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Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais

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and transported the Hainaults and Flemings, his ancient loving subjects,
into Saxony, not mistrusting their loyalty now that they were transplanted
into a strange land. But it happened that the Saxons persisted in their
rebellion and primitive obstinacy, and the Flemings dwelling in Saxony did
imbibe the stubborn manners and conditions of the Saxons.

Chapter 3.II.

How Panurge was made Laird of Salmigondin in Dipsody, and did waste his
revenue before it came in.

Whilst Pantagruel was giving order for the government of all Dipsody, he
assigned to Panurge the lairdship of Salmigondin, which was yearly worth
6,789,106,789 reals of certain rent, besides the uncertain revenue of the
locusts and periwinkles, amounting, one year with another, to the value of
435,768, or 2,435,769 French crowns of Berry. Sometimes it did amount to
1,230,554,321 seraphs, when it was a good year, and that locusts and
periwinkles were in request; but that was not every year.

Now his worship, the new laird, husbanded this his estate so providently
well and prudently, that in less than fourteen days he wasted and
dilapidated all the certain and uncertain revenue of his lairdship for
three whole years. Yet did not he properly dilapidate it, as you might
say, in founding of monasteries, building of churches, erecting of
colleges, and setting up of hospitals, or casting his bacon-flitches to the
dogs; but spent it in a thousand little banquets and jolly collations,
keeping open house for all comers and goers; yea, to all good fellows,
young girls, and pretty wenches; felling timber, burning great logs for the
sale of the ashes, borrowing money beforehand, buying dear, selling cheap,
and eating his corn, as it were, whilst it was but grass.

Pantagruel, being advertised of this his lavishness, was in good sooth no
way offended at the matter, angry nor sorry; for I once told you, and again
tell it you, that he was the best, little, great goodman that ever girded a
sword to his side. He took all things in good part, and interpreted every
action to the best sense. He never vexed nor disquieted himself with the
least pretence of dislike to anything, because he knew that he must have
most grossly abandoned the divine mansion of reason if he had permitted his
mind to be never so little grieved, afflicted, or altered at any occasion
whatsoever. For all the goods that the heaven covereth, and that the earth
containeth, in all their dimensions of height, depth, breadth, and length,
are not of so much worth as that we should for them disturb or disorder our
affections, trouble or perplex our senses or spirits.

He drew only Panurge aside, and then, making to him a sweet remonstrance
and mild admonition, very gently represented before him in strong
arguments, that, if he should continue in such an unthrifty course of
living, and not become a better mesnagier, it would prove altogether
impossible for him, or at least hugely difficult, at any time to make him
rich. Rich! answered Panurge; have you fixed your thoughts there? Have
you undertaken the task to enrich me in this world? Set your mind to live
merrily, in the name of God and good folks; let no other cark nor care be
harboured within the sacrosanctified domicile of your celestial brain. May
the calmness and tranquillity thereof be never incommodated with, or
overshadowed by any frowning clouds of sullen imaginations and displeasing
annoyance! For if you live joyful, merry, jocund, and glad, I cannot be
but rich enough. Everybody cries up thrift, thrift, and good husbandry.
But many speak of Robin Hood that never shot in his bow, and talk of that
virtue of mesnagery who know not what belongs to it. It is by me that they
must be advised. From me, therefore, take this advertisement and
information, that what is imputed to me for a vice hath been done in
imitation of the university and parliament of Paris, places in which is to
be found the true spring and source of the lively idea of Pantheology and
all manner of justice. Let him be counted a heretic that doubteth thereof,
and doth not firmly believe it. Yet they in one day eat up their bishop,
or the revenue of the bishopric--is it not all one?--for a whole year, yea,
sometimes for two. This is done on the day he makes his entry, and is
installed. Nor is there any place for an excuse; for he cannot avoid it,
unless he would be hooted at and stoned for his parsimony.

It hath been also esteemed an act flowing from the habit of the four
cardinal virtues. Of prudence in borrowing money beforehand; for none
knows what may fall out. Who is able to tell if the world shall last yet
three years? But although it should continue longer, is there any man so
foolish as to have the confidence to promise himself three years?

What fool so confident to say,
That he shall live one other day?

Of commutative justice, in buying dear, I say, upon trust, and selling
goods cheap, that is, for ready money. What says Cato in his Book of
Husbandry to this purpose? The father of a family, says he, must be a
perpetual seller; by which means it is impossible but that at last he shall
become rich, if he have of vendible ware enough still ready for sale.

Of distributive justice it doth partake, in giving entertainment to good--
remark, good--and gentle fellows, whom fortune had shipwrecked, like
Ulysses, upon the rock of a hungry stomach without provision of sustenance;
and likewise to the good--remark, the good--and young wenches. For,
according to the sentence of Hippocrates, Youth is impatient of hunger,
chiefly if it be vigorous, lively, frolic, brisk, stirring, and bouncing.
Which wanton lasses willingly and heartily devote themselves to the
pleasure of honest men; and are in so far both Platonic and Ciceronian,
that they do acknowledge their being born into this world not to be for
themselves alone, but that in their proper persons their acquaintance may
claim one share, and their friends another.

The virtue of fortitude appears therein by the cutting down and
overthrowing of the great trees, like a second Milo making havoc of the
dark forest, which did serve only to furnish dens, caves, and shelter to
wolves, wild boars, and foxes, and afford receptacles, withdrawing corners,
and refuges to robbers, thieves, and murderers, lurking holes and skulking
places for cutthroat assassinators, secret obscure shops for coiners of
false money, and safe retreats for heretics, laying them even and level
with the plain champaign fields and pleasant heathy ground, at the sound of
the hautboys and bagpipes playing reeks with the high and stately timber,
and preparing seats and benches for the eve of the dreadful day of

I gave thereby proof of my temperance in eating my corn whilst it was but
grass, like a hermit feeding upon salads and roots, that, so affranchising
myself from the yoke of sensual appetites to the utter disclaiming of their
sovereignty, I might the better reserve somewhat in store for the relief of
the lame, blind, crippled, maimed, needy, poor, and wanting wretches.

In taking this course I save the expense of the weed-grubbers, who gain
money,--of the reapers in harvest-time, who drink lustily, and without
water,--of gleaners, who will expect their cakes and bannocks,--of
threshers, who leave no garlic, scallions, leeks, nor onions in our
gardens, by the authority of Thestilis in Virgil,--and of the millers, who
are generally thieves,--and of the bakers, who are little better. Is this
small saving or frugality? Besides the mischief and damage of the field-
mice, the decay of barns, and the destruction usually made by weasels and
other vermin.

Of corn in the blade you may make good green sauce of a light concoction
and easy digestion, which recreates the brain and exhilarates the animal
spirits, rejoiceth the sight, openeth the appetite, delighteth the taste,
comforteth the heart, tickleth the tongue, cheereth the countenance,
striking a fresh and lively colour, strengthening the muscles, tempers the
blood, disburdens the midriff, refresheth the liver, disobstructs the
spleen, easeth the kidneys, suppleth the reins, quickens the joints of the
back, cleanseth the urine-conduits, dilates the spermatic vessels, shortens
the cremasters, purgeth the bladder, puffeth up the genitories, correcteth
the prepuce, hardens the nut, and rectifies the member. It will make you
have a current belly to trot, fart, dung, piss, sneeze, cough, spit, belch,
spew, yawn, snuff, blow, breathe, snort, sweat, and set taut your Robin,
with a thousand other rare advantages. I understand you very well, says
Pantagruel; you would thereby infer that those of a mean spirit and shallow
capacity have not the skill to spend much in a short time. You are not the
first in whose conceit that heresy hath entered. Nero maintained it, and
above all mortals admired most his uncle Caius Caligula, for having in a
few days, by a most wonderfully pregnant invention, totally spent all the
goods and patrimony which Tiberius had left him.

But, instead of observing the sumptuous supper-curbing laws of the Romans--
to wit, the Orchia, the Fannia, the Didia, the Licinia, the Cornelia, the
Lepidiana, the Antia, and of the Corinthians--by the which they were
inhibited, under pain of great punishment, not to spend more in one year
than their annual revenue did amount to, you have offered up the oblation
of Protervia, which was with the Romans such a sacrifice as the paschal
lamb was amongst the Jews, wherein all that was eatable was to be eaten,
and the remainder to be thrown into the fire, without reserving anything
for the next day. I may very justly say of you, as Cato did of Albidius,
who after that he had by a most extravagant expense wasted all the means
and possessions he had to one only house, he fairly set it on fire, that he
might the better say, Consummatum est. Even just as since his time St.
Thomas Aquinas did, when he had eaten up the whole lamprey, although there
was no necessity in it.

Chapter 3.III.

How Panurge praiseth the debtors and borrowers.

But, quoth Pantagruel, when will you be out of debt? At the next ensuing
term of the Greek kalends, answered Panurge, when all the world shall be
content, and that it be your fate to become your own heir. The Lord forbid
that I should be out of debt, as if, indeed, I could not be trusted. Who
leaves not some leaven over night, will hardly have paste the next morning.

Be still indebted to somebody or other, that there may be somebody always
to pray for you, that the giver of all good things may grant unto you a
blessed, long, and prosperous life; fearing, if fortune should deal crossly
with you, that it might be his chance to come short of being paid by you,
he will always speak good of you in every company, ever and anon purchase
new creditors unto you; to the end, that through their means you may make a
shift by borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, and with other folk's earth fill
up his ditch. When of old, in the region of the Gauls, by the institution
of the Druids, the servants, slaves, and bondmen were burnt quick at the
funerals and obsequies of their lords and masters, had not they fear
enough, think you, that their lords and masters should die? For, perforce,
they were to die with them for company. Did not they incessantly send up
their supplications to their great god Mercury, as likewise unto Dis, the
father of wealth, to lengthen out their days, and to preserve them long in
health? Were not they very careful to entertain them well, punctually to
look unto them, and to attend them faithfully and circumspectly? For by
those means were they to live together at least until the hour of death.
Believe me, your creditors with a more fervent devotion will beseech
Almighty God to prolong your life, they being of nothing more afraid than
that you should die; for that they are more concerned for the sleeve than
the arm, and love silver better than their own lives. As it evidently
appeareth by the usurers of Landerousse, who not long since hanged
themselves because the price of the corn and wines was fallen by the return
of a gracious season. To this Pantagruel answering nothing, Panurge went
on in his discourse, saying, Truly and in good sooth, sir, when I ponder my
destiny aright, and think well upon it, you put me shrewdly to my plunges,
and have me at a bay in twitting me with the reproach of my debts and
creditors. And yet did I, in this only respect and consideration of being
a debtor, esteem myself worshipful, reverend, and formidable. For against
the opinion of most philosophers, that of nothing ariseth nothing, yet,
without having bottomed on so much as that which is called the First
Matter, did I out of nothing become such (a) maker and creator, that I have
created--what?--a gay number of fair and jolly creditors. Nay, creditors,
I will maintain it, even to the very fire itself exclusively, are fair and
goodly creatures. Who lendeth nothing is an ugly and wicked creature, and
an accursed imp of the infernal Old Nick. And there is made--what? Debts.
A thing most precious and dainty, of great use and antiquity. Debts, I
say, surmounting the number of syllables which may result from the
combinations of all the consonants, with each of the vowels heretofore
projected, reckoned, and calculated by the noble Xenocrates. To judge of
the perfection of debtors by the numerosity of their creditors is the
readiest way for entering into the mysteries of practical arithmetic.

You can hardly imagine how glad I am, when every morning I perceive myself
environed and surrounded with brigades of creditors--humble, fawning, and
full of their reverences. And whilst I remark that, as I look more
favourably upon and give a cheerfuller countenance to one than to another,
the fellow thereupon buildeth a conceit that he shall be the first
despatched and the foremost in the date of payment, and he valueth my
smiles at the rate of ready money, it seemeth unto me that I then act and
personate the god of the passion of Saumure, accompanied with his angels
and cherubims.

These are my flatterers, my soothers, my clawbacks, my smoothers, my
parasites, my saluters, my givers of good-morrows, and perpetual orators;
which makes me verily think that the supremest height of heroic virtue
described by Hesiod consisteth in being a debtor, wherein I held the first
degree in my commencement. Which dignity, though all human creatures seem
to aim at and aspire thereto, few nevertheless, because of the difficulties
in the way and encumbrances of hard passages, are able to reach it, as is
easily perceivable by the ardent desire and vehement longing harboured in
the breast of everyone to be still creating more debts and new creditors.

Yet doth it not lie in the power of everyone to be a debtor. To acquire
creditors is not at the disposure of each man's arbitrament. You
nevertheless would deprive me of this sublime felicity. You ask me when I
will be out of debt. Well, to go yet further on, and possibly worse in
your conceit, may Saint Bablin, the good saint, snatch me, if I have not
all my lifetime held debt to be as a union or conjunction of the heavens
with the earth, and the whole cement whereby the race of mankind is kept
together; yea, of such virtue and efficacy that, I say, the whole progeny
of Adam would very suddenly perish without it. Therefore, perhaps, I do
not think amiss, when I repute it to be the great soul of the universe,
which, according to the opinion of the Academics, vivifieth all manner of
things. In confirmation whereof, that you may the better believe it to be
so, represent unto yourself, without any prejudicacy of spirit, in a clear
and serene fancy, the idea and form of some other world than this; take, if
you please, and lay hold on the thirtieth of those which the philosopher
Metrodorus did enumerate, wherein it is to be supposed there is no debtor
or creditor, that is to say, a world without debts.

There amongst the planets will be no regular course, all will be in
disorder. Jupiter, reckoning himself to be nothing indebted unto Saturn,
will go near to detrude him out of his sphere, and with the Homeric chain
will be like to hang up the intelligences, gods, heavens, demons, heroes,
devils, earth and sea, together with the other elements. Saturn, no doubt,
combining with Mars will reduce that so disturbed world into a chaos of

Mercury then would be no more subjected to the other planets; he would
scorn to be any longer their Camillus, as he was of old termed in the
Etrurian tongue. For it is to be imagined that he is no way a debtor to

Venus will be no more venerable, because she shall have lent nothing. The
moon will remain bloody and obscure. For to what end should the sun impart
unto her any of his light? He owed her nothing. Nor yet will the sun
shine upon the earth, nor the stars send down any good influence, because
the terrestrial globe hath desisted from sending up their wonted
nourishment by vapours and exhalations, wherewith Heraclitus said, the
Stoics proved, Cicero maintained, they were cherished and alimented. There
would likewise be in such a world no manner of symbolization, alteration,
nor transmutation amongst the elements; for the one will not esteem itself
obliged to the other, as having borrowed nothing at all from it. Earth
then will not become water, water will not be changed into air, of air will
be made no fire, and fire will afford no heat unto the earth; the earth
will produce nothing but monsters, Titans, giants; no rain will descend
upon it, nor light shine thereon; no wind will blow there, nor will there
be in it any summer or harvest. Lucifer will break loose, and issuing
forth of the depth of hell, accompanied with his furies, fiends, and horned
devils, will go about to unnestle and drive out of heaven all the gods, as
well of the greater as of the lesser nations. Such a world without lending
will be no better than a dog-kennel, a place of contention and wrangling,
more unruly and irregular than that of the rector of Paris; a devil of an
hurlyburly, and more disordered confusion than that of the plagues of
Douay. Men will not then salute one another; it will be but lost labour to
expect aid or succour from any, or to cry fire, water, murder, for none
will put to their helping hand. Why? He lent no money, there is nothing
due to him. Nobody is concerned in his burning, in his shipwreck, in his
ruin, or in his death; and that because he hitherto had lent nothing, and
would never thereafter have lent anything. In short, Faith, Hope, and
Charity would be quite banished from such a world--for men are born to
relieve and assist one another; and in their stead should succeed and be
introduced Defiance, Disdain, and Rancour, with the most execrable troop of
all evils, all imprecations, and all miseries. Whereupon you will think,
and that not amiss, that Pandora had there spilt her unlucky bottle. Men
unto men will be wolves, hobthrushers, and goblins (as were Lycaon,
Bellerophon, Nebuchodonosor), plunderers, highway robbers, cutthroats,
rapparees, murderers, poisoners, assassinators, lewd, wicked, malevolent,
pernicious haters, set against everybody, like to Ishmael, Metabus, or
Timon the Athenian, who for that cause was named Misanthropos, in such
sort that it would prove much more easy in nature to have fish entertained
in the air and bullocks fed in the bottom of the ocean, than to support or
tolerate a rascally rabble of people that will not lend. These fellows, I
vow, do I hate with a perfect hatred; and if, conform to the pattern of
this grievous, peevish, and perverse world which lendeth nothing, you
figure and liken the little world, which is man, you will find in him a
terrible justling coil and clutter. The head will not lend the sight of
his eyes to guide the feet and hands; the legs will refuse to bear up the
body; the hands will leave off working any more for the rest of the
members; the heart will be weary of its continual motion for the beating of
the pulse, and will no longer lend his assistance; the lungs will withdraw
the use of their bellows; the liver will desist from convoying any more
blood through the veins for the good of the whole; the bladder will not be
indebted to the kidneys, so that the urine thereby will be totally stopped.
The brains, in the interim, considering this unnatural course, will fall
into a raving dotage, and withhold all feeling from the sinews and motion
from the muscles. Briefly, in such a world without order and array, owing
nothing, lending nothing, and borrowing nothing, you would see a more
dangerous conspiration than that which Aesop exposed in his Apologue. Such
a world will perish undoubtedly; and not only perish, but perish very
quickly. Were it Aesculapius himself, his body would immediately rot, and
the chafing soul, full of indignation, take its flight to all the devils of
hell after my money.

Chapter 3.IV.

Panurge continueth his discourse in the praise of borrowers and lenders.

On the contrary, be pleased to represent unto your fancy another world,
wherein everyone lendeth and everyone oweth, all are debtors and all
creditors. O how great will that harmony be, which shall thereby result
from the regular motions of the heavens! Methinks I hear it every whit as
well as ever Plato did. What sympathy will there be amongst the elements!
O how delectable then unto nature will be our own works and productions!
Whilst Ceres appeareth laden with corn, Bacchus with wines, Flora with
flowers, Pomona with fruits, and Juno fair in a clear air, wholesome and
pleasant. I lose myself in this high contemplation.

Then will among the race of mankind peace, love, benevolence, fidelity,
tranquillity, rest, banquets, feastings, joy, gladness, gold, silver,
single money, chains, rings, with other ware and chaffer of that nature be
found to trot from hand to hand. No suits at law, no wars, no strife,
debate, nor wrangling; none will be there a usurer, none will be there a
pinch-penny, a scrape-good wretch, or churlish hard-hearted refuser. Good
God! Will not this be the golden age in the reign of Saturn? the true idea
of the Olympic regions, wherein all (other) virtues cease, charity alone
ruleth, governeth, domineereth, and triumpheth? All will be fair and
goodly people there, all just and virtuous.

O happy world! O people of that world most happy! Yea, thrice and four
times blessed is that people! I think in very deed that I am amongst them,
and swear to you, by my good forsooth, that if this glorious aforesaid
world had a pope, abounding with cardinals, that so he might have the
association of a sacred college, in the space of very few years you should
be sure to see the saints much thicker in the roll, more numerous, wonder-
working and mirific, more services, more vows, more staves and wax-candles
than are all those in the nine bishoprics of Britany, St. Yves only
excepted. Consider, sir, I pray you, how the noble Patelin, having a mind
to deify and extol even to the third heavens the father of William
Josseaulme, said no more but this, And he did lend his goods to those who
were desirous of them.

O the fine saying! Now let our microcosm be fancied conform to this model
in all its members; lending, borrowing, and owing, that is to say,
according to its own nature. For nature hath not to any other end created
man, but to owe, borrow, and lend; no greater is the harmony amongst the
heavenly spheres than that which shall be found in its well-ordered policy.
The intention of the founder of this microcosm is, to have a soul therein
to be entertained, which is lodged there, as a guest with its host, (that)
it may live there for a while. Life consisteth in blood, blood is the seat
of the soul; therefore the chiefest work of the microcosm is, to be making
blood continually.

At this forge are exercised all the members of the body; none is exempted
from labour, each operates apart, and doth its proper office. And such is
their heirarchy, that perpetually the one borrows from the other, the one
lends the other, and the one is the other's debtor. The stuff and matter
convenient, which nature giveth to be turned into blood, is bread and wine.
All kind of nourishing victuals is understood to be comprehended in these
two, and from hence in the Gothish tongue is called companage. To find out
this meat and drink, to prepare and boil it, the hands are put to work, the
feet do walk and bear up the whole bulk of the corporal mass; the eyes
guide and conduct all; the appetite in the orifice of the stomach, by means
of (a) little sourish black humour, called melancholy, which is transmitted
thereto from the milt, giveth warning to shut in the food. The tongue doth
make the first essay, and tastes it; the teeth do chew it, and the stomach
doth receive, digest, and chylify it. The mesaraic veins suck out of it
what is good and fit, leaving behind the excrements, which are, through
special conduits for that purpose, voided by an expulsive faculty.
Thereafter it is carried to the liver, where it being changed again, it by
the virtue of that new transmutation becomes blood. What joy, conjecture
you, will then be found amongst those officers when they see this rivulet
of gold, which is their sole restorative? No greater is the joy of
alchemists, when after long travail, toil, and expense they see in their
furnaces the transmutation. Then is it that every member doth prepare
itself, and strive anew to purify and to refine this treasure. The kidneys
through the emulgent veins draw that aquosity from thence which you call
urine, and there send it away through the ureters to be slipped downwards;
where, in a lower receptacle, and proper for it, to wit, the bladder, it is
kept, and stayeth there until an opportunity to void it out in his due
time. The spleen draweth from the blood its terrestrial part, viz., the
grounds, lees, or thick substance settled in the bottom thereof, which you
term melancholy. The bottle of the gall subtracts from thence all the
superfluous choler; whence it is brought to another shop or work-house to
be yet better purified and fined, that is, the heart, which by its
agitation of diastolic and systolic motions so neatly subtilizeth and
inflames it, that in the right side ventricle it is brought to perfection,
and through the veins is sent to all the members. Each parcel of the body
draws it then unto itself, and after its own fashion is cherished and
alimented by it. Feet, hands, thighs, arms, eyes, ears, back, breast, yea,
all; and then it is, that who before were lenders, now become debtors. The
heart doth in its left side ventricle so thinnify the blood, that it
thereby obtains the name of spiritual; which being sent through the
arteries to all the members of the body, serveth to warm and winnow the
other blood which runneth through the veins. The lights never cease with
its lappets and bellows to cool and refresh it, in acknowledgment of which
good the heart, through the arterial vein, imparts unto it the choicest of
its blood. At last it is made so fine and subtle within the rete mirabile,
that thereafter those animal spirits are framed and composed of it, by
means whereof the imagination, discourse, judgment, resolution,
deliberation, ratiocination, and memory have their rise, actings, and

Cops body, I sink, I drown, I perish, I wander astray, and quite fly out of
myself when I enter into the consideration of the profound abyss of this
world, thus lending, thus owing. Believe me, it is a divine thing to
lend,--to owe, an heroic virtue. Yet is not this all. This little world
thus lending, owing, and borrowing, is so good and charitable, that no
sooner is the above-specified alimentation finished, but that it forthwith
projecteth, and hath already forecast, how it shall lend to those who are
not as yet born, and by that loan endeavour what it may to eternize itself,
and multiply in images like the pattern, that is, children. To this end
every member doth of the choicest and most precious of its nourishment pare
and cut off a portion, then instantly despatcheth it downwards to that
place where nature hath prepared for it very fit vessels and receptacles,
through which descending to the genitories by long ambages, circuits, and
flexuosities, it receiveth a competent form, and rooms apt enough both in
man and woman for the future conservation and perpetuating of human kind.
All this is done by loans and debts of the one unto the other; and hence
have we this word, the debt of marriage. Nature doth reckon pain to the
refuser, with a most grievous vexation to his members and an outrageous
fury amidst his senses. But, on the other part, to the lender a set
reward, accompanied with pleasure, joy, solace, mirth, and merry glee.

Chapter 3.V.

How Pantagruel altogether abhorreth the debtors and borrowers.

I understand you very well, quoth Pantagruel, and take you to be very good
at topics, and thoroughly affectioned to your own cause. But preach it up,
and patrocinate it, prattle on it, and defend it as much as you will, even
from hence to the next Whitsuntide, if you please so to do, yet in the end
you will be astonished to find how you shall have gained no ground at all
upon me, nor persuaded me by your fair speeches and smooth talk to enter
never so little into the thraldom of debt. You shall owe to none, saith
the holy Apostle, anything save love, friendship, and a mutual benevolence.

You serve me here, I confess, with fine graphides and diatyposes,
descriptions and figures, which truly please me very well. But let me tell
you, if you will represent unto your fancy an impudent blustering bully and
an importunate borrower, entering afresh and newly into a town already
advertised of his manners, you shall find that at his ingress the citizens
will be more hideously affrighted and amazed, and in a greater terror and
fear, dread, and trembling, than if the pest itself should step into it in
the very same garb and accoutrement wherein the Tyanean philosopher found
it within the city of Ephesus. And I am fully confirmed in the opinion,
that the Persians erred not when they said that the second vice was to lie,
the first being that of owing money. For, in very truth, debts and lying
are ordinarily joined together. I will nevertheless not from hence infer
that none must owe anything or lend anything. For who so rich can be that
sometimes may not owe, or who can be so poor that sometimes may not lend?

Let the occasion, notwithstanding, in that case, as Plato very wisely
sayeth and ordaineth in his laws, be such that none be permitted to draw
any water out of his neighbour's well until first they by continual digging
and delving into their own proper ground shall have hit upon a kind of
potter's earth, which is called ceramite, and there had found no source or
drop of water; for that sort of earth, by reason of its substance, which is
fat, strong, firm, and close, so retaineth its humidity, that it doth not
easily evaporate it by any outward excursion or evaporation.

In good sooth, it is a great shame to choose rather to be still borrowing
in all places from everyone, than to work and win. Then only in my
judgment should one lend, when the diligent, toiling, and industrious
person is no longer able by his labour to make any purchase unto himself,
or otherwise, when by mischance he hath suddenly fallen into an unexpected
loss of his goods.

Howsoever, let us leave this discourse, and from henceforwards do not hang
upon creditors, nor tie yourself to them. I make account for the time past
to rid you freely of them, and from their bondage to deliver you. The
least I should in this point, quoth Panurge, is to thank you, though it be
the most I can do. And if gratitude and thanksgiving be to be estimated
and prized by the affection of the benefactor, that is to be done
infinitely and sempiternally; for the love which you bear me of your own
accord and free grace, without any merit of mine, goeth far beyond the
reach of any price or value. It transcends all weight, all number, all
measure; it is endless and everlasting; therefore, should I offer to
commensurate and adjust it, either to the size and proportion of your own
noble and gracious deeds, or yet to the contentment and delight of the
obliged receivers, I would come off but very faintly and flaggingly. You
have verily done me a great deal of good, and multiplied your favours on me
more frequently than was fitting to one of my condition. You have been
more bountiful towards me than I have deserved, and your courtesies have by
far surpassed the extent of my merits, I must needs confess it. But it is
not, as you suppose, in the proposed matter. For there it is not where I
itch, it is not there where it fretteth, hurts, or vexeth me; for,
henceforth being quit and out of debt, what countenance will I be able to
keep? You may imagine that it will become me very ill for the first month,
because I have never hitherto been brought up or accustomed to it. I am
very much afraid of it. Furthermore, there shall not one hereafter, native
of the country of Salmigondy, but he shall level the shot towards my nose.
All the back-cracking fellows of the world, in discharging of their postern
petarades, use commonly to say, Voila pour les quittes, that is, For the
quit. My life will be of very short continuance, I do foresee it. I
recommend to you the making of my epitaph; for I perceive I will die
confected in the very stench of farts. If, at any time to come, by way of
restorative to such good women as shall happen to be troubled with the
grievous pain of the wind-colic, the ordinary medicaments prove nothing
effectual, the mummy of all my befarted body will straight be as a present
remedy appointed by the physicians; whereof they, taking any small modicum,
it will incontinently for their ease afford them a rattle of bumshot, like
a sal of muskets.

Therefore would I beseech you to leave me some few centuries of debts; as
King Louis the Eleventh, exempting from suits in law the Reverend Miles
d'Illiers, Bishop of Chartres, was by the said bishop most earnestly
solicited to leave him some few for the exercise of his mind. I had rather
give them all my revenue of the periwinkles, together with the other
incomes of the locusts, albeit I should not thereby have any parcel abated
from off the principal sums which I owe. Let us waive this matter, quoth
Pantagruel, I have told it you over again.

Chapter 3.VI.

Why new married men were privileged from going to the wars.

But, in the interim, asked Panurge, by what law was it constituted,
ordained, and established, that such as should plant a new vineyard, those
that should build a new house, and the new married men, should be exempted
and discharged from the duty of warfare for the first year? By the law,
answered Pantagruel, of Moses. Why, replied Panurge, the lately married?
As for the vine-planters, I am now too old to reflect on them; my
condition, at this present, induceth me to remain satisfied with the care
of vintage, finishing and turning the grapes into wine. Nor are these
pretty new builders of dead stones written or pricked down in my Book of
Life. It is all with live stones that I set up and erect the fabrics of my
architecture, to wit, men. It was, according to my opinion, quoth
Pantagruel, to the end, first, that the fresh married folks should for the
first year reap a full and complete fruition of their pleasures in their
mutual exercise of the act of love, in such sort, that in waiting more at
leisure on the production of posterity and propagating of their progeny,
they might the better increase their race and make provision of new heirs.
That if, in the years thereafter, the men should, upon their undergoing of
some military adventure, happen to be killed, their names and coats-of-arms
might continue with their children in the same families. And next, that,
the wives thereby coming to know whether they were barren or fruitful--for
one year's trial, in regard of the maturity of age wherein of old they
married, was held sufficient for the discovery--they might pitch the more
suitably, in case of their first husband's decease, upon a second match.
The fertile women to be wedded to those who desire to multiply their issue;
and the sterile ones to such other mates, as, misregarding the storing of
their own lineage, choose them only for their virtues, learning, genteel
behaviour, domestic consolation, management of the house, and matrimonial
conveniences and comforts, and such like. The preachers of Varennes, saith
Panurge, detest and abhor the second marriages, as altogether foolish and

Foolish and dishonest? quoth Pantagruel. A plague take such preachers!
Yea but, quoth Panurge, the like mischief also befall the Friar Charmer,
who, in a full auditory making a sermon at Pereilly, and therein
abominating the reiteration of marriage and the entering again in the bonds
of a nuptial tie, did swear and heartily give himself to the swiftest devil
in hell, if he had not rather choose, and would much more willingly
undertake the unmaidening or depucelating of a hundred virgins, than the
simple drudgery of one widow. Truly I find your reason in that point right
good and strongly grounded.

But what would you think, if the cause why this exemption or immunity was
granted had no other foundation but that, during the whole space of the
said first year, they so lustily bobbed it with their female consorts, as
both reason and equity require they should do, that they had drained and
evacuated their spermatic vessels; and were become thereby altogether
feeble, weak, emasculated, drooping, and flaggingly pithless; yea, in such
sort that they in the day of battle, like ducks which plunge over head and
ears, would sooner hide themselves behind the baggage, than, in the company
of valiant fighters and daring military combatants, appear where stern
Bellona deals her blows and moves a bustling noise of thwacks and thumps?
Nor is it to be thought that, under the standard of Mars, they will so much
as once strike a fair stroke, because their most considerable knocks have
been already jerked and whirrited within the curtains of his sweetheart

In confirmation whereof, amongst other relics and monuments of antiquity,
we now as yet often see, that in all great houses, after the expiring of
some few days, these young married blades are readily sent away to visit
their uncles, that in the absence of their wives reposing themselves a
little they may recover their decayed strength by the recruit of a fresh
supply, the more vigorous to return again and face about to renew the
duelling shock and conflict of an amorous dalliance, albeit for the greater
part they have neither uncle nor aunt to go to.

Just so did the King Crackart, after the battle of the Cornets, not cashier
us (speaking properly), I mean me and the Quail-caller, but for our
refreshment remanded us to our houses; and he is as yet seeking after his
own. My grandfather's godmother was wont to say to me when I was a boy,--

Patenostres et oraisons
Sont pour ceux-la, qui les retiennent.
Ung fiffre en fenaisons
Est plus fort que deux qui en viennent.

Not orisons nor patenotres
Shall ever disorder my brain.
One cadet, to the field as he flutters,
Is worth two, when they end the campaign.

That which prompteth me to that opinion is, that the vine-planters did
seldom eat of the grapes, or drink of the wine of their labour, till the
first year was wholly elapsed. During all which time also the builders did
hardly inhabit their new-structured dwelling-places, for fear of dying
suffocated through want of respiration; as Galen hath most learnedly
remarked, in the second book of the Difficulty of Breathing. Under favour,
sir, I have not asked this question without cause causing and reason truly
very ratiocinant. Be not offended, I pray you.

Chapter 3.VII.

How Panurge had a flea in his ear, and forbore to wear any longer his
magnificent codpiece.

Panurge, the day thereafter, caused pierce his right ear after the Jewish
fashion, and thereto clasped a little gold ring, of a ferny-like kind of
workmanship, in the beazil or collet whereof was set and enchased a flea;
and, to the end you may be rid of all doubts, you are to know that the flea
was black. O, what a brave thing it is, in every case and circumstance of
a matter, to be thoroughly well informed! The sum of the expense hereof,
being cast up, brought in, and laid down upon his council-board carpet, was
found to amount to no more quarterly than the charge of the nuptials of a
Hircanian tigress; even, as you would say, 600,000 maravedis. At these
vast costs and excessive disbursements, as soon as he perceived himself to
be out of debt, he fretted much; and afterwards, as tyrants and lawyers use
to do, he nourished and fed her with the sweat and blood of his subjects
and clients.

He then took four French ells of a coarse brown russet cloth, and therein
apparelling himself, as with a long, plain-seamed, and single-stitched
gown, left off the wearing of his breeches, and tied a pair of spectacles
to his cap. In this equipage did he present himself before Pantagruel; to
whom this disguise appeared the more strange, that he did not, as before,
see that goodly, fair, and stately codpiece, which was the sole anchor of
hope wherein he was wonted to rely, and last refuge he had midst all the
waves and boisterous billows which a stormy cloud in a cross fortune would
raise up against him. Honest Pantagruel, not understanding the mystery,
asked him, by way of interrogatory, what he did intend to personate in that
new-fangled prosopopoeia. I have, answered Panurge, a flea in mine ear,
and have a mind to marry. In a good time, quoth Pantagruel, you have told
me joyful tidings. Yet would not I hold a red-hot iron in my hand for all
the gladness of them. But it is not the fashion of lovers to be accoutred
in such dangling vestments, so as to have their shirts flagging down over
their knees, without breeches, and with a long robe of a dark brown mingled
hue, which is a colour never used in Talarian garments amongst any persons
of honour, quality, or virtue. If some heretical persons and schismatical
sectaries have at any time formerly been so arrayed and clothed (though
many have imputed such a kind of dress to cosenage, cheat, imposture, and
an affectation of tyranny upon credulous minds of the rude multitude), I
will nevertheless not blame them for it, nor in that point judge rashly or
sinistrously of them. Everyone overflowingly aboundeth in his own sense
and fancy; yea, in things of a foreign consideration, altogether
extrinsical and indifferent, which in and of themselves are neither
commendable nor bad, because they proceed not from the interior of the
thoughts and heart, which is the shop of all good and evil; of goodness, if
it be upright, and that its affections be regulated by the pure and clean
spirit of righteousness; and, on the other side, of wickedness, if its
inclinations, straying beyond the bounds of equity, be corrupted and
depraved by the malice and suggestions of the devil. It is only the
novelty and new-fangledness thereof which I dislike, together with the
contempt of common custom and the fashion which is in use.

The colour, answered Panurge, is convenient, for it is conform to that
of my council-board carpet; therefore will I henceforth hold me with it,
and more narrowly and circumspectly than ever hitherto I have done look to
my affairs and business. Seeing I am once out of debt, you never yet saw
man more unpleasing than I will be, if God help me not. Lo, here be my
spectacles. To see me afar off, you would readily say that it were Friar
(John) Burgess. I believe certainly that in the next ensuing year I shall
once more preach the Crusade. Bounce, buckram. Do you see this russet?
Doubt not but there lurketh under it some hid property and occult virtue
known to very few in the world. I did not take it on before this morning,
and, nevertheless, am already in a rage of lust, mad after a wife, and
vehemently hot upon untying the codpiece-point; I itch, I tingle, I
wriggle, and long exceedingly to be married, that, without the danger of
cudgel-blows, I may labour my female copes-mate with the hard push of a
bull-horned devil. O the provident and thrifty husband that I then will
be! After my death, with all honour and respect due to my frugality, will
they burn the sacred bulk of my body, of purpose to preserve the ashes
thereof, in memory of the choicest pattern that ever was of a perfectly
wary and complete householder. Cops body, this is not the carpet whereon
my treasurer shall be allowed to play false in his accounts with me, by
setting down an X for a V, or an L for an S. For in that case should I
make a hail of fisticuffs to fly into his face. Look upon me, sir, both
before and behind,--it is made after the manner of a toga, which was the
ancient fashion of the Romans in time of peace. I took the mode, shape,
and form thereof in Trajan's Column at Rome, as also in the Triumphant Arch
of Septimus Severus. I am tired of the wars, weary of wearing buff-coats,
cassocks, and hoquetons. My shoulders are pitifully worn and bruised with
the carrying of harness. Let armour cease, and the long robe bear sway!
At least it must be so for the whole space of the succeeding year, if I be
married; as yesterday, by the Mosaic law, you evidenced. In what
concerneth the breeches, my great-aunt Laurence did long ago tell me, that
the breeches were only ordained for the use of the codpiece, and to no
other end; which I, upon a no less forcible consequence, give credit to
every whit, as well as to the saying of the fine fellow Galen, who in his
ninth book, Of the Use and Employment of our Members, allegeth that the
head was made for the eyes. For nature might have placed our heads in our
knees or elbows, but having beforehand determined that the eyes should
serve to discover things from afar, she for the better enabling them to
execute their designed office, fixed them in the head, as on the top of a
long pole, in the most eminent part of all the body--no otherwise than we
see the phares, or high towers erected in the mouths of havens, that
navigators may the further off perceive with ease the lights of the nightly
fires and lanterns. And because I would gladly, for some short while, a
year at least, take a little rest and breathing time from the toilsome
labour of the military profession, that is to say, be married, I have
desisted from wearing any more a codpiece, and consequently have laid aside
my breeches. For the codpiece is the principal and most especial piece of
armour that a warrior doth carry; and therefore do I maintain even to the
fire (exclusively, understand you me), that no Turks can properly be said
to be armed men, in regard that codpieces are by their law forbidden to be

Chapter 3.VIII.

Why the codpiece is held to be the chief piece of armour amongst warriors.

Will you maintain, quoth Pantagruel, that the codpiece is the chief piece
of a military harness? It is a new kind of doctrine, very paradoxical; for
we say, At spurs begins the arming of a man. Sir, I maintain it, answered
Panurge, and not wrongfully do I maintain it. Behold how nature, having a
fervent desire, after its production of plants, trees, shrubs, herbs,
sponges, and plant-animals, to eternize and continue them unto all
succession of ages (in their several kinds or sorts, at least, although the
individuals perish) unruinable, and in an everlasting being, hath most
curiously armed and fenced their buds, sprouts, shoots, and seeds, wherein
the above-mentioned perpetuity consisteth, by strengthening, covering,
guarding, and fortifying them with an admirable industry, with husks,
cases, scurfs and swads, hulls, cods, stones, films, cartels, shells, ears,
rinds, barks, skins, ridges, and prickles, which serve them instead of
strong, fair, and natural codpieces. As is manifestly apparent in pease,
beans, fasels, pomegranates, peaches, cottons, gourds, pumpions, melons,
corn, lemons, almonds, walnuts, filberts, and chestnuts; as likewise in all
plants, slips, or sets whatsoever, wherein it is plainly and evidently
seen, that the sperm and semence is more closely veiled, overshadowed,
corroborated, and thoroughly harnessed, than any other part, portion, or
parcel of the whole.

Nature, nevertheless, did not after that manner provide for the
sempiternizing of (the) human race; but, on the contrary, created man
naked, tender, and frail, without either offensive or defensive arms; and
that in the estate of innocence, in the first age of all, which was the
golden season; not as a plant, but living creature, born for peace, not
war, and brought forth into the world with an unquestionable right and
title to the plenary fruition and enjoyment of all fruits and vegetables,
as also to a certain calm and gentle rule and dominion over all kinds of
beasts, fowls, fishes, reptiles, and insects. Yet afterwards it happening
in the time of the iron age, under the reign of Jupiter, when, to the
multiplication of mischievous actions, wickedness and malice began to take
root and footing within the then perverted hearts of men, that the earth
began to bring forth nettles, thistles, thorns, briars, and such other
stubborn and rebellious vegetables to the nature of man. Nor scarce was
there any animal which by a fatal disposition did not then revolt from him,
and tacitly conspire and covenant with one another to serve him no longer,
nor, in case of their ability to resist, to do him any manner of obedience,
but rather, to the uttermost of their power, to annoy him with all the hurt
and harm they could. The man, then, that he might maintain his primitive
right and prerogative, and continue his sway and dominion over all, both
vegetable and sensitive creatures, and knowing of a truth that he could not
be well accommodated as he ought without the servitude and subjection of
several animals, bethought himself that of necessity he must needs put on
arms, and make provision of harness against wars and violence. By the holy
Saint Babingoose, cried out Pantagruel, you are become, since the last
rain, a great lifrelofre,--philosopher, I should say. Take notice, sir,
quoth Panurge, when Dame Nature had prompted him to his own arming, what
part of the body it was, where, by her inspiration, he clapped on the first
harness. It was forsooth by the double pluck of my little dog the ballock
and good Senor Don Priapos Stabo-stando--which done, he was content, and
sought no more. This is certified by the testimony of the great Hebrew
captain (and) philosopher Moses, who affirmeth that he fenced that member
with a brave and gallant codpiece, most exquisitely framed, and by right
curious devices of a notably pregnant invention made up and composed of
fig-tree leaves, which by reason of their solid stiffness, incisory
notches, curled frizzling, sleeked smoothness, large ampleness, together
with their colour, smell, virtue, and faculty, were exceeding proper and
fit for the covering and arming of the satchels of generation--the
hideously big Lorraine cullions being from thence only excepted, which,
swaggering down to the lowermost bottom of the breeches, cannot abide, for
being quite out of all order and method, the stately fashion of the high
and lofty codpiece; as is manifest by the noble Valentine Viardiere, whom I
found at Nancy, on the first day of May--the more flauntingly to
gallantrize it afterwards--rubbing his ballocks, spread out upon a table
after the manner of a Spanish cloak. Wherefore it is, that none should
henceforth say, who would not speak improperly, when any country bumpkin
hieth to the wars, Have a care, my roister, of the wine-pot, that is, the
skull, but, Have a care, my roister, of the milk-pot, that is, the
testicles. By the whole rabble of the horned fiends of hell, the head
being cut off, that single person only thereby dieth. But, if the ballocks
be marred, the whole race of human kind would forthwith perish, and be lost
for ever.

This was the motive which incited the goodly writer Galen, Lib. 1. De
Spermate, to aver with boldness that it were better, that is to say, a less
evil, to have no heart at all than to be quite destitute of genitories; for
there is laid up, conserved, and put in store, as in a secessive repository
and sacred warehouse, the semence and original source of the whole
offspring of mankind. Therefore would I be apt to believe, for less than a
hundred francs, that those are the very same stones by means whereof
Deucalion and Pyrrha restored the human race, in peopling with men and
women the world, which a little before that had been drowned in the
overflowing waves of a poetical deluge. This stirred up the valiant
Justinian, L. 4. De Cagotis tollendis, to collocate his Summum Bonum, in
Braguibus, et Braguetis. For this and other causes, the Lord Humphrey de
Merville, following of his king to a certain warlike expedition, whilst he
was in trying upon his own person a new suit of armour, for of his old
rusty harness he could make no more use, by reason that some few years
since the skin of his belly was a great way removed from his kidneys, his
lady thereupon, in the profound musing of a contemplative spirit, very
maturely considering that he had but small care of the staff of love and
packet of marriage, seeing he did no otherwise arm that part of the body
than with links of mail, advised him to shield, fence, and gabionate it
with a big tilting helmet which she had lying in her closet, to her
otherwise utterly unprofitable. On this lady were penned these subsequent
verses, which are extant in the third book of the Shitbrana of Paltry

When Yoland saw her spouse equipp'd for fight,
And, save the codpiece, all in armour dight,
My dear, she cried, why, pray, of all the rest
Is that exposed, you know I love the best?
Was she to blame for an ill-managed fear,--
Or rather pious, conscionable care?
Wise lady, she! In hurlyburly fight,
Can any tell where random blows may light?

Leave off then, sir, from being astonished, and wonder no more at this new
manner of decking and trimming up of myself as you now see me.

Chapter 3.IX.

How Panurge asketh counsel of Pantagruel whether he should marry, yea, or

To this Pantagruel replying nothing, Panurge prosecuted the discourse he
had already broached, and therewithal fetching, as from the bottom of his
heart, a very deep sigh, said, My lord and master, you have heard the
design I am upon, which is to marry, if by some disastrous mischance all
the holes in the world be not shut up, stopped, closed, and bushed. I
humbly beseech you, for the affection which of a long time you have borne
me, to give me your best advice therein. Then, answered Pantagruel, seeing
you have so decreed, taken deliberation thereon, and that the matter is
fully determined, what need is there of any further talk thereof, but
forthwith to put it into execution what you have resolved? Yea but, quoth
Panurge, I would be loth to act anything therein without your counsel had
thereto. It is my judgment also, quoth Pantagruel, and I advise you to it.
Nevertheless, quoth Panurge, if I understood aright that it were much
better for me to remain a bachelor as I am, than to run headlong upon new
hairbrained undertakings of conjugal adventure, I would rather choose not
to marry. Quoth Pantagruel, Then do not marry. Yea but, quoth Panurge,
would you have me so solitarily drive out the whole course of my life,
without the comfort of a matrimonial consort? You know it is written, Vae
soli! and a single person is never seen to reap the joy and solace that is
found with married folks. Then marry, in the name of God, quoth
Pantagruel. But if, quoth Panurge, my wife should make me a cuckold--as it
is not unknown unto you, how this hath been a very plentiful year in the
production of that kind of cattle--I would fly out, and grow impatient
beyond all measure and mean. I love cuckolds with my heart, for they seem
unto me to be of a right honest conversation, and I truly do very willingly
frequent their company; but should I die for it, I would not be one of
their number. That is a point for me of a too sore prickling point. Then
do not marry, quoth Pantagruel, for without all controversy this sentence
of Seneca is infallibly true, What thou to others shalt have done, others
will do the like to thee. Do you, quoth Panurge, aver that without all
exception? Yes, truly, quoth Pantagruel, without all exception. Ho, ho,
says Panurge, by the wrath of a little devil, his meaning is, either in
this world or in the other which is to come. Yet seeing I can no more want
a wife than a blind man his staff--(for) the funnel must be in agitation,
without which manner of occupation I cannot live--were it not a great deal
better for me to apply and associate myself to some one honest, lovely, and
virtuous woman, than as I do, by a new change of females every day, run a
hazard of being bastinadoed, or, which is worse, of the great pox, if not
of both together. For never--be it spoken by their husbands' leave and
favour--had I enjoyment yet of an honest woman. Marry then, in God's name,
quoth Pantagruel. But if, quoth Panurge, it were the will of God, and that
my destiny did unluckily lead me to marry an honest woman who should beat
me, I would be stored with more than two third parts of the patience of
Job, if I were not stark mad by it, and quite distracted with such rugged
dealings. For it hath been told me that those exceeding honest women have
ordinarily very wicked head-pieces; therefore is it that their family
lacketh not for good vinegar. Yet in that case should it go worse with me,
if I did not then in such sort bang her back and breast, so thumpingly
bethwack her gillets, to wit, her arms, legs, head, lights, liver, and
milt, with her other entrails, and mangle, jag, and slash her coats so
after the cross-billet fashion that the greatest devil of hell should wait
at the gate for the reception of her damnel soul. I could make a shift for
this year to waive such molestation and disquiet, and be content to lay
aside that trouble, and not to be engaged in it.

Do not marry then, answered Pantagruel. Yea but, quoth Panurge,
considering the condition wherein I now am, out of debt and unmarried; mark
what I say, free from all debt, in an ill hour, for, were I deeply on the
score, my creditors would be but too careful of my paternity, but being
quit, and not married, nobody will be so regardful of me, or carry towards
me a love like that which is said to be in a conjugal affection. And if by
some mishap I should fall sick, I would be looked to very waywardly. The
wise man saith, Where there is no woman--I mean the mother of a family and
wife in the union of a lawful wedlock--the crazy and diseased are in danger
of being ill used and of having much brabbling and strife about them; as by
clear experience hath been made apparent in the persons of popes, legates,
cardinals, bishops, abbots, priors, priests, and monks; but there, assure
yourself, you shall not find me. Marry then, in the name of God, answered
Pantagruel. But if, quoth Panurge, being ill at ease, and possibly through
that distemper made unable to discharge the matrimonial duty that is
incumbent to an active husband, my wife, impatient of that drooping
sickness and faint-fits of a pining languishment, should abandon and
prostitute herself to the embraces of another man, and not only then not
help and assist me in my extremity and need, but withal flout at and make
sport of that my grievous distress and calamity; or peradventure, which is
worse, embezzle my goods and steal from me, as I have seen it oftentimes
befall unto the lot of many other men, it were enough to undo me utterly,
to fill brimful the cup of my misfortune, and make me play the mad-pate
reeks of Bedlam. Do not marry then, quoth Pantagruel. Yea but, said
Panurge, I shall never by any other means come to have lawful sons and
daughters, in whom I may harbour some hope of perpetuating my name and
arms, and to whom also I may leave and bequeath my inheritances and
purchased goods (of which latter sort you need not doubt but that in some
one or other of these mornings I will make a fair and goodly show), that so
I may cheer up and make merry when otherwise I should be plunged into a
peevish sullen mood of pensive sullenness, as I do perceive daily by the
gentle and loving carriage of your kind and gracious father towards you; as
all honest folks use to do at their own homes and private dwelling-houses.
For being free from debt, and yet not married, if casually I should fret
and be angry, although the cause of my grief and displeasure were never so
just, I am afraid, instead of consolation, that I should meet with nothing
else but scoffs, frumps, gibes, and mocks at my disastrous fortune. Marry
then, in the name of God, quoth Pantagruel.

Chapter 3.X.

How Pantagruel representeth unto Panurge the difficulty of giving advice in
the matter of marriage; and to that purpose mentioneth somewhat of the
Homeric and Virgilian lotteries.

Your counsel, quoth Panurge, under your correction and favour, seemeth unto
me not unlike to the song of Gammer Yea-by-nay. It is full of sarcasms,
mockeries, bitter taunts, nipping bobs, derisive quips, biting jerks, and
contradictory iterations, the one part destroying the other. I know not,
quoth Pantagruel, which of all my answers to lay hold on; for your
proposals are so full of ifs and buts, that I can ground nothing on them,
nor pitch upon any solid and positive determination satisfactory to what is
demanded by them. Are not you assured within yourself of what you have a
mind to? The chief and main point of the whole matter lieth there. All
the rest is merely casual, and totally dependeth upon the fatal disposition
of the heavens.

We see some so happy in the fortune of this nuptial encounter, that their
family shineth as it were with the radiant effulgency of an idea, model, or
representation of the joys of paradise; and perceive others, again, to be
so unluckily matched in the conjugal yoke, that those very basest of devils
which tempt the hermits that inhabit the deserts of Thebais and Montserrat
are not more miserable than they. It is therefore expedient, seeing you
are resolved for once to take a trial of the state of marriage, that, with
shut eyes, bowing your head, and kissing the ground, you put the business
to a venture, and give it a fair hazard, in recommending the success of the
residue to the disposure of Almighty God. It lieth not in my power to give
you any other manner of assurance, or otherwise to certify you of what
shall ensue on this your undertaking. Nevertheless, if it please you, this
you may do. Bring hither Virgil's poems, that after having opened the
book, and with our fingers severed the leaves thereof three several times,
we may, according to the number agreed upon betwixt ourselves, explore the
future hap of your intended marriage. For frequently by a Homeric lottery
have many hit upon their destinies; as is testified in the person of
Socrates, who, whilst he was in prison, hearing the recitation of this
verse of Homer, said of Achilles in the Ninth of the Iliads--

Emati ke tritato Phthien eribolon ikoimen,

We, the third day, to fertile Pthia came--

thereby foresaw that on the third subsequent day he was to die. Of the
truth whereof he assured Aeschines; as Plato, in Critone, Cicero, in Primo,
de Divinatione, Diogenes Laertius, and others, have to the full recorded in
their works. The like is also witnessed by Opilius Macrinus, to whom,
being desirous to know if he should be the Roman emperor, befell, by chance
of lot, this sentence in the Eighth of the Iliads--

O geron, e mala de se neoi teirousi machetai,
Ze de bin lelutai, chalepon de se geras opazei.

Dotard, new warriors urge thee to be gone.
Thy life decays, and old age weighs thee down.

In fact, he, being then somewhat ancient, had hardly enjoyed the
sovereignty of the empire for the space of fourteen months, when by
Heliogabalus, then both young and strong, he was dispossessed thereof,
thrust out of all, and killed. Brutus doth also bear witness of another
experiment of this nature, who willing, through this exploratory way by
lot, to learn what the event and issue should be of the Pharsalian battle
wherein he perished, he casually encountered on this verse, said of
Patroclus in the Sixteenth of the Iliads--

Alla me moir oloe, kai Letous ektanen uios.

Fate, and Latona's son have shot me dead.

And accordingly Apollo was the field-word in the dreadful day of that
fight. Divers notable things of old have likewise been foretold and known
by casting of Virgilian lots; yea, in matters of no less importance than
the obtaining of the Roman empire, as it happened to Alexander Severus,
who, trying his fortune at the said kind of lottery, did hit upon this
verse written in the Sixth of the Aeneids--

Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento.

Know, Roman, that thy business is to reign.

He, within very few years thereafter, was effectually and in good earnest
created and installed Roman emperor. A semblable story thereto is related
of Adrian, who, being hugely perplexed within himself out of a longing
humour to know in what account he was with the Emperor Trajan, and how
large the measure of that affection was which he did bear unto him, had
recourse, after the manner above specified, to the Maronian lottery, which
by haphazard tendered him these lines out of the Sixth of the Aeneids--

Quis procul ille autem, ramis insignis olivae
Sacra ferens? Nosco crines incanaque menta
Regis Romani.

But who is he, conspicuous from afar,
With olive boughs, that doth his offerings bear?
By the white hair and beard I know him plain,
The Roman king.

Shortly thereafter was he adopted by Trajan, and succeeded to him in the
empire. Moreover, to the lot of the praiseworthy Emperor Claudius befell
this line of Virgil, written in the Sixth of his Aeneids--

Tertia dum Latio regnantem viderit aestas.

Whilst the third summer saw him reign, a king
In Latium.

And in effect he did not reign above two years. To the said Claudian also,
inquiring concerning his brother Quintilius, whom he proposed as a
colleague with himself in the empire, happened the response following in
the Sixth of the Aeneids--

Ostendent terris hunc tantum fata.

Whom Fate let us see,
And would no longer suffer him to be.

And it so fell out; for he was killed on the seventeenth day after he had
attained unto the management of the imperial charge. The very same lot,
also, with the like misluck, did betide the Emperor Gordian the younger.
To Claudius Albinus, being very solicitous to understand somewhat of his
future adventures, did occur this saying, which is written in the Sixth of
the Aeneids--

Hic rem Romanam magno turbante tumultu
Sistet Eques, &c.

The Romans, boiling with tumultuous rage,
This warrior shall the dangerous storm assuage:
With victories he the Carthaginian mauls,
And with strong hand shall crush the rebel Gauls.

Likewise, when the Emperor D. Claudius, Aurelian's predecessor, did with
great eagerness research after the fate to come of his posterity, his hap
was to alight on this verse in the First of the Aeneids--

Hic ego nec metas rerum, nec tempora pono.

No bounds are to be set, no limits here.

Which was fulfilled by the goodly genealogical row of his race. When Mr.
Peter Amy did in like manner explore and make trial if he should escape the
ambush of the hobgoblins who lay in wait all-to-bemaul him, he fell upon
this verse in the Third of the Aeneids--

Heu! fuge crudeles terras, fuge littus avarum!

Oh, flee the bloody land, the wicked shore!

Which counsel he obeying, safe and sound forthwith avoided all these

Were it not to shun prolixity, I could enumerate a thousand such like
adventures, which, conform to the dictate and verdict of the verse, have by
that manner of lot-casting encounter befallen to the curious researchers of
them. Do not you nevertheless imagine, lest you should be deluded, that I
would upon this kind of fortune-flinging proof infer an uncontrollable and
not to be gainsaid infallibility of truth.

Chapter 3.XI.

How Pantagruel showeth the trial of one's fortune by the throwing of dice
to be unlawful.

It would be sooner done, quoth Panurge, and more expeditely, if we should
try the matter at the chance of three fair dice. Quoth Pantagruel, That
sort of lottery is deceitful, abusive, illicitous, and exceedingly
scandalous. Never trust in it. The accursed book of the Recreation of
Dice was a great while ago excogitated in Achaia, near Bourre, by that
ancient enemy of mankind, the infernal calumniator, who, before the statue
or massive image of the Bourraic Hercules, did of old, and doth in several
places of the world as yet, make many simple souls to err and fall into his
snares. You know how my father Gargantua hath forbidden it over all his
kingdoms and dominions; how he hath caused burn the moulds and draughts
thereof, and altogether suppressed, abolished, driven forth, and cast it
out of the land, as a most dangerous plague and infection to any well-
polished state or commonwealth. What I have told you of dice, I say the
same of the play at cockall. It is a lottery of the like guile and
deceitfulness; and therefore do not for convincing of me allege in
opposition to this my opinion, or bring in the example of the fortunate
cast of Tiberius, within the fountain of Aponus, at the oracle of Gerion.
These are the baited hooks by which the devil attracts and draweth unto him
the foolish souls of silly people into eternal perdition.

Nevertheless, to satisfy your humour in some measure, I am content you
throw three dice upon this table, that, according to the number of the
blots which shall happen to be cast up, we may hit upon a verse of that
page which in the setting open of the book you shall have pitched upon.

Have you any dice in your pocket? A whole bagful, answered Panurge. That
is provision against the devil, as is expounded by Merlin Coccaius, Lib.
2. De Patria Diabolorum. The devil would be sure to take me napping, and
very much at unawares, if he should find me without dice. With this, the
three dice being taken out, produced, and thrown, they fell so pat upon the
lower points that the cast was five, six, and five. These are, quoth
Panurge, sixteen in all. Let us take the sixteenth line of the page. The
number pleaseth me very well; I hope we shall have a prosperous and happy
chance. May I be thrown amidst all the devils of hell, even as a great
bowl cast athwart at a set of ninepins, or cannon-ball shot among a
battalion of foot, in case so many times I do not boult my future wife the
first night of our marriage! Of that, forsooth, I make no doubt at all,
quoth Pantagruel. You needed not to have rapped forth such a horrid
imprecation, the sooner to procure credit for the performance of so small a
business, seeing possibly the first bout will be amiss, and that you know
is usually at tennis called fifteen. At the next justling turn you may
readily amend that fault, and so complete your reckoning of sixteen. Is it
so, quoth Panurge, that you understand the matter? And must my words be
thus interpreted? Nay, believe me never yet was any solecism committed by
that valiant champion who often hath for me in Belly-dale stood sentry at
the hypogastrian cranny. Did you ever hitherto find me in the
confraternity of the faulty? Never, I trow; never, nor ever shall, for
ever and a day. I do the feat like a goodly friar or father confessor,
without default. And therein am I willing to be judged by the players. He
had no sooner spoke these words than the works of Virgil were brought in.
But before the book was laid open, Panurge said to Pantagruel, My heart,
like the furch of a hart in a rut, doth beat within my breast. Be pleased
to feel and grope my pulse a little on this artery of my left arm. At its
frequent rise and fall you would say that they swinge and belabour me after
the manner of a probationer, posed and put to a peremptory trial in the
examination of his sufficiency for the discharge of the learned duty of a
graduate in some eminent degree in the college of the Sorbonists.

But would you not hold it expedient, before we proceed any further, that we
should invocate Hercules and the Tenetian goddesses who in the chamber of
lots are said to rule, sit in judgment, and bear a presidential sway?
Neither him nor them, answered Pantagruel; only open up the leaves of the
book with your fingers, and set your nails awork.

Chapter 3.XII.

How Pantagruel doth explore by the Virgilian lottery what fortune Panurge
shall have in his marriage.

Then at the opening of the book in the sixteenth row of the lines of the
disclosed page did Panurge encounter upon this following verse:

Nec Deus hunc mensa, Dea nec dignata cubili est.

The god him from his table banished,
Nor would the goddess have him in her bed.

This response, quoth Pantagruel, maketh not very much for your benefit or
advantage; for it plainly signifies and denoteth that your wife shall be a
strumpet, and yourself by consequence a cuckold. The goddess, whom you
shall not find propitious nor favourable unto you, is Minerva, a most
redoubtable and dreadful virgin, a powerful and fulminating goddess, an
enemy to cuckolds and effeminate youngsters, to cuckold-makers and
adulterers. The god is Jupiter, a terrible and thunder-striking god from
heaven. And withal it is to be remarked, that, conform to the doctrine of
the ancient Etrurians, the manubes, for so did they call the darting hurls
or slinging casts of the Vulcanian thunderbolts, did only appertain to her
and to Jupiter her father capital. This was verified in the conflagration
of the ships of Ajax Oileus, nor doth this fulminating power belong to any
other of the Olympic gods. Men, therefore, stand not in such fear of them.
Moreover, I will tell you, and you may take it as extracted out of the
profoundest mysteries of mythology, that, when the giants had enterprised
the waging of a war against the power of the celestial orbs, the gods at
first did laugh at those attempts, and scorned such despicable enemies, who
were, in their conceit, not strong enough to cope in feats of warfare with
their pages; but when they saw by the gigantine labour the high hill Pelion
set on lofty Ossa, and that the mount Olympus was made shake to be erected
on the top of both, then was it that Jupiter held a parliament, or general
convention, wherein it was unanimously resolved upon and condescended to by
all the gods, that they should worthily and valiantly stand to their
defence. And because they had often seen battles lost by the cumbersome
lets and disturbing encumbrances of women confusedly huddled in amongst
armies, it was at that time decreed and enacted that they should expel and
drive out of heaven into Egypt and the confines of Nile that whole crew of
goddesses, disguised in the shapes of weasels, polecats, bats, shrew-mice,
ferrets, fulmarts, and other such like odd transformations; only Minerva
was reserved to participate with Jupiter in the horrific fulminating power,
as being the goddess both of war and learning, of arts and arms, of counsel
and despatch--a goddess armed from her birth, a goddess dreaded in heaven,
in the air, by sea and land. By the belly of Saint Buff, quoth Panurge,
should I be Vulcan, whom the poet blazons? Nay, I am neither a cripple,
coiner of false money, nor smith, as he was. My wife possibly will be as
comely and handsome as ever was his Venus, but not a whore like her, nor I
a cuckold like him. The crook-legged slovenly slave made himself to be
declared a cuckold by a definite sentence and judgment, in the open view of
all the gods. For this cause ought you to interpret the afore-mentioned
verse quite contrary to what you have said. This lot importeth that my
wife will be honest, virtuous, chaste, loyal, and faithful; not armed,
surly, wayward, cross, giddy, humorous, heady, hairbrained, or extracted
out of the brains, as was the goddess Pallas; nor shall this fair jolly
Jupiter be my co-rival. He shall never dip his bread in my broth, though
we should sit together at one table.

Consider his exploits and gallant actions. He was the manifest ruffian,
wencher, whoremonger, and most infamous cuckold-maker that ever breathed.
He did always lecher it like a boar, and no wonder, for he was fostered by
a sow in the Isle of Candia, if Agathocles the Babylonian be not a liar,
and more rammishly lascivious than a buck; whence it is that he is said by
others to have been suckled and fed with the milk of the Amalthaean goat.
By the virtue of Acheron, he justled, bulled, and lastauriated in one day
the third part of the world, beasts and people, floods and mountains; that
was Europa. For this grand subagitatory achievement the Ammonians caused
draw, delineate, and paint him in the figure and shape of a ram ramming,
and horned ram. But I know well enough how to shield and preserve myself
from that horned champion. He will not, trust me, have to deal in my
person with a sottish, dunsical Amphitryon, nor with a silly witless Argus,
for all his hundred spectacles, nor yet with the cowardly meacock Acrisius,
the simple goose-cap Lycus of Thebes, the doting blockhead Agenor, the
phlegmatic pea-goose Aesop, rough-footed Lycaon, the luskish misshapen
Corytus of Tuscany, nor with the large-backed and strong-reined Atlas. Let
him alter, change, transform, and metamorphose himself into a hundred
various shapes and figures, into a swan, a bull, a satyr, a shower of gold,
or into a cuckoo, as he did when he unmaidened his sister Juno; into an
eagle, ram, or dove, as when he was enamoured of the virgin Phthia, who
then dwelt in the Aegean territory; into fire, a serpent, yea, even into a
flea; into Epicurean and Democratical atoms, or, more
Magistronostralistically, into those sly intentions of the mind, which in
the schools are called second notions,--I'll catch him in the nick, and
take him napping. And would you know what I would do unto him? Even that
which to his father Coelum Saturn did--Seneca foretold it of me, and
Lactantius hath confirmed it--what the goddess Rhea did to Athis. I would
make him two stone lighter, rid him of his Cyprian cymbals, and cut so
close and neatly by the breech, that there shall not remain thereof so much
as one--, so cleanly would I shave him, and disable him for ever from being
Pope, for Testiculos non habet. Hold there, said Pantagruel; ho, soft and
fair, my lad! Enough of that,--cast up, turn over the leaves, and try your
fortune for the second time. Then did he fall upon this ensuing verse:

Membra quatit, gelidusque coit formidine sanguis.

His joints and members quake, he becomes pale,
And sudden fear doth his cold blood congeal.

This importeth, quoth Pantagruel, that she will soundly bang your back and
belly. Clean and quite contrary, answered Panurge; it is of me that he
prognosticates, in saying that I will beat her like a tiger if she vex me.
Sir Martin Wagstaff will perform that office, and in default of a cudgel,
the devil gulp him, if I should not eat her up quick, as Candaul the Lydian
king did his wife, whom he ravened and devoured.

You are very stout, says Pantagruel, and courageous; Hercules himself durst
hardly adventure to scuffle with you in this your raging fury. Nor is it
strange; for the Jan is worth two, and two in fight against Hercules are
too too strong. Am I a Jan? quoth Panurge. No, no, answered Pantagruel.
My mind was only running upon the lurch and tricktrack. Thereafter did he
hit, at the third opening of the book, upon this verse:

Foemineo praedae, et spoliorum ardebat amore.

After the spoil and pillage, as in fire,
He burnt with a strong feminine desire.

This portendeth, quoth Pantagruel, that she will steal your goods, and rob
you. Hence this, according to these three drawn lots, will be your future
destiny, I clearly see it,--you will be a cuckold, you will be beaten, and
you will be robbed. Nay, it is quite otherwise, quoth Panurge; for it is
certain that this verse presageth that she will love me with a perfect
liking. Nor did the satyr-writing poet lie in proof hereof, when he
affirmed that a woman, burning with extreme affection, takes sometimes
pleasure to steal from her sweetheart. And what, I pray you? A glove, a
point, or some such trifling toy of no importance, to make him keep a
gentle kind of stirring in the research and quest thereof. In like manner,
these small scolding debates and petty brabbling contentions, which
frequently we see spring up and for a certain space boil very hot betwixt a
couple of high-spirited lovers, are nothing else but recreative diversions
for their refreshment, spurs to and incentives of a more fervent amity than
ever. As, for example, we do sometimes see cutlers with hammers maul their
finest whetstones, therewith to sharpen their iron tools the better. And
therefore do I think that these three lots make much for my advantage;
which, if not, I from their sentence totally appeal. There is no
appellation, quoth Pantagruel, from the decrees of fate or destiny, of lot
or chance; as is recorded by our ancient lawyers, witness Baldus, Lib. ult.
Cap. de Leg. The reason hereof is, Fortune doth not acknowledge a
superior, to whom an appeal may be made from her or any of her substitutes.
And in this case the pupil cannot be restored to his right in full, as
openly by the said author is alleged in L. Ait Praetor, paragr. ult. ff. de

Chapter 3.XIII.

How Pantagruel adviseth Panurge to try the future good or bad luck of his
marriage by dreams.

Now, seeing we cannot agree together in the manner of expounding or
interpreting the sense of the Virgilian lots, let us bend our course
another way, and try a new sort of divination. Of what kind? asked
Panurge. Of a good ancient and authentic fashion, answered Pantagruel; it
is by dreams. For in dreaming, such circumstances and conditions being
thereto adhibited, as are clearly enough described by Hippocrates, in Lib.
Peri ton enupnion, by Plato, Plotin, Iamblicus, Sinesius, Aristotle,
Xenophon, Galen, Plutarch, Artemidorus, Daldianus, Herophilus, Q. Calaber,
Theocritus, Pliny, Athenaeus, and others, the soul doth oftentimes foresee
what is to come. How true this is, you may conceive by a very vulgar and
familiar example; as when you see that at such a time as suckling babes,
well nourished, fed, and fostered with good milk, sleep soundly and
profoundly, the nurses in the interim get leave to sport themselves, and
are licentiated to recreate their fancies at what range to them shall seem
most fitting and expedient, their presence, sedulity, and attendance on
the cradle being, during all that space, held unnecessary. Even just so,
when our body is at rest, that the concoction is everywhere accomplished,
and that, till it awake, it lacks for nothing, our soul delighteth to
disport itself and is well pleased in that frolic to take a review of its
native country, which is the heavens, where it receiveth a most notable
participation of its first beginning with an imbuement from its divine
source, and in contemplation of that infinite and intellectual sphere,
whereof the centre is everywhere, and the circumference in no place of the
universal world, to wit, God, according to the doctrine of Hermes
Trismegistus, to whom no new thing happeneth, whom nothing that is past
escapeth, and unto whom all things are alike present, remarketh not only
what is preterit and gone in the inferior course and agitation of sublunary
matters, but withal taketh notice what is to come; then bringing a relation
of those future events unto the body of the outward senses and exterior
organs, it is divulged abroad unto the hearing of others. Whereupon the
owner of that soul deserveth to be termed a vaticinator, or prophet.
Nevertheless, the truth is, that the soul is seldom able to report those
things in such sincerity as it hath seen them, by reason of the
imperfection and frailty of the corporeal senses, which obstruct the
effectuating of that office; even as the moon doth not communicate unto
this earth of ours that light which she receiveth from the sun with so much
splendour, heat, vigour, purity, and liveliness as it was given her. Hence
it is requisite for the better reading, explaining, and unfolding of these
somniatory vaticinations and predictions of that nature, that a dexterous,
learned, skilful, wise, industrious, expert, rational, and peremptory
expounder or interpreter be pitched upon, such a one as by the Greeks is
called onirocrit, or oniropolist. For this cause Heraclitus was wont to
say that nothing is by dreams revealed to us, that nothing is by dreams
concealed from us, and that only we thereby have a mystical signification
and secret evidence of things to come, either for our own prosperous or
unlucky fortune, or for the favourable or disastrous success of another.
The sacred Scriptures testify no less, and profane histories assure us of
it, in both which are exposed to our view a thousand several kinds of
strange adventures, which have befallen pat according to the nature of the
dream, and that as well to the party dreamer as to others. The Atlantic
people, and those that inhabit the (is)land of Thasos, one of the Cyclades,
are of this grand commodity deprived; for in their countries none yet ever
dreamed. Of this sort (were) Cleon of Daulia, Thrasymedes, and in our days
the learned Frenchman Villanovanus, neither of all which knew what dreaming

Fail not therefore to-morrow, when the jolly and fair Aurora with her rosy
fingers draweth aside the curtains of the night to drive away the sable
shades of darkness, to bend your spirits wholly to the task of sleeping
sound, and thereto apply yourself. In the meanwhile you must denude your
mind of every human passion or affection, such as are love and hatred, fear
and hope, for as of old the great vaticinator, most famous and renowned
prophet Proteus, was not able in his disguise or transformation into fire,
water, a tiger, a dragon, and other such like uncouth shapes and visors, to
presage anything that was to come till he was restored to his own first
natural and kindly form; just so doth man; for, at his reception of the art
of divination and faculty of prognosticating future things, that part in
him which is the most divine, to wit, the Nous, or Mens, must be calm,
peaceable, untroubled, quiet, still, hushed, and not embusied or distracted
with foreign, soul-disturbing perturbations. I am content, quoth Panurge.
But, I pray you, sir, must I this evening, ere I go to bed, eat much or
little? I do not ask this without cause. For if I sup not well, large,
round, and amply, my sleeping is not worth a forked turnip. All the night
long I then but doze and rave, and in my slumbering fits talk idle
nonsense, my thoughts being in a dull brown study, and as deep in their
dumps as is my belly hollow.

Not to sup, answered Pantagruel, were best for you, considering the state
of your complexion and healthy constitution of your body. A certain very
ancient prophet, named Amphiaraus, wished such as had a mind by dreams to
be imbued with any oracle, for four-and-twenty hours to taste no victuals,
and to abstain from wine three days together. Yet shall not you be put to
such a sharp, hard, rigorous, and extreme sparing diet. I am truly right
apt to believe that a man whose stomach is replete with various cheer, and
in a manner surfeited with drinking, is hardly able to conceive aright of
spiritual things; yet am not I of the opinion of those who, after long and
pertinacious fastings, think by such means to enter more profoundly into
the speculation of celestial mysteries. You may very well remember how my
father Gargantua (whom here for honour sake I name) hath often told us that
the writings of abstinent, abstemious, and long-fasting hermits were every
whit as saltless, dry, jejune, and insipid as were their bodies when they
did compose them. It is a most difficult thing for the spirits to be in a
good plight, serene and lively, when there is nothing in the body but a
kind of voidness and inanity; seeing the philosophers with the physicians
jointly affirm that the spirits which are styled animal spring from, and
have their constant practice in and through the arterial blood, refined and
purified to the life within the admirable net which, wonderfully framed,
lieth under the ventricles and tunnels of the brain. He gave us also the
example of the philosopher who, when he thought most seriously to have
withdrawn himself unto a solitary privacy, far from the rustling
clutterments of the tumultuous and confused world, the better to improve
his theory, to contrive, comment, and ratiocinate, was, notwithstanding his
uttermost endeavours to free himself from all untoward noises, surrounded
and environed about so with the barking of curs, bawling of mastiffs,
bleating of sheep, prating of parrots, tattling of jackdaws, grunting of
swine, girning of boars, yelping of foxes, mewing of cats, cheeping of
mice, squeaking of weasels, croaking of frogs, crowing of cocks, cackling
of hens, calling of partridges, chanting of swans, chattering of jays,
peeping of chickens, singing of larks, creaking of geese, chirping of
swallows, clucking of moorfowls, cucking of cuckoos, bumbling of bees,
rammage of hawks, chirming of linnets, croaking of ravens, screeching of
owls, whicking of pigs, gushing of hogs, curring of pigeons, grumbling of
cushat-doves, howling of panthers, curkling of quails, chirping of
sparrows, crackling of crows, nuzzing of camels, wheening of whelps,
buzzing of dromedaries, mumbling of rabbits, cricking of ferrets, humming
of wasps, mioling of tigers, bruzzing of bears, sussing of kitlings,
clamouring of scarfs, whimpering of fulmarts, booing of buffaloes, warbling
of nightingales, quavering of mavises, drintling of turkeys, coniating of
storks, frantling of peacocks, clattering of magpies, murmuring of stock-
doves, crouting of cormorants, cigling of locusts, charming of beagles,
guarring of puppies, snarling of messens, rantling of rats, guerieting of
apes, snuttering of monkeys, pioling of pelicans, quacking of ducks,
yelling of wolves, roaring of lions, neighing of horses, crying of
elephants, hissing of serpents, and wailing of turtles, that he was much
more troubled than if he had been in the middle of the crowd at the fair of
Fontenay or Niort. Just so is it with those who are tormented with the
grievous pangs of hunger. The stomach begins to gnaw, and bark, as it
were, the eyes to look dim, and the veins, by greedily sucking some
refection to themselves from the proper substance of all the members of a
fleshy consistence, violently pull down and draw back that vagrant, roaming
spirit, careless and neglecting of his nurse and natural host, which is the
body; as when a hawk upon the fist, willing to take her flight by a soaring
aloft in the open spacious air, is on a sudden drawn back by a leash tied
to her feet.

To this purpose also did he allege unto us the authority of Homer, the
father of all philosophy, who said that the Grecians did not put an end to
their mournful mood for the death of Patroclus, the most intimate friend of
Achilles, till hunger in a rage declared herself, and their bellies
protested to furnish no more tears unto their grief. For from bodies
emptied and macerated by long fasting there could not be such supply of
moisture and brackish drops as might be proper on that occasion.

Mediocrity at all times is commendable; nor in this case are you to abandon
it. You may take a little supper, but thereat must you not eat of a hare,
nor of any other flesh. You are likewise to abstain from beans, from the
preak, by some called the polyp, as also from coleworts, cabbage, and all
other such like windy victuals, which may endanger the troubling of your
brains and the dimming or casting a kind of mist over your animal spirits.
For, as a looking-glass cannot exhibit the semblance or representation of
the object set before it, and exposed to have its image to the life
expressed, if that the polished sleekedness thereof be darkened by gross
breathings, dampish vapours, and foggy, thick, infectious exhalations, even
so the fancy cannot well receive the impression of the likeness of those
things which divination doth afford by dreams, if any way the body be
annoyed or troubled with the fumish steam of meat which it had taken in a
while before; because betwixt these two there still hath been a mutual
sympathy and fellow-feeling of an indissolubly knit affection. You shall
eat good Eusebian and Bergamot pears, one apple of the short-shank pippin
kind, a parcel of the little plums of Tours, and some few cherries of the
growth of my orchard. Nor shall you need to fear that thereupon will ensue
doubtful dreams, fallacious, uncertain, and not to be trusted to, as by
some peripatetic philosophers hath been related; for that, say they, men do
more copiously in the season of harvest feed on fruitages than at any other
time. The same is mystically taught us by the ancient prophets and poets,
who allege that all vain and deceitful dreams lie hid and in covert under
the leaves which are spread on the ground--by reason that the leaves fall
from the trees in the autumnal quarter. For the natural fervour which,
abounding in ripe, fresh, recent fruits, cometh by the quickness of its
ebullition to be with ease evaporated into the animal parts of the dreaming
person--the experiment is obvious in most--is a pretty while before it be
expired, dissolved, and evanished. As for your drink, you are to have it
of the fair, pure water of my fountain.

The condition, quoth Panurge, is very hard. Nevertheless, cost what price
it will, or whatsoever come of it, I heartily condescend thereto;
protesting that I shall to-morrow break my fast betimes after my somniatory
exercitations. Furthermore, I recommend myself to Homer's two gates, to
Morpheus, to Iselon, to Phantasus, and unto Phobetor. If they in this my
great need succour me and grant me that assistance which is fitting, I will
in honour of them all erect a jolly, genteel altar, composed of the softest
down. If I were now in Laconia, in the temple of Juno, betwixt Oetile and
Thalamis, she suddenly would disentangle my perplexity, resolve me of my
doubts, and cheer me up with fair and jovial dreams in a deep sleep.

Then did he say thus unto Pantagruel: Sir, were it not expedient for my
purpose to put a branch or two of curious laurel betwixt the quilt and
bolster of my bed, under the pillow on which my head must lean? There is
no need at all of that, quoth Pantagruel; for, besides that it is a thing
very superstitious, the cheat thereof hath been at large discovered unto us
in the writings of Serapion, Ascalonites, Antiphon, Philochorus, Artemon,
and Fulgentius Planciades. I could say as much to you of the left shoulder
of a crocodile, as also of a chameleon, without prejudice be it spoken to
the credit which is due to the opinion of old Democritus; and likewise of
the stone of the Bactrians, called Eumetrides, and of the Ammonian horn;
for so by the Aethiopians is termed a certain precious stone, coloured like
gold, and in the fashion, shape, form, and proportion of a ram's horn, as
the horn of Jupiter Ammon is reported to have been: they over and above
assuredly affirming that the dreams of those who carry it about them are no
less veritable and infallible than the truth of the divine oracles. Nor is
this much unlike to what Homer and Virgil wrote of these two gates of
sleep, to which you have been pleased to recommend the management of what
you have in hand. The one is of ivory, which letteth in confused,
doubtful, and uncertain dreams; for through ivory, how small and slender
soever it be, we can see nothing, the density, opacity, and close
compactedness of its material parts hindering the penetration of the visual
rays and the reception of the specieses of such things as are visible. The
other is of horn, at which an entry is made to sure and certain dreams,
even as through horn, by reason of the diaphanous splendour and bright
transparency thereof, the species of all objects of the sight distinctly
pass, and so without confusion appear, that they are clearly seen. Your
meaning is, and you would thereby infer, quoth Friar John, that the dreams
of all horned cuckolds, of which number Panurge, by the help of God and his
future wife, is without controversy to be one, are always true and

Chapter 3.XIV.

Panurge's dream, with the interpretation thereof.

At seven o'clock of the next following morning Panurge did not fail to
present himself before Pantagruel, in whose chamber were at that time
Epistemon, Friar John of the Funnels, Ponocrates, Eudemon, Carpalin, and
others, to whom, at the entry of Panurge, Pantagruel said, Lo! here cometh
our dreamer. That word, quoth Epistemon, in ancient times cost very much,
and was dearly sold to the children of Jacob. Then said Panurge, I have
been plunged into my dumps so deeply, as if I had been lodged with Gaffer
Noddy-cap. Dreamed indeed I have, and that right lustily; but I could take
along with me no more thereof that I did goodly understand save only that I
in my vision had a pretty, fair, young, gallant, handsome woman, who no
less lovingly and kindly treated and entertained me, hugged, cherished,
cockered, dandled, and made much of me, as if I had been another neat
dilly-darling minion, like Adonis. Never was man more glad than I was
then; my joy at that time was incomparable. She flattered me, tickled me,
stroked me, groped me, frizzled me, curled me, kissed me, embraced me, laid
her hands about my neck, and now and then made jestingly pretty little
horns above my forehead. I told her in the like disport, as I did play the
fool with her, that she should rather place and fix them in a little below
mine eyes, that I might see the better what I should stick at with them;
for, being so situated, Momus then would find no fault therewith, as he did
once with the position of the horns of bulls. The wanton, toying girl,
notwithstanding any remonstrance of mine to the contrary, did always drive
and thrust them further in; yet thereby, which to me seemed wonderful, she
did not do me any hurt at all. A little after, though I know not how, I
thought I was transformed into a tabor, and she into a chough.

My sleeping there being interrupted, I awaked in a start, angry,
displeased, perplexed, chafing, and very wroth. There have you a large
platterful of dreams, make thereupon good cheer, and, if you please, spare
not to interpret them according to the understanding which you may have in
them. Come, Carpalin, let us to breakfast. To my sense and meaning, quoth
Pantagruel, if I have skill or knowledge in the art of divination by
dreams, your wife will not really, and to the outward appearance of the
world, plant or set horns, and stick them fast in your forehead, after a
visible manner, as satyrs use to wear and carry them; but she will be so
far from preserving herself loyal in the discharge and observance of a
conjugal duty, that, on the contrary, she will violate her plighted faith,
break her marriage-oath, infringe all matrimonial ties, prostitute her body
to the dalliance of other men, and so make you a cuckold. This point is
clearly and manifestly explained and expounded by Artemidorus just as I
have related it. Nor will there be any metamorphosis or transmutation made
of you into a drum or tabor, but you will surely be as soundly beaten as
ever was tabor at a merry wedding. Nor yet will she be changed into a
chough, but will steal from you, chiefly in the night, as is the nature of
that thievish bird. Hereby may you perceive your dreams to be in every jot
conform and agreeable to the Virgilian lots. A cuckold you will be, beaten
and robbed. Then cried out Father John with a loud voice, He tells the
truth; upon my conscience, thou wilt be a cuckold--an honest one, I warrant
thee. O the brave horns that will be borne by thee! Ha, ha, ha! Our good
Master de Cornibus. God save thee, and shield thee! Wilt thou be pleased
to preach but two words of a sermon to us, and I will go through the parish
church to gather up alms for the poor.

You are, quoth Panurge, very far mistaken in your interpretation; for the
matter is quite contrary to your sense thereof. My dream presageth that I
shall by marriage be stored with plenty of all manner of goods--the
hornifying of me showing that I will possess a cornucopia, that Amalthaean
horn which is called the horn of abundance, whereof the fruition did still
portend the wealth of the enjoyer. You possibly will say that they are
rather like to be satyr's horns; for you of these did make some mention.
Amen, Amen, Fiat, fiatur, ad differentiam papae. Thus shall I have my
touch-her-home still ready. My staff of love, sempiternally in a good
case, will, satyr-like, be never toiled out--a thing which all men wish
for, and send up their prayers to that purpose, but such a thing as
nevertheless is granted but to a few. Hence doth it follow by a
consequence as clear as the sunbeams that I will never be in the danger of
being made a cuckold, for the defect hereof is Causa sine qua non; yea, the
sole cause, as many think, of making husbands cuckolds. What makes poor
scoundrel rogues to beg, I pray you? Is it not because they have not
enough at home wherewith to fill their bellies and their pokes? What is it
makes the wolves to leave the woods? Is it not the want of flesh meat?
What maketh women whores? You understand me well enough. And herein may I
very well submit my opinion to the judgment of learned lawyers, presidents,
counsellors, advocates, procurers, attorneys, and other glossers and
commentators on the venerable rubric, De frigidis et maleficiatis. You
are, in truth, sir, as it seems to me (excuse my boldness if I have
transgressed), in a most palpable and absurd error to attribute my horns to
cuckoldry. Diana wears them on her head after the manner of a crescent.
Is she a cucquean for that? How the devil can she be cuckolded who never
yet was married? Speak somewhat more correctly, I beseech you, lest she,
being offended, furnish you with a pair of horns shapen by the pattern of
those which she made for Actaeon. The goodly Bacchus also carries horns,--
Pan, Jupiter Ammon, with a great many others. Are they all cuckolds? If
Jove be a cuckold, Juno is a whore. This follows by the figure metalepsis:
as to call a child, in the presence of his father and mother, a bastard, or
whore's son, is tacitly and underboard no less than if he had said openly
the father is a cuckold and his wife a punk. Let our discourse come nearer
to the purpose. The horns that my wife did make me are horns of abundance,
planted and grafted in my head for the increase and shooting up of all good
things. This will I affirm for truth, upon my word, and pawn my faith and
credit both upon it. As for the rest, I will be no less joyful, frolic,
glad, cheerful, merry, jolly, and gamesome, than a well-bended tabor in the
hands of a good drummer at a nuptial feast, still making a noise, still
rolling, still buzzing and cracking. Believe me, sir, in that consisteth
none of my least good fortunes. And my wife will be jocund, feat, compt,
neat, quaint, dainty, trim, tricked up, brisk, smirk, and smug, even as a
pretty little Cornish chough. Who will not believe this, let hell or the
gallows be the burden of his Christmas carol.

I remark, quoth Pantagruel, the last point or particle which you did speak
of, and, having seriously conferred it with the first, find that at the
beginning you were delighted with the sweetness of your dream; but in the
end and final closure of it you startingly awaked, and on a sudden were
forthwith vexed in choler and annoyed. Yea, quoth Panurge, the reason of
that was because I had fasted too long. Flatter not yourself, quoth
Pantagruel; all will go to ruin. Know for a certain truth, that every
sleep that endeth with a starting, and leaves the person irksome, grieved,
and fretting, doth either signify a present evil, or otherwise presageth
and portendeth a future imminent mishap. To signify an evil, that is to
say, to show some sickness hardly curable, a kind of pestilentious or
malignant boil, botch, or sore, lying and lurking hid, occult, and latent
within the very centre of the body, which many times doth by the means of
sleep, whose nature is to reinforce and strengthen the faculty and virtue
of concoction, being according to the theorems of physic to declare itself,
and moves toward the outward superficies. At this sad stirring is the
sleeper's rest and ease disturbed and broken, whereof the first feeling and
stinging smart admonisheth that he must patiently endure great pain and
trouble, and thereunto provide some remedy; as when we say proverbially, to
incense hornets, to move a stinking puddle, and to awake a sleeping lion,
instead of these more usual expressions, and of a more familiar and plain
meaning, to provoke angry persons, to make a thing the worse by meddling
with it, and to irritate a testy choleric man when he is at quiet. On the
other part, to presage or foretell an evil, especially in what concerneth
the exploits of the soul in matter of somnial divinations, is as much to
say as that it giveth us to understand that some dismal fortune or
mischance is destinated and prepared for us, which shortly will not fail to
come to pass. A clear and evident example hereof is to be found in the
dream and dreadful awaking of Hecuba, as likewise in that of Eurydice, the
wife of Orpheus, neither of which was (no) sooner finished, saith Ennius,
but that incontinently thereafter they awaked in a start, and were
affrighted horribly. Thereupon these accidents ensued: Hecuba had her
husband Priamus, together with her children, slain before her eyes, and saw
then the destruction of her country; and Eurydice died speedily thereafter
in a most miserable manner. Aeneas, dreaming that he spoke to Hector a
little after his decease, did on a sudden in a great start awake, and was
afraid. Now hereupon did follow this event: Troy that same night was
spoiled, sacked, and burnt. At another time the same Aeneas dreaming that
he saw his familiar geniuses and penates, in a ghastly fright and
astonishment awaked, of which terror and amazement the issue was, that the
very next day subsequent, by a most horrible tempest on the sea, he was
like to have perished and been cast away. Moreover, Turnus being prompted,
instigated, and stirred up by the fantastic vision of an infernal fury to
enter into a bloody war against Aeneas, awaked in a start much troubled and
disquieted in spirit; in sequel whereof, after many notable and famous
routs, defeats, and discomfitures in open field, he came at last to be
killed in a single combat by the said Aeneas. A thousand other instances I
could afford, if it were needful, of this matter. Whilst I relate these
stories of Aeneas, remark the saying of Fabius Pictor, who faithfully
averred that nothing had at any time befallen unto, was done, or
enterprised by him, whereof he preallably had not notice, and beforehand
foreseen it to the full, by sure predictions altogether founded on the
oracles of somnial divination. To this there is no want of pregnant
reasons, no more than of examples. For if repose and rest in sleeping be a
special gift and favour of the gods, as is maintained by the philosophers,
and by the poet attested in these lines,

Then sleep, that heavenly gift, came to refresh
Of human labourers the wearied flesh;

such a gift or benefit can never finish or terminate in wrath and
indignation without portending some unlucky fate and most disastrous
fortune to ensue. Otherwise it were a molestation, and not an ease; a
scourge, and not a gift; at least, (not) proceeding from the gods above,
but from the infernal devils our enemies, according to the common vulgar

Suppose the lord, father, or master of a family, sitting at a very
sumptuous dinner, furnished with all manner of good cheer, and having at
his entry to the table his appetite sharp set upon his victuals, whereof
there was great plenty, should be seen rise in a start, and on a sudden
fling out of his chair, abandoning his meat, frighted, appalled, and in a
horrid terror, who should not know the cause hereof would wonder, and be
astonished exceedingly. But what? he heard his male servants cry, Fire,
fire, fire, fire! his serving-maids and women yell, Stop thief, stop thief!
and all his children shout as loud as ever they could, Murder, O murder,
murder! Then was it not high time for him to leave his banqueting, for
application of a remedy in haste, and to give speedy order for succouring
of his distressed household? Truly I remember that the Cabalists and
Massorets, interpreters of the sacred Scriptures, in treating how with
verity one might judge of evangelical apparitions (because oftentimes the
angel of Satan is disguised and transfigured into an angel of light), said
that the difference of these two mainly did consist in this: the
favourable and comforting angel useth in his appearing unto man at first to
terrify and hugely affright him, but in the end he bringeth consolation,
leaveth the person who hath seen him joyful, well-pleased, fully content,
and satisfied; on the other side, the angel of perdition, that wicked,
devilish, and malignant spirit, at his appearance unto any person in the
beginning cheereth up the heart of his beholder, but at last forsakes him,
and leaves him troubled, angry, and perplexed.

Chapter 3.XV.

Panurge's excuse and exposition of the monastic mystery concerning powdered

The Lord save those who see, and do not hear! quoth Panurge. I see you
well enough, but know not what it is that you have said. The hunger-
starved belly wanteth ears. For lack of victuals, before God, I roar,
bray, yell, and fume as in a furious madness. I have performed too hard a
task to-day, an extraordinary work indeed. He shall be craftier, and do
far greater wonders than ever did Mr. Mush, who shall be able any more this
year to bring me on the stage of preparation for a dreaming verdict. Fie!
not to sup at all, that is the devil. Pox take that fashion! Come, Friar
John, let us go break our fast; for, if I hit on such a round refection in
the morning as will serve thoroughly to fill the mill-hopper and hogs-hide
of my stomach, and furnish it with meat and drink sufficient, then at a
pinch, as in the case of some extreme necessity which presseth, I could
make a shift that day to forbear dining. But not to sup! A plague rot
that base custom, which is an error offensive to Nature! That lady made
the day for exercise, to travel, work, wait on and labour in each his
negotiation and employment; and that we may with the more fervency and
ardour prosecute our business, she sets before us a clear burning candle,
to wit, the sun's resplendency; and at night, when she begins to take the
light from us, she thereby tacitly implies no less than if she would have
spoken thus unto us: My lads and lasses, all of you are good and honest
folks, you have wrought well to-day, toiled and turmoiled enough,--the
night approacheth,--therefore cast off these moiling cares of yours, desist
from all your swinking painful labours, and set your minds how to refresh
your bodies in the renewing of their vigour with good bread, choice wine,
and store of wholesome meats; then may you take some sport and recreation,
and after that lie down and rest yourselves, that you may strongly, nimbly,
lustily, and with the more alacrity to-morrow attend on your affairs as

Falconers, in like manner, when they have fed their hawks, will not suffer
them to fly on a full gorge, but let them on a perch abide a little, that
they may rouse, bait, tower, and soar the better. That good pope who was
the first institutor of fasting understood this well enough; for he
ordained that our fast should reach but to the hour of noon; all the
remainder of that day was at our disposure, freely to eat and feed at any
time thereof. In ancient times there were but few that dined, as you would
say, some church men, monks and canons; for they have little other
occupation. Each day is a festival unto them, who diligently heed the
claustral proverb, De missa ad mensam. They do not use to linger and defer
their sitting down and placing of themselves at table, only so long as they
have a mind in waiting for the coming of the abbot; so they fell to without
ceremony, terms, or conditions; and everybody supped, unless it were some
vain, conceited, dreaming dotard. Hence was a supper called coena, which
showeth that it is common to all sorts of people. Thou knowest it well,
Friar John. Come, let us go, my dear friend, in the name of all the devils
of the infernal regions, let us go. The gnawings of my stomach in this
rage of hunger are so tearing, that they make it bark like a mastiff. Let
us throw some bread and beef into his throat to pacify him, as once the
sibyl did to Cerberus. Thou likest best monastical brewis, the prime, the
flower of the pot. I am for the solid, principal verb that comes after--
the good brown loaf, always accompanied with a round slice of the nine-
lecture-powdered labourer. I know thy meaning, answered Friar John; this
metaphor is extracted out of the claustral kettle. The labourer is the ox
that hath wrought and done the labour; after the fashion of nine lectures,
that is to say, most exquisitely well and thoroughly boiled. These holy
religious fathers, by a certain cabalistic institution of the ancients, not
written, but carefully by tradition conveyed from hand to hand, rising
betimes to go to morning prayers, were wont to flourish that their
matutinal devotion with some certain notable preambles before their entry
into the church, viz., they dunged in the dungeries, pissed in the
pisseries, spit in the spitteries, melodiously coughed in the cougheries,
and doted in their dotaries, that to the divine service they might not
bring anything that was unclean or foul. These things thus done, they very
zealously made their repair to the Holy Chapel, for so was in their canting
language termed the convent kitchen, where they with no small earnestness
had care that the beef-pot should be put on the crook for the breakfast of
the religious brothers of our Lord and Saviour; and the fire they would
kindle under the pot themselves. Now, the matins consisting of nine
lessons, (it) it was so incumbent on them, that must have risen the rather
for the more expedite despatching of them all. The sooner that they rose,
the sharper was their appetite and the barkings of their stomachs, and the
gnawings increased in the like proportion, and consequently made these
godly men thrice more a-hungered and athirst than when their matins were
hemmed over only with three lessons. The more betimes they rose, by the
said cabal, the sooner was the beef-pot put on; the longer that the beef
was on the fire, the better it was boiled; the more it boiled, it was the
tenderer; the tenderer that it was, the less it troubled the teeth,
delighted more the palate, less charged the stomach, and nourished our good
religious men the more substantially; which is the only end and prime
intention of the first founders, as appears by this, that they eat not to
live, but live to eat, and in this world have nothing but their life. Let
us go, Panurge.

Now have I understood thee, quoth Panurge, my plushcod friar, my caballine
and claustral ballock. I freely quit the costs, interest, and charges,
seeing you have so egregiously commented upon the most especial chapter of
the culinary and monastic cabal. Come along, my Carpalin, and you, Friar
John, my leather-dresser. Good morrow to you all, my good lords; I have
dreamed too much to have so little. Let us go. Panurge had no sooner done
speaking than Epistemon with a loud voice said these words: It is a very
ordinary and common thing amongst men to conceive, foresee, know, and
presage the misfortune, bad luck, or disaster of another; but to have the
understanding, providence, knowledge, and prediction of a man's own mishap
is very scarce and rare to be found anywhere. This is exceeding
judiciously and prudently deciphered by Aesop in his Apologues, who there
affirmeth that every man in the world carrieth about his neck a wallet, in
the fore-bag whereof were contained the faults and mischances of others
always exposed to his view and knowledge; and in the other scrip thereof,
which hangs behind, are kept the bearer's proper transgressions and
inauspicious adventures, at no time seen by him, nor thought upon, unless
he be a person that hath a favourable aspect from the heavens.

Chapter 3.XVI.

How Pantagruel adviseth Panurge to consult with the Sibyl of Panzoust.

A little while thereafter Pantagruel sent for Panurge and said unto him,
The affection which I bear you being now inveterate and settled in my mind
by a long continuance of time, prompteth me to the serious consideration of
your welfare and profit; in order whereto, remark what I have thought
thereon. It hath been told me that at Panzoust, near Crouly, dwelleth a
very famous sibyl, who is endowed with the skill of foretelling all things
to come. Take Epistemon in your company, repair towards her, and hear what
she will say unto you. She is possibly, quoth Epistemon, some Canidia,
Sagana, or Pythonissa, either whereof with us is vulgarly called a witch,--
I being the more easily induced to give credit to the truth of this
character of her, that the place of her abode is vilely stained with the
abominable repute of abounding more with sorcerers and witches than ever
did the plains of Thessaly. I should not, to my thinking, go thither
willingly, for that it seems to me a thing unwarrantable, and altogether
forbidden in the law of Moses. We are not Jews, quoth Pantagruel, nor is
it a matter judiciously confessed by her, nor authentically proved by
others that she is a witch. Let us for the present suspend our judgment,
and defer till after your return from thence the sifting and garbling of
those niceties. Do we know but that she may be an eleventh sibyl or a
second Cassandra? But although she were neither, and she did not merit the
name or title of any of these renowned prophetesses, what hazard, in the
name of God, do you run by offering to talk and confer with her of the
instant perplexity and perturbation of your thoughts? Seeing especially,
and which is most of all, she is, in the estimation of those that are
acquainted with her, held to know more, and to be of a deeper reach of
understanding, than is either customary to the country wherein she liveth
or to the sex whereof she is. What hindrance, hurt, or harm doth the
laudable desire of knowledge bring to any man, were it from a sot, a pot, a
fool, a stool, a winter mitten, a truckle for a pulley, the lid of a
goldsmith's crucible, an oil-bottle, or old slipper? You may remember to
have read, or heard at least, that Alexander the Great, immediately after
his having obtained a glorious victory over the King Darius in Arbela,
refused, in the presence of the splendid and illustrious courtiers that
were about him, to give audience to a poor certain despicable-like fellow,
who through the solicitations and mediation of some of his royal attendants
was admitted humbly to beg that grace and favour of him. But sore did he
repent, although in vain, a thousand and ten thousand times thereafter, the
surly state which he then took upon him to the denial of so just a suit,
the grant whereof would have been worth unto him the value of a brace of
potent cities. He was indeed victorious in Persia, but withal so far
distant from Macedonia, his hereditary kingdom, that the joy of the one did
not expel the extreme grief which through occasion of the other he had
inwardly conceived; for, not being able with all his power to find or
invent a convenient mean and expedient how to get or come by the certainty
of any news from thence, both by reason of the huge remoteness of the
places from one to another, as also because of the impeditive interposition
of many great rivers, the interjacent obstacle of divers wild deserts, and
obstructive interjection of sundry almost inaccessible mountains,--whilst
he was in this sad quandary and solicitous pensiveness, which, you may
suppose, could not be of a small vexation to him, considering that it was a
matter of no great difficulty to run over his whole native soil, possess
his country, seize on his kingdom, install a new king in the throne, and
plant thereon foreign colonies, long before he could come to have any
advertisement of it: for obviating the jeopardy of so dreadful
inconveniency, and putting a fit remedy thereto, a certain Sidonian
merchant of a low stature but high fancy, very poor in show, and to the
outward appearance of little or no account, having presented himself before
him, went about to affirm and declare that he had excogitated and hit upon
a ready mean and way by the which those of his territories at home should
come to the certain notice of his Indian victories, and himself be
perfectly informed of the state and condition of Egypt and Macedonia within
less than five days. Whereupon the said Alexander, plunged into a sullen
animadvertency of mind, through his rash opinion of the improbability of
performing a so strange and impossible-like undertaking, dismissed the
merchant without giving ear to what he had to say, and vilified him. What
could it have cost him to hearken unto what the honest man had invented and
contrived for his good? What detriment, annoyance, damage, or loss could
he have undergone to listen to the discovery of that secret which the good
fellow would have most willingly revealed unto him? Nature, I am
persuaded, did not without a cause frame our ears open, putting thereto no
gate at all, nor shutting them up with any manner of enclosures, as she
hath done unto the tongue, the eyes, and other such out-jetting parts of
the body. The cause, as I imagine, is to the end that every day and every
night, and that continually, we may be ready to hear, and by a perpetual
hearing apt to learn. For, of all the senses, it is the fittest for the
reception of the knowledge of arts, sciences, and disciplines; and it may
be that man was an angel, that is to say, a messenger sent from God, as
Raphael was to Tobit. Too suddenly did he contemn, despise, and misregard
him; but too long thereafter, by an untimely and too late repentance, did
he do penance for it. You say very well, answered Epistemon, yet shall you
never for all that induce me to believe that it can tend any way to the
advantage or commodity of a man to take advice and counsel of a woman,
namely, of such a woman, and the woman of such a country. Truly I have
found, quoth Panurge, a great deal of good in the counsel of women, chiefly
in that of the old wives amongst them; for every time I consult with them I
readily get a stool or two extraordinary, to the great solace of my bumgut
passage. They are as sleuthhounds in the infallibility of their scent, and
in their sayings no less sententious than the rubrics of the law.
Therefore in my conceit it is not an improper kind of speech to call them
sage or wise women. In confirmation of which opinion of mine, the
customary style of my language alloweth them the denomination of presage
women. The epithet of sage is due unto them because they are surpassing
dexterous in the knowledge of most things. And I give them the title of
presage, for that they divinely foresee and certainly foretell future
contingencies and events of things to come. Sometimes I call them not
maunettes, but monettes, from their wholesome monitions. Whether it be so,
ask Pythagoras, Socrates, Empedocles, and our master Ortuinus. I
furthermore praise and commend above the skies the ancient memorable
institution of the pristine Germans, who ordained the responses and
documents of old women to be highly extolled, most cordially reverenced,
and prized at a rate in nothing inferior to the weight, test, and standard
of the sanctuary. And as they were respectfully prudent in receiving of
these sound advices, so by honouring and following them did they prove no
less fortunate in the happy success of all their endeavours. Witness the
old wife Aurinia, and the good mother Velled, in the days of Vespasian.
You need not any way doubt but that feminine old age is always fructifying
in qualities sublime--I would have said sibylline. Let us go, by the help,
let us go, by the virtue of God, let us go. Farewell, Friar John, I
recommend the care of my codpiece to you. Well, quoth Epistemon, I will
follow you, with this protestation nevertheless, that if I happen to get a
sure information, or otherwise find that she doth use any kind of charm or
enchantment in her responses, it may not be imputed to me for a blame to
leave you at the gate of her house, without accompanying you any further

Chapter 3.XVII.

How Panurge spoke to the Sibyl of Panzoust.

Their voyage was three days journeying. On the third whereof was shown
unto them the house of the vaticinatress standing on the knap or top of a
hill, under a large and spacious walnut-tree. Without great difficulty
they entered into that straw-thatched cottage, scurvily built, naughtily
movabled, and all besmoked. It matters not, quoth Epistemon; Heraclitus,
the grand Scotist and tenebrous darksome philosopher, was nothing
astonished at his introit into such a coarse and paltry habitation; for he

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