Loire, on the
bank whereof was situated the tower called Arctic. Going towards the east,
there was another called Calaer,--the next following Anatole,--the next
Mesembrine,--the next Hesperia, and the last Criere. Every tower was
distant from other the space of three hundred and twelve paces. The whole
edifice was everywhere six storeys high, reckoning the cellars underground
for one. The second was arched after the fashion of a basket-handle; the
rest were ceiled with pure wainscot, flourished with Flanders fretwork, in
the form of the foot of a lamp, and covered above with fine slates, with an
endorsement of lead, carrying the antique figures of little puppets and
animals of all sorts, notably well suited to one another, and gilt,
together with the gutters, which, jutting without the walls from betwixt
the crossbars in a diagonal figure, painted with gold and azure, reached to
the very ground, where they ended into great conduit-pipes, which carried
all away unto the river from under the house.

This same building was a hundred times more sumptuous and magnificent than
ever was Bonnivet, Chambourg, or Chantilly; for there were in it nine
thousand, three hundred and two-and-thirty chambers, every one whereof had
a withdrawing-room, a handsome closet, a wardrobe, an oratory, and neat
passage, leading into a great and spacious hall. Between every tower in
the midst of the said body of building there was a pair of winding, such as
we now call lantern stairs, whereof the steps were part of porphyry, which
is a dark red marble spotted with white, part of Numidian stone, which is a
kind of yellowishly-streaked marble upon various colours, and part of
serpentine marble, with light spots on a dark green ground, each of those
steps being two-and-twenty foot in length and three fingers thick, and the
just number of twelve betwixt every rest, or, as we now term it, landing-
place. In every resting-place were two fair antique arches where the light
came in: and by those they went into a cabinet, made even with and of the
breadth of the said winding, and the reascending above the roofs of the
house ended conically in a pavilion. By that vise or winding they entered
on every side into a great hall, and from the halls into the chambers.
From the Arctic tower unto the Criere were the fair great libraries in
Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, Italian, and Spanish, respectively
distributed in their several cantons, according to the diversity of these
languages. In the midst there was a wonderful scalier or winding-stair,
the entry whereof was without the house, in a vault or arch six fathom
broad. It was made in such symmetry and largeness that six men-at-arms
with their lances in their rests might together in a breast ride all up to
the very top of all the palace. From the tower Anatole to the Mesembrine
were fair spacious galleries, all coloured over and painted with the
ancient prowesses, histories, and descriptions of the world. In the midst
thereof there was likewise such another ascent and gate as we said there
was on the river-side. Upon that gate was written in great antique letters
that which followeth.

Chapter 1.LIV.

The inscription set upon the great gate of Theleme.

Here enter not vile bigots, hypocrites,
Externally devoted apes, base snites,
Puffed-up, wry-necked beasts, worse than the Huns,
Or Ostrogoths, forerunners of baboons:
Cursed snakes, dissembled varlets, seeming sancts,
Slipshod caffards, beggars pretending wants,
Fat chuffcats, smell-feast knockers, doltish gulls,
Out-strouting cluster-fists, contentious bulls,
Fomenters of divisions and debates,
Elsewhere, not here, make sale of your deceits.

Your filthy trumperies
Stuffed with pernicious lies
(Not worth a bubble),
Would do but trouble
Our earthly paradise,
Your filthy trumperies.

Here enter not attorneys, barristers,
Nor bridle-champing law-practitioners:
Clerks, commissaries, scribes, nor pharisees,
Wilful disturbers of the people's ease:
Judges, destroyers, with an unjust breath,
Of honest men, like dogs, even unto death.
Your salary is at the gibbet-foot:
Go drink there! for we do not here fly out
On those excessive courses, which may draw
A waiting on your courts by suits in law.

Lawsuits, debates, and wrangling
Hence are exiled, and jangling.
Here we are very
Frolic and merry,
And free from all entangling,
Lawsuits, debates, and wrangling.

Here enter not base pinching usurers,
Pelf-lickers, everlasting gatherers,
Gold-graspers, coin-gripers, gulpers of mists,
Niggish deformed sots, who, though your chests
Vast sums of money should to you afford,
Would ne'ertheless add more unto that hoard,
And yet not be content,--you clunchfist dastards,
Insatiable fiends, and Pluto's bastards,
Greedy devourers, chichy sneakbill rogues,
Hell-mastiffs gnaw your bones, you ravenous dogs.

You beastly-looking fellows,
Reason doth plainly tell us
That we should not
To you allot
Room here, but at the gallows,
You beastly-looking fellows.

Here enter not fond makers of demurs
In love adventures, peevish, jealous curs,
Sad pensive dotards, raisers of garboils,
Hags, goblins, ghosts, firebrands of household broils,
Nor drunkards, liars, cowards, cheaters, clowns,
Thieves, cannibals, faces o'ercast with frowns,
Nor lazy slugs, envious, covetous,
Nor blockish, cruel, nor too credulous,--
Here mangy, pocky folks shall have no place,
No ugly lusks, nor persons of disgrace.

Grace, honour, praise, delight,
Here sojourn day and night.
Sound bodies lined
With a good mind,
Do here pursue with might
Grace, honour, praise, delight.

Here enter you, and welcome from our hearts,
All noble sparks, endowed with gallant parts.
This is the glorious place, which bravely shall
Afford wherewith to entertain you all.
Were you a thousand, here you shall not want
For anything; for what you'll ask we'll grant.
Stay here, you lively, jovial, handsome, brisk,
Gay, witty, frolic, cheerful, merry, frisk,
Spruce, jocund, courteous, furtherers of trades,
And, in a word, all worthy gentle blades.

Blades of heroic breasts
Shall taste here of the feasts,
Both privily
And civilly
Of the celestial guests,
Blades of heroic breasts.

Here enter you, pure, honest, faithful, true
Expounders of the Scriptures old and new.
Whose glosses do not blind our reason, but
Make it to see the clearer, and who shut
Its passages from hatred, avarice,
Pride, factions, covenants, and all sort of vice.
Come, settle here a charitable faith,
Which neighbourly affection nourisheth.
And whose light chaseth all corrupters hence,
Of the blest word, from the aforesaid sense.

The holy sacred Word,
May it always afford
T' us all in common,
Both man and woman,
A spiritual shield and sword,
The holy sacred Word.

Here enter you all ladies of high birth,
Delicious, stately, charming, full of mirth,
Ingenious, lovely, miniard, proper, fair,
Magnetic, graceful, splendid, pleasant, rare,
Obliging, sprightly, virtuous, young, solacious,
Kind, neat, quick, feat, bright, compt, ripe, choice, dear, precious.
Alluring, courtly, comely, fine, complete,
Wise, personable, ravishing, and sweet,
Come joys enjoy. The Lord celestial
Hath given enough wherewith to please us all.

Gold give us, God forgive us,
And from all woes relieve us;
That we the treasure
May reap of pleasure,
And shun whate'er is grievous,
Gold give us, God forgive us.

Chapter 1.LV.

What manner of dwelling the Thelemites had.

In the middle of the lower court there was a stately fountain of fair
alabaster. Upon the top thereof stood the three Graces, with their
cornucopias, or horns of abundance, and did jet out the water at their
breasts, mouth, ears, eyes, and other open passages of the body. The
inside of the buildings in this lower court stood upon great pillars of
chalcedony stone and porphyry marble made archways after a goodly antique
fashion. Within those were spacious galleries, long and large, adorned
with curious pictures, the horns of bucks and unicorns: with rhinoceroses,
water-horses called hippopotames, the teeth and tusks of elephants, and
other things well worth the beholding. The lodging of the ladies, for so
we may call those gallant women, took up all from the tower Arctic unto the
gate Mesembrine. The men possessed the rest. Before the said lodging of
the ladies, that they might have their recreation, between the two first
towers, on the outside, were placed the tiltyard, the barriers or lists for
tournaments, the hippodrome or riding-court, the theatre or public
playhouse, and natatory or place to swim in, with most admirable baths in
three stages, situated above one another, well furnished with all necessary
accommodation, and store of myrtle-water. By the river-side was the fair
garden of pleasure, and in the midst of that the glorious labyrinth.
Between the two other towers were the courts for the tennis and the
balloon. Towards the tower Criere stood the orchard full of all fruit-
trees, set and ranged in a quincuncial order. At the end of that was the
great park, abounding with all sort of venison. Betwixt the third couple
of towers were the butts and marks for shooting with a snapwork gun, an
ordinary bow for common archery, or with a crossbow. The office-houses
were without the tower Hesperia, of one storey high. The stables were
beyond the offices, and before them stood the falconry, managed by ostrich-
keepers and falconers very expert in the art, and it was yearly supplied
and furnished by the Candians, Venetians, Sarmates, now called Muscoviters,
with all sorts of most excellent hawks, eagles, gerfalcons, goshawks,
sacres, lanners, falcons, sparrowhawks, marlins, and other kinds of them,
so gentle and perfectly well manned, that, flying of themselves sometimes
from the castle for their own disport, they would not fail to catch
whatever they encountered. The venery, where the beagles and hounds were
kept, was a little farther off, drawing towards the park.

All the halls, chambers, and closets or cabinets were richly hung with
tapestry and hangings of divers sorts, according to the variety of the
seasons of the year. All the pavements and floors were covered with green
cloth. The beds were all embroidered. In every back-chamber or
withdrawing-room there was a looking-glass of pure crystal set in a frame
of fine gold, garnished all about with pearls, and was of such greatness
that it would represent to the full the whole lineaments and proportion of
the person that stood before it. At the going out of the halls which
belong to the ladies' lodgings were the perfumers and trimmers through
whose hands the gallants passed when they were to visit the ladies. Those
sweet artificers did every morning furnish the ladies' chambers with the
spirit of roses, orange-flower-water, and angelica; and to each of them
gave a little precious casket vapouring forth the most odoriferous
exhalations of the choicest aromatical scents.

Chapter 1.LVI.

How the men and women of the religious order of Theleme were apparelled.

The ladies at the foundation of this order were apparelled after their own
pleasure and liking; but, since that of their own accord and free will they
have reformed themselves, their accoutrement is in manner as followeth.
They wore stockings of scarlet crimson, or ingrained purple dye, which
reached just three inches above the knee, having a list beautified with
exquisite embroideries and rare incisions of the cutter's art. Their
garters were of the colour of their bracelets, and circled the knee a
little both over and under. Their shoes, pumps, and slippers were either
of red, violet, or crimson-velvet, pinked and jagged like lobster waddles.

Next to their smock they put on the pretty kirtle or vasquin of pure silk
camlet: above that went the taffety or tabby farthingale, of white, red,
tawny, grey, or of any other colour. Above this taffety petticoat they had
another of cloth of tissue or brocade, embroidered with fine gold and
interlaced with needlework, or as they thought good, and according to the
temperature and disposition of the weather had their upper coats of satin,
damask, or velvet, and those either orange, tawny, green, ash-coloured,
blue, yellow, bright red, crimson, or white, and so forth; or had them of
cloth of gold, cloth of silver, or some other choice stuff, enriched with
purl, or embroidered according to the dignity of the festival days and
times wherein they wore them.

Their gowns, being still correspondent to the season, were either of cloth
of gold frizzled with a silver-raised work; of red satin, covered with gold
purl; of tabby, or taffety, white, blue, black, tawny, &c., of silk serge,
silk camlet, velvet, cloth of silver, silver tissue, cloth of gold, gold
wire, figured velvet, or figured satin tinselled and overcast with golden
threads, in divers variously purfled draughts.

In the summer some days instead of gowns they wore light handsome mantles,
made either of the stuff of the aforesaid attire, or like Moresco rugs, of
violet velvet frizzled, with a raised work of gold upon silver purl, or
with a knotted cord-work of gold embroidery, everywhere garnished with
little Indian pearls. They always carried a fair panache, or plume of
feathers, of the colour of their muff, bravely adorned and tricked out with
glistering spangles of gold. In the winter time they had their taffety
gowns of all colours, as above-named, and those lined with the rich
furrings of hind-wolves, or speckled lynxes, black-spotted weasels, martlet
skins of Calabria, sables, and other costly furs of an inestimable value.
Their beads, rings, bracelets, collars, carcanets, and neck-chains were all
of precious stones, such as carbuncles, rubies, baleus, diamonds,
sapphires, emeralds, turquoises, garnets, agates, beryls, and excellent
margarites. Their head-dressing also varied with the season of the year,
according to which they decked themselves. In winter it was of the French
fashion; in the spring, of the Spanish; in summer, of the fashion of
Tuscany, except only upon the holy days and Sundays, at which times they
were accoutred in the French mode, because they accounted it more
honourable and better befitting the garb of a matronal pudicity.

The men were apparelled after their fashion. Their stockings were of
tamine or of cloth serge, of white, black, scarlet, or some other ingrained
colour. Their breeches were of velvet, of the same colour with their
stockings, or very near, embroidered and cut according to their fancy.
Their doublet was of cloth of gold, of cloth of silver, of velvet, satin,
damask, taffeties, &c., of the same colours, cut, embroidered, and suitably
trimmed up in perfection. The points were of silk of the same colours; the
tags were of gold well enamelled. Their coats and jerkins were of cloth of
gold, cloth of silver, gold, tissue or velvet embroidered, as they thought
fit. Their gowns were every whit as costly as those of the ladies. Their
girdles were of silks, of the colour of their doublets. Every one had a
gallant sword by his side, the hilt and handle whereof were gilt, and the
scabbard of velvet, of the colour of his breeches, with a chape of gold,
and pure goldsmith's work. The dagger was of the same. Their caps or
bonnets were of black velvet, adorned with jewels and buttons of gold.
Upon that they wore a white plume, most prettily and minion-like parted by
so many rows of gold spangles, at the end whereof hung dangling in a more
sparkling resplendency fair rubies, emeralds, diamonds, &c., but there was
such a sympathy betwixt the gallants and the ladies, that every day they
were apparelled in the same livery. And that they might not miss, there
were certain gentlemen appointed to tell the youths every morning what
vestments the ladies would on that day wear: for all was done according to
the pleasure of the ladies. In these so handsome clothes, and habiliments
so rich, think not that either one or other of either sex did waste any
time at all; for the masters of the wardrobes had all their raiments and
apparel so ready for every morning, and the chamber-ladies so well skilled,
that in a trice they would be dressed and completely in their clothes from
head to foot. And to have those accoutrements with the more conveniency,
there was about the wood of Theleme a row of houses of the extent of half a
league, very neat and cleanly, wherein dwelt the goldsmiths, lapidaries,
jewellers, embroiderers, tailors, gold-drawers, velvet-weavers, tapestry-
makers and upholsterers, who wrought there every one in his own trade, and
all for the aforesaid jolly friars and nuns of the new stamp. They were
furnished with matter and stuff from the hands of the Lord Nausiclete, who
every year brought them seven ships from the Perlas and Cannibal Islands,
laden with ingots of gold, with raw silk, with pearls and precious stones.
And if any margarites, called unions, began to grow old and lose somewhat
of their natural whiteness and lustre, those with their art they did renew
by tendering them to eat to some pretty cocks, as they use to give casting
unto hawks.

Chapter 1.LVII.

How the Thelemites were governed, and of their manner of living.

All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to
their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when they
thought good; they did eat, drink, labour, sleep, when they had a mind to
it and were disposed for it. None did awake them, none did offer to
constrain them to eat, drink, nor to do any other thing; for so had
Gargantua established it. In all their rule and strictest tie of their
order there was but this one clause to be observed,

Do What Thou Wilt;

because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest
companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unto
virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour.
Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought
under and kept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they
formerly were inclined to virtue, to shake off and break that bond of
servitude wherein they are so tyrannously enslaved; for it is agreeable
with the nature of man to long after things forbidden and to desire what is
denied us.

By this liberty they entered into a very laudable emulation to do all of
them what they saw did please one. If any of the gallants or ladies should
say, Let us drink, they would all drink. If any one of them said, Let us
play, they all played. If one said, Let us go a-walking into the fields
they went all. If it were to go a-hawking or a-hunting, the ladies mounted
upon dainty well-paced nags, seated in a stately palfrey saddle, carried on
their lovely fists, miniardly begloved every one of them, either a
sparrowhawk or a laneret or a marlin, and the young gallants carried the
other kinds of hawks. So nobly were they taught, that there was neither he
nor she amongst them but could read, write, sing, play upon several musical
instruments, speak five or six several languages, and compose in them all
very quaintly, both in verse and prose. Never were seen so valiant
knights, so noble and worthy, so dexterous and skilful both on foot and
a-horse-back, more brisk and lively, more nimble and quick, or better
handling all manner of weapons than were there. Never were seen ladies so
proper and handsome, so miniard and dainty, less froward, or more ready
with their hand and with their needle in every honest and free action
belonging to that sex, than were there. For this reason, when the time
came that any man of the said abbey, either at the request of his parents,
or for some other cause, had a mind to go out of it, he carried along with
him one of the ladies, namely, her whom he had before that chosen for his
mistress, and (they) were married together. And if they had formerly in
Theleme lived in good devotion and amity, they did continue therein and
increase it to a greater height in their state of matrimony; and did
entertain that mutual love till the very last day of their life, in no less
vigour and fervency than at the very day of their wedding. Here must not I
forget to set down unto you a riddle which was found under the ground as
they were laying the foundation of the abbey, engraven in a copper plate,
and it was thus as followeth.

Chapter 1.LVIII.

A prophetical Riddle.

Poor mortals, who wait for a happy day,
Cheer up your hearts, and hear what I shall say:
If it be lawful firmly to believe
That the celestial bodies can us give
Wisdom to judge of things that are not yet;
Or if from heaven such wisdom we may get
As may with confidence make us discourse
Of years to come, their destiny and course;
I to my hearers give to understand
That this next winter, though it be at hand,
Yea and before, there shall appear a race
Of men who, loth to sit still in one place,
Shall boldly go before all people's eyes,
Suborning men of divers qualities
To draw them unto covenants and sides,
In such a manner that, whate'er betides,
They'll move you, if you give them ear, no doubt,
With both your friends and kindred to fall out.
They'll make a vassal to gain-stand his lord,
And children their own parents; in a word,
All reverence shall then be banished,
No true respect to other shall be had.
They'll say that every man should have his turn,
Both in his going forth and his return;
And hereupon there shall arise such woes,
Such jarrings, and confused to's and fro's,
That never were in history such coils
Set down as yet, such tumults and garboils.
Then shall you many gallant men see by
Valour stirr'd up, and youthful fervency,
Who, trusting too much in their hopeful time,
Live but a while, and perish in their prime.
Neither shall any, who this course shall run,
Leave off the race which he hath once begun,
Till they the heavens with noise by their contention
Have fill'd, and with their steps the earth's dimension.
Then those shall have no less authority,
That have no faith, than those that will not lie;
For all shall be governed by a rude,
Base, ignorant, and foolish multitude;
The veriest lout of all shall be their judge,
O horrible and dangerous deluge!
Deluge I call it, and that for good reason,
For this shall be omitted in no season;
Nor shall the earth of this foul stir be free,
Till suddenly you in great store shall see
The waters issue out, with whose streams the
Most moderate of all shall moistened be,
And justly too; because they did not spare
The flocks of beasts that innocentest are,
But did their sinews and their bowels take,
Not to the gods a sacrifice to make,
But usually to serve themselves for sport:
And now consider, I do you exhort,
In such commotions so continual,
What rest can take the globe terrestrial?
Most happy then are they, that can it hold,
And use it carefully as precious gold,
By keeping it in gaol, whence it shall have
No help but him who being to it gave.
And to increase his mournful accident,
The sun, before it set in th' occident,
Shall cease to dart upon it any light,
More than in an eclipse, or in the night,--
So that at once its favour shall be gone,
And liberty with it be left alone.
And yet, before it come to ruin thus,
Its quaking shall be as impetuous
As Aetna's was when Titan's sons lay under,
And yield, when lost, a fearful sound like thunder.
Inarime did not more quickly move,
When Typheus did the vast huge hills remove,
And for despite into the sea them threw.
Thus shall it then be lost by ways not few,
And changed suddenly, when those that have it
To other men that after come shall leave it.
Then shall it be high time to cease from this
So long, so great, so tedious exercise;
For the great waters told you now by me,
Will make each think where his retreat shall be;
And yet, before that they be clean disperst,
You may behold in th' air, where nought was erst,
The burning heat of a great flame to rise,
Lick up the water, and the enterprise.
It resteth after those things to declare,
That those shall sit content who chosen are,
With all good things, and with celestial man (ne,)
And richly recompensed every man:
The others at the last all stripp'd shall be,
That after this great work all men may see,
How each shall have his due. This is their lot;
O he is worthy praise that shrinketh not!

No sooner was this enigmatical monument read over, but Gargantua, fetching
a very deep sigh, said unto those that stood by, It is not now only, I
perceive, that people called to the faith of the gospel, and convinced with
the certainty of evangelical truths, are persecuted. But happy is that man
that shall not be scandalized, but shall always continue to the end in
aiming at that mark which God by his dear Son hath set before us, without
being distracted or diverted by his carnal affections and depraved nature.

The monk then said, What do you think in your conscience is meant and
signified by this riddle? What? said Gargantua,--the progress and carrying
on of the divine truth. By St. Goderan, said the monk, that is not my
exposition. It is the style of the prophet Merlin. Make upon it as many
grave allegories and glosses as you will, and dote upon it you and the rest
of the world as long as you please; for my part, I can conceive no other
meaning in it but a description of a set at tennis in dark and obscure
terms. The suborners of men are the makers of matches, which are commonly
friends. After the two chases are made, he that was in the upper end of
the tennis-court goeth out, and the other cometh in. They believe the
first that saith the ball was over or under the line. The waters are the
heats that the players take till they sweat again. The cords of the
rackets are made of the guts of sheep or goats. The globe terrestrial is
the tennis-ball. After playing, when the game is done, they refresh
themselves before a clear fire, and change their shirts; and very willingly
they make all good cheer, but most merrily those that have gained. And so,

End book 1


For the Reader.

The Reader here may be pleased to take notice that the copy of verses by
the title of 'Rablophila', premised to the first book of this translation,
being but a kind of mock poem, in imitation of somewhat lately published
(as to any indifferent observer will easily appear, by the false quantities
in the Latin, the abusive strain of the English, and extravagant
subscription to both), and as such, by a friend of the translator's, at the
desire of some frolic gentlemen of his acquaintance, more for a trial of
skill than prejudicacy to any, composed in his jollity to please their
fancies, was only ordained to be prefixed to a dozen of books, and no more,
thereby to save the labour of transcribing so many as were requisite for
satisfying the curiosity of a company of just that number; and that,
therefore, the charging of the whole impression with it is merely to be
imputed to the negligence of the pressmen, who, receiving it about the
latter end of the night, were so eager before the next morning to afford
complete books, that, as they began, they went on, without animadverting
what was recommended to their discretion. This is hoped will suffice to
assure the ingenuous Reader that in no treatise of the translator's,
whether original or translatitious, shall willingly be offered the meanest
rub to the reputation of any worthy gentleman, and that, however providence
dispose of him, no misfortune shall be able to induce his mind to any
complacency in the disparagement of another.


The Pentateuch of Rabelais mentioned in the title-page of the first book of
this translation being written originally in the French tongue (as it
comprehendeth some of its brusquest dialects), with so much ingeniosity and
wit, that more impressions have been sold thereof in that language than of
any other book that hath been set forth at any time within these fifteen
hundred years; so difficult nevertheless to be turned into any other speech
that many prime spirits in most of the nations of Europe, since the year
1573, which was fourscore years ago, after having attempted it, were
constrained with no small regret to give it over as a thing impossible to
be done, is now in its translation thus far advanced, and the remainder
faithfully undertaken with the same hand to be rendered into English by a
person of quality, who (though his lands be sequestered, his house
garrisoned, his other goods sold, and himself detained a prisoner of war at
London, for his having been at Worcester fight) hath, at the most earnest
entreaty of some of his especial friends well acquainted with his
inclination to the performance of conducible singularities, promised,
besides his version of these two already published, very speedily to offer
up unto this Isle of Britain the virginity of the translation of the other
three most admirable books of the aforesaid author; provided that by the
plurality of judicious and understanding men it be not declared he hath
already proceeded too far, or that the continuation of the rigour whereby
he is dispossessed of all his both real and personal estate, by pressing
too hard upon him, be not an impediment thereto, and to other more eminent
undertakings of his, as hath been oftentimes very fully mentioned by the
said translator in several original treatises of his own penning, lately by
him so numerously dispersed that there is scarce any, who being skilful in
the English idiom, or curious of any new ingenious invention, hath not
either read them or heard of them.

Mr. Hugh Salel to Rabelais.

If profit mixed with pleasure may suffice
T' extol an author's worth above the skies,
Thou certainly for both must praised be:
I know it; for thy judgment hath in the
Contexture of this book set down such high
Contentments, mingled with utility,
That (as I think) I see Democritus
Laughing at men as things ridiculous.
Insist in thy design; for, though we prove
Ungrate on earth, thy merit is above.

The Author's Prologue.

Most illustrious and thrice valorous champions, gentlemen and others, who
willingly apply your minds to the entertainment of pretty conceits and
honest harmless knacks of wit; you have not long ago seen, read, and
understood the great and inestimable Chronicle of the huge and mighty giant
Gargantua, and, like upright faithfullists, have firmly believed all to be
true that is contained in them, and have very often passed your time with
them amongst honourable ladies and gentlewomen, telling them fair long
stories, when you were out of all other talk, for which you are worthy of
great praise and sempiternal memory. And I do heartily wish that every man
would lay aside his own business, meddle no more with his profession nor
trade, and throw all affairs concerning himself behind his back, to attend
this wholly, without distracting or troubling his mind with anything else,
until he have learned them without book; that if by chance the art of
printing should cease, or in case that in time to come all books should
perish, every man might truly teach them unto his children, and deliver
them over to his successors and survivors from hand to hand as a religious
cabal; for there is in it more profit than a rabble of great pocky
loggerheads are able to discern, who surely understand far less in these
little merriments than the fool Raclet did in the Institutions of

I have known great and mighty lords, and of those not a few, who, going
a-deer-hunting, or a-hawking after wild ducks, when the chase had not
encountered with the blinks that were cast in her way to retard her course,
or that the hawk did but plain and smoothly fly without moving her wings,
perceiving the prey by force of flight to have gained bounds of her, have
been much chafed and vexed, as you understand well enough; but the comfort
unto which they had refuge, and that they might not take cold, was to
relate the inestimable deeds of the said Gargantua. There are others in
the world--these are no flimflam stories, nor tales of a tub--who, being
much troubled with the toothache, after they had spent their goods upon
physicians without receiving at all any ease of their pain, have found no
more ready remedy than to put the said Chronicles betwixt two pieces of
linen cloth made somewhat hot, and so apply them to the place that
smarteth, sinapizing them with a little powder of projection, otherwise
called doribus.

But what shall I say of those poor men that are plagued with the pox and
the gout? O how often have we seen them, even immediately after they were
anointed and thoroughly greased, till their faces did glister like the
keyhole of a powdering tub, their teeth dance like the jacks of a pair of
little organs or virginals when they are played upon, and that they foamed
from their very throats like a boar which the mongrel mastiff-hounds have
driven in and overthrown amongst the toils,--what did they then? All their
consolation was to have some page of the said jolly book read unto them.
And we have seen those who have given themselves to a hundred puncheons of
old devils, in case that they did not feel a manifest ease and assuagement
of pain at the hearing of the said book read, even when they were kept in a
purgatory of torment; no more nor less than women in travail use to find
their sorrow abated when the life of St. Margaret is read unto them. Is
this nothing? Find me a book in any language, in any faculty or science
whatsoever, that hath such virtues, properties, and prerogatives, and I
will be content to pay you a quart of tripes. No, my masters, no; it is
peerless, incomparable, and not to be matched; and this am I resolved for
ever to maintain even unto the fire exclusive. And those that will
pertinaciously hold the contrary opinion, let them be accounted abusers,
predestinators, impostors, and seducers of the people. It is very true
that there are found in some gallant and stately books, worthy of high
estimation, certain occult and hid properties; in the number of which are
reckoned Whippot, Orlando Furioso, Robert the Devil, Fierabras, William
without Fear, Huon of Bordeaux, Monteville, and Matabrune: but they are not
comparable to that which we speak of, and the world hath well known by
infallible experience the great emolument and utility which it hath
received by this Gargantuine Chronicle, for the printers have sold more of
them in two months' time than there will be bought of Bibles in nine years.

I therefore, your humble slave, being very willing to increase your solace
and recreation yet a little more, do offer you for a present another book
of the same stamp, only that it is a little more reasonable and worthy of
credit than the other was. For think not, unless you wilfully will err
against your knowledge, that I speak of it as the Jews do of the Law. I
was not born under such a planet, neither did it ever befall me to lie, or
affirm a thing for true that was not. I speak of it like a lusty frolic
onocrotary (Onocratal is a bird not much unlike a swan, which sings like an
ass's braying.), I should say crotenotary (Crotenotaire or notaire crotte,
croquenotaire or notaire croque are but allusions in derision of
protonotaire, which signifieth a pregnotary.) of the martyrized lovers, and
croquenotary of love. Quod vidimus, testamur. It is of the horrible and
dreadful feats and prowesses of Pantagruel, whose menial servant I have
been ever since I was a page, till this hour that by his leave I am
permitted to visit my cow-country, and to know if any of my kindred there
be alive.

And therefore, to make an end of this Prologue, even as I give myself to a
hundred panniersful of fair devils, body and soul, tripes and guts, in case
that I lie so much as one single word in this whole history; after the like
manner, St. Anthony's fire burn you, Mahoom's disease whirl you, the
squinance with a stitch in your side and the wolf in your stomach truss
you, the bloody flux seize upon you, the cursed sharp inflammations of
wild-fire, as slender and thin as cow's hair strengthened with quicksilver,
enter into your fundament, and, like those of Sodom and Gomorrah, may you
fall into sulphur, fire, and bottomless pits, in case you do not firmly
believe all that I shall relate unto you in this present Chronicle.


Chapter 2.I.

Of the original and antiquity of the great Pantagruel.

It will not be an idle nor unprofitable thing, seeing we are at leisure, to
put you in mind of the fountain and original source whence is derived unto
us the good Pantagruel. For I see that all good historiographers have thus
handled their chronicles, not only the Arabians, Barbarians, and Latins,
but also the gentle Greeks, who were eternal drinkers. You must therefore
remark that at the beginning of the world--I speak of a long time; it is
above forty quarantains, or forty times forty nights, according to the
supputation of the ancient Druids--a little after that Abel was killed by
his brother Cain, the earth, imbrued with the blood of the just, was one
year so exceeding fertile in all those fruits which it usually produceth to
us, and especially in medlars, that ever since throughout all ages it hath
been called the year of the great medlars; for three of them did fill a
bushel. In it the kalends were found by the Grecian almanacks. There was
that year nothing of the month of March in the time of Lent, and the middle
of August was in May. In the month of October, as I take it, or at least
September, that I may not err, for I will carefully take heed of that, was
the week so famous in the annals, which they call the week of the three
Thursdays; for it had three of them by means of their irregular leap-years,
called Bissextiles, occasioned by the sun's having tripped and stumbled a
little towards the left hand, like a debtor afraid of sergeants, coming
right upon him to arrest him: and the moon varied from her course above
five fathom, and there was manifestly seen the motion of trepidation in the
firmament of the fixed stars, called Aplanes, so that the middle Pleiade,
leaving her fellows, declined towards the equinoctial, and the star named
Spica left the constellation of the Virgin to withdraw herself towards the
Balance, known by the name of Libra, which are cases very terrible, and
matters so hard and difficult that astrologians cannot set their teeth in
them; and indeed their teeth had been pretty long if they could have
reached thither.

However, account you it for a truth that everybody then did most heartily
eat of these medlars, for they were fair to the eye and in taste delicious.
But even as Noah, that holy man, to whom we are so much beholding, bound,
and obliged, for that he planted to us the vine, from whence we have that
nectarian, delicious, precious, heavenly, joyful, and deific liquor which
they call the piot or tiplage, was deceived in the drinking of it, for he
was ignorant of the great virtue and power thereof; so likewise the men and
women of that time did delight much in the eating of that fair great fruit,
but divers and very different accidents did ensue thereupon; for there fell
upon them all in their bodies a most terrible swelling, but not upon all in
the same place, for some were swollen in the belly, and their belly
strouted out big like a great tun, of whom it is written, Ventrem
omnipotentem, who were all very honest men, and merry blades. And of this
race came St. Fatgulch and Shrove Tuesday (Pansart, Mardigras.). Others
did swell at the shoulders, who in that place were so crump and knobby that
they were therefore called Montifers, which is as much to say as Hill-
carriers, of whom you see some yet in the world, of divers sexes and
degrees. Of this race came Aesop, some of whose excellent words and deeds
you have in writing. Some other puffs did swell in length by the member
which they call the labourer of nature, in such sort that it grew
marvellous long, fat, great, lusty, stirring, and crest-risen, in the
antique fashion, so that they made use of it as of a girdle, winding it
five or six times about their waist: but if it happened the foresaid
member to be in good case, spooming with a full sail bunt fair before the
wind, then to have seen those strouting champions, you would have taken
them for men that had their lances settled on their rest to run at the ring
or tilting whintam (quintain). Of these, believe me, the race is utterly
lost and quite extinct, as the women say; for they do lament continually
that there are none extant now of those great, &c. You know the rest of
the song. Others did grow in matter of ballocks so enormously that three
of them would well fill a sack able to contain five quarters of wheat.
From them are descended the ballocks of Lorraine, which never dwell in
codpieces, but fall down to the bottom of the breeches. Others grew in the
legs, and to see them you would have said they had been cranes, or the
reddish-long-billed-storklike-scrank-legged sea-fowls called flamans, or
else men walking upon stilts or scatches. The little grammar-school boys,
known by the name of Grimos, called those leg-grown slangams Jambus, in
allusion to the French word jambe, which signifieth a leg. In others,
their nose did grow so, that it seemed to be the beak of a limbeck, in
every part thereof most variously diapered with the twinkling sparkles of
crimson blisters budding forth, and purpled with pimples all enamelled with
thickset wheals of a sanguine colour, bordered with gules; and such have
you seen the Canon or Prebend Panzoult, and Woodenfoot, the physician of
Angiers. Of which race there were few that looked the ptisane, but all of
them were perfect lovers of the pure Septembral juice. Naso and Ovid had
their extraction from thence, and all those of whom it is written, Ne
reminiscaris. Others grew in ears, which they had so big that out of one
would have been stuff enough got to make a doublet, a pair of breeches, and
a jacket, whilst with the other they might have covered themselves as with
a Spanish cloak: and they say that in Bourbonnois this race remaineth yet.
Others grew in length of body, and of those came the Giants, and of them

And the first was Chalbroth,
Who begat Sarabroth,
Who begat Faribroth,
Who begat Hurtali, that was a brave eater of pottage, and reigned
in the time of the flood;
Who begat Nembroth,
Who begat Atlas, that with his shoulders kept the sky from falling;
Who begat Goliah,
Who begat Erix, that invented the hocus pocus plays of legerdemain;
Who begat Titius,
Who begat Eryon,
Who begat Polyphemus,
Who begat Cacus,
Who begat Etion, the first man that ever had the pox, for not drinking
fresh in summer, as Bartachin witnesseth;
Who begat Enceladus,
Who begat Ceus,
Who begat Tiphaeus,
Who begat Alaeus,
Who begat Othus,
Who begat Aegeon,
Who begat Briareus, that had a hundred hands;
Who begat Porphyrio,
Who begat Adamastor,
Who begat Anteus,
Who begat Agatho,
Who begat Porus, against whom fought Alexander the Great;
Who begat Aranthas,
Who begat Gabbara, that was the first inventor of the drinking of
Who begat Goliah of Secondille,
Who begat Offot, that was terribly well nosed for drinking at the
Who begat Artachaeus,
Who begat Oromedon,
Who begat Gemmagog, the first inventor of Poulan shoes, which are
open on the foot and tied over the instep with a lachet;
Who begat Sisyphus,
Who begat the Titans, of whom Hercules was born;
Who begat Enay, the most skilful man that ever was in matter of
taking the little worms (called cirons) out of the hands;
Who begat Fierabras, that was vanquished by Oliver, peer of France
and Roland's comrade;
Who begat Morgan, the first in the world that played at dice with
Who begat Fracassus, of whom Merlin Coccaius hath written, and of
him was born Ferragus,
Who begat Hapmouche, the first that ever invented the drying of
neat's tongues in the chimney; for, before that, people salted
them as they do now gammons of bacon;
Who begat Bolivorax,
Who begat Longis,
Who begat Gayoffo, whose ballocks were of poplar, and his pr... of
the service or sorb-apple-tree;
Who begat Maschefain,
Who begat Bruslefer,
Who begat Angoulevent,
Who begat Galehaut, the inventor of flagons;
Who begat Mirelangaut,
Who begat Gallaffre,
Who begat Falourdin,
Who begat Roboast,
Who begat Sortibrant of Conimbres,
Who begat Brushant of Mommiere,
Who begat Bruyer that was overcome by Ogier the Dane, peer of
Who begat Mabrun,
Who begat Foutasnon,
Who begat Haquelebac,
Who begat Vitdegrain,
Who begat Grangousier,
Who begat Gargantua,
Who begat the noble Pantagruel, my master.

I know that, reading this passage, you will make a doubt within yourselves,
and that grounded upon very good reason, which is this--how it is possible
that this relation can be true, seeing at the time of the flood all the
world was destroyed, except Noah and seven persons more with him in the
ark, into whose number Hurtali is not admitted. Doubtless the demand is
well made and very apparent, but the answer shall satisfy you, or my wit is
not rightly caulked. And because I was not at that time to tell you
anything of my own fancy, I will bring unto you the authority of the
Massorets, good honest fellows, true ballockeering blades and exact
Hebraical bagpipers, who affirm that verily the said Hurtali was not within
the ark of Noah, neither could he get in, for he was too big, but he sat
astride upon it, with one leg on the one side and another on the other, as
little children use to do upon their wooden horses; or as the great bull of
Berne, which was killed at Marinian, did ride for his hackney the great
murdering piece called the canon-pevier, a pretty beast of a fair and
pleasant amble without all question.

In that posture, he, after God, saved the said ark from danger, for with
his legs he gave it the brangle that was needful, and with his foot turned
it whither he pleased, as a ship answereth her rudder. Those that were
within sent him up victuals in abundance by a chimney, as people very
thankfully acknowledging the good that he did them. And sometimes they did
talk together as Icaromenippus did to Jupiter, according to the report of
Lucian. Have you understood all this well? Drink then one good draught
without water, for if you believe it not,--no truly do I not, quoth she.

Chapter 2.II.

Of the nativity of the most dread and redoubted Pantagruel.

Gargantua at the age of four hundred fourscore forty and four years begat
his son Pantagruel, upon his wife named Badebec, daughter to the king of
the Amaurots in Utopia, who died in childbirth; for he was so wonderfully
great and lumpish that he could not possibly come forth into the light of
the world without thus suffocating his mother. But that we may fully
understand the cause and reason of the name of Pantagruel which at his
baptism was given him, you are to remark that in that year there was so
great drought over all the country of Africa that there passed thirty and
six months, three weeks, four days, thirteen hours and a little more
without rain, but with a heat so vehement that the whole earth was parched
and withered by it. Neither was it more scorched and dried up with heat in
the days of Elijah than it was at that time; for there was not a tree to be
seen that had either leaf or bloom upon it. The grass was without verdure
or greenness, the rivers were drained, the fountains dried up, the poor
fishes, abandoned and forsaken by their proper element, wandering and
crying upon the ground most horribly. The birds did fall down from the air
for want of moisture and dew wherewith to refresh them. The wolves, foxes,
harts, wild boars, fallow deer, hares, coneys, weasels, brocks, badgers,
and other such beasts, were found dead in the fields with their mouths
open. In respect of men, there was the pity, you should have seen them lay
out their tongues like hares that have been run six hours. Many did throw
themselves into the wells. Others entered within a cow's belly to be in
the shade; those Homer calls Alibants. All the country was idle, and could
do no virtue. It was a most lamentable case to have seen the labour of
mortals in defending themselves from the vehemency of this horrific
drought; for they had work enough to do to save the holy water in the
churches from being wasted; but there was such order taken by the counsel
of my lords the cardinals and of our holy Father, that none did dare to
take above one lick. Yet when anyone came into the church, you should have
seen above twenty poor thirsty fellows hang upon him that was the
distributor of the water, and that with a wide open throat, gaping for some
little drop, like the rich glutton in Luke, that might fall by, lest
anything should be lost. O how happy was he in that year who had a cool
cellar under ground, well plenished with fresh wine!

The philosopher reports, in moving the question, Wherefore it is that the
sea-water is salt, that at the time when Phoebus gave the government of his
resplendent chariot to his son Phaeton, the said Phaeton, unskilful in the
art, and not knowing how to keep the ecliptic line betwixt the two tropics
of the latitude of the sun's course, strayed out of his way, and came so
near the earth that he dried up all the countries that were under it,
burning a great part of the heavens which the philosophers call Via lactea,
and the huffsnuffs St. James's way; although the most coped, lofty, and
high-crested poets affirm that to be the place where Juno's milk fell when
she gave suck to Hercules. The earth at that time was so excessively
heated that it fell into an enormous sweat, yea, such a one as made it
sweat out the sea, which is therefore salt, because all sweat is salt; and
this you cannot but confess to be true if you will taste of your own, or of
those that have the pox, when they are put into sweating, it is all one to

Just such another case fell out this same year: for on a certain Friday,
when the whole people were bent upon their devotions, and had made goodly
processions, with store of litanies, and fair preachings, and beseechings
of God Almighty to look down with his eye of mercy upon their miserable and
disconsolate condition, there was even then visibly seen issue out of the
ground great drops of water, such as fall from a puff-bagged man in a top
sweat, and the poor hoidens began to rejoice as if it had been a thing very
profitable unto them; for some said that there was not one drop of moisture
in the air whence they might have any rain, and that the earth did supply
the default of that. Other learned men said that it was a shower of the
antipodes, as Seneca saith in his fourth book Quaestionum naturalium,
speaking of the source and spring of Nilus. But they were deceived, for,
the procession being ended, when everyone went about to gather of this dew,
and to drink of it with full bowls, they found that it was nothing but
pickle and the very brine of salt, more brackish in taste than the saltest
water of the sea. And because in that very day Pantagruel was born, his
father gave him that name; for Panta in Greek is as much to say as all, and
Gruel in the Hagarene language doth signify thirsty, inferring hereby that
at his birth the whole world was a-dry and thirsty, as likewise foreseeing
that he would be some day supreme lord and sovereign of the thirsty
Ethrappels, which was shown to him at that very same hour by a more evident
sign. For when his mother Badebec was in the bringing of him forth, and
that the midwives did wait to receive him, there came first out of her
belly three score and eight tregeneers, that is, salt-sellers, every one of
them leading in a halter a mule heavy laden with salt; after whom issued
forth nine dromedaries, with great loads of gammons of bacon and dried
neat's tongues on their backs. Then followed seven camels loaded with
links and chitterlings, hogs' puddings, and sausages. After them came out
five great wains, full of leeks, garlic, onions, and chibots, drawn with
five-and-thirty strong cart-horses, which was six for every one, besides
the thiller. At the sight hereof the said midwives were much amazed, yet
some of them said, Lo, here is good provision, and indeed we need it; for
we drink but lazily, as if our tongues walked on crutches, and not lustily
like Lansman Dutches. Truly this is a good sign; there is nothing here but
what is fit for us; these are the spurs of wine, that set it a-going. As
they were tattling thus together after their own manner of chat, behold!
out comes Pantagruel all hairy like a bear, whereupon one of them, inspired
with a prophetical spirit, said, This will be a terrible fellow; he is born
with all his hair; he is undoubtedly to do wonderful things, and if he live
he shall have age.

Chapter 2.III.

Of the grief wherewith Gargantua was moved at the decease of his wife

When Pantagruel was born, there was none more astonished and perplexed than
was his father Gargantua; for of the one side seeing his wife Badebec dead,
and on the other side his son Pantagruel born, so fair and so great, he
knew not what to say nor what to do. And the doubt that troubled his brain
was to know whether he should cry for the death of his wife or laugh for
the joy of his son. He was hinc inde choked with sophistical arguments,
for he framed them very well in modo et figura, but he could not resolve
them, remaining pestered and entangled by this means, like a mouse caught
in a trap or kite snared in a gin. Shall I weep? said he. Yes, for why?
My so good wife is dead, who was the most this, the most that, that ever
was in the world. Never shall I see her, never shall I recover such
another; it is unto me an inestimable loss! O my good God, what had I done
that thou shouldest thus punish me? Why didst thou not take me away before
her, seeing for me to live without her is but to languish? Ah, Badebec,
Badebec, my minion, my dear heart, my sugar, my sweeting, my honey, my
little c-- (yet it had in circumference full six acres, three rods, five
poles, four yards, two foot, one inch and a half of good woodland measure),
my tender peggy, my codpiece darling, my bob and hit, my slipshoe-lovey,
never shall I see thee! Ah, poor Pantagruel, thou hast lost thy good
mother, thy sweet nurse, thy well-beloved lady! O false death, how
injurious and despiteful hast thou been to me! How malicious and
outrageous have I found thee in taking her from me, my well-beloved wife,
to whom immortality did of right belong!

With these words he did cry like a cow, but on a sudden fell a-laughing
like a calf, when Pantagruel came into his mind. Ha, my little son, said
he, my childilolly, fedlifondy, dandlichucky, my ballocky, my pretty rogue!
O how jolly thou art, and how much am I bound to my gracious God, that hath
been pleased to bestow on me a son so fair, so spriteful, so lively, so
smiling, so pleasant, and so gentle! Ho, ho, ho, ho, how glad I am! Let
us drink, ho, and put away melancholy! Bring of the best, rinse the
glasses, lay the cloth, drive out these dogs, blow this fire, light
candles, shut that door there, cut this bread in sippets for brewis, send
away these poor folks in giving them what they ask, hold my gown. I will
strip myself into my doublet (en cuerpo), to make the gossips merry, and
keep them company.

As he spake this, he heard the litanies and the mementos of the priests
that carried his wife to be buried, upon which he left the good purpose he
was in, and was suddenly ravished another way, saying, Lord God! must I
again contrist myself? This grieves me. I am no longer young, I grow old,
the weather is dangerous; I may perhaps take an ague, then shall I be
foiled, if not quite undone. By the faith of a gentleman, it were better
to cry less, and drink more. My wife is dead, well, by G--! (da jurandi) I
shall not raise her again by my crying: she is well, she is in paradise at
least, if she be no higher: she prayeth to God for us, she is happy, she
is above the sense of our miseries, nor can our calamities reach her. What
though she be dead, must not we also die? The same debt which she hath
paid hangs over our heads; nature will require it of us, and we must all of
us some day taste of the same sauce. Let her pass then, and the Lord
preserve the survivors; for I must now cast about how to get another wife.
But I will tell you what you shall do, said he to the midwives, in France
called wise women (where be they, good folks? I cannot see them): Go you
to my wife's interment, and I will the while rock my son; for I find myself
somewhat altered and distempered, and should otherwise be in danger of
falling sick; but drink one good draught first, you will be the better for
it. And believe me, upon mine honour, they at his request went to her
burial and funeral obsequies. In the meanwhile, poor Gargantua staying at
home, and willing to have somewhat in remembrance of her to be engraven
upon her tomb, made this epitaph in the manner as followeth.

Dead is the noble Badebec,
Who had a face like a rebeck;
A Spanish body, and a belly
Of Switzerland; she died, I tell ye,
In childbirth. Pray to God, that her
He pardon wherein she did err.
Here lies her body, which did live
Free from all vice, as I believe,
And did decease at my bedside,
The year and day in which she died.

Chapter 2.IV.

Of the infancy of Pantagruel.

I find by the ancient historiographers and poets that divers have been born
in this world after very strange manners, which would be too long to
repeat; read therefore the seventh chapter of Pliny, if you have so much
leisure. Yet have you never heard of any so wonderful as that of
Pantagruel; for it is a very difficult matter to believe, how in the little
time he was in his mother's belly he grew both in body and strength. That
which Hercules did was nothing, when in his cradle he slew two serpents,
for those serpents were but little and weak, but Pantagruel, being yet in
the cradle, did far more admirable things, and more to be amazed at. I
pass by here the relation of how at every one of his meals he supped up the
milk of four thousand and six hundred cows, and how, to make him a skillet
to boil his milk in, there were set a-work all the braziers of Somure in
Anjou, of Villedieu in Normandy, and of Bramont in Lorraine. And they
served in this whitepot-meat to him in a huge great bell, which is yet to
be seen in the city of Bourges in Berry, near the palace, but his teeth
were already so well grown, and so strengthened with vigour, that of the
said bell he bit off a great morsel, as very plainly doth appear till this

One day in the morning, when they would have made him suck one of his cows
--for he never had any other nurse, as the history tells us--he got one of
his arms loose from the swaddling bands wherewith he was kept fast in the
cradle, laid hold on the said cow under the left foreham, and grasping her
to him ate up her udder and half of her paunch, with the liver and the
kidneys, and had devoured all up if she had not cried out most horribly, as
if the wolves had held her by the legs, at which noise company came in and
took away the said cow from Pantagruel. Yet could they not so well do it
but that the quarter whereby he caught her was left in his hand, of which
quarter he gulped up the flesh in a trice, even with as much ease as you
would eat a sausage, and that so greedily with desire of more, that, when
they would have taken away the bone from him, he swallowed it down whole,
as a cormorant would do a little fish; and afterwards began fumblingly to
say, Good, good, good--for he could not yet speak plain--giving them to
understand thereby that he had found it very good, and that he did lack but
so much more. Which when they saw that attended him, they bound him with
great cable-ropes, like those that are made at Tain for the carriage of
salt to Lyons, or such as those are whereby the great French ship rides at
anchor in the road of Newhaven in Normandy. But, on a certain time, a
great bear, which his father had bred, got loose, came towards him, began
to lick his face, for his nurses had not thoroughly wiped his chaps, at
which unexpected approach being on a sudden offended, he as lightly rid
himself of those great cables as Samson did of the hawser ropes wherewith
the Philistines had tied him, and, by your leave, takes me up my lord the
bear, and tears him to you in pieces like a pullet, which served him for a
gorgeful or good warm bit for that meal.

Whereupon Gargantua, fearing lest the child should hurt himself, caused
four great chains of iron to be made to bind him, and so many strong wooden
arches unto his cradle, most firmly stocked and morticed in huge frames.
Of those chains you have one at Rochelle, which they draw up at night
betwixt the two great towers of the haven. Another is at Lyons,--a third
at Angiers,--and the fourth was carried away by the devils to bind Lucifer,
who broke his chains in those days by reason of a colic that did
extraordinarily torment him, taken with eating a sergeant's soul fried for
his breakfast. And therefore you may believe that which Nicholas de Lyra
saith upon that place of the Psalter where it is written, Et Og Regem
Basan, that the said Og, being yet little, was so strong and robustious,
that they were fain to bind him with chains of iron in his cradle. Thus
continued Pantagruel for a while very calm and quiet, for he was not able
so easily to break those chains, especially having no room in the cradle to
give a swing with his arms. But see what happened once upon a great
holiday that his father Gargantua made a sumptuous banquet to all the
princes of his court. I am apt to believe that the menial officers of the
house were so embusied in waiting each on his proper service at the feast,
that nobody took care of poor Pantagruel, who was left a reculorum,
behindhand, all alone, and as forsaken. What did he? Hark what he did,
good people. He strove and essayed to break the chains of the cradle with
his arms, but could not, for they were too strong for him. Then did he
keep with his feet such a stamping stir, and so long, that at last he beat
out the lower end of his cradle, which notwithstanding was made of a great
post five foot in square; and as soon as he had gotten out his feet, he
slid down as well as he could till he had got his soles to the ground, and
then with a mighty force he rose up, carrying his cradle upon his back,
bound to him like a tortoise that crawls up against a wall; and to have
seen him, you would have thought it had been a great carrick of five
hundred tons upon one end. In this manner he entered into the great hall
where they were banqueting, and that very boldly, which did much affright
the company; yet, because his arms were tied in, he could not reach
anything to eat, but with great pain stooped now and then a little to take
with the whole flat of his tongue some lick, good bit, or morsel. Which
when his father saw, he knew well enough that they had left him without
giving him anything to eat, and therefore commanded that he should be
loosed from the said chains, by the counsel of the princes and lords there
present. Besides that also the physicians of Gargantua said that, if they
did thus keep him in the cradle, he would be all his lifetime subject to
the stone. When he was unchained, they made him to sit down, where, after
he had fed very well, he took his cradle and broke it into more than five
hundred thousand pieces with one blow of his fist that he struck in the
midst of it, swearing that he would never come into it again.

Chapter 2.V.

Of the acts of the noble Pantagruel in his youthful age.

Thus grew Pantagruel from day to day, and to everyone's eye waxed more and
more in all his dimensions, which made his father to rejoice by a natural
affection. Therefore caused he to be made for him, whilst he was yet
little, a pretty crossbow wherewith to shoot at small birds, which now they
call the great crossbow at Chantelle. Then he sent him to the school to
learn, and to spend his youth in virtue. In the prosecution of which
design he came first to Poictiers, where, as he studied and profited very
much, he saw that the scholars were oftentimes at leisure and knew not how
to bestow their time, which moved him to take such compassion on them, that
one day he took from a long ledge of rocks, called there Passelourdin, a
huge great stone, of about twelve fathom square and fourteen handfuls
thick, and with great ease set it upon four pillars in the midst of a
field, to no other end but that the said scholars, when they had nothing
else to do, might pass their time in getting up on that stone, and feast it
with store of gammons, pasties, and flagons, and carve their names upon it
with a knife, in token of which deed till this hour the stone is called the
lifted stone. And in remembrance hereof there is none entered into the
register and matricular book of the said university, or accounted capable
of taking any degree therein, till he have first drunk in the caballine
fountain of Croustelles, passed at Passelourdin, and got up upon the lifted

Afterwards, reading the delectable chronicles of his ancestors, he found
that Geoffrey of Lusignan, called Geoffrey with the great tooth,
grandfather to the cousin-in-law of the eldest sister of the aunt of the
son-in-law of the uncle of the good daughter of his stepmother, was
interred at Maillezais; therefore one day he took campos (which is a little
vacation from study to play a while), that he might give him a visit as
unto an honest man. And going from Poictiers with some of his companions,
they passed by the Guge (Leguge), visiting the noble Abbot Ardillon; then
by Lusignan, by Sansay, by Celles, by Coolonges, by Fontenay-le-Comte,
saluting the learned Tiraqueau, and from thence arrived at Maillezais,
where he went to see the sepulchre of the said Geoffrey with the great
tooth; which made him somewhat afraid, looking upon the picture, whose
lively draughts did set him forth in the representation of a man in an
extreme fury, drawing his great Malchus falchion half way out of his
scabbard. When the reason hereof was demanded, the canons of the said
place told him that there was no other cause of it but that Pictoribus
atque Poetis, &c., that is to say, that painters and poets have liberty to
paint and devise what they list after their own fancy. But he was not
satisfied with their answer, and said, He is not thus painted without a
cause, and I suspect that at his death there was some wrong done him,
whereof he requireth his kindred to take revenge. I will inquire further
into it, and then do what shall be reasonable. Then he returned not to
Poictiers, but would take a view of the other universities of France.
Therefore, going to Rochelle, he took shipping and arrived at Bordeaux,
where he found no great exercise, only now and then he would see some
mariners and lightermen a-wrestling on the quay or strand by the river-
side. From thence he came to Toulouse, where he learned to dance very
well, and to play with the two-handed sword, as the fashion of the scholars
of the said university is to bestir themselves in games whereof they may
have their hands full; but he stayed not long there when he saw that they
did cause burn their regents alive like red herring, saying, Now God forbid
that I should die this death! for I am by nature sufficiently dry already,
without heating myself any further.

He went then to Montpellier, where he met with the good wives of Mirevaux,
and good jovial company withal, and thought to have set himself to the
study of physic; but he considered that that calling was too troublesome
and melancholic, and that physicians did smell of glisters like old devils.
Therefore he resolved he would study the laws; but seeing that there were
but three scald- and one bald-pated legist in that place, he departed from
thence, and in his way made the bridge of Guard and the amphitheatre of
Nimes in less than three hours, which, nevertheless, seems to be a more
divine than human work. After that he came to Avignon, where he was not
above three days before he fell in love; for the women there take great
delight in playing at the close-buttock game, because it is papal ground.
Which his tutor and pedagogue Epistemon perceiving, he drew him out of that
place, and brought him to Valence in the Dauphiny, where he saw no great
matter of recreation, only that the lubbers of the town did beat the
scholars, which so incensed him with anger, that when, upon a certain very
fair Sunday, the people being at their public dancing in the streets, and
one of the scholars offering to put himself into the ring to partake of
that sport, the foresaid lubberly fellows would not permit him the
admittance into their society, he, taking the scholar's part, so belaboured
them with blows, and laid such load upon them, that he drove them all
before him, even to the brink of the river Rhone, and would have there
drowned them, but that they did squat to the ground, and there lay close a
full half-league under the river. The hole is to be seen there yet.

After that he departed from thence, and in three strides and one leap came
to Angiers, where he found himself very well, and would have continued
there some space, but that the plague drove them away. So from thence he
came to Bourges, where he studied a good long time, and profited very much
in the faculty of the laws, and would sometimes say that the books of the
civil law were like unto a wonderfully precious, royal, and triumphant robe
of cloth of gold edged with dirt; for in the world are no goodlier books to
be seen, more ornate, nor more eloquent than the texts of the Pandects, but
the bordering of them, that is to say, the gloss of Accursius, is so
scurvy, vile, base, and unsavoury, that it is nothing but filthiness and

Going from Bourges, he came to Orleans, where he found store of swaggering
scholars that made him great entertainment at his coming, and with whom he
learned to play at tennis so well that he was a master at that game. For
the students of the said place make a prime exercise of it; and sometimes
they carried him unto Cupid's houses of commerce (in that city termed
islands, because of their being most ordinarily environed with other
houses, and not contiguous to any), there to recreate his person at the
sport of poussavant, which the wenches of London call the ferkers in and
in. As for breaking his head with over-much study, he had an especial care
not to do it in any case, for fear of spoiling his eyes. Which he the
rather observed, for that it was told him by one of his teachers, there
called regents, that the pain of the eyes was the most hurtful thing of any
to the sight. For this cause, when he one day was made a licentiate, or
graduate in law, one of the scholars of his acquaintance, who of learning
had not much more than his burden, though instead of that he could dance
very well and play at tennis, made the blazon and device of the licentiates
in the said university, saying,

So you have in your hand a racket,
A tennis-ball in your cod-placket,
A Pandect law in your cap's tippet,
And that you have the skill to trip it
In a low dance, you will b' allowed
The grant of the licentiate's hood.

Chapter 2.VI.

How Pantagruel met with a Limousin, who too affectedly did counterfeit the
French language.

Upon a certain day, I know not when, Pantagruel walking after supper with
some of his fellow-students without that gate of the city through which we
enter on the road to Paris, encountered with a young spruce-like scholar
that was coming upon the same very way, and, after they had saluted one
another, asked him thus, My friend, from whence comest thou now? The
scholar answered him, From the alme, inclyte, and celebrate academy, which
is vocitated Lutetia. What is the meaning of this? said Pantagruel to one
of his men. It is, answered he, from Paris. Thou comest from Paris then,
said Pantagruel; and how do you spend your time there, you my masters the
students of Paris? The scholar answered, We transfretate the Sequan at the
dilucul and crepuscul; we deambulate by the compites and quadrives of the
urb; we despumate the Latial verbocination; and, like verisimilary
amorabons, we captat the benevolence of the omnijugal, omniform and
omnigenal feminine sex. Upon certain diecules we invisat the lupanares,
and in a venerian ecstasy inculcate our veretres into the penitissime
recesses of the pudends of these amicabilissim meretricules. Then do we
cauponisate in the meritory taberns of the Pineapple, the Castle, the
Magdalene, and the Mule, goodly vervecine spatules perforaminated with
petrocile. And if by fortune there be rarity or penury of pecune in our
marsupies, and that they be exhausted of ferruginean metal, for the shot we
dimit our codices and oppignerat our vestments, whilst we prestolate the
coming of the tabellaries from the Penates and patriotic Lares. To which
Pantagruel answered, What devilish language is this? By the Lord, I think
thou art some kind of heretick. My lord, no, said the scholar; for
libentissimally, as soon as it illucesceth any minutule slice of the day, I
demigrate into one of these so well architected minsters, and there,
irrorating myself with fair lustral water, I mumble off little parcels of
some missic precation of our sacrificuls, and, submurmurating my horary
precules, I elevate and absterge my anime from its nocturnal inquinations.
I revere the Olympicols. I latrially venere the supernal Astripotent. I
dilige and redame my proxims. I observe the decalogical precepts, and,
according to the facultatule of my vires, I do not discede from them one
late unguicule. Nevertheless, it is veriform, that because Mammona doth
not supergurgitate anything in my loculs, that I am somewhat rare and lent
to supererogate the elemosynes to those egents that hostially queritate
their stipe.

Prut, tut, said Pantagruel, what doth this fool mean to say? I think he is
upon the forging of some diabolical tongue, and that enchanter-like he
would charm us. To whom one of his men said, Without doubt, sir, this
fellow would counterfeit the language of the Parisians, but he doth only
flay the Latin, imagining by so doing that he doth highly Pindarize it in
most eloquent terms, and strongly conceiteth himself to be therefore a
great orator in the French, because he disdaineth the common manner of
speaking. To which Pantagruel said, Is it true? The scholar answered, My
worshipful lord, my genie is not apt nate to that which this flagitious
nebulon saith, to excoriate the cut(ic)ule of our vernacular Gallic, but
vice-versally I gnave opere, and by veles and rames enite to locupletate it
with the Latinicome redundance. By G--, said Pantagruel, I will teach you
to speak. But first come hither, and tell me whence thou art. To this the
scholar answered, The primeval origin of my aves and ataves was indigenary
of the Lemovic regions, where requiesceth the corpor of the hagiotat St.
Martial. I understand thee very well, said Pantagruel. When all comes to
all, thou art a Limousin, and thou wilt here by thy affected speech
counterfeit the Parisians. Well now, come hither, I must show thee a new
trick, and handsomely give thee the combfeat. With this he took him by the
throat, saying to him, Thou flayest the Latin; by St. John, I will make
thee flay the fox, for I will now flay thee alive. Then began the poor
Limousin to cry, Haw, gwid maaster! haw, Laord, my halp, and St. Marshaw!
haw, I'm worried. Haw, my thropple, the bean of my cragg is bruck! Haw,
for gauad's seck lawt my lean, mawster; waw, waw, waw. Now, said
Pantagruel, thou speakest naturally, and so let him go, for the poor
Limousin had totally bewrayed and thoroughly conshit his breeches, which
were not deep and large enough, but round straight cannioned gregs, having
in the seat a piece like a keeling's tail, and therefore in French called,
de chausses a queue de merlus. Then, said Pantagruel, St. Alipantin, what
civet? Fie! to the devil with this turnip-eater, as he stinks! and so let
him go. But this hug of Pantagruel's was such a terror to him all the days
of his life, and took such deep impression in his fancy, that very often,
distracted with sudden affrightments, he would startle and say that
Pantagruel held him by the neck. Besides that, it procured him a continual
drought and desire to drink, so that after some few years he died of the
death Roland, in plain English called thirst, a work of divine vengeance,
showing us that which saith the philosopher and Aulus Gellius, that it
becometh us to speak according to the common language; and that we should,
as said Octavian Augustus, strive to shun all strange and unknown terms
with as much heedfulness and circumspection as pilots of ships use to avoid
the rocks and banks in the sea.

Chapter 2.VII.

How Pantagruel came to Paris, and of the choice books of the Library of St.

After that Pantagruel had studied very well at Orleans, he resolved to see
the great University at Paris; but, before his departure, he was informed
that there was a huge big bell at St. Anian in the said town of Orleans,
under the ground, which had been there above two hundred and fourteen
years, for it was so great that they could not by any device get it so much
as above the ground, although they used all the means that are found in
Vitruvius de Architectura, Albertus de Re Aedificatoria, Euclid, Theon,
Archimedes, and Hero de Ingeniis; for all that was to no purpose.
Wherefore, condescending heartily to the humble request of the citizens and
inhabitants of the said town, he determined to remove it to the tower that
was erected for it. With that he came to the place where it was, and
lifted it out of the ground with his little finger as easily as you would
have done a hawk's bell or bellwether's tingle-tangle; but, before he would
carry it to the foresaid tower or steeple appointed for it, he would needs
make some music with it about the town, and ring it alongst all the streets
as he carried it in his hand, wherewith all the people were very glad. But
there happened one great inconveniency, for with carrying it so, and
ringing it about the streets, all the good Orleans wine turned instantly,
waxed flat and was spoiled, which nobody there did perceive till the night
following; for every man found himself so altered and a-dry with drinking
these flat wines, that they did nothing but spit, and that as white as
Malta cotton, saying, We have of the Pantagruel, and our very throats are
salted. This done, he came to Paris with his retinue. And at his entry
everyone came out to see him--as you know well enough that the people of
Paris is sottish by nature, by B flat and B sharp--and beheld him with
great astonishment, mixed with no less fear that he would carry away the
palace into some other country, a remotis, and far from them, as his father
formerly had done the great peal of bells at Our Lady's Church to tie about
his mare's neck. Now after he had stayed there a pretty space, and studied
very well in all the seven liberal arts, he said it was a good town to live
in, but not to die; for that the grave-digging rogues of St. Innocent used
in frosty nights to warm their bums with dead men's bones. In his abode
there he found the library of St. Victor a very stately and magnific one,
especially in some books which were there, of which followeth the Repertory
and Catalogue, Et primo,

The for Godsake of Salvation.
The Codpiece of the Law.
The Slipshoe of the Decretals.
The Pomegranate of Vice.
The Clew-bottom of Theology.
The Duster or Foxtail-flap of Preachers, composed by Turlupin.
The Churning Ballock of the Valiant.
The Henbane of the Bishops.
Marmotretus de baboonis et apis, cum Commento Dorbellis.
Decretum Universitatis Parisiensis super gorgiasitate muliercularum
ad placitum.
The Apparition of Sancte Geltrude to a Nun of Poissy, being in
travail at the bringing forth of a child.
Ars honeste fartandi in societate, per Marcum Corvinum (Ortuinum).
The Mustard-pot of Penance.
The Gamashes, alias the Boots of Patience.
Formicarium artium.
De brodiorum usu, et honestate quartandi, per Sylvestrem Prioratem
The Cosened or Gulled in Court.
The Frail of the Scriveners.
The Marriage-packet.
The Cruizy or Crucible of Contemplation.
The Flimflams of the Law.
The Prickle of Wine.
The Spur of Cheese.
Ruboffatorium (Decrotatorium) scholarium.
Tartaretus de modo cacandi.
The Bravades of Rome.
Bricot de Differentiis Browsarum.
The Tailpiece-Cushion, or Close-breech of Discipline.
The Cobbled Shoe of Humility.
The Trivet of good Thoughts.
The Kettle of Magnanimity.
The Cavilling Entanglements of Confessors.
The Snatchfare of the Curates.
Reverendi patris fratris Lubini, provincialis Bavardiae, de gulpendis
lardslicionibus libri tres.
Pasquilli Doctoris Marmorei, de capreolis cum artichoketa comedendis,
tempore Papali ab Ecclesia interdicto.
The Invention of the Holy Cross, personated by six wily Priests.
The Spectacles of Pilgrims bound for Rome.
Majoris de modo faciendi puddinos.

Book of the day: