Produced by Sue Asscher and David Widger
MASTER FRANCIS RABELAIS
FIVE BOOKS OF THE LIVES, HEROIC DEEDS AND SAYINGS OF
GARGANTUA AND HIS SON PANTAGRUEL
Translated into English by
Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty
Peter Antony Motteux
The text of the first Two Books of Rabelais has been reprinted from the first edition (1653) of Urquhart’s translation. Footnotes initialled ‘M.’ are drawn from the Maitland Club edition (1838); other footnotes are by the translator. Urquhart’s translation of Book III. appeared posthumously in 1693, with a new edition of Books I. and II., under Motteux’s editorship. Motteux’s rendering of Books IV. and V. followed in 1708. Occasionally (as the footnotes indicate) passages omitted by Motteux have been restored from the 1738 copy edited by Ozell.
THE FOURTH BOOK
The Translator’s Preface.
Reader,–I don’t know what kind of a preface I must write to find thee courteous, an epithet too often bestowed without a cause. The author of this work has been as sparing of what we call good nature, as most readers are nowadays. So I am afraid his translator and commentator is not to expect much more than has been showed them. What’s worse, there are but two sorts of taking prefaces, as there are but two kinds of prologues to plays; for Mr. Bays was doubtless in the right when he said that if thunder and lightning could not fright an audience into complaisance, the sight of the poet with a rope about his neck might work them into pity. Some, indeed, have bullied many of you into applause, and railed at your faults that you might think them without any; and others, more safely, have spoken kindly of you, that you might think, or at least speak, as favourably of them, and be flattered into patience. Now, I fancy, there’s nothing less difficult to attempt than the first method; for, in this blessed age, ’tis as easy to find a bully without courage, as a whore without beauty, or a writer without wit; though those qualifications are so necessary in their respective professions. The mischief is, that you seldom allow any to rail besides yourselves, and cannot bear a pride which shocks your own. As for wheedling you into a liking of a work, I must confess it seems the safest way; but though flattery pleases you well when it is particular, you hate it, as little concerning you, when it is general. Then we knights of the quill are a stiff-necked generation, who as seldom care to seem to doubt the worth of our writings, and their being liked, as we love to flatter more than one at a time; and had rather draw our pens, and stand up for the beauty of our works (as some arrant fools use to do for that of their mistresses) to the last drop of our ink. And truly this submission, which sometimes wheedles you into pity, as seldom decoys you into love, as the awkward cringing of an antiquated fop, as moneyless as he is ugly, affects an experienced fair one. Now we as little value your pity as a lover his mistress’s, well satisfied that it is only a less uncivil way of dismissing us. But what if neither of these two ways will work upon you, of which doleful truth some of our playwrights stand so many living monuments? Why, then, truly I think on no other way at present but blending the two into one; and, from this marriage of huffing and cringing, there will result a new kind of careless medley, which, perhaps, will work upon both sorts of readers, those who are to be hectored, and those whom we must creep to. At least, it is like to please by its novelty; and it will not be the first monster that has pleased you when regular nature could not do it.
If uncommon worth, lively wit, and deep learning, wove into wholesome satire, a bold, good, and vast design admirably pursued, truth set out in its true light, and a method how to arrive to its oracle, can recommend a work, I am sure this has enough to please any reasonable man. The three books published some time since, which are in a manner an entire work, were kindly received; yet, in the French, they come far short of these two, which are also entire pieces; for the satire is all general here, much more obvious, and consequently more entertaining. Even my long explanatory preface was not thought improper. Though I was so far from being allowed time to make it methodical, that at first only a few pages were intended; yet as fast as they were printed I wrote on, till it proved at last like one of those towns built little at first, then enlarged, where you see promiscuously an odd variety of all sorts of irregular buildings. I hope the remarks I give now will not please less; for, as I have translated the work which they explain, I had more time to make them, though as little to write them. It would be needless to give here a large account of my performance; for, after all, you readers care no more for this or that apology, or pretence of Mr. Translator, if the version does not please you, than we do for a blundering cook’s excuse after he has spoiled a good dish in the dressing. Nor can the first pretend to much praise, besides that of giving his author’s sense in its full extent, and copying his style, if it is to be copied; since he has no share in the invention or disposition of what he translates. Yet there was no small difficulty in doing Rabelais justice in that double respect; the obsolete words and turns of phrase, and dark subjects, often as darkly treated, make the sense hard to be understood even by a Frenchman, and it cannot be easy to give it the free easy air of an original; for even what seems most common talk in one language, is what is often the most difficult to be made so in another; and Horace’s thoughts of comedy may be well applied to this:
Creditur, ex medio quia res arcessit, habere Sudoris minimum; sed habet commoedia tantum Plus oneris, quanto veniae minus.
Far be it from me, for all this, to value myself upon hitting the words of cant in which my drolling author is so luxuriant; for though such words have stood me in good stead, I scarce can forbear thinking myself unhappy in having insensibly hoarded up so much gibberish and Billingsgate trash in my memory; nor could I forbear asking of myself, as an Italian cardinal said on another account, D’onde hai tu pigliato tante coglionerie? Where the devil didst thou rake up all these fripperies?
It was not less difficult to come up to the author’s sublime expressions. Nor would I have attempted such a task, but that I was ambitious of giving a view of the most valuable work of the greatest genius of his age, to the Mecaenas and best genius of this. For I am not overfond of so ungrateful a task as translating, and would rejoice to see less versions and more originals; so the latter were not as bad as many of the first are, through want of encouragement. Some indeed have deservedly gained esteem by translating; yet not many condescend to translate, but such as cannot invent; though to do the first well requires often as much genius as to do the latter.
I wish, reader, thou mayest be as willing to do my author justice, as I have strove to do him right. Yet, if thou art a brother of the quill, it is ten to one thou art too much in love with thy own dear productions to admire those of one of thy trade. However, I know three or four who have not such a mighty opinion of themselves; but I’ll not name them, lest I should be obliged to place myself among them. If thou art one of those who, though they never write, criticise everyone that does; avaunt!–Thou art a professed enemy of mankind and of thyself, who wilt never be pleased nor let anybody be so, and knowest no better way to fame than by striving to lessen that of others; though wouldst thou write thou mightst be soon known, even by the butterwomen, and fly through the world in bandboxes. If thou art of the dissembling tribe, it is thy office to rail at those books which thou huggest in a corner. If thou art one of those eavesdroppers, who would have their moroseness be counted gravity, thou wilt condemn a mirth which thou art past relishing; and I know no other way to quit the score than by writing (as like enough I may) something as dull, or duller than thyself, if possible. If thou art one of those critics in dressing, those extempores of fortune, who, having lost a relation and got an estate, in an instant set up for wit and every extravagance, thou’lt either praise or discommend this book, according to the dictates of some less foolish than thyself, perhaps of one of those who, being lodged at the sign of the box and dice, will know better things than to recommend to thee a work which bids thee beware of his tricks. This book might teach thee to leave thy follies; but some will say it does not signify much to some fools whether they are so or not; for when was there a fool that thought himself one? If thou art one of those who would put themselves upon us for learned men in Greek and Hebrew, yet are mere blockheads in English, and patch together old pieces of the ancients to get themselves clothes out of them, thou art too severely mauled in this work to like it. Who then will? some will cry. Nay, besides these, many societies that make a great figure in the world are reflected on in this book; which caused Rabelais to study to be dark, and even bedaub it with many loose expressions, that he might not be thought to have any other design than to droll; in a manner bewraying his book that his enemies might not bite it. Truly, though now the riddle is expounded, I would advise those who read it not to reflect on the author, lest he be thought to have been beforehand with them, and they be ranked among those who have nothing to show for their honesty but their money, nothing for their religion but their dissembling, or a fat benefice, nothing for their wit but their dressing, for their nobility but their title, for their gentility but their sword, for their courage but their huffing, for their preferment but their assurance, for their learning but their degrees, or for their gravity but their wrinkles or dulness. They had better laugh at one another here, as it is the custom of the world. Laughing is of all professions; the miser may hoard, the spendthrift squander, the politician plot, the lawyer wrangle, and the gamester cheat; still their main design is to be able to laugh at one another; and here they may do it at a cheap and easy rate. After all, should this work fail to please the greater number of readers, I am sure it cannot miss being liked by those who are for witty mirth and a chirping bottle; though not by those solid sots who seem to have drudged all their youth long only that they might enjoy the sweet blessing of getting drunk every night in their old age. But those men of sense and honour who love truth and the good of mankind in general above all other things will undoubtedly countenance this work. I will not gravely insist upon its usefulness, having said enough of it in the preface (Motteux’ Preface to vol. I of Rabelais, ed. 1694.) to the first part. I will only add, that as Homer in his Odyssey makes his hero wander ten years through most parts of the then known world, so Rabelais, in a three months’ voyage, makes Pantagruel take a view of almost all sorts of people and professions; with this difference, however, between the ancient mythologist and the modern, that while the Odyssey has been compared to a setting sun in respect to the Iliads, Rabelais’ last work, which is this Voyage to the Oracle of the Bottle (by which he means truth) is justly thought his masterpiece, being wrote with more spirit, salt, and flame, than the first part of his works. At near seventy years of age, his genius, far from being drained, seemed to have acquired fresh vigour and new graces the more it exerted itself; like those rivers which grow more deep, large, majestic, and useful by their course. Those who accuse the French of being as sparing of their wit as lavish of their words will find an Englishman in our author. I must confess indeed that my countrymen and other southern nations temper the one with the other in a manner as they do their wine with water, often just dashing the latter with a little of the first. Now here men love to drink their wine pure; nay, sometimes it will not satisfy unless in its very quintessence, as in brandies; though an excess of this betrays want of sobriety, as much as an excess of wit betrays a want of judgment. But I must conclude, lest I be justly taxed with wanting both. I will only add, that as every language has its peculiar graces, seldom or never to be acquired by a foreigner, I cannot think I have given my author those of the English in every place; but as none compelled me to write, I fear to ask a pardon which yet the generous temper of this nation makes me hope to obtain. Albinus, a Roman, who had written in Greek, desired in his preface to be forgiven his faults of language; but Cato asked him in derision whether any had forced him to write in a tongue of which he was not an absolute master. Lucullus wrote a history in the same tongue, and said he had scattered some false Greek in it to let the world know it was the work of a Roman. I will not say as much of my writings, in which I study to be as little incorrect as the hurry of business and shortness of time will permit; but I may better say, as Tully did of the history of his consulship, which he also had written in Greek, that what errors may be found in the diction are crept in against my intent. Indeed, Livius Andronicus and Terence, the one a Greek, the other a Carthaginian, wrote successfully in Latin, and the latter is perhaps the most perfect model of the purity and urbanity of that tongue; but I ought not to hope for the success of those great men. Yet am I ambitious of being as subservient to the useful diversion of the ingenious of this nation as I can, which I have endeavoured in this work, with hopes to attempt some greater tasks if ever I am happy enough to have more leisure. In the meantime it will not displease me, if it is known that this is given by one who, though born and educated in France, has the love and veneration of a loyal subject for this nation, one who, by a fatality, which with many more made him say,
Nos patriam fugimus et dulcia linquimus arva,
is obliged to make the language of these happy regions as natural to him as he can, and thankfully say with the rest, under this Protestant government,
Deus nobis haec otia fecit.
The Author’s Epistle Dedicatory.
To the most Illustrious Prince and most Reverend Lord Odet, Cardinal de Chastillon.
You know, most illustrious prince, how often I have been, and am daily pressed and required by great numbers of eminent persons, to proceed in the Pantagruelian fables; they tell me that many languishing, sick, and disconsolate persons, perusing them, have deceived their grief, passed their time merrily, and been inspired with new joy and comfort. I commonly answer that I aimed not at glory and applause when I diverted myself with writing, but only designed to give by my pen, to the absent who labour under affliction, that little help which at all times I willingly strive to give to the present that stand in need of my art and service. Sometimes I at large relate to them how Hippocrates in several places, and particularly in lib. 6. Epidem., describing the institution of the physician his disciple, and also Soranus of Ephesus, Oribasius, Galen, Hali Abbas, and other authors, have descended to particulars, in the prescription of his motions, deportment, looks, countenance, gracefulness, civility, cleanliness of face, clothes, beard, hair, hands, mouth, even his very nails; as if he were to play the part of a lover in some comedy, or enter the lists to fight some enemy. And indeed the practice of physic is properly enough compared by Hippocrates to a fight, and also to a farce acted between three persons, the patient, the physician, and the disease. Which passage has sometimes put me in mind of Julia’s saying to Augustus her father. One day she came before him in a very gorgeous, loose, lascivious dress, which very much displeased him, though he did not much discover his discontent. The next day she put on another, and in a modest garb, such as the chaste Roman ladies wore, came into his presence. The kind father could not then forbear expressing the pleasure which he took to see her so much altered, and said to her: Oh! how much more this garb becomes and is commendable in the daughter of Augustus. But she, having her excuse ready, answered: This day, sir, I dressed myself to please my father’s eye; yesterday, to gratify that of my husband. Thus disguised in looks and garb, nay even, as formerly was the fashion, with a rich and pleasant gown with four sleeves, which was called philonium according to Petrus Alexandrinus in 6. Epidem., a physician might answer to such as might find the metamorphosis indecent: Thus have I accoutred myself, not that I am proud of appearing in such a dress, but for the sake of my patient, whom alone I wholly design to please, and no wise offend or dissatisfy. There is also a passage in our father Hippocrates, in the book I have named, which causes some to sweat, dispute, and labour; not indeed to know whether the physician’s frowning, discontented, and morose Catonian look render the patient sad, and his joyful, serene, and pleasing countenance rejoice him; for experience teaches us that this is most certain; but whether such sensations of grief or pleasure are produced by the apprehension of the patient observing his motions and qualities in his physician, and drawing from thence conjectures of the end and catastrophe of his disease; as, by his pleasing look, joyful and desirable events, and by his sorrowful and unpleasing air, sad and dismal consequences; or whether those sensations be produced by a transfusion of the serene or gloomy, aerial or terrestrial, joyful or melancholic spirits of the physician into the person of the patient, as is the opinion of Plato, Averroes, and others.
Above all things, the forecited authors have given particular directions to physicians about the words, discourse, and converse which they ought to have with their patients; everyone aiming at one point, that is, to rejoice them without offending God, and in no wise whatsoever to vex or displease them. Which causes Herophilus much to blame the physician Callianax, who, being asked by a patient of his, Shall I die? impudently made him this answer:
Patroclus died, whom all allow
By much a better man than you.
Another, who had a mind to know the state of his distemper, asking him, after our merry Patelin’s way: Well, doctor, does not my water tell you I shall die? He foolishly answered, No; if Latona, the mother of those lovely twins, Phoebus and Diana, begot thee. Galen, lib. 4, Comment. 6. Epidem., blames much also Quintus his tutor, who, a certain nobleman of Rome, his patient, saying to him, You have been at breakfast, my master, your breath smells of wine; answered arrogantly, Yours smells of fever; which is the better smell of the two, wine or a putrid fever? But the calumny of certain cannibals, misanthropes, perpetual eavesdroppers, has been so foul and excessive against me, that it had conquered my patience, and I had resolved not to write one jot more. For the least of their detractions were that my books are all stuffed with various heresies, of which, nevertheless, they could not show one single instance; much, indeed, of comical and facetious fooleries, neither offending God nor the king (and truly I own they are the only subject and only theme of these books), but of heresy not a word, unless they interpreted wrong, and against all use of reason and common language, what I had rather suffer a thousand deaths, if it were possible, than have thought; as who should make bread to be stone, a fish to be a serpent, and an egg to be a scorpion. This, my lord, emboldened me once to tell you, as I was complaining of it in your presence, that if I did not esteem myself a better Christian than they show themselves towards me, and if my life, writings, words, nay thoughts, betrayed to me one single spark of heresy, or I should in a detestable manner fall into the snares of the spirit of detraction, Diabolos, who, by their means, raises such crimes against me; I would then, like the phoenix, gather dry wood, kindle a fire, and burn myself in the midst of it. You were then pleased to say to me that King Francis, of eternal memory, had been made sensible of those false accusations; and that having caused my books (mine, I say, because several, false and infamous, have been wickedly laid to me) to be carefully and distinctly read to him by the most learned and faithful anagnost in this kingdom, he had not found any passage suspicious; and that he abhorred a certain envious, ignorant, hypocritical informer, who grounded a mortal heresy on an n put instead of an m by the carelessness of the printers.
As much was done by his son, our most gracious, virtuous, and blessed sovereign, Henry, whom Heaven long preserve! so that he granted you his royal privilege and particular protection for me against my slandering adversaries.
You kindly condescended since to confirm me these happy news at Paris; and also lately, when you visited my Lord Cardinal du Bellay, who, for the benefit of his health, after a lingering distemper, was retired to St. Maur, that place (or rather paradise) of salubrity, serenity, conveniency, and all desirable country pleasures.
Thus, my lord, under so glorious a patronage, I am emboldened once more to draw my pen, undaunted now and secure; with hopes that you will still prove to me, against the power of detraction, a second Gallic Hercules in learning, prudence, and eloquence; an Alexicacos in virtue, power, and authority; you, of whom I may truly say what the wise monarch Solomon saith of Moses, that great prophet and captain of Israel, Ecclesiast. 45: A man fearing and loving God, who found favour in the sight of all flesh, well-beloved both of God and man; whose memorial is blessed. God made him like to the glorious saints, and magnified him so, that his enemies stood in fear of him; and for him made wonders; made him glorious in the sight of kings, gave him a commandment for his people, and by him showed his light; he sanctified him in his faithfulness and meekness, and chose him out of all men. By him he made us to hear his voice, and caused by him the law of life and knowledge to be given.
Accordingly, if I shall be so happy as to hear anyone commend those merry composures, they shall be adjured by me to be obliged and pay their thanks to you alone, as also to offer their prayers to Heaven for the continuance and increase of your greatness; and to attribute no more to me than my humble and ready obedience to your commands; for by your most honourable encouragement you at once have inspired me with spirit and with invention; and without you my heart had failed me, and the fountain-head of my animal spirits had been dry. May the Lord keep you in his blessed mercy!
Your most humble, and most devoted Servant,
Francis Rabelais, Physician.
Paris, this 28th of January, MDLII.
The Author’s Prologue.
Good people, God save and keep you! Where are you? I can’t see you: stay–I’ll saddle my nose with spectacles–oh, oh! ’twill be fair anon: I see you. Well, you have had a good vintage, they say: this is no bad news to Frank, you may swear. You have got an infallible cure against thirst: rarely performed of you, my friends! You, your wives, children, friends, and families are in as good case as hearts can wish; it is well, it is as I would have it: God be praised for it, and if such be his will, may you long be so. For my part, I am thereabouts, thanks to his blessed goodness; and by the means of a little Pantagruelism (which you know is a certain jollity of mind, pickled in the scorn of fortune), you see me now hale and cheery, as sound as a bell, and ready to drink, if you will. Would you know why I’m thus, good people? I will even give you a positive answer –Such is the Lord’s will, which I obey and revere; it being said in his word, in great derision to the physician neglectful of his own health, Physician, heal thyself.
Galen had some knowledge of the Bible, and had conversed with the Christians of his time, as appears lib. 11. De Usu Partium; lib. 2. De Differentiis Pulsuum, cap. 3, and ibid. lib. 3. cap. 2. and lib. De Rerum Affectibus (if it be Galen’s). Yet ’twas not for any such veneration of holy writ that he took care of his own health. No, it was for fear of being twitted with the saying so well known among physicians:
Iatros allon autos elkesi bruon.
He boasts of healing poor and rich,
Yet is himself all over itch.
This made him boldly say, that he did not desire to be esteemed a physician, if from his twenty-eighth year to his old age he had not lived in perfect health, except some ephemerous fevers, of which he soon rid himself; yet he was not naturally of the soundest temper, his stomach being evidently bad. Indeed, as he saith, lib. 5, De Sanitate tuenda, that physician will hardly be thought very careful of the health of others who neglects his own. Asclepiades boasted yet more than this; for he said that he had articled with fortune not to be reputed a physician if he could be said to have been sick since he began to practise physic to his latter age, which he reached, lusty in all his members and victorious over fortune; till at last the old gentleman unluckily tumbled down from the top of a certain ill-propped and rotten staircase, and so there was an end of him.
If by some disaster health is fled from your worships to the right or to the left, above or below, before or behind, within or without, far or near, on this side or the other side, wheresoever it be, may you presently, with the help of the Lord, meet with it. Having found it, may you immediately claim it, seize it, and secure it. The law allows it; the king would have it so; nay, you have my advice for it. Neither more nor less than the law-makers of old did fully empower a master to claim and seize his runaway servant wherever he might be found. Odds-bodikins, is it not written and warranted by the ancient customs of this noble, so rich, so flourishing realm of France, that the dead seizes the quick? See what has been declared very lately in that point by that learned, wise, courteous, humane and just civilian, Andrew Tiraqueau, one of the judges in the most honourable court of Parliament at Paris. Health is our life, as Ariphron the Sicyonian wisely has it; without health life is not life, it is not living life: abios bios, bios abiotos. Without health life is only a languishment and an image of death. Therefore, you that want your health, that is to say, that are dead, seize the quick; secure life to yourselves, that is to say, health.
I have this hope in the Lord, that he will hear our supplications, considering with what faith and zeal we pray, and that he will grant this our wish because it is moderate and mean. Mediocrity was held by the ancient sages to be golden, that is to say, precious, praised by all men, and pleasing in all places. Read the sacred Bible, you will find the prayers of those who asked moderately were never unanswered. For example, little dapper Zaccheus, whose body and relics the monks of St. Garlick, near Orleans, boast of having, and nickname him St. Sylvanus; he only wished to see our blessed Saviour near Jerusalem. It was but a small request, and no more than anybody then might pretend to. But alas! he was but low-built; and one of so diminutive a size, among the crowd, could not so much as get a glimpse of him. Well then he struts, stands on tiptoes, bustles, and bestirs his stumps, shoves and makes way, and with much ado clambers up a sycamore. Upon this, the Lord, who knew his sincere affection, presented himself to his sight, and was not only seen by him, but heard also; nay, what is more, he came to his house and blessed his family.
One of the sons of the prophets in Israel felling would near the river Jordan, his hatchet forsook the helve and fell to the bottom of the river; so he prayed to have it again (’twas but a small request, mark ye me), and having a strong faith, he did not throw the hatchet after the helve, as some spirits of contradiction say by way of scandalous blunder, but the helve after the hatchet, as you all properly have it. Presently two great miracles were seen: up springs the hatchet from the bottom of the water, and fixes itself to its old acquaintance the helve. Now had he wished to coach it to heaven in a fiery chariot like Elias, to multiply in seed like Abraham, be as rich as Job, strong as Samson, and beautiful as Absalom, would he have obtained it, d’ye think? I’ troth, my friends, I question it very much.
Now I talk of moderate wishes in point of hatchet (but harkee me, be sure you don’t forget when we ought to drink), I will tell you what is written among the apologues of wise Aesop the Frenchman. I mean the Phrygian and Trojan, as Max. Planudes makes him; from which people, according to the most faithful chroniclers, the noble French are descended. Aelian writes that he was of Thrace and Agathias, after Herodotus, that he was of Samos; ’tis all one to Frank.
In his time lived a poor honest country fellow of Gravot, Tom Wellhung by name, a wood-cleaver by trade, who in that low drudgery made shift so to pick up a sorry livelihood. It happened that he lost his hatchet. Now tell me who ever had more cause to be vexed than poor Tom? Alas, his whole estate and life depended on his hatchet; by his hatchet he earned many a fair penny of the best woodmongers or log-merchants among whom he went a-jobbing; for want of his hatchet he was like to starve; and had death but met with him six days after without a hatchet, the grim fiend would have mowed him down in the twinkling of a bedstaff. In this sad case he began to be in a heavy taking, and called upon Jupiter with the most eloquent prayers–for you know necessity was the mother of eloquence. With the whites of his eyes turned up towards heaven, down on his marrow-bones, his arms reared high, his fingers stretched wide, and his head bare, the poor wretch without ceasing was roaring out, by way of litany, at every repetition of his supplications, My hatchet, Lord Jupiter, my hatchet! my hatchet! only my hatchet, O Jupiter, or money to buy another, and nothing else! alas, my poor hatchet!
Jupiter happened then to be holding a grand council about certain urgent affairs, and old gammer Cybele was just giving her opinion, or, if you would rather have it so, it was young Phoebus the beau; but, in short, Tom’s outcries and lamentations were so loud that they were heard with no small amazement at the council-board, by the whole consistory of the gods. What a devil have we below, quoth Jupiter, that howls so horridly? By the mud of Styx, have not we had all along, and have not we here still enough to do, to set to rights a world of damned puzzling businesses of consequence? We made an end of the fray between Presthan, King of Persia, and Soliman the Turkish emperor, we have stopped up the passages between the Tartars and the Muscovites; answered the Xeriff’s petition; done the same to that of Golgots Rays; the state of Parma’s despatched; so is that of Maidenburg, that of Mirandola, and that of Africa, that town on the Mediterranean which we call Aphrodisium; Tripoli by carelessness has got a new master; her hour was come.
Here are the Gascons cursing and damning, demanding the restitution of their bells.
In yonder corner are the Saxons, Easterlings, Ostrogoths, and Germans, nations formerly invincible, but now aberkeids, bridled, curbed, and brought under a paltry diminutive crippled fellow; they ask us revenge, relief, restitution of their former good sense and ancient liberty.
But what shall we do with this same Ramus and this Galland, with a pox to them, who, surrounded with a swarm of their scullions, blackguard ragamuffins, sizars, vouchers, and stipulators, set together by the ears the whole university of Paris? I am in a sad quandary about it, and for the heart’s blood of me cannot tell yet with whom of the two to side.
Both seem to me notable fellows, and as true cods as ever pissed. The one has rose-nobles, I say fine and weighty ones; the other would gladly have some too. The one knows something; the other’s no dunce. The one loves the better sort of men; the other’s beloved by ’em. The one is an old cunning fox; the other with tongue and pen, tooth and nail, falls foul on the ancient orators and philosophers, and barks at them like a cur.
What thinkest thou of it, say, thou bawdy Priapus? I have found thy counsel just before now, et habet tua mentula mentem.
King Jupiter, answered Priapus, standing up and taking off his cowl, his snout uncased and reared up, fiery and stiffly propped, since you compare the one to a yelping snarling cur and the other to sly Reynard the fox, my advice is, with submission, that without fretting or puzzling your brains any further about ’em, without any more ado, even serve ’em both as, in the days of yore, you did the dog and the fox. How? asked Jupiter; when? who were they? where was it? You have a rare memory, for aught I see! returned Priapus. This right worshipful father Bacchus, whom we have here nodding with his crimson phiz, to be revenged on the Thebans had got a fairy fox, who, whatever mischief he did, was never to be caught or wronged by any beast that wore a head.
The noble Vulcan here present had framed a dog of Monesian brass, and with long puffing and blowing put the spirit of life into him; he gave it to you, you gave it your Miss Europa, Miss Europa gave it Minos, Minos gave it Procris, Procris gave it Cephalus. He was also of the fairy kind; so that, like the lawyers of our age, he was too hard for all other sorts of creatures; nothing could scape the dog. Now who should happen to meet but these two? What do you think they did? Dog by his destiny was to take fox, and fox by his fate was not to be taken.
The case was brought before your council: you protested that you would not act against the fates; and the fates were contradictory. In short, the end and result of the matter was, that to reconcile two contradictions was an impossibility in nature. The very pang put you into a sweat; some drops of which happening to light on the earth, produced what the mortals call cauliflowers. All our noble consistory, for want of a categorical resolution, were seized with such a horrid thirst, that above seventy-eight hogsheads of nectar were swilled down at that sitting. At last you took my advice, and transmogrified them into stones; and immediately got rid of your perplexity, and a truce with thirst was proclaimed through this vast Olympus. This was the year of flabby cods, near Teumessus, between Thebes and Chalcis.
After this manner, it is my opinion that you should petrify this dog and this fox. The metamorphosis will not be incongruous; for they both bear the name of Peter. And because, according to the Limosin proverb, to make an oven’s mouth there must be three stones, you may associate them with Master Peter du Coignet, whom you formerly petrified for the same cause. Then those three dead pieces shall be put in an equilateral trigone somewhere in the great temple at Paris–in the middle of the porch, if you will–there to perform the office of extinguishers, and with their noses put out the lighted candles, torches, tapers, and flambeaux; since, while they lived, they still lighted, ballock-like, the fire of faction, division, ballock sects, and wrangling among those idle bearded boys, the students. And this will be an everlasting monument to show that those puny self-conceited pedants, ballock-framers, were rather contemned than condemned by you. Dixi, I have said my say.
You deal too kindly by them, said Jupiter, for aught I see, Monsieur Priapus. You do not use to be so kind to everybody, let me tell you; for as they seek to eternize their names, it would be much better for them to be thus changed into hard stones than to return to earth and putrefaction. But now to other matters. Yonder behind us, towards the Tuscan sea and the neighbourhood of Mount Apennine, do you see what tragedies are stirred up by certain topping ecclesiastical bullies? This hot fit will last its time, like the Limosins’ ovens, and then will be cooled, but not so fast.
We shall have sport enough with it; but I foresee one inconveniency; for methinks we have but little store of thunder ammunition since the time that you, my fellow gods, for your pastime lavished them away to bombard new Antioch, by my particular permission; as since, after your example, the stout champions who had undertaken to hold the fortress of Dindenarois against all comers fairly wasted their powder with shooting at sparrows, and then, not having wherewith to defend themselves in time of need, valiantly surrendered to the enemy, who were already packing up their awls, full of madness and despair, and thought on nothing but a shameful retreat. Take care this be remedied, son Vulcan; rouse up your drowsy Cyclopes, Asteropes, Brontes, Arges, Polyphemus, Steropes, Pyracmon, and so forth, set them at work, and make them drink as they ought.
Never spare liquor to such as are at hot work. Now let us despatch this bawling fellow below. You, Mercury, go see who it is, and know what he wants. Mercury looked out at heaven’s trapdoor, through which, as I am told, they hear what is said here below. By the way, one might well enough mistake it for the scuttle of a ship; though Icaromenippus said it was like the mouth of a well. The light-heeled deity saw that it was honest Tom, who asked for his lost hatchet; and accordingly he made his report to the synod. Marry, said Jupiter, we are finely helped up, as if we had now nothing else to do here but to restore lost hatchets. Well, he must have it then for all this, for so ’tis written in the Book of Fate (do you hear?), as well as if it was worth the whole duchy of Milan. The truth is, the fellow’s hatchet is as much to him as a kingdom to a king. Come, come, let no more words be scattered about it; let him have his hatchet again.
Now, let us make an end of the difference betwixt the Levites and mole-catchers of Landerousse. Whereabouts were we? Priapus was standing in the chimney-corner, and having heard what Mercury had reported, said in a most courteous and jovial manner: King Jupiter, while by your order and particular favour I was garden-keeper-general on earth, I observed that this word hatchet is equivocal to many things; for it signifies a certain instrument by the means of which men fell and cleave timber. It also signifies (at least I am sure it did formerly) a female soundly and frequently thumpthumpriggletickletwiddletobyed. Thus I perceived that every cock of the game used to call his doxy his hatchet; for with that same tool (this he said lugging out and exhibiting his nine-inch knocker) they so strongly and resolutely shove and drive in their helves, that the females remain free from a fear epidemical amongst their sex, viz., that from the bottom of the male’s belly the instrument should dangle at his heel for want of such feminine props. And I remember, for I have a member, and a memory too, ay, and a fine memory, large enough to fill a butter-firkin; I remember, I say, that one day of tubilustre (horn-fair) at the festivals of goodman Vulcan in May, I heard Josquin Des Prez, Olkegan, Hobrecht, Agricola, Brumel, Camelin, Vigoris, De la Fage, Bruyer, Prioris, Seguin, De la Rue, Midy, Moulu, Mouton, Gascogne, Loyset, Compere, Penet, Fevin, Rousee, Richard Fort, Rousseau, Consilion, Constantio Festi, Jacquet Bercan, melodiously singing the following catch on a pleasant green:
Long John to bed went to his bride,
And laid a mallet by his side:
What means this mallet, John? saith she. Why! ’tis to wedge thee home, quoth he. Alas! cried she, the man’s a fool:
What need you use a wooden tool?
When lusty John does to me come,
He never shoves but with his bum.
Nine Olympiads, and an intercalary year after (I have a rare member, I would say memory; but I often make blunders in the symbolization and colligance of those two words), I heard Adrian Villart, Gombert, Janequin, Arcadet, Claudin, Certon, Manchicourt, Auxerre, Villiers, Sandrin, Sohier, Hesdin, Morales, Passereau, Maille, Maillart, Jacotin, Heurteur, Verdelot, Carpentras, L’Heritier, Cadeac, Doublet, Vermont, Bouteiller, Lupi, Pagnier, Millet, Du Moulin, Alaire, Maraut, Morpain, Gendre, and other merry lovers of music, in a private garden, under some fine shady trees, round about a bulwark of flagons, gammons, pasties, with several coated quails, and laced mutton, waggishly singing:
Since tools without their hafts are useless lumber, And hatchets without helves are of that number; That one may go in t’other, and may match it, I’ll be the helve, and thou shalt be the hatchet.
Now would I know what kind of hatchet this bawling Tom wants? This threw all the venerable gods and goddesses into a fit of laughter, like any microcosm of flies; and even set limping Vulcan a-hopping and jumping smoothly three or four times for the sake of his dear. Come, come, said Jupiter to Mercury, run down immediately, and cast at the poor fellow’s feet three hatchets: his own, another of gold, and a third of massy silver, all of one size; then having left it to his will to take his choice, if he take his own, and be satisfied with it, give him the other two; if he take another, chop his head off with his own; and henceforth serve me all those losers of hatchets after that manner. Having said this, Jupiter, with an awkward turn of his head, like a jackanapes swallowing of pills, made so dreadful a phiz that all the vast Olympus quaked again. Heaven’s foot messenger, thanks to his low-crowned narrow-brimmed hat, his plume of feathers, heel-pieces, and running stick with pigeon wings, flings himself out at heaven’s wicket, through the idle deserts of the air, and in a trice nimbly alights upon the earth, and throws at friend Tom’s feet the three hatchets, saying unto him: Thou hast bawled long enough to be a-dry; thy prayers and request are granted by Jupiter: see which of these three is thy hatchet, and take it away with thee. Wellhung lifts up the golden hatchet, peeps upon it, and finds it very heavy; then staring on Mercury, cries, Codszouks, this is none of mine; I won’t ha’t: the same he did with the silver one, and said, ‘Tis not this neither, you may e’en take them again. At last he takes up his own hatchet, examines the end of the helve, and finds his mark there; then, ravished with joy, like a fox that meets some straggling poultry, and sneering from the tip of the nose, he cried, By the mass, this is my hatchet, master god; if you will leave it me, I will sacrifice to you a very good and huge pot of milk brimful, covered with fine strawberries, next ides of May.
Honest fellow, said Mercury, I leave it thee; take it; and because thou hast wished and chosen moderately in point of hatchet, by Jupiter’s command I give thee these two others; thou hast now wherewith to make thyself rich: be honest. Honest Tom gave Mercury a whole cartload of thanks, and revered the most great Jupiter. His old hatchet he fastens close to his leathern girdle, and girds it above his breech like Martin of Cambray; the two others, being more heavy, he lays on his shoulder. Thus he plods on, trudging over the fields, keeping a good countenance amongst his neighbours and fellow-parishioners, with one merry saying or other after Patelin’s way. The next day, having put on a clean white jacket, he takes on his back the two precious hatchets and comes to Chinon, the famous city, noble city, ancient city, yea, the first city in the world, according to the judgment and assertion of the most learned Massorets. At Chinon he turned his silver hatchet into fine testons, crown-pieces, and other white cash; his golden hatchet into fine angels, curious ducats, substantial ridders, spankers, and rose-nobles; then with them purchases a good number of farms, barns, houses, out-houses, thatched houses, stables, meadows, orchards, fields, vineyards, woods, arable lands, pastures, ponds, mills, gardens, nurseries, oxen, cows, sheep, goats, swine, hogs, asses, horses, hens, cocks, capons, chickens, geese, ganders, ducks, drakes, and a world of all other necessaries, and in a short time became the richest man in the country, nay, even richer than that limping scrape-good Maulevrier. His brother bumpkins, and the other yeomen and country-puts thereabouts, perceiving his good fortune, were not a little amazed, insomuch that their former pity of poor Tom was soon changed into an envy of his so great and unexpected rise; and as they could not for their souls devise how this came about, they made it their business to pry up and down, and lay their heads together, to inquire, seek, and inform themselves by what means, in what place, on what day, what hour, how, why, and wherefore, he had come by this great treasure.
At last, hearing it was by losing his hatchet, Ha, ha! said they, was there no more to do but to lose a hatchet to make us rich? Mum for that; ’tis as easy as pissing a bed, and will cost but little. Are then at this time the revolutions of the heavens, the constellations of the firmament, and aspects of the planets such, that whosoever shall lose a hatchet shall immediately grow rich? Ha, ha, ha! by Jove, you shall e’en be lost, an’t please you, my dear hatchet. With this they all fairly lost their hatchets out of hand. The devil of one that had a hatchet left; he was not his mother’s son that did not lose his hatchet. No more was wood felled or cleaved in that country through want of hatchets. Nay, the Aesopian apologue even saith that certain petty country gents of the lower class, who had sold Wellhung their little mill and little field to have wherewithal to make a figure at the next muster, having been told that his treasure was come to him by that only means, sold the only badge of their gentility, their swords, to purchase hatchets to go lose them, as the silly clodpates did, in hopes to gain store of chink by that loss.
You would have truly sworn they had been a parcel of your petty spiritual usurers, Rome-bound, selling their all, and borrowing of others, to buy store of mandates, a pennyworth of a new-made pope.
Now they cried out and brayed, and prayed and bawled, and lamented, and invoked Jupiter: My hatchet! my hatchet! Jupiter, my hatchet! on this side, My hatchet! on that side, My hatchet! Ho, ho, ho, ho, Jupiter, my hatchet! The air round about rung again with the cries and howlings of these rascally losers of hatchets.
Mercury was nimble in bringing them hatchets; to each offering that which he had lost, as also another of gold, and a third of silver.
Every he still was for that of gold, giving thanks in abundance to the great giver, Jupiter; but in the very nick of time that they bowed and stooped to take it from the ground, whip, in a trice, Mercury lopped off their heads, as Jupiter had commanded; and of heads thus cut off the number was just equal to that of the lost hatchets.
You see how it is now; you see how it goes with those who in the simplicity of their hearts wish and desire with moderation. Take warning by this, all you greedy, fresh-water sharks, who scorn to wish for anything under ten thousand pounds; and do not for the future run on impudently, as I have sometimes heard you wishing, Would to God I had now one hundred seventy-eight millions of gold! Oh! how I should tickle it off. The deuce on you, what more might a king, an emperor, or a pope wish for? For that reason, indeed, you see that after you have made such hopeful wishes, all the good that comes to you of it is the itch or the scab, and not a cross in your breeches to scare the devil that tempts you to make these wishes: no more than those two mumpers, wishers after the custom of Paris; one of whom only wished to have in good old gold as much as hath been spent, bought, and sold in Paris, since its first foundations were laid, to this hour; all of it valued at the price, sale, and rate of the dearest year in all that space of time. Do you think the fellow was bashful? Had he eaten sour plums unpeeled? Were his teeth on edge, I pray you? The other wished Our Lady’s Church brimful of steel needles, from the floor to the top of the roof, and to have as many ducats as might be crammed into as many bags as might be sewed with each and everyone of those needles, till they were all either broke at the point or eye. This is to wish with a vengeance! What think you of it? What did they get by’t, in your opinion? Why at night both my gentlemen had kibed heels, a tetter in the chin, a churchyard cough in the lungs, a catarrh in the throat, a swingeing boil at the rump, and the devil of one musty crust of a brown george the poor dogs had to scour their grinders with. Wish therefore for mediocrity, and it shall be given unto you, and over and above yet; that is to say, provided you bestir yourself manfully, and do your best in the meantime.
Ay, but say you, God might as soon have given me seventy-eight thousand as the thirteenth part of one half; for he is omnipotent, and a million of gold is no more to him than one farthing. Oh, ho! pray tell me who taught you to talk at this rate of the power and predestination of God, poor silly people? Peace, tush, st, st, st! fall down before his sacred face and own the nothingness of your nothing.
Upon this, O ye that labour under the affliction of the gout, I ground my hopes; firmly believing, that if so it pleases the divine goodness, you shall obtain health; since you wish and ask for nothing else, at least for the present. Well, stay yet a little longer with half an ounce of patience.
The Genoese do not use, like you, to be satisfied with wishing health alone, when after they have all the livelong morning been in a brown study, talked, pondered, ruminated, and resolved in the counting-houses of whom and how they may squeeze the ready, and who by their craft must be hooked in, wheedled, bubbled, sharped, overreached, and choused; they go to the exchange, and greet one another with a Sanita e guadagno, Messer! health and gain to you, sir! Health alone will not go down with the greedy curmudgeons; they over and above must wish for gain, with a pox to ’em; ay, and for the fine crowns, or scudi di Guadaigne; whence, heaven be praised! it happens many a time that the silly wishers and woulders are baulked, and get neither.
Now, my lads, as you hope for good health, cough once aloud with lungs of leather; take me off three swingeing bumpers; prick up your ears; and you shall hear me tell wonders of the noble and good Pantagruel.
THE FOURTH BOOK.
How Pantagruel went to sea to visit the oracle of Bacbuc, alias the Holy Bottle.
In the month of June, on Vesta’s holiday, the very numerical day on which Brutus, conquering Spain, taught its strutting dons to truckle under him, and that niggardly miser Crassus was routed and knocked on the head by the Parthians, Pantagruel took his leave of the good Gargantua, his royal father. The old gentleman, according to the laudable custom of the primitive Christians, devoutly prayed for the happy voyage of his son and his whole company, and then they took shipping at the port of Thalassa. Pantagruel had with him Panurge, Friar John des Entomeures, alias of the Funnels, Epistemon, Gymnast, Eusthenes, Rhizotome, Carpalin, cum multis aliis, his ancient servants and domestics; also Xenomanes, the great traveller, who had crossed so many dangerous roads, dikes, ponds, seas, and so forth, and was come some time before, having been sent for by Panurge.
For certain good causes and considerations him thereunto moving, he had left with Gargantua, and marked out, in his great and universal hydrographical chart, the course which they were to steer to visit the Oracle of the Holy Bottle Bacbuc. The number of ships were such as I described in the third book, convoyed by a like number of triremes, men of war, galleons, and feluccas, well-rigged, caulked, and stored with a good quantity of Pantagruelion.
All the officers, droggermen, pilots, captains, mates, boatswains, midshipmen, quartermasters, and sailors, met in the Thalamege, Pantagruel’s principal flag-ship, which had in her stern for her ensign a huge large bottle, half silver well polished, the other half gold enamelled with carnation; whereby it was easy to guess that white and red were the colours of the noble travellers, and that they went for the word of the Bottle.
On the stern of the second was a lantern like those of the ancients, industriously made with diaphanous stone, implying that they were to pass by Lanternland. The third ship had for her device a fine deep china ewer. The fourth, a double-handed jar of gold, much like an ancient urn. The fifth, a famous can made of sperm of emerald. The sixth, a monk’s mumping bottle made of the four metals together. The seventh, an ebony funnel, all embossed and wrought with gold after the Tauchic manner. The eighth, an ivy goblet, very precious, inlaid with gold. The ninth, a cup of fine Obriz gold. The tenth, a tumbler of aromatic agoloch (you call it lignum aloes) edged with Cyprian gold, after the Azemine make. The eleventh, a golden vine-tub of mosaic work. The twelfth, a runlet of unpolished gold, covered with a small vine of large Indian pearl of Topiarian work. Insomuch that there was not a man, however in the dumps, musty, sour-looked, or melancholic he were, not even excepting that blubbering whiner Heraclitus, had he been there, but seeing this noble convoy of ships and their devices, must have been seized with present gladness of heart, and, smiling at the conceit, have said that the travellers were all honest topers, true pitcher-men, and have judged by a most sure prognostication that their voyage, both outward and homeward-bound, would be performed in mirth and perfect health.
In the Thalamege, where was the general meeting, Pantagruel made a short but sweet exhortation, wholly backed with authorities from Scripture upon navigation; which being ended, with an audible voice prayers were said in the presence and hearing of all the burghers of Thalassa, who had flocked to the mole to see them take shipping. After the prayers was melodiously sung a psalm of the holy King David, which begins, When Israel went out of Egypt; and that being ended, tables were placed upon deck, and a feast speedily served up. The Thalassians, who had also borne a chorus in the psalm, caused store of belly-timber to be brought out of their houses. All drank to them; they drank to all; which was the cause that none of the whole company gave up what they had eaten, nor were sea-sick, with a pain at the head and stomach; which inconveniency they could not so easily have prevented by drinking, for some time before, salt water, either alone or mixed with wine; using quinces, citron peel, juice of pomegranates, sourish sweetmeats, fasting a long time, covering their stomachs with paper, or following such other idle remedies as foolish physicians prescribe to those that go to sea.
Having often renewed their tipplings, each mother’s son retired on board his own ship, and set sail all so fast with a merry gale at south-east; to which point of the compass the chief pilot, James Brayer by name, had shaped his course, and fixed all things accordingly. For seeing that the Oracle of the Holy Bottle lay near Cathay, in the Upper India, his advice, and that of Xenomanes also, was not to steer the course which the Portuguese use, while sailing through the torrid zone, and Cape Bona Speranza, at the south point of Africa, beyond the equinoctial line, and losing sight of the northern pole, their guide, they make a prodigious long voyage; but rather to keep as near the parallel of the said India as possible, and to tack to the westward of the said pole, so that winding under the north, they might find themselves in the latitude of the port of Olone, without coming nearer it for fear of being shut up in the frozen sea; whereas, following this canonical turn, by the said parallel, they must have that on the right to the eastward, which at their departure was on their left.
This proved a much shorter cut; for without shipwreck, danger, or loss of men, with uninterrupted good weather, except one day near the island of the Macreons, they performed in less than four months the voyage of Upper India, which the Portuguese, with a thousand inconveniences and innumerable dangers, can hardly complete in three years. And it is my opinion, with submission to better judgments, that this course was perhaps steered by those Indians who sailed to Germany, and were honourably received by the King of the Swedes, while Quintus Metellus Celer was proconsul of the Gauls; as Cornelius Nepos, Pomponius Mela, and Pliny after them tell us.
How Pantagruel bought many rarities in the island of Medamothy.
That day and the two following they neither discovered land nor anything new; for they had formerly sailed that way: but on the fourth they made an island called Medamothy, of a fine and delightful prospect, by reason of the vast number of lighthouses and high marble towers in its circuit, which is not less than that of Canada (sic). Pantagruel, inquiring who governed there, heard that it was King Philophanes, absent at that time upon account of the marriage of his brother Philotheamon with the infanta of the kingdom of Engys.
Hearing this, he went ashore in the harbour, and while every ship’s crew watered, passed his time in viewing divers pictures, pieces of tapestry, animals, fishes, birds, and other exotic and foreign merchandises, which were along the walks of the mole and in the markets of the port. For it was the third day of the great and famous fair of the place, to which the chief merchants of Africa and Asia resorted. Out of these Friar John bought him two rare pictures; in one of which the face of a man that brings in an appeal was drawn to the life; and in the other a servant that wants a master, with every needful particular, action, countenance, look, gait, feature, and deportment, being an original by Master Charles Charmois, principal painter to King Megistus; and he paid for them in the court fashion, with conge and grimace. Panurge bought a large picture, copied and done from the needle-work formerly wrought by Philomela, showing to her sister Progne how her brother-in-law Tereus had by force handselled her copyhold, and then cut out her tongue that she might not (as women will) tell tales. I vow and swear by the handle of my paper lantern that it was a gallant, a mirific, nay, a most admirable piece. Nor do you think, I pray you, that in it was the picture of a man playing the beast with two backs with a female; this had been too silly and gross: no, no; it was another-guise thing, and much plainer. You may, if you please, see it at Theleme, on the left hand as you go into the high gallery. Epistemon bought another, wherein were painted to the life the ideas of Plato and the atoms of Epicurus. Rhizotome purchased another, wherein Echo was drawn to the life. Pantagruel caused to be bought, by Gymnast, the life and deeds of Achilles, in seventy-eight pieces of tapestry, four fathom long, and three fathom broad, all of Phrygian silk, embossed with gold and silver; the work beginning at the nuptials of Peleus and Thetis, continuing to the birth of Achilles; his youth, described by Statius Papinius; his warlike achievements, celebrated by Homer; his death and obsequies, written by Ovid and Quintus Calaber; and ending at the appearance of his ghost, and Polyxena’s sacrifice, rehearsed by Euripides.
He also caused to be bought three fine young unicorns; one of them a male of a chestnut colour, and two grey dappled females; also a tarand, whom he bought of a Scythian of the Gelones’ country.
A tarand is an animal as big as a bullock, having a head like a stag, or a little bigger, two stately horns with large branches, cloven feet, hair long like that of a furred Muscovite, I mean a bear, and a skin almost as hard as steel armour. The Scythian said that there are but few tarands to be found in Scythia, because it varieth its colour according to the diversity of the places where it grazes and abides, and represents the colour of the grass, plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, meadows, rocks, and generally of all things near which it comes. It hath this common with the sea-pulp, or polypus, with the thoes, with the wolves of India, and with the chameleon, which is a kind of a lizard so wonderful that Democritus hath written a whole book of its figure and anatomy, as also of its virtue and propriety in magic. This I can affirm, that I have seen it change its colour, not only at the approach of things that have a colour, but by its own voluntary impulse, according to its fear or other affections; as, for example, upon a green carpet I have certainly seen it become green; but having remained there some time, it turned yellow, blue, tanned, and purple in course, in the same manner as you see a turkey-cock’s comb change colour according to its passions. But what we find most surprising in this tarand is, that not only its face and skin, but also its hair could take whatever colour was about it. Near Panurge, with his kersey coat, its hair used to turn grey; near Pantagruel, with his scarlet mantle, its hair and skin grew red; near the pilot, dressed after the fashion of the Isiacs of Anubis in Egypt, its hair seemed all white, which two last colours the chameleons cannot borrow.
When the creature was free from any fear or affection, the colour of its hair was just such as you see that of the asses of Meung.
How Pantagruel received a letter from his father Gargantua, and of the strange way to have speedy news from far distant places.
While Pantagruel was taken up with the purchase of those foreign animals, the noise of ten guns and culverins, together with a loud and joyful cheer of all the fleet, was heard from the mole. Pantagruel looked towards the haven, and perceived that this was occasioned by the arrival of one of his father Gargantua’s celoces, or advice-boats, named the Chelidonia; because on the stern of it was carved in Corinthian brass a sea-swallow, which is a fish as large as a dare-fish of Loire, all flesh, without scale, with cartilaginous wings (like a bat’s) very long and broad, by the means of which I have seen them fly about three fathom above water, about a bow-shot. At Marseilles ’tis called lendole. And indeed that ship was as light as a swallow, so that it rather seemed to fly on the sea than to sail. Malicorne, Gargantua’s esquire carver, was come in her, being sent expressly by his master to have an account of his son’s health and circumstances, and to bring him credentials. When Malicorne had saluted Pantagruel, before the prince opened the letters, the first thing he said to him was, Have you here the Gozal, the heavenly messenger? Yes, sir, said he; here it is swaddled up in this basket. It was a grey pigeon, taken out of Gargantua’s dove-house, whose young ones were just hatched when the advice-boat was going off.
If any ill fortune had befallen Pantagruel, he would have fastened some black ribbon to his feet; but because all things had succeeded happily hitherto, having caused it to be undressed, he tied to its feet a white ribbon, and without any further delay let it loose. The pigeon presently flew away, cutting the air with an incredible speed, as you know that there is no flight like a pigeon’s, especially when it hath eggs or young ones, through the extreme care which nature hath fixed in it to relieve and be with its young; insomuch that in less than two hours it compassed in the air the long tract which the advice-boat, with all her diligence, with oars and sails, and a fair wind, could not go through in less than three days and three nights; and was seen as it went into the dove-house in its nest. Whereupon Gargantua, hearing that it had the white ribbon on, was joyful and secure of his son’s welfare. This was the custom of the noble Gargantua and Pantagruel when they would have speedy news of something of great concern; as the event of some battle, either by sea or land; the surrendering or holding out of some strong place; the determination of some difference of moment; the safe or unhappy delivery of some queen or great lady; the death or recovery of their sick friends or allies, and so forth. They used to take the gozal, and had it carried from one to another by the post, to the places whence they desired to have news. The gozal, bearing either a black or white ribbon, according to the occurrences and accidents, used to remove their doubts at its return, making in the space of one hour more way through the air than thirty postboys could have done in one natural day. May not this be said to redeem and gain time with a vengeance, think you? For the like service, therefore, you may believe as a most true thing that in the dove-houses of their farms there were to be found all the year long store of pigeons hatching eggs or rearing their young. Which may be easily done in aviaries and voleries by the help of saltpetre and the sacred herb vervain.
The gozal being let fly, Pantagruel perused his father Gargantua’s letter, the contents of which were as followeth:
My dearest Son,–The affection that naturally a father bears a beloved son is so much increased in me by reflecting on the particular gifts which by the divine goodness have been heaped on thee, that since thy departure it hath often banished all other thoughts out of my mind, leaving my heart wholly possessed with fear lest some misfortune has attended thy voyage; for thou knowest that fear was ever the attendant of true and sincere love. Now because, as Hesiod saith, A good beginning of anything is the half of it; or, Well begun’s half done, according to the old saying; to free my mind from this anxiety I have expressly despatched Malicorne, that he may give me a true account of thy health at the beginning of thy voyage. For if it be good, and such as I wish it, I shall easily foresee the rest.
I have met with some diverting books, which the bearer will deliver thee; thou mayest read them when thou wantest to unbend and ease thy mind from thy better studies. He will also give thee at large the news at court. The peace of the Lord be with thee. Remember me to Panurge, Friar John, Epistemon, Xenomanes, Gymnast, and thy other principal domestics. Dated at our paternal seat, this 13th day of June.
Thy father and friend, Gargantua.
How Pantagruel writ to his father Gargantua, and sent him several curiosities.
Pantagruel, having perused the letter, had a long conference with the esquire Malicorne; insomuch that Panurge, at last interrupting them, asked him, Pray, sir, when do you design to drink? When shall we drink? When shall the worshipful esquire drink? What a devil! have you not talked long enough to drink? It is a good motion, answered Pantagruel: go, get us something ready at the next inn; I think ’tis the Centaur. In the meantime he writ to Gargantua as followeth, to be sent by the aforesaid esquire:
Most gracious Father,–As our senses and animal faculties are more discomposed at the news of events unexpected, though desired (even to an immediate dissolution of the soul from the body), than if those accidents had been foreseen, so the coming of Malicorne hath much surprised and disordered me. For I had no hopes to see any of your servants, or to hear from you, before I had finished our voyage; and contented myself with the dear remembrance of your august majesty, deeply impressed in the hindmost ventricle of my brain, often representing you to my mind.
But since you have made me happy beyond expectation by the perusal of your gracious letter, and the faith I have in your esquire hath revived my spirits by the news of your welfare, I am as it were compelled to do what formerly I did freely, that is, first to praise the blessed Redeemer, who by his divine goodness preserves you in this long enjoyment of perfect health; then to return you eternal thanks for the fervent affection which you have for me your most humble son and unprofitable servant.
Formerly a Roman, named Furnius, said to Augustus, who had received his father into favour, and pardoned him after he had sided with Antony, that by that action the emperor had reduced him to this extremity, that for want of power to be grateful, both while he lived and after it, he should be obliged to be taxed with ingratitude. So I may say, that the excess of your fatherly affection drives me into such a strait, that I shall be forced to live and die ungrateful; unless that crime be redressed by the sentence of the Stoics, who say that there are three parts in a benefit, the one of the giver, the other of the receiver, the third of the remunerator; and that the receiver rewards the giver when he freely receives the benefit and always remembers it; as, on the contrary, that man is most ungrateful who despises and forgets a benefit. Therefore, being overwhelmed with infinite favours, all proceeding from your extreme goodness, and on the other side wholly incapable of making the smallest return, I hope at least to free myself from the imputation of ingratitude, since they can never be blotted out of my mind; and my tongue shall never cease to own that to thank you as I ought transcends my capacity.
As for us, I have this assurance in the Lord’s mercy and help, that the end of our voyage will be answerable to its beginning, and so it will be entirely performed in health and mirth. I will not fail to set down in a journal a full account of our navigation, that at our return you may have an exact relation of the whole.
I have found here a Scythian tarand, an animal strange and wonderful for the variations of colour on its skin and hair, according to the distinction of neighbouring things; it is as tractable and easily kept as a lamb. Be pleased to accept of it.
I also send you three young unicorns, which are the tamest of creatures.
I have conferred with the esquire, and taught him how they must be fed. These cannot graze on the ground by reason of the long horn on their forehead, but are forced to browse on fruit trees, or on proper racks, or to be fed by hand, with herbs, sheaves, apples, pears, barley, rye, and other fruits and roots, being placed before them.
I am amazed that ancient writers should report them to be so wild, furious, and dangerous, and never seen alive; far from it, you will find that they are the mildest things in the world, provided they are not maliciously offended. Likewise I send you the life and deeds of Achilles in curious tapestry; assuring you whatever rarities of animals, plants, birds, or precious stones, and others, I shall be able to find and purchase in our travels, shall be brought to you, God willing, whom I beseech, by his blessed grace, to preserve you.
From Medamothy, this 15th of June. Panurge, Friar John, Epistemon, Zenomanes, Gymnast, Eusthenes, Rhizotome, and Carpalin, having most humbly kissed your hand, return your salute a thousand times.
Your most dutiful son and servant, Pantagruel.
While Pantagruel was writing this letter, Malicorne was made welcome by all with a thousand goodly good-morrows and how-d’ye’s; they clung about him so that I cannot tell you how much they made of him, how many humble services, how many from my love and to my love were sent with him. Pantagruel, having writ his letters, sat down at table with him, and afterwards presented him with a large chain of gold, weighing eight hundred crowns, between whose septenary links some large diamonds, rubies, emeralds, turquoise stones, and unions were alternately set in. To each of his bark’s crew he ordered to be given five hundred crowns. To Gargantua, his father, he sent the tarand covered with a cloth of satin, brocaded with gold, and the tapestry containing the life and deeds of Achilles, with the three unicorns in friezed cloth of gold trappings; and so they left Medamothy–Malicorne to return to Gargantua, Pantagruel to proceed in his voyage, during which Epistemon read to him the books which the esquire had brought, and because he found them jovial and pleasant, I shall give you an account of them, if you earnestly desire it.
How Pantagruel met a ship with passengers returning from Lanternland.
On the fifth day we began already to wind by little and little about the pole; going still farther from the equinoctial line, we discovered a merchant-man to the windward of us. The joy for this was not small on both sides; we in hopes to hear news from sea, and those in the merchant-man from land. So we bore upon ’em, and coming up with them we hailed them; and finding them to be Frenchmen of Xaintonge, backed our sails and lay by to talk to them. Pantagruel heard that they came from Lanternland; which added to his joy, and that of the whole fleet. We inquired about the state of that country, and the way of living of the Lanterns; and were told that about the latter end of the following July was the time prefixed for the meeting of the general chapter of the Lanterns; and that if we arrived there at that time, as we might easily, we should see a handsome, honourable, and jolly company of Lanterns; and that great preparations were making, as if they intended to lanternize there to the purpose. We were told also that if we touched at the great kingdom of Gebarim, we should be honourably received and treated by the sovereign of that country, King Ohabe, who, as well as all his subjects, speaks Touraine French.
While we were listening to these news, Panurge fell out with one Dingdong, a drover or sheep-merchant of Taillebourg. The occasion of the fray was thus:
This same Dingdong, seeing Panurge without a codpiece, with his spectacles fastened to his cap, said to one of his comrades, Prithee, look, is there not a fine medal of a cuckold? Panurge, by reason of his spectacles, as you may well think, heard more plainly by half with his ears than usually; which caused him (hearing this) to say to the saucy dealer in mutton, in a kind of a pet:
How the devil should I be one of the hornified fraternity, since I am not yet a brother of the marriage-noose, as thou art; as I guess by thy ill-favoured phiz?
Yea, verily, quoth the grazier, I am married, and would not be otherwise for all the pairs of spectacles in Europe; nay, not for all the magnifying gimcracks in Africa; for I have got me the cleverest, prettiest, handsomest, properest, neatest, tightest, honestest, and soberest piece of woman’s flesh for my wife that is in all the whole country of Xaintonge; I’ll say that for her, and a fart for all the rest. I bring her home a fine eleven-inch-long branch of red coral for her Christmas-box. What hast thou to do with it? what’s that to thee? who art thou? whence comest thou, O dark lantern of Antichrist? Answer, if thou art of God. I ask thee, by the way of question, said Panurge to him very seriously, if with the consent and countenance of all the elements, I had gingumbobbed, codpieced, and thumpthumpriggledtickledtwiddled thy so clever, so pretty, so handsome, so proper, so neat, so tight, so honest, and so sober female importance, insomuch that the stiff deity that has no forecast, Priapus (who dwells here at liberty, all subjection of fastened codpieces, or bolts, bars, and locks, abdicated), remained sticking in her natural Christmas-box in such a lamentable manner that it were never to come out, but eternally should stick there unless thou didst pull it out with thy teeth; what wouldst thou do? Wouldst thou everlastingly leave it there, or wouldst thou pluck it out with thy grinders? Answer me, O thou ram of Mahomet, since thou art one of the devil’s gang. I would, replied the sheepmonger, take thee such a woundy cut on this spectacle-bearing lug of thine with my trusty bilbo as would smite thee dead as a herring. Thus, having taken pepper in the nose, he was lugging out his sword, but, alas!–cursed cows have short horns,–it stuck in the scabbard; as you know that at sea cold iron will easily take rust by reason of the excessive and nitrous moisture. Panurge, so smitten with terror that his heart sunk down to his midriff, scoured off to Pantagruel for help; but Friar John laid hand on his flashing scimitar that was new ground, and would certainly have despatched Dingdong to rights, had not the skipper and some of his passengers beseeched Pantagruel not to suffer such an outrage to be committed on board his ship. So the matter was made up, and Panurge and his antagonist shaked fists, and drank in course to one another in token of a perfect reconciliation.
How, the fray being over, Panurge cheapened one of Dingdong’s sheep.
This quarrel being hushed, Panurge tipped the wink upon Epistemon and Friar John, and taking them aside, Stand at some distance out of the way, said he, and take your share of the following scene of mirth. You shall have rare sport anon, if my cake be not dough, and my plot do but take. Then addressing himself to the drover, he took off to him a bumper of good lantern wine. The other pledged him briskly and courteously. This done, Panurge earnestly entreated him to sell him one of his sheep.
But the other answered him, Is it come to that, friend and neighbour? Would you put tricks upon travellers? Alas, how finely you love to play upon poor folk! Nay, you seem a rare chapman, that’s the truth on’t. Oh, what a mighty sheep-merchant you are! In good faith, you look liker one of the diving trade than a buyer of sheep. Adzookers, what a blessing it would be to have one’s purse well lined with chink near your worship at a tripe-house when it begins to thaw! Humph, humph, did not we know you well, you might serve one a slippery trick! Pray do but see, good people, what a mighty conjuror the fellow would be reckoned. Patience, said Panurge; but waiving that, be so kind as to sell me one of your sheep. Come, how much? What do you mean, master of mine? answered the other. They are long-wool sheep; from these did Jason take his golden fleece. The gold of the house of Burgundy was drawn from them. Zwoons, man, they are oriental sheep, topping sheep, fatted sheep, sheep of quality. Be it so, said Panurge; but sell me one of them, I beseech you; and that for a cause, paying you ready money upon the nail, in good and lawful occidental current cash. Wilt say how much? Friend, neighbour, answered the seller of mutton, hark ye me a little, on the ear.
Panurge. On which side you please; I hear you.
Dingdong. You are going to Lanternland, they say.
Panurge. Yea, verily.
Dingdong. To see fashions?
Panurge. Even so.
Dingdong. And be merry?
Panurge. And be merry.
Dingdong. Your name is, as I take it, Robin Mutton?
Panurge. As you please for that, sweet sir.
Dingdong. Nay, without offence.
Panurge. So I would have it.
Dingdong. You are, as I take it, the king’s jester; aren’t you?
Panurge. Ay, ay, anything.
Dingdong. Give me your hand–humph, humph, you go to see fashions, you are the king’s jester, your name is Robin Mutton! Do you see this same ram? His name, too, is Robin. Here, Robin, Robin, Robin! Baea, baea, baea. Hath he not a rare voice?
Panurge. Ay, marry has he, a very fine and harmonious voice.
Dingdong. Well, this bargain shall be made between you and me, friend and neighbour; we will get a pair of scales, then you Robin Mutton shall be put into one of them, and Tup Robin into the other. Now I will hold you a peck of Busch oysters that in weight, value, and price he shall outdo you, and you shall be found light in the very numerical manner as when you shall be hanged and suspended.
Patience, said Panurge; but you would do much for me and your whole posterity if you would chaffer with me for him, or some other of his inferiors. I beg it of you; good your worship, be so kind. Hark ye, friend of mine, answered the other; with the fleece of these your fine Rouen cloth is to be made; your Leominster superfine wool is mine arse to it; mere flock in comparison. Of their skins the best cordovan will be made, which shall be sold for Turkey and Montelimart, or for Spanish leather at least. Of the guts shall be made fiddle and harp strings that will sell as dear as if they came from Munican or Aquileia. What do you think on’t, hah? If you please, sell me one of them, said Panurge, and I will be yours for ever. Look, here’s ready cash. What’s the price? This he said exhibiting his purse stuffed with new Henricuses.
Which if you read you’ll find how Panurge bargained with Dingdong.
Neighbour, my friend, answered Dingdong, they are meat for none but kings and princes; their flesh is so delicate, so savoury, and so dainty that one would swear it melted in the mouth. I bring them out of a country where the very hogs, God be with us, live on nothing but myrobolans. The sows in the styes when they lie-in (saving the honour of this good company) are fed only with orange-flowers. But, said Panurge, drive a bargain with me for one of them, and I will pay you for’t like a king, upon the honest word of a true Trojan; come, come, what do you ask? Not so fast, Robin, answered the trader; these sheep are lineally descended from the very family of the ram that wafted Phryxus and Helle over the sea since called the Hellespont. A pox on’t, said Panurge, you are clericus vel addiscens! Ita is a cabbage, and vere a leek, answered the merchant. But, rr, rrr, rrrr, rrrrr, hoh Robin, rr, rrrrrrr, you don’t understand that gibberish, do you? Now I think on’t, over all the fields where they piss, corn grows as fast as if the Lord had pissed there; they need neither be tilled nor dunged. Besides, man, your chemists extract the best saltpetre in the world out of their urine. Nay, with their very dung (with reverence be it spoken) the doctors in our country make pills that cure seventy-eight kinds of diseases, the least of which is the evil of St. Eutropius of Xaintes, from which, good Lord, deliver us! Now what do you think on’t, neighbour, my friend? The truth is, they cost me money, that they do. Cost what they will, cried Panurge, trade with me for one of them, paying you well. Our friend, quoth the quacklike sheepman, do but mind the wonders of nature that are found in those animals, even in a member which one would think were of no use. Take me but these horns, and bray them a little with an iron pestle, or with an andiron, which you please, it is all one to me; then bury them wherever you will, provided it be where the sun may shine, and water them frequently; in a few months I’ll engage you will have the best asparagus in the world, not even excepting those of Ravenna. Now, come and tell me whether the horns of your other knights of the bull’s feather have such a virtue and wonderful propriety?
Patience, said Panurge. I don’t know whether you be a scholar or no, pursued Dingdong; I have seen a world of scholars, I say great scholars, that were cuckolds, I’ll assure you. But hark you me, if you were a scholar, you should know that in the most inferior members of those animals, which are the feet, there is a bone, which is the heel, the astragalus, if you will have it so, wherewith, and with that of no other creature breathing, except the Indian ass and the dorcades of Libya, they used in old times to play at the royal game of dice, whereat Augustus the emperor won above fifty thousand crowns one evening. Now such cuckolds as you will be hanged ere you get half so much at it. Patience, said Panurge; but let us despatch. And when, my friend and neighbour, continued the canting sheepseller, shall I have duly praised the inward members, the shoulders, the legs, the knuckles, the neck, the breast, the liver, the spleen, the tripes, the kidneys, the bladder, wherewith they make footballs; the ribs, which serve in Pigmyland to make little crossbows to pelt the cranes with cherry-stones; the head, which with a little brimstone serves to make a miraculous decoction to loosen and ease the belly of costive dogs? A turd on’t, said the skipper to his preaching passenger, what a fiddle-faddle have we here? There is too long a lecture by half: sell him if thou wilt; if thou won’t, don’t let the man lose more time. I hate a gibble-gabble and a rimble-ramble talk. I am for a man of brevity. I will, for your sake, replied the holder-forth; but then he shall give me three livres, French money, for each pick and choose. It is a woundy price, cried Panurge; in our country I could have five, nay six, for the money; see that you do not overreach me, master. You are not the first man whom I have known to have fallen, even sometimes to the endangering, if not breaking, of his own neck, for endeavouring to rise all at once. A murrain seize thee for a blockheaded booby, cried the angry seller of sheep; by the worthy vow of Our Lady of Charroux, the worst in this flock is four times better than those which the Coraxians in Tuditania, a country of Spain, used to sell for a gold talent each; and how much dost thou think, thou Hibernian fool, that a talent of gold was worth? Sweet sir, you fall into a passion, I see, returned Panurge; well, hold, here is your money. Panurge, having paid his money, chose him out of all the flock a fine topping ram; and as he was hauling it along, crying out and bleating, all the rest, hearing and bleating in concert, stared to see whither their brother-ram should be carried. In the meanwhile the drover was saying to his shepherds: Ah! how well the knave could choose him out a ram; the whoreson has skill in cattle. On my honest word, I reserved that very piece of flesh for the Lord of Cancale, well knowing his disposition; for the good man is naturally overjoyed when he holds a good-sized handsome shoulder of mutton, instead of a left-handed racket, in one hand, with a good sharp carver in the other. God wot, how he belabours himself then.
How Panurge caused Dingdong and his sheep to be drowned in the sea.
On a sudden, you would wonder how the thing was so soon done–for my part I cannot tell you, for I had not leisure to mind it–our friend Panurge, without any further tittle-tattle, throws you his ram overboard into the middle of the sea, bleating and making a sad noise. Upon this all the other sheep in the ship, crying and bleating in the same tone, made all the haste they could to leap nimbly into the sea, one after another; and great was the throng who should leap in first after their leader. It was impossible to hinder them; for you know that it is the nature of sheep always to follow the first wheresoever it goes; which makes Aristotle, lib. 9. De. Hist. Animal., mark them for the most silly and foolish animals in the world. Dingdong, at his wits’ end, and stark staring mad, as a man who saw his sheep destroy and drown themselves before his face, strove to hinder and keep them back with might and main; but all in vain: they all one after t’other frisked and jumped into the sea, and were lost. At last he laid hold on a huge sturdy one by the fleece, upon the deck of the ship, hoping to keep it back, and so save that and the rest; but the ram was so strong that it proved too hard for him, and carried its master into the herring pond in spite of his teeth–where it is supposed he drank somewhat more than his fill, so that he was drowned–in the same manner as one-eyed Polyphemus’ sheep carried out of the den Ulysses and his companions. The like happened to the shepherds and all their gang, some laying hold on their beloved tup, this by the horns, t’other by the legs, a third by the rump, and others by the fleece; till in fine they were all of them forced to sea, and drowned like so many rats. Panurge, on the gunnel of the ship, with an oar in his hand, not to help them you may swear, but to keep them from swimming to the ship and saving themselves from drowning, preached and canted to them all the while like any little Friar (Oliver) Maillard, or another Friar John Burgess; laying before them rhetorical commonplaces concerning the miseries of this life and the blessings and felicity of the next; assuring them that the dead were much happier than the living in this vale of misery, and promised to erect a stately cenotaph and honorary tomb to every one of them on the highest summit of Mount Cenis at his return from Lanternland; wishing them, nevertheless, in case they were not yet disposed to shake hands with this life, and did not like their salt liquor, they might have the good luck to meet with some kind whale which might set them ashore safe and sound on some blessed land of Gotham, after a famous example.
The ship being cleared of Dingdong and his tups: Is there ever another sheepish soul left lurking on board? cried Panurge. Where are those of Toby Lamb and Robin Ram that sleep while the rest are a-feeding? Faith, I can’t tell myself. This was an old coaster’s trick. What think’st of it, Friar John, hah? Rarely performed, answered Friar John; only methinks that as formerly in war, on the day of battle, a double pay was commonly promised the soldiers for that day; for if they overcame, there was enough to pay them; and if they lost, it would have been shameful for them to demand it, as the cowardly foresters did after the battle of Cerizoles; likewise, my friend, you ought not to have paid your man, and the money had been saved. A fart for the money, said Panurge; have I not had above fifty thousand pounds’ worth of sport? Come now, let’s be gone; the wind is fair. Hark you me, my friend John; never did man do me a good turn, but I returned, or at least acknowledged it; no, I scorn to be ungrateful; I never was, nor ever will be. Never did man do me an ill one without rueing the day that he did it, either in this world or the next. I am not yet so much a fool neither. Thou damn’st thyself like any old devil, quoth Friar John; it is written, Mihi vindictam, &c. Matter of breviary, mark ye me (Motteux adds unnecessarily (by way of explanation), ‘that’s holy stuff.’).
How Pantagruel arrived at the island of Ennasin, and of the strange ways of being akin in that country.
We had still the wind at south-south-west, and had been a whole day without making land. On the third day, at the flies’ uprising (which, you know, is some two or three hours after the sun’s), we got sight of a triangular island, very much like Sicily for its form and situation. It was called the Island of Alliances.
The people there are much like your carrot-pated Poitevins, save only that all of them, men, women, and children, have their noses shaped like an ace of clubs. For that reason the ancient name of the country was Ennasin. They were all akin, as the mayor of the place told us; at least they boasted so.
You people of the other world esteem it a wonderful thing that, out of the family of the Fabii at Rome, on a certain day, which was the 13th of February, at a certain gate, which was the Porta Carmentalis, since named Scelerata, formerly situated at the foot of the Capitol, between the Tarpeian rock and the Tiber, marched out against the Veientes of Etruria three hundred and six men bearing arms, all related to each other, with five thousand other soldiers, every one of them their vassals, who were all slain near the river Cremera, that comes out of the lake of Beccano. Now from this same country of Ennasin, in case of need, above three hundred thousand, all relations and of one family, might march out. Their degrees of consanguinity and alliance are very strange; for being thus akin and allied to one another, we found that none was either father or mother, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, son-in-law or daughter-in-law, godfather or godmother, to the other; unless, truly, a tall flat-nosed old fellow, who, as I perceived, called a little shitten-arsed girl of three or four years old, father, and the child called him daughter.
Their distinction of degrees of kindred was thus: a man used to call a woman, my lean bit; the woman called him, my porpoise. Those, said Friar John, must needs stink damnably of fish when they have rubbed their bacon one with the other. One, smiling on a young buxom baggage, said, Good morrow, dear currycomb. She, to return him his civility, said, The like to you, my steed. Ha! ha! ha! said Panurge, that is pretty well, in faith; for indeed it stands her in good stead to currycomb this steed. Another greeted his buttock with a Farewell, my case. She replied, Adieu, trial. By St. Winifred’s placket, cried Gymnast, this case has been often tried. Another asked a she-friend of his, How is it, hatchet? She answered him, At your service, dear helve. Odds belly, saith Carpalin, this helve and this hatchet are well matched. As we went on, I saw one who, calling his she-relation, styled her my crumb, and she called him, my crust.
Quoth one to a brisk, plump, juicy female, I am glad to see you, dear tap. So am I to find you so merry, sweet spiggot, replied she. One called a wench, his shovel; she called him, her peal: one named his, my slipper; and she, my foot: another, my boot; she, my shasoon.
In the same degree of kindred, one called his, my butter; she called him, my eggs; and they were akin just like a dish of buttered eggs. I heard one call his, my tripe, and she him, my faggot. Now I could not, for the heart’s blood of me, pick out or discover what parentage, alliance, affinity, or consanguinity was between them, with reference to our custom; only they told us that she was faggot’s tripe. (Tripe de fagot means the smallest sticks in a faggot.) Another, complimenting his convenient, said, Yours, my shell; she replied, I was yours before, sweet oyster. I reckon, said Carpalin, she hath gutted his oyster. Another long-shanked ugly rogue, mounted on a pair of high-heeled wooden slippers, meeting a strapping, fusty, squabbed dowdy, says he to her, How is’t my top? She was short upon him, and arrogantly replied, Never the better for you, my whip. By St. Antony’s hog, said Xenomanes, I believe so; for how can this whip be sufficient to lash this top?
A college professor, well provided with cod, and powdered and prinked up, having a while discoursed with a great lady, taking his leave with these words, Thank you, sweetmeat; she cried, There needs no thanks, sour-sauce. Saith Pantagruel, This is not altogether incongruous, for sweet meat must have sour sauce. A wooden loggerhead said to a young wench, It is long since I saw you, bag; All the better, cried she, pipe. Set them together, said Panurge, then blow in their arses, it will be a bagpipe. We saw, after that, a diminutive humpbacked gallant, pretty near us, taking leave of a she-relation of his, thus: Fare thee well, friend hole; she reparteed, Save thee, friend peg. Quoth Friar John, What could they say more, were he all peg and she all hole? But now would I give something to know if every cranny of the hole can be stopped up with that same peg.
A bawdy bachelor, talking with an old trout, was saying, Remember, rusty gun. I will not fail, said she, scourer. Do you reckon these two to be akin? said Pantagruel to the mayor. I rather take them to be foes. In our country a woman would take this as a mortal affront. Good people of t’other world, replied the mayor, you have few such and so near relations as this gun and scourer are to one another; for they both come out of one shop. What, was the shop their mother? quoth Panurge. What mother, said the mayor, does the man mean? That must be some of your world’s affinity; we have here neither father nor mother. Your little paltry fellows that live on t’other side the water, poor rogues, booted with wisps of hay, may indeed have such; but we scorn it. The good Pantagruel stood gazing and listening; but at those words he had like to have lost all patience. (Here Motteux adds an aside–‘os kai nun o Ermeneutes. P.M.’).
Having very exactly viewed the situation of the island and the way of living of the Enassed nation, we went to take a cup of the creature at a tavern, where there happened to be a wedding after the manner of the country. Bating that shocking custom, there was special good cheer.
While we were there, a pleasant match was struck up betwixt a female called Pear (a tight thing, as we thought, but by some, who knew better things, said to be quaggy and flabby), and a young soft male, called Cheese, somewhat sandy. (Many such matches have been, and they were formerly much commended.) In our country we say, Il ne fut onques tel mariage, qu’est de la poire et du fromage; there is no match like that made between the pear and the cheese; and in many other places good store of such bargains have been driven. Besides, when the women are at their last prayers, it is to this day a noted saying, that after cheese comes nothing.
In another room I saw them marrying an old greasy boot to a young pliable buskin. Pantagruel was told that young buskin took old boot to have and to hold because she was of special leather, in good case, and waxed, seared, liquored, and greased to the purpose, even though it had been for the fisherman that went to bed with his boots on. In another room below, I saw a young brogue taking a young slipper for better for worse; which, they told us, was neither for the sake of her piety, parts, or person, but for the fourth comprehensive p, portion; the spankers, spur-royals, rose-nobles, and other coriander seed with which she was quilted all over.
How Pantagruel went ashore at the island of Chely, where he saw King St. Panigon.
We sailed right before the wind, which we had at west, leaving those odd alliancers with their ace-of-clubs snouts, and having taken height by the sun, stood in for Chely, a large, fruitful, wealthy, and well-peopled island. King St. Panigon, first of the name, reigned there, and, attended by the princes his sons and the nobles of his court, came as far as the port to receive Pantagruel, and conducted him to his palace; near the gate of which the queen, attended by the princesses her daughters and the court ladies, received us. Panigon directed her and all her retinue to salute Pantagruel and his men with a kiss; for such was the civil custom of the country; and they were all fairly bussed accordingly, except Friar John, who stepped aside and sneaked off among the king’s officers. Panigon used all the entreaties imaginable to persuade Pantagruel to tarry there that day and the next; but he would needs be gone, and excused himself upon the opportunity of wind and weather, which, being oftener desired than enjoyed, ought not to be neglected when it comes. Panigon, having heard these reasons, let us go, but first made us take off some five-and-twenty or thirty bumpers each.
Pantagruel, returning to the port, missed Friar John, and asked why he was not with the rest of the company. Panurge could not tell how to excuse him, and would have gone back to the palace to call him, when Friar John overtook them, and merrily cried, Long live the noble Panigon! As I love my belly, he minds good eating, and keeps a noble house and a dainty kitchen. I have been there, boys. Everything goes about by dozens. I was in good hopes to have stuffed my puddings there like a monk. What! always in a kitchen, friend? said Pantagruel. By the belly of St. Cramcapon, quoth the friar, I understand the customs and ceremonies which are used there much better than all the formal stuff, antique postures, and nonsensical fiddle-faddle that must be used with those women, magni magna, shittencumshita, cringes, grimaces, scrapes, bows, and congees; double honours this way, triple salutes that way, the embrace, the grasp, the squeeze, the hug, the leer, the smack, baso las manos de vostra merce, de vostra maesta. You are most tarabin, tarabas, Stront; that’s downright Dutch. Why all this ado? I don’t say but a man might be for a bit by the bye and away, to be doing as well as his neighbours; but this little nasty cringing and courtesying made me as mad as any March devil. You talk of kissing ladies; by the worthy and sacred frock I wear, I seldom venture upon it, lest I be served as was the Lord of Guyercharois. What was it? said Pantagruel; I know him. He is one of the best friends I have.
He was invited to a sumptuous feast, said Friar John, by a relation and neighbour of his, together with all the gentlemen and ladies in the neighbourhood. Now some of the latter expecting his coming, dressed the pages in women’s clothes, and finified them like any babies; then ordered them to meet my lord at his coming near the drawbridge. So the complimenting monsieur came, and there kissed the petticoated lads with great formality. At last the ladies, who minded passages in the gallery, burst out with laughing, and made signs to the pages to take off their dress; which the good lord having observed, the devil a bit he durst make up to the true ladies to kiss them, but said, that since they had disguised the pages, by his great grandfather’s helmet, these were certainly the very footmen and grooms still more cunningly disguised. Odds fish, da jurandi, why do not we rather remove our humanities into some good warm kitchen of God, that noble laboratory, and there admire the turning of the spits, the harmonious rattling of the jacks and fenders, criticise on the position of the lard, the temperature of the pottages, the preparation for the dessert, and the order of the wine service? Beati immaculati in via. Matter of breviary, my masters.
Why monks love to be in kitchens.
This, said Epistemon, is spoke like a true monk; I mean like a right monking monk, not a bemonked monastical monkling. Truly you put me in mind of some passages that happened at Florence, some twenty years ago, in a company of studious travellers, fond of visiting the learned, and seeing the antiquities of Italy, among whom I was. As we viewed the situation and beauty of Florence, the structure of the dome, the magnificence of the churches and palaces, we strove to outdo one another in giving them their due; when a certain monk of Amiens, Bernard Lardon by name, quite angry, scandalized, and out of all patience, told us, I don’t know what the devil you can find in this same town, that is so much cried up; for my part I have looked and pored and stared as well as the best of you; I think my eyesight is as clear as another body’s, and what can one see after all? There are fine houses, indeed and that’s all. But the cage does not feed the birds. God and Monsieur St. Bernard, our good patron, be with us! in all this same town I have not seen one poor lane of roasting cooks; and yet I have not a little looked about and sought for so necessary a part of a commonwealth: ay, and I dare assure you that I have pried up and down with the exactness of an informer; as ready to number, both to the right and left, how many, and on what side, we might find most roasting cooks, as a spy would be to reckon the bastions of a town. Now at Amiens, in four, nay, five times less ground than we have trod in our contemplations, I could have shown you above fourteen streets of roasting cooks, most ancient, savoury, and aromatic. I cannot imagine what kind of pleasure you can have taken in gazing on the lions and Africans (so methinks you call their tigers) near the belfry, or in ogling the porcupines and estridges in the Lord Philip Strozzi’s palace. Faith and truth I had rather see a good fat goose at the spit. This porphyry, those marbles are fine; I say nothing to the contrary; but our cheesecakes at Amiens are far better in my mind. These ancient statues are well made; I am willing to believe it; but, by St. Ferreol of Abbeville, we have young wenches in our country which please me better a thousand times.
What is the reason, asked Friar John, that monks are always to be found in kitchens, and kings, emperors, and popes are never there? Is there not, said Rhizotome, some latent virtue and specific propriety hid in the kettles and pans, which, as the loadstone attracts iron, draws the monks there, and cannot attract emperors, popes, or kings? Or is it a natural induction and inclination, fixed in the frocks and cowls, which of itself leads and forceth those good religious men into kitchens, whether they will or no? He would speak of forms following matter, as Averroes calls them, answered Epistemon. Right, said Friar John.
I will not offer to solve this problem, said Pantagruel; for it is somewhat ticklish, and you can hardly handle it without coming off scurvily; but I will tell you what I have heard.
Antigonus, King of Macedon, one day coming into one of the tents, where his cooks used to dress his meat, and finding there poet Antagoras frying a conger, and holding the pan himself, merrily asked him, Pray, Mr. Poet, was Homer frying congers when he wrote the deeds of Agamemnon? Antagoras readily answered: But do you think, sir, that when Agamemnon did them he made it his business to know if any in his camp were frying congers? The king thought it an indecency that a poet should be thus a-frying in a kitchen; and the poet let the king know that it was a more indecent thing for a king to be found in such a place. I’ll clap another story upon the neck of this, quoth Panurge, and will tell you what Breton Villandry answered one day to the Duke of Guise.
They were saying that at a certain battle of King Francis against Charles the Fifth, Breton, armed cap-a-pie to the teeth, and mounted like St. George, yet sneaked off, and played least in sight during the engagement. Blood and oons, answered Breton, I was there, and can prove it easily; nay, even where you, my lord, dared not have been. The duke began to resent this as too rash and saucy; but Breton easily appeased him, and set them all a-laughing. Egad, my lord, quoth he, I kept out of harm’s way; I was all the while with your page Jack, skulking in a certain place where you had not dared hide your head as I did. Thus discoursing, they got to their ships, and left the island of Chely.
How Pantagruel passed by the land of Pettifogging, and of the strange way of living among the Catchpoles.
Steering our course forwards the next day, we passed through Pettifogging, a country all blurred and blotted, so that I could hardly tell what to make on’t. There we saw some pettifoggers and catchpoles, rogues that will hang their father for a groat. They neither invited us to eat or drink; but, with a multiplied train of scrapes and cringes, said they were all at our service for the Legem pone.
One of our droggermen related to Pantagruel their strange way of living, diametrically opposed to that of our modern Romans; for at Rome a world of folks get an honest livelihood by poisoning, drubbing, lambasting, stabbing, and murthering; but the catchpoles earn theirs by being thrashed; so that if they were long without a tight lambasting, the poor dogs with their wives and children would be starved. This is just, quoth Panurge, like those who, as Galen tells us, cannot erect the cavernous nerve towards the equinoctial circle unless they are soundly flogged. By St. Patrick’s slipper, whoever should jerk me so, would soon, instead of setting me right, throw me off the saddle, in the devil’s name.
The way is this, said the interpreter. When a monk, levite, close-fisted usurer, or lawyer owes a grudge to some neighbouring gentleman, he sends to him one of those catchpoles or apparitors, who nabs, or at least cites him, serves a writ or warrant upon him, thumps, abuses, and affronts him impudently by natural instinct, and according to his pious instructions; insomuch, that if the gentleman hath but any guts in his brains, and is not more stupid than a gyrin frog, he will find himself obliged either to apply a faggot-stick or his sword to the rascal’s jobbernowl, give him the gentle lash, or make him cut a caper out at the window, by way of correction. This done, Catchpole is rich for four months at least, as if bastinadoes were his real harvest; for the monk, levite, usurer, or lawyer will reward him roundly; and my gentleman must pay him such swingeing damages that his acres must bleed for it, and he be in danger of miserably rotting within a stone doublet, as if he had struck the king.
Quoth Panurge, I know an excellent remedy against this used by the Lord of Basche. What is it? said Pantagruel. The Lord of Basche, said Panurge, was a brave, honest, noble-spirited gentleman, who, at his return from the long war in which the Duke of Ferrara, with the help of the French, bravely defended himself against the fury of Pope Julius the Second, was every day cited, warned, and prosecuted at the suit and for the sport and fancy of the fat prior of St. Louant.
One morning, as he was at breakfast with some of his domestics (for he loved to be sometimes among them) he sent for one Loire, his baker, and his spouse, and for one Oudart, the vicar of his parish, who was also his butler, as the custom was then in France; then said to them before his gentlemen and other servants: You all see how I am daily plagued with these rascally catchpoles. Truly, if you do not lend me your helping hand, I am finally resolved to leave the country, and go fight for the sultan, or the devil, rather than be thus eternally teased. Therefore, to be rid of their damned visits, hereafter, when any of them come here, be ready, you baker and your wife, to make your personal appearance in my great hall, in your wedding clothes, as if you were going to be affianced. Here, take these ducats, which I give you to keep you in a fitting garb. As for you, Sir Oudart, be sure you make your personal appearance there in your fine surplice and stole, not forgetting your holy water, as if you were to wed them. Be you there also, Trudon, said he to his drummer, with your pipe and tabor. The form of matrimony must be read, and the bride kissed; then all of you, as the witnesses used to do in this country, shall give one another the remembrance of the wedding, which you know is to be a blow with your fist, bidding the party struck remember the nuptials by that token. This will but make you have the better stomach to your supper; but when you come to the catchpole’s turn, thrash him thrice and threefold, as you would a sheaf of green corn; do not spare him; maul him, drub him, lambast him, swinge him off, I pray you. Here, take these steel gauntlets, covered with kid. Head, back, belly, and sides, give him blows innumerable; he that gives him most shall be my best friend. Fear not to be called to an account about it; I will stand by you; for the blows must seem to be given in jest, as it is customary among us at all weddings.
Ay, but how shall we know the catchpole? said the man of God. All sorts of people daily resort to this castle. I have taken care of that, replied the lord. When some fellow, either on foot, or on a scurvy jade, with a large broad silver ring on his thumb, comes to the door, he is certainly a catchpole; the porter having civilly let him in, shall ring the bell; then be all ready, and come into the hall, to act the tragi-comedy whose plot I have now laid for you.
That numerical day, as chance would have it, came an old fat ruddy catchpole. Having knocked at the gate, and then pissed, as most men will do, the porter soon found him out, by his large greasy spatterdashes, his jaded hollow-flanked mare, his bagful of writs and informations dangling at his girdle, but, above all, by the large silver hoop on his left thumb.
The porter was civil to him, admitted him in kindly, and rung the bell briskly. As soon as the baker and his wife heard it, they clapped on their best clothes, and made their personal appearance in the hall, keeping their gravities like a new-made judge. The dominie put on his surplice and stole, and as he came out of his office, met the catchpole, had him in there, and made him suck his face a good while, while the gauntlets were drawing on all hands; and then told him, You are come just in pudding-time; my lord is in his right cue. We shall feast like kings anon; here is to be swingeing doings; we have a wedding in the house; here, drink and cheer up; pull away.
While these two were at it hand-to-fist, Basche, seeing all his people in the hall in their proper equipage, sends for the vicar. Oudart comes with the holy-water pot, followed by the catchpole, who, as he came into the hall, did not forget to make good store of awkward cringes, and then served Basche with a writ. Basche gave him grimace for grimace, slipped an angel into his mutton-fist, and prayed him to assist at the contract and ceremony; which he did. When it was ended, thumps and fisticuffs began to fly about among the assistants; but when it came to the catchpole’s turn, they all laid on him so unmercifully with their gauntlets that they at last settled him, all stunned and battered, bruised and mortified, with one of his eyes black and blue, eight ribs bruised, his brisket sunk in, his omoplates in four quarters, his under jawbone in three pieces; and all this in jest, and no harm done. God wot how the levite belaboured him, hiding within the long sleeve of his canonical shirt his huge steel gauntlet lined with ermine; for he was a strong-built ball, and an old dog at fisticuffs. The catchpole, all of a bloody tiger-like stripe, with much ado crawled home to L’Isle Bouchart, well pleased and edified, however, with Basche’s kind reception; and, with the help of the good surgeons of the place, lived as long as you would have him. From that time to this, not a word of the business; the memory of it was lost with the sound of the bells that rung with joy at his funeral.
How, like Master Francis Villon, the Lord of Basche commended his servants.
The catchpole being packed off on blind Sorrel–so he called his one-eyed mare–Basche sent for his lady, her women, and all his servants, into the arbour of his garden; had wine brought, attended with good store of pasties, hams, fruit, and other table-ammunition, for a nunchion; drank with them joyfully, and then told them this story:
Master Francis Villon in his old age retired to St. Maxent in Poitou, under the patronage of a good honest abbot of the place. There to make sport for the mob, he undertook to get the Passion acted, after the way, and in the dialect of the country. The parts being distributed, the play having been rehearsed, and the stage prepared, he told the mayor and aldermen that the mystery might be ready after Niort fair, and that there only wanted properties and necessaries, but chiefly clothes fit for the parts; so the mayor and his brethren took care to get them.
Villon, to dress an old clownish father greybeard, who was to represent God the father, begged of Friar Stephen Tickletoby, sacristan to the Franciscan friars of the place, to lend him a cope and a stole. Tickletoby refused him, alleging that by their provincial statutes it was rigorously forbidden to give or lend anything to players. Villon replied that the statute reached no farther than farces, drolls, antics, loose and dissolute games, and that he asked no more than what he had seen allowed at Brussels and other places. Tickletoby notwithstanding peremptorily bid him provide himself elsewhere if he would, and not to hope for anything out of his monastical wardrobe. Villon gave an account of this to the players, as of a most abominable action; adding, that God would shortly revenge himself, and make an example of Tickletoby.
The Saturday following he had notice given him that Tickletoby, upon the filly of the convent–so they call a young mare that was never leaped yet –was gone a-mumping to St. Ligarius, and would be back about two in the afternoon. Knowing this, he made a cavalcade of his devils of the Passion through the town. They were all rigged with wolves’, calves’, and rams’ skins, laced and trimmed with sheep’s heads, bull’s feathers, and large kitchen tenterhooks, girt with broad leathern girdles, whereat hanged dangling huge cow-bells and horse-bells, which made a horrid din. Some held in their claws black sticks full of squibs and crackers; others had long lighted pieces of wood, upon which, at the corner of every street, they flung whole handfuls of rosin-dust, that made a terrible fire and smoke. Having thus led them about, to the great diversion of the mob and the dreadful fear of little children, he finally carried them to an entertainment at a summer-house without the gate that leads to St. Ligarius.
As they came near to the place, he espied Tickletoby afar off, coming home from mumping, and told them in macaronic verse:
Hic est de patria, natus, de gente belistra, Qui solet antiqua bribas portare bisacco. (Motteux reads:
‘Hic est mumpator natus de gente Cucowli, Qui solet antiquo Scrappas portare bisacco.’)
A plague on his friarship, said the devils then; the lousy beggar would not lend a poor cope to the fatherly father; let us fright him. Well said, cried Villon; but let us hide ourselves till he comes by, and then charge him home briskly with your squibs and burning sticks. Tickletoby being come to the place, they all rushed on a sudden into the road to meet him, and in a frightful manner threw fire from all sides upon him and his filly foal, ringing and tingling their bells, and howling like so many real devils, Hho, hho, hho, hho, brrou, rrou, rrourrs, rrrourrs, hoo, hou, hou hho, hho, hhoi. Friar Stephen, don’t we play the devils rarely? The filly was soon scared out of her seven senses, and began to start, to funk it, to squirt it, to trot it, to fart it, to bound it, to gallop it, to kick it, to spurn it, to calcitrate it, to wince it, to frisk it, to leap it, to curvet it, with double jerks, and bum-motions; insomuch that she threw down Tickletoby, though he held fast by the tree of the pack-saddle with might and main. Now his straps and stirrups were of cord; and on the right side his sandals were so entangled and twisted that he could not for the heart’s blood of him get out his foot. Thus he was dragged about by the filly through the road, scratching his bare breech all the way; she still multiplying her kicks against him, and straying for fear over hedge and ditch, insomuch that she trepanned his thick skull so that his cockle brains were dashed out near the Osanna or high-cross. Then his arms fell to pieces, one this way and the other that way; and even so were his legs served at the same time. Then she made a bloody havoc with his puddings; and being got to the convent, brought back only his right foot and twisted sandal, leaving them to guess what was become of the rest.
Villon, seeing that things had succeeded as he intended, said to his devils, You will act rarely, gentlemen devils, you will act rarely; I dare engage you’ll top your parts. I defy the devils of Saumur, Douay, Montmorillon, Langez, St. Espain, Angers; nay, by gad, even those of Poictiers, for all their bragging and vapouring, to match you.
Thus, friends, said Basche, I foresee that hereafter you will act rarely this tragical farce, since the very first time you have so skilfully hampered, bethwacked, belammed, and bebumped the catchpole. From this day I double your wages. As for you, my dear, said he to his lady, make your gratifications as you please; you are my treasurer, you know. For my part,