MASTER FRANCIS RABELAIS
FIVE BOOKS OF THE LIVES,
GARGANTUA AND HIS SON PANTAGRUEL
BOOK I.More: Book II,Book III,Book IV,Book V
Translated into English by
Had Rabelais never written his strange and marvellous romance, no one would ever have imagined the possibility of its production. It stands outside other things—a mixture of mad mirth and gravity, of folly and reason, of childishness and grandeur, of the commonplace and the out-of-the-way, of popular verve and polished humanism, of mother-wit and learning, of baseness and nobility, of personalities and broad generalization, of the comic and the serious, of the impossible and the familiar. Throughout the whole there is such a force of life and thought, such a power of good sense, a kind of assurance so authoritative, that he takes rank with the greatest; and his peers are not many. You may like him or not, may attack him or sing his praises, but you cannot ignore him. He is of those that die hard. Be as fastidious as you will; make up your mind to recognize only those who are, without any manner of doubt, beyond and above all others; however few the names you keep, Rabelais' will always remain.
We may know his work, may know it well, and admire it more every time we read it. After being amused by it, after having enjoyed it, we may return again to study it and to enter more fully into its meaning. Yet there is no possibility of knowing his own life in the same fashion. In spite of all the efforts, often successful, that have been made to throw light on it, to bring forward a fresh document, or some obscure mention in a forgotten book, to add some little fact, to fix a date more precisely, it remains nevertheless full of uncertainty and of gaps. Besides, it has been burdened and sullied by all kinds of wearisome stories and foolish anecdotes, so that really there is more to weed out than to add.
This injustice, at first wilful, had its rise in the sixteenth century, in the furious attacks of a monk of Fontevrault, Gabriel de Puy-Herbault, who seems to have drawn his conclusions concerning the author from the book, and, more especially, in the regrettable satirical epitaph of Ronsard, piqued, it is said, that the Guises had given him only a little pavillon in the Forest of Meudon, whereas the presbytery was close to the chateau. From that time legend has fastened on Rabelais, has completely travestied him, till, bit by bit, it has made of him a buffoon, a veritable clown, a vagrant, a glutton, and a drunkard.
The likeness of his person has undergone a similar metamorphosis. He has been credited with a full moon of a face, the rubicund nose of an incorrigible toper, and thick coarse lips always apart because always laughing. The picture would have surprised his friends no less than himself. There have been portraits painted of Rabelais; I have seen many such. They are all of the seventeenth century, and the greater number are conceived in this jovial and popular style.
As a matter of fact there is only one portrait of him that counts, that has more than the merest chance of being authentic, the one in the Chronologie collee or coupee. Under this double name is known and cited a large sheet divided by lines and cross lines into little squares, containing about a hundred heads of illustrious Frenchmen. This sheet was stuck on pasteboard for hanging on the wall, and was cut in little pieces, so that the portraits might be sold separately. The majority of the portraits are of known persons and can therefore be verified. Now it can be seen that these have been selected with care, and taken from the most authentic sources; from statues, busts, medals, even stained glass, for the persons of most distinction, from earlier engravings for the others. Moreover, those of which no other copies exist, and which are therefore the most valuable, have each an individuality very distinct, in the features, the hair, the beard, as well as in the costume. Not one of them is like another. There has been no tampering with them, no forgery. On the contrary, there is in each a difference, a very marked personality. Leonard Gaultier, who published this engraving towards the end of the sixteenth century, reproduced a great many portraits besides from chalk drawings, in the style of his master, Thomas de Leu. It must have been such drawings that were the originals of those portraits which he alone has issued, and which may therefore be as authentic and reliable as the others whose correctness we are in a position to verify.
Now Rabelais has here nothing of the Roger Bontemps of low degree about him. His features are strong, vigorously cut, and furrowed with deep wrinkles; his beard is short and scanty; his cheeks are thin and already worn-looking. On his head he wears the square cap of the doctors and the clerks, and his dominant expression, somewhat rigid and severe, is that of a physician and a scholar. And this is the only portrait to which we need attach any importance.
This is not the place for a detailed biography, nor for an exhaustive study. At most this introduction will serve as a framework on which to fix a few certain dates, to hang some general observations. The date of Rabelais' birth is very doubtful. For long it was placed as far back as 1483: now scholars are disposed to put it forward to about 1495. The reason, a good one, is that all those whom he has mentioned as his friends, or in any real sense his contemporaries, were born at the very end of the fifteenth century. And, indeed, it is in the references in his romance to names, persons, and places, that the most certain and valuable evidence is to be found of his intercourse, his patrons, his friendships, his sojournings, and his travels: his own work is the best and richest mine in which to search for the details of his life.
Like Descartes and Balzac, he was a native of Touraine, and Tours and Chinon have only done their duty in each of them erecting in recent years a statue to his honour, a twofold homage reflecting credit both on the province and on the town. But the precise facts about his birth are nevertheless vague. Huet speaks of the village of Benais, near Bourgeuil, of whose vineyards Rabelais makes mention. As the little vineyard of La Deviniere, near Chinon, and familiar to all his readers, is supposed to have belonged to his father, Thomas Rabelais, some would have him born there. It is better to hold to the earlier general opinion that Chinon was his native town; Chinon, whose praises he sang with such heartiness and affection. There he might well have been born in the Lamproie house, which belonged to his father, who, to judge from this circumstance, must have been in easy circumstances, with the position of a well-to-do citizen. As La Lamproie in the seventeenth century was a hostelry, the father of Rabelais has been set down as an innkeeper. More probably he was an apothecary, which would fit in with the medical profession adopted by his son in after years. Rabelais had brothers, all older than himself. Perhaps because he was the youngest, his father destined him for the Church.
The time he spent while a child with the Benedictine monks at Seuille is uncertain. There he might have made the acquaintance of the prototype of his Friar John, a brother of the name of Buinart, afterwards Prior of Sermaize. He was longer at the Abbey of the Cordeliers at La Baumette, half a mile from Angers, where he became a novice. As the brothers Du Bellay, who were later his Maecenases, were then studying at the University of Angers, where it is certain he was not a student, it is doubtless from this youthful period that his acquaintance and alliance with them should date. Voluntarily, or induced by his family, Rabelais now embraced the ecclesiastical profession, and entered the monastery of the Franciscan Cordeliers at Fontenay-le-Comte, in Lower Poitou, which was honoured by his long sojourn at the vital period of his life when his powers were ripening. There it was he began to study and to think, and there also began his troubles.
In spite of the wide-spread ignorance among the monks of that age, the encyclopaedic movement of the Renaissance was attracting all the lofty minds. Rabelais threw himself into it with enthusiasm, and Latin antiquity was not enough for him. Greek, a study discountenanced by the Church, which looked on it as dangerous and tending to freethought and heresy, took possession of him. To it he owed the warm friendship of Pierre Amy and of the celebrated Guillaume Bude. In fact, the Greek letters of the latter are the best source of information concerning this period of Rabelais' life. It was at Fontenay-le-Comte also that he became acquainted with the Brissons and the great jurist Andre Tiraqueau, whom he never mentions but with admiration and deep affection. Tiraqueau's treatise, De legibus connubialibus, published for the first time in 1513, has an important bearing on the life of Rabelais. There we learn that, dissatisfied with the incomplete translation of Herodotus by Laurent Valla, Rabelais had retranslated into Latin the first book of the History. That translation unfortunately is lost, as so many other of his scattered works. It is probably in this direction that the hazard of fortune has most discoveries and surprises in store for the lucky searcher. Moreover, as in this law treatise Tiraqueau attacked women in a merciless fashion, President Amaury Bouchard published in 1522 a book in their defence, and Rabelais, who was a friend of both the antagonists, took the side of Tiraqueau. It should be observed also in passing, that there are several pages of such audacious plain-speaking, that Rabelais, though he did not copy these in his Marriage of Panurge, has there been, in his own fashion, as out spoken as Tiraqueau. If such freedom of language could be permitted in a grave treatise of law, similar liberties were certainly, in the same century, more natural in a book which was meant to amuse.
The great reproach always brought against Rabelais is not the want of reserve of his language merely, but his occasional studied coarseness, which is enough to spoil his whole work, and which lowers its value. La Bruyere, in the chapter Des ouvrages de l'esprit, not in the first edition of the Caracteres, but in the fifth, that is to say in 1690, at the end of the great century, gives us on this subject his own opinion and that of his age:
'Marot and Rabelais are inexcusable in their habit of scattering filth about their writings. Both of them had genius enough and wit enough to do without any such expedient, even for the amusement of those persons who look more to the laugh to be got out of a book than to what is admirable in it. Rabelais especially is incomprehensible. His book is an enigma,—one may say inexplicable. It is a Chimera; it is like the face of a lovely woman with the feet and the tail of a reptile, or of some creature still more loathsome. It is a monstrous confusion of fine and rare morality with filthy corruption. Where it is bad, it goes beyond the worst; it is the delight of the basest of men. Where it is good, it reaches the exquisite, the very best; it ministers to the most delicate tastes.'
Putting aside the rather slight connection established between two men of whom one is of very little importance compared with the other, this is otherwise very admirably said, and the judgment is a very just one, except with regard to one point—the misunderstanding of the atmosphere in which the book was created, and the ignoring of the examples of a similar tendency furnished by literature as well as by the popular taste. Was it not the Ancients that began it? Aristophanes, Catullus, Petronius, Martial, flew in the face of decency in their ideas as well as in the words they used, and they dragged after them in this direction not a few of the Latin poets of the Renaissance, who believed themselves bound to imitate them. Is Italy without fault in this respect? Her story-tellers in prose lie open to easy accusation. Her Capitoli in verse go to incredible lengths; and the astonishing success of Aretino must not be forgotten, nor the licence of the whole Italian comic theatre of the sixteenth century. The Calandra of Bibbiena, who was afterwards a Cardinal, and the Mandragola of Machiavelli, are evidence enough, and these were played before Popes, who were not a whit embarrassed. Even in England the drama went very far for a time, and the comic authors of the reign of Charles II., evidently from a reaction, and to shake off the excess and the wearisomeness of Puritan prudery and affectation, which sent them to the opposite extreme, are not exactly noted for their reserve. But we need not go beyond France. Slight indications, very easily verified, are all that may be set down here; a formal and detailed proof would be altogether too dangerous.
Thus, for instance, the old Fabliaux—the Farces of the fifteenth century, the story-tellers of the sixteenth—reveal one of the sides, one of the veins, so to speak, of our literature. The art that addresses itself to the eye had likewise its share of this coarseness. Think of the sculptures on the capitals and the modillions of churches, and the crude frankness of certain painted windows of the fifteenth century. Queen Anne was, without any doubt, one of the most virtuous women in the world. Yet she used to go up the staircase of her chateau at Blois, and her eyes were not offended at seeing at the foot of a bracket a not very decent carving of a monk and a nun. Neither did she tear out of her book of Hours the large miniature of the winter month, in which, careless of her neighbours' eyes, the mistress of the house, sitting before her great fireplace, warms herself in a fashion which it is not advisable that dames of our age should imitate. The statue of Cybele by the Tribolo, executed for Francis I., and placed, not against a wall, but in the middle of Queen Claude's chamber at Fontainebleau, has behind it an attribute which would have been more in place on a statue of Priapus, and which was the symbol of generativeness. The tone of the conversations was ordinarily of a surprising coarseness, and the Precieuses, in spite of their absurdities, did a very good work in setting themselves in opposition to it. The worthy Chevalier de La-Tour-Landry, in his Instructions to his own daughters, without a thought of harm, gives examples which are singular indeed, and in Caxton's translation these are not omitted. The Adevineaux Amoureux, printed at Bruges by Colard Mansion, are astonishing indeed when one considers that they were the little society diversions of the Duchesses of Burgundy and of the great ladies of a court more luxurious and more refined than the French court, which revelled in the Cent Nouvelles of good King Louis XI. Rabelais' pleasantry about the woman folle a la messe is exactly in the style of the Adevineaux.
A later work than any of his, the Novelle of Bandello, should be kept in mind—for the writer was Bishop of Agen, and his work was translated into French—as also the Dames Galantes of Brantome. Read the Journal of Heroard, that honest doctor, who day by day wrote down the details concerning the health of Louis XIII. from his birth, and you will understand the tone of the conversation of Henry IV. The jokes at a country wedding are trifles compared with this royal coarseness. Le Moyen de Parvenir is nothing but a tissue and a mass of filth, and the too celebrated Cabinet Satyrique proves what, under Louis XIII., could be written, printed, and read. The collection of songs formed by Clairambault shows that the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were no purer than the sixteenth. Some of the most ribald songs are actually the work of Princesses of the royal House.
It is, therefore, altogether unjust to make Rabelais the scapegoat, to charge him alone with the sins of everybody else. He spoke as those of his time used to speak; when amusing them he used their language to make himself understood, and to slip in his asides, which without this sauce would never have been accepted, would have found neither eyes nor ears. Let us blame not him, therefore, but the manners of his time.
Besides, his gaiety, however coarse it may appear to us—and how rare a thing is gaiety!—has, after all, nothing unwholesome about it; and this is too often overlooked. Where does he tempt one to stray from duty? Where, even indirectly, does he give pernicious advice? Whom has he led to evil ways? Does he ever inspire feelings that breed misconduct and vice, or is he ever the apologist of these? Many poets and romance writers, under cover of a fastidious style, without one coarse expression, have been really and actively hurtful; and of that it is impossible to accuse Rabelais. Women in particular quickly revolt from him, and turn away repulsed at once by the archaic form of the language and by the outspokenness of the words. But if he be read aloud to them, omitting the rougher parts and modernizing the pronunciation, it will be seen that they too are impressed by his lively wit as by the loftiness of his thought. It would be possible, too, to extract, for young persons, without modification, admirable passages of incomparable force. But those who have brought out expurgated editions of him, or who have thought to improve him by trying to rewrite him in modern French, have been fools for their pains, and their insulting attempts have had, and always will have, the success they deserve.
His dedications prove to what extent his whole work was accepted. Not to speak of his epistolary relations with Bude, with the Cardinal d'Armagnac and with Pellissier, the ambassador of Francis I. and Bishop of Maguelonne, or of his dedication to Tiraqueau of his Lyons edition of the Epistolae Medicinales of Giovanni Manardi of Ferrara, of the one addressed to the President Amaury Bouchard of the two legal texts which he believed antique, there is still the evidence of his other and more important dedications. In 1532 he dedicated his Hippocrates and his Galen to Geoffroy d'Estissac, Bishop of Maillezais, to whom in 1535 and 1536 he addressed from Rome the three news letters, which alone have been preserved; and in 1534 he dedicated from Lyons his edition of the Latin book of Marliani on the topography of Rome to Jean du Bellay (at that time Bishop of Paris) who was raised to the Cardinalate in 1535. Beside these dedications we must set the privilege of Francis I. of September, 1545, and the new privilege granted by Henry II. on August 6th, 1550, Cardinal de Chatillon present, for the third book, which was dedicated, in an eight-lined stanza, to the Spirit of the Queen of Navarre. These privileges, from the praises and eulogies they express in terms very personal and very exceptional, are as important in Rabelais' life as were, in connection with other matters, the Apostolic Pastorals in his favour. Of course, in these the popes had not to introduce his books of diversions, which, nevertheless, would have seemed in their eyes but very venial sins. The Sciomachie of 1549, an account of the festivities arranged at Rome by Cardinal du Bellay in honour of the birth of the second son of Henry II., was addressed to Cardinal de Guise, and in 1552 the fourth book was dedicated, in a new prologue, to Cardinal de Chatillon, the brother of Admiral de Coligny.
These are no unknown or insignificant personages, but the greatest lords and princes of the Church. They loved and admired and protected Rabelais, and put no restrictions in his way. Why should we be more fastidious and severe than they were? Their high contemporary appreciation gives much food for thought.
There are few translations of Rabelais in foreign tongues; and certainly the task is no light one, and demands more than a familiarity with ordinary French. It would have been easier in Italy than anywhere else. Italian, from its flexibility and its analogy to French, would have lent itself admirably to the purpose; the instrument was ready, but the hand was not forthcoming. Neither is there any Spanish translation, a fact which can be more easily understood. The Inquisition would have been a far more serious opponent than the Paris' Sorbonne, and no one ventured on the experiment. Yet Rabelais forces comparison with Cervantes, whose precursor he was in reality, though the two books and the two minds are very different. They have only one point in common, their attack and ridicule of the romances of chivalry and of the wildly improbable adventures of knight-errants. But in Don Quixote there is not a single detail which would suggest that Cervantes knew Rabelais' book or owed anything to it whatsoever, even the starting-point of his subject. Perhaps it was better he should not have been influenced by him, in however slight a degree; his originality is the more intact and the more genial.
On the other hand, Rabelais has been several times translated into German. In the present century Regis published at Leipsic, from 1831 to 1841, with copious notes, a close and faithful translation. The first one cannot be so described, that of Johann Fischart, a native of Mainz or Strasburg, who died in 1614. He was a Protestant controversialist, and a satirist of fantastic and abundant imagination. In 1575 appeared his translation of Rabelais' first book, and in 1590 he published the comic catalogue of the library of Saint Victor, borrowed from the second book. It is not a translation, but a recast in the boldest style, full of alterations and of exaggerations, both as regards the coarse expressions which he took upon himself to develop and to add to, and in the attacks on the Roman Catholic Church. According to Jean Paul Richter, Fischart is much superior to Rabelais in style and in the fruitfulness of his ideas, and his equal in erudition and in the invention of new expressions after the manner of Aristophanes. He is sure that his work was successful, because it was often reprinted during his lifetime; but this enthusiasm of Jean Paul would hardly carry conviction in France. Who treads in another's footprints must follow in the rear. Instead of a creator, he is but an imitator. Those who take the ideas of others to modify them, and make of them creations of their own, like Shakespeare in England, Moliere and La Fontaine in France, may be superior to those who have served them with suggestions; but then the new works must be altogether different, must exist by themselves. Shakespeare and the others, when they imitated, may be said always to have destroyed their models. These copyists, if we call them so, created such works of genius that the only pity is they are so rare. This is not the case with Fischart, but it would be none the less curious were some one thoroughly familiar with German to translate Fischart for us, or at least, by long extracts from him, give an idea of the vagaries of German taste when it thought it could do better than Rabelais. It is dangerous to tamper with so great a work, and he who does so runs a great risk of burning his fingers.
England has been less daring, and her modesty and discretion have brought her success. But, before speaking of Urquhart's translation, it is but right to mention the English-French Dictionary of Randle Cotgrave, the first edition of which dates from 1611. It is in every way exceedingly valuable, and superior to that of Nicot, because instead of keeping to the plane of classic and Latin French, it showed an acquaintance with and mastery of the popular tongue as well as of the written and learned language. As a foreigner, Cotgrave is a little behind in his information. He is not aware of all the changes and novelties of the passing fashion. The Pleiad School he evidently knew nothing of, but kept to the writers of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth century. Thus words out of Rabelais, which he always translates with admirable skill, are frequent, and he attaches to them their author's name. So Rabelais had already crossed the Channel, and was read in his own tongue. Somewhat later, during the full sway of the Commonwealth—and Maitre Alcofribas Nasier must have been a surprising apparition in the midst of Puritan severity—Captain Urquhart undertook to translate him and to naturalize him completely in England.
Thomas Urquhart belonged to a very old family of good standing in the North of Scotland. After studying in Aberdeen he travelled in France, Spain, and Italy, where his sword was as active as that intelligent curiosity of his which is evidenced by his familiarity with three languages and the large library which he brought back, according to his own account, from sixteen countries he had visited.
On his return to England he entered the service of Charles I., who knighted him in 1641. Next year, after the death of his father, he went to Scotland to set his family affairs in order, and to redeem his house in Cromarty. But, in spite of another sojourn in foreign lands, his efforts to free himself from pecuniary embarrassments were unavailing. At the king's death his Scottish loyalty caused him to side with those who opposed the Parliament. Formally proscribed in 1649, taken prisoner at the defeat of Worcester in 1651, stripped of all his belongings, he was brought to London, but was released on parole at Cromwell's recommendation. After receiving permission to spend five months in Scotland to try once more to settle his affairs, he came back to London to escape from his creditors. And there he must have died, though the date of his death is unknown. It probably took place after 1653, the date of the publication of the two first books, and after having written the translation of the third, which was not printed from his manuscript till the end of the seventeenth century.
His life was therefore not without its troubles, and literary activity must have been almost his only consolation. His writings reveal him as the strangest character, fantastic, and full of a naive vanity, which, even at the time he was translating the genealogy of Gargantua—surely well calculated to cure any pondering on his own—caused him to trace his unbroken descent from Adam, and to state that his family name was derived from his ancestor Esormon, Prince of Achaia, 2139 B.C., who was surnamed Ourochartos, that is to say the Fortunate and the Well-beloved. A Gascon could not have surpassed this.
Gifted as he was, learned in many directions, an enthusiastic mathematician, master of several languages, occasionally full of wit and humour, and even good sense, yet he gave his books the strangest titles, and his ideas were no less whimsical. His style is mystic, fastidious, and too often of a wearisome length and obscurity; his verses rhyme anyhow, or not at all; but vivacity, force and heat are never lacking, and the Maitland Club did well in reprinting, in 1834, his various works, which are very rare. Yet, in spite of their curious interest, he owes his real distinction and the survival of his name to his translation of Rabelais.
The first two books appeared in 1653. The original edition, exceedingly scarce, was carefully reprinted in 1838, only a hundred copies being issued, by an English bibliophile T(heodore) M(artin), whose interesting preface I regret to sum up so cursorily. At the end of the seventeenth century, in 1693, a French refugee, Peter Antony Motteux, whose English verses and whose plays are not without value, published in a little octavo volume a reprint, very incorrect as to the text, of the first two books, to which he added the third, from the manuscript found amongst Urquhart's papers. The success which attended this venture suggested to Motteux the idea of completing the work, and a second edition, in two volumes, appeared in 1708, with the translation of the fourth and fifth books, and notes. Nineteen years after his death, John Ozell, translator on a large scale of French, Italian, and Spanish authors, revised Motteux's edition, which he published in five volumes in 1737, adding Le Duchat's notes; and this version has often been reprinted since.
The continuation by Motteux, who was also the translator of Don Quixote, has merits of its own. It is precise, elegant, and very faithful. Urquhart's, without taking liberties with Rabelais like Fischart, is not always so closely literal and exact. Nevertheless, it is much superior to Motteux's. If Urquhart does not constantly adhere to the form of the expression, if he makes a few slight additions, not only has he an understanding of the original, but he feels it, and renders the sense with a force and a vivacity full of warmth and brilliancy. His own learning made the comprehension of the work easy to him, and his anglicization of words fabricated by Rabelais is particularly successful. The necessity of keeping to his text prevented his indulgence in the convolutions and divagations dictated by his exuberant fancy when writing on his own account. His style, always full of life and vigour, is here balanced, lucid, and picturesque. Never elsewhere did he write so well. And thus the translation reproduces the very accent of the original, besides possessing a very remarkable character of its own. Such a literary tone and such literary qualities are rarely found in a translation. Urquhart's, very useful for the interpretation of obscure passages, may, and indeed should be read as a whole, both for Rabelais and for its own merits.
Holland, too, possesses a translation of Rabelais. They knew French in that country in the seventeenth century better than they do to-day, and there Rabelais' works were reprinted when no editions were appearing in France. This Dutch translation was published at Amsterdam in 1682, by J. Tenhoorn. The name attached to it, Claudio Gallitalo (Claudius French-Italian) must certainly be a pseudonym. Only a Dutch scholar could identify the translator, and state the value to be assigned to his work.
Rabelais' style has many different sources. Besides its force and brilliancy, its gaiety, wit, and dignity, its abundant richness is no less remarkable. It would be impossible and useless to compile a glossary of Voltaire's words. No French writer has used so few, and all of them are of the simplest. There is not one of them that is not part of the common speech, or which demands a note or an explanation. Rabelais' vocabulary, on the other hand, is of an astonishing variety. Where does it all come from? As a fact, he had at his command something like three languages, which he used in turn, or which he mixed according to the effect he wished to produce.
First of all, of course, he had ready to his hand the whole speech of his time, which had no secrets for him. Provincials have been too eager to appropriate him, to make of him a local author, the pride of some village, in order that their district might have the merit of being one of the causes, one of the factors of his genius. Every neighbourhood where he ever lived has declared that his distinction was due to his knowledge of its popular speech. But these dialect-patriots have fallen out among themselves. To which dialect was he indebted? Was it that of Touraine, or Berri, or Poitou, or Paris? It is too often forgotten, in regard to French patois—leaving out of count the languages of the South—that the words or expressions that are no longer in use to-day are but a survival, a still living trace of the tongue and the pronunciation of other days. Rabelais, more than any other writer, took advantage of the happy chances and the richness of the popular speech, but he wrote in French, and nothing but French. That is why he remains so forcible, so lucid, and so living, more living even—speaking only of his style out of charity to the others—than any of his contemporaries.
It has been said that great French prose is solely the work of the seventeenth century. There were nevertheless, before that, two men, certainly very different and even hostile, who were its initiators and its masters, Calvin on the one hand, on the other Rabelais.
Rabelais had a wonderful knowledge of the prose and the verse of the fifteenth century: he was familiar with Villon, Pathelin, the Quinze Joies de Mariage, the Cent Nouvelles, the chronicles and the romances, and even earlier works, too, such as the Roman de la Rose. Their words, their turns of expression came naturally to his pen, and added a piquancy and, as it were, a kind of gloss of antique novelty to his work. He fabricated words, too, on Greek and Latin models, with great ease, sometimes audaciously and with needless frequency. These were for him so many means, so many elements of variety. Sometimes he did this in mockery, as in the humorous discourse of the Limousin scholar, for which he is not a little indebted to Geoffroy Tory in the Champfleury; sometimes, on the contrary, seriously, from a habit acquired in dealing with classical tongues.
Again, another reason of the richness of his vocabulary was that he invented and forged words for himself. Following the example of Aristophanes, he coined an enormous number of interminable words, droll expressions, sudden and surprising constructions. What had made Greece and the Athenians laugh was worth transporting to Paris.
With an instrument so rich, resources so endless, and the skill to use them, it is no wonder that he could give voice to anything, be as humorous as he could be serious, as comic as he could be grave, that he could express himself and everybody else, from the lowest to the highest. He had every colour on his palette, and such skill was in his fingers that he could depict every variety of light and shade.
We have evidence that Rabelais did not always write in the same fashion. The Chronique Gargantuaine is uniform in style and quite simple, but cannot with certainty be attributed to him. His letters are bombastic and thin; his few attempts at verse are heavy, lumbering, and obscure, altogether lacking in harmony, and quite as bad as those of his friend, Jean Bouchet. He had no gift of poetic form, as indeed is evident even from his prose. And his letters from Rome to the Bishop of Maillezais, interesting as they are in regard to the matter, are as dull, bare, flat, and dry in style as possible. Without his signature no one would possibly have thought of attributing them to him. He is only a literary artist when he wishes to be such; and in his romance he changes the style completely every other moment: it has no constant character or uniform manner, and therefore unity is almost entirely wanting in his work, while his endeavours after contrast are unceasing. There is throughout the whole the evidence of careful and conscious elaboration.
Hence, however lucid and free be the style of his romance, and though its flexibility and ease seem at first sight to have cost no trouble at all, yet its merit lies precisely in the fact that it succeeds in concealing the toil, in hiding the seams. He could not have reached this perfection at a first attempt. He must have worked long at the task, revised it again and again, corrected much, and added rather than cut away. The aptness of form and expression has been arrived at by deliberate means, and owes nothing to chance. Apart from the toning down of certain bold passages, to soften their effect, and appease the storm—for these were not literary alterations, but were imposed on him by prudence—one can see how numerous are the variations in his text, how necessary it is to take account of them, and to collect them. A good edition, of course, would make no attempt at amalgamating these. That would give a false impression and end in confusion; but it should note them all, and show them all, not combined, but simply as variations.
After Le Duchat, all the editions, in their care that nothing should be lost, made the mistake of collecting and placing side by side things which had no connection with each other, which had even been substituted for each other. The result was a fabricated text, full of contradictions naturally. But since the edition issued by M. Jannet, the well-known publisher of the Bibliotheque Elzevirienne, who was the first to get rid of this patchwork, this mosaic, Rabelais' latest text has been given, accompanied by all the earlier variations, to show the changes he made, as well as his suppressions and additions. It would also be possible to reverse the method. It would be interesting to take his first text as the basis, noting the later modifications. This would be quite as instructive and really worth doing. Perhaps one might then see more clearly with what care he made his revisions, after what fashion he corrected, and especially what were the additions he made.
No more striking instance can be quoted than the admirable chapter about the shipwreck. It was not always so long as Rabelais made it in the end: it was much shorter at first. As a rule, when an author recasts some passage that he wishes to revise, he does so by rewriting the whole, or at least by interpolating passages at one stroke, so to speak. Nothing of the kind is seen here. Rabelais suppressed nothing, modified nothing; he did not change his plan at all. What he did was to make insertions, to slip in between two clauses a new one. He expressed his meaning in a lengthier way, and the former clause is found in its integrity along with the additional one, of which it forms, as it were, the warp. It was by this method of touching up the smallest details, by making here and there such little noticeable additions, that he succeeded in heightening the effect without either change or loss. In the end it looks as if he had altered nothing, added nothing new, as if it had always been so from the first, and had never been meddled with.
The comparison is most instructive, showing us to what an extent Rabelais' admirable style was due to conscious effort, care, and elaboration, a fact which is generally too much overlooked, and how instead of leaving any trace which would reveal toil and study, it has on the contrary a marvellous cohesion, precision, and brilliancy. It was modelled and remodelled, repaired, touched up, and yet it has all the appearance of having been created at a single stroke, or of having been run like molten wax into its final form.
Something should be said here of the sources from which Rabelais borrowed. He was not the first in France to satirize the romances of chivalry. The romance in verse by Baudouin de Sebourc, printed in recent years, was a parody of the Chansons de Geste. In the Moniage Guillaume, and especially in the Moniage Rainouart, in which there is a kind of giant, and occasionally a comic giant, there are situations and scenes which remind us of Rabelais. The kind of Fabliaux in mono-rhyme quatrains of the old Aubery anticipate his coarse and popular jests. But all that is beside the question; Rabelais did not know these. Nothing is of direct interest save what was known to him, what fell under his eyes, what lay to his hand—as the Facetiae of Poggio, and the last sermonnaires. In the course of one's reading one may often enough come across the origin of some of Rabelais' witticisms; here and there we may discover how he has developed a situation. While gathering his materials wherever he could find them, he was nevertheless profoundly original.
On this point much research and investigation might be employed. But there is no need why these researches should be extended to the region of fancy. Gargantua has been proved by some to be of Celtic origin. Very often he is a solar myth, and the statement that Rabelais only collected popular traditions and gave new life to ancient legends is said to be proved by the large number of megalithic monuments to which is attached the name of Gargantua. It was, of course, quite right to make a list of these, to draw up, as it were, a chart of them, but the conclusion is not justified. The name, instead of being earlier, is really later, and is a witness, not to the origin, but to the success and rapid popularity of his novel. No one has ever yet produced a written passage or any ancient testimony to prove the existence of the name before Rabelais. To place such a tradition on a sure basis, positive traces must be forthcoming; and they cannot be adduced even for the most celebrated of these monuments, since he mentions himself the great menhir near Poitiers, which he christened by the name of Passelourdin. That there is something in the theory is possible. Perrault found the subjects of his stories in the tales told by mothers and nurses. He fixed them finally by writing them down. Floating about vaguely as they were, he seized them, worked them up, gave them shape, and yet of scarcely any of them is there to be found before his time a single trace. So we must resign ourselves to know just as little of what Gargantua and Pantagruel were before the sixteenth century.
In a book of a contemporary of Rabelais, the Legende de Pierre Faifeu by the Angevin, Charles de Bourdigne, the first edition of which dates from 1526 and the second 1531—both so rare and so forgotten that the work is only known since the eighteenth century by the reprint of Custelier—in the introductory ballad which recommends this book to readers, occur these lines in the list of popular books which Faifeu would desire to replace:
'Laissez ester Caillette le folastre, Les quatre filz Aymon vestuz de bleu, Gargantua qui a cheveux de plastre.'
He has not 'cheveux de plastre' in Rabelais. If the rhyme had not suggested the phrase—and the exigencies of the strict form of the ballade and its forced repetitions often imposed an idea which had its whole origin in the rhyme—we might here see a dramatic trace found nowhere else. The name of Pantagruel is mentioned too, incidentally, in a Mystery of the fifteenth century. These are the only references to the names which up till now have been discovered, and they are, as one sees, of but little account.
On the other hand, the influence of Aristophanes and of Lucian, his intimate acquaintance with nearly all the writers of antiquity, Greek as well as Latin, with whom Rabelais is more permeated even than Montaigne, were a mine of inspiration. The proof of it is everywhere. Pliny especially was his encyclopaedia, his constant companion. All he says of the Pantagruelian herb, though he amply developed it for himself, is taken from Pliny's chapter on flax. And there is a great deal more of this kind to be discovered, for Rabelais does not always give it as quotation. On the other hand, when he writes, 'Such an one says,' it would be difficult enough to find who is meant, for the 'such an one' is a fictitious writer. The method is amusing, but it is curious to account of it.
The question of the Chronique Gargantuaine is still undecided. Is it by Rabelais or by someone else? Both theories are defensible, and can be supported by good reasons. In the Chronique everything is heavy, occasionally meaningless, and nearly always insipid. Can the same man have written the Chronique and Gargantua, replaced a book really commonplace by a masterpiece, changed the facts and incidents, transformed a heavy icy pleasantry into a work glowing with wit and life, made it no longer a mass of laborious trifling and cold-blooded exaggerations but a satire on human life of the highest genius? Still there are points common to the two. Besides, Rabelais wrote other things; and it is only in his romance that he shows literary skill. The conception of it would have entered his mind first only in a bare and summary fashion. It would have been taken up again, expanded, developed, metamorphosed. That is possible, and, for my part, I am of those who, like Brunet and Nodier, are inclined to think that the Chronique, in spite of its inferiority, is really a first attempt, condemned as soon as the idea was conceived in another form. As its earlier date is incontestable, we must conclude that if the Chronique is not by him, his Gargantua and its continuation would not have existed without it. This would be a great obligation to stand under to some unknown author, and in that case it is astonishing that his enemies did not reproach him during his lifetime with being merely an imitator and a plagiarist. So there are reasons for and against his authorship of it, and it would be dangerous to make too bold an assertion.
One fact which is absolutely certain and beyond all controversy, is that Rabelais owed much to one of his contemporaries, an Italian, to the Histoire Macaronique of Merlin Coccaie. Its author, Theophilus Folengo, who was also a monk, was born in 1491, and died only a short time before Rabelais, in 1544. But his burlesque poem was published in 1517. It was in Latin verse, written in an elaborately fabricated style. It is not dog Latin, but Latin ingeniously italianized, or rather Italian, even Mantuan, latinized. The contrast between the modern form of the word and its Roman garb produces the most amusing effect. In the original it is sometimes difficult to read, for Folengo has no objection to using the most colloquial words and phrases.
The subject is quite different. It is the adventures of Baldo, son of Guy de Montauban, the very lively history of his youth, his trial, imprisonment and deliverance, his journey in search of his father, during which he visits the Planets and Hell. The narration is constantly interrupted by incidental adventures. Occasionally they are what would be called to-day very naturalistic, and sometimes they are madly extravagant.
But Fracasso, Baldo's friend, is a giant; another friend, Cingar, who delivers him, is Panurge exactly, and quite as much given to practical joking. The women in the senile amour of the old Tognazzo, the judges, and the poor sergeants, are no more gently dealt with by Folengo than by the monk of the Iles d'Hyeres. If Dindenaut's name does not occur, there are the sheep. The tempest is there, and the invocation to all the saints. Rabelais improves all he borrows, but it is from Folengo he starts. He does not reproduce the words, but, like the Italian, he revels in drinking scenes, junkettings, gormandizing, battles, scuffles, wounds and corpses, magic, witches, speeches, repeated enumerations, lengthiness, and a solemnly minute precision of impossible dates and numbers. The atmosphere, the tone, the methods are the same, and to know Rabelais well, you must know Folengo well too.
Detailed proof of this would be too lengthy a matter; one would have to quote too many passages, but on this question of sources nothing is more interesting than a perusal of the Opus Macaronicorum. It was translated into French only in 1606—Paris, Gilley Robinot. This translation of course cannot reproduce all the many amusing forms of words, but it is useful, nevertheless, in showing more clearly the points of resemblance between the two works,—how far in form, ideas, details, and phrases Rabelais was permeated by Folengo. The anonymous translator saw this quite well, and said so in his title, 'Histoire macaronique de Merlin Coccaie, prototype of Rabelais.' It is nothing but the truth, and Rabelais, who does not hide it from himself, on more than one occasion mentions the name of Merlin Coccaie.
Besides, Rabelais was fed on the Italians of his time as on the Greeks and Romans. Panurge, who owes much to Cingar, is also not free from obligations to the miscreant Margutte in the Morgante Maggiore of Pulci. Had Rabelais in his mind the tale from the Florentine Chronicles, how in the Savonarola riots, when the Piagnoni and the Arrabiati came to blows in the church of the Dominican convent of San-Marco, Fra Pietro in the scuffle broke the heads of the assailants with the bronze crucifix he had taken from the altar? A well-handled cross could so readily be used as a weapon, that probably it has served as such more than once, and other and even quite modern instances might be quoted.
But other Italian sources are absolutely certain. There are few more wonderful chapters in Rabelais than the one about the drinkers. It is not a dialogue: those short exclamations exploding from every side, all referring to the same thing, never repeating themselves, and yet always varying the same theme. At the end of the Novelle of Gentile Sermini of Siena, there is a chapter called Il Giuoco della pugna, the Game of Battle. Here are the first lines of it: 'Apre, apre, apre. Chi gioca, chi gioca —uh, uh!—A Porrione, a Porrione.—Viela, viela; date a ognuno.—Alle mantella, alle mantella.—Oltre di corsa; non vi fermate.—Voltate qui; ecco costoro; fate veli innanzi.—Viela, viela; date costi.—Chi la fa? Io—Ed io.—Dagli; ah, ah, buona fu.—Or cosi; alla mascella, al fianco. —Dagli basso; di punta, di punta.—Ah, ah, buon gioco, buon gioco.'
And thus it goes on with fire and animation for pages. Rabelais probably translated or directly imitated it. He changed the scene; there was no giuooco della pugna in France. He transferred to a drinking-bout this clatter of exclamations which go off by themselves, which cross each other and get no answer. He made a wonderful thing of it. But though he did not copy Sermini, yet Sermini's work provided him with the form of the subject, and was the theme for Rabelais' marvellous variations.
Who does not remember the fantastic quarrel of the cook with the poor devil who had flavoured his dry bread with the smoke of the roast, and the judgment of Seyny John, truly worthy of Solomon? It comes from the Cento Novelle Antiche, rewritten from tales older than Boccaccio, and moreover of an extreme brevity and dryness. They are only the framework, the notes, the skeleton of tales. The subject is often wonderful, but nothing is made of it: it is left unshaped. Rabelais wrote a version of one, the ninth. The scene takes place, not at Paris, but at Alexandria in Egypt among the Saracens, and the cook is called Fabrac. But the surprise at the end, the sagacious judgment by which the sound of a piece of money was made the price of the smoke, is the same. Now the first dated edition of the Cento Novelle (which were frequently reprinted) appeared at Bologna in 1525, and it is certain that Rabelais had read the tales. And there would be much else of the same kind to learn if we knew Rabelais' library.
A still stranger fact of this sort may be given to show how nothing came amiss to him. He must have known, and even copied the Latin Chronicle of the Counts of Anjou. It is accepted, and rightly so, as an historical document, but that is no reason for thinking that the truth may not have been manipulated and adorned. The Counts of Anjou were not saints. They were proud, quarrelsome, violent, rapacious, and extravagant, as greedy as they were charitable to the Church, treacherous and cruel. Yet their anonymous panegyrist has made them patterns of all the virtues. In reality it is both a history and in some sort a romance; especially is it a collection of examples worthy of being followed, in the style of the Cyropaedia, our Juvenal of the fifteenth century, and a little like Fenelon's Telemaque. Now in it there occurs the address of one of the counts to those who rebelled against him and who were at his mercy. Rabelais must have known it, for he has copied it, or rather, literally translated whole lines of it in the wonderful speech of Gargantua to the vanquished. His contemporaries, who approved of his borrowing from antiquity, could not detect this one, because the book was not printed till much later. But Rabelais lived in Maine. In Anjou, which often figures among the localities he names, he must have met with and read the Chronicles of the Counts in manuscript, probably in some monastery library, whether at Fontenay-le-Comte or elsewhere it matters little. There is not only a likeness in the ideas and tone, but in the words too, which cannot be a mere matter of chance. He must have known the Chronicles of the Counts of Anjou, and they inspired one of his finest pages. One sees, therefore, how varied were the sources whence he drew, and how many of them must probably always escape us.
When, as has been done for Moliere, a critical bibliography of the works relating to Rabelais is drawn up—which, by the bye, will entail a very great amount of labour—the easiest part will certainly be the bibliography of the old editions. That is the section that has been most satisfactorily and most completely worked out. M. Brunet said the last word on the subject in his Researches in 1852, and in the important article in the fifth edition of his Manuel du Libraire (iv., 1863, pp. 1037-1071).
The facts about the fifth book cannot be summed up briefly. It was printed as a whole at first, without the name of the place, in 1564, and next year at Lyons by Jean Martin. It has given, and even still gives rise to two contradictory opinions. Is it Rabelais' or not?
First of all, if he had left it complete, would sixteen years have gone by before it was printed? Then, does it bear evident marks of his workmanship? Is the hand of the master visible throughout? Antoine Du Verdier in the 1605 edition of his Prosopographie writes: '(Rabelais') misfortune has been that everybody has wished to "pantagruelize!" and several books have appeared under his name, and have been added to his works, which are not by him, as, for instance, l'Ile Sonnante, written by a certain scholar of Valence and others.'
The scholar of Valence might be Guillaume des Autels, to whom with more certainty can be ascribed the authorship of a dull imitation of Rabelais, the History of Fanfreluche and Gaudichon, published in 1578, which, to say the least of it, is very much inferior to the fifth book.
Louis Guyon, in his Diverses Lecons, is still more positive: 'As to the last book which has been included in his works, entitled l'Ile Sonnante, the object of which seems to be to find fault with and laugh at the members and the authorities of the Catholic Church, I protest that he did not compose it, for it was written long after his death. I was at Paris when it was written, and I know quite well who was its author; he was not a doctor.' That is very emphatic, and it is impossible to ignore it.
Yet everyone must recognize that there is a great deal of Rabelais in the fifth book. He must have planned it and begun it. Remembering that in 1548 he had published, not as an experiment, but rather as a bait and as an announcement, the first eleven chapters of the fourth book, we may conclude that the first sixteen chapters of the fifth book published by themselves nine years after his death, in 1562, represent the remainder of his definitely finished work. This is the more certain because these first chapters, which contain the Apologue of the Horse and the Ass and the terrible Furred Law-cats, are markedly better than what follows them. They are not the only ones where the master's hand may be traced, but they are the only ones where no other hand could possibly have interfered.
In the remainder the sentiment is distinctly Protestant. Rabelais was much struck by the vices of the clergy and did not spare them. Whether we are unable to forgive his criticisms because they were conceived in a spirit of raillery, or whether, on the other hand, we feel admiration for him on this point, yet Rabelais was not in the least a sectary. If he strongly desired a moral reform, indirectly pointing out the need of it in his mocking fashion, he was not favourable to a political reform. Those who would make of him a Protestant altogether forget that the Protestants of his time were not for him, but against him. Henri Estienne, for instance, Ramus, Theodore de Beze, and especially Calvin, should know how he was to be regarded. Rabelais belonged to what may be called the early reformation, to that band of honest men in the beginning of the sixteenth century, precursors of the later one perhaps, but, like Erasmus, between the two extremes. He was neither Lutheran nor Calvinist, neither German nor Genevese, and it is quite natural that his work was not reprinted in Switzerland, which would certainly have happened had the Protestants looked on him as one of themselves.
That Rabelais collected the materials for the fifth book, had begun it, and got on some way, there can be no doubt: the excellence of a large number of passages prove it, but—taken as a whole—the fifth book has not the value, the verve, and the variety of the others. The style is quite different, less rich, briefer, less elaborate, drier, in parts even wearisome. In the first four books Rabelais seldom repeats himself. The fifth book contains from the point of view of the vocabulary really the least novelty. On the contrary, it is full of words and expressions already met with, which is very natural in an imitation, in a copy, forced to keep to a similar tone, and to show by such reminders and likenesses that it is really by the same pen. A very striking point is the profound difference in the use of anatomical terms. In the other books they are most frequently used in a humorous sense, and nonsensically, with a quite other meaning than their own; in the fifth they are applied correctly. It was necessary to include such terms to keep up the practice, but the writer has not thought of using them to add to the comic effect: one cannot always think of everything. Trouble has been taken, of course, to include enumerations, but there are much fewer fabricated and fantastic words. In short, the hand of the maker is far from showing the same suppleness and strength.
A eulogistic quatrain is signed Nature quite, which, it is generally agreed, is an anagram of Jean Turquet. Did the adapter of the fifth book sign his work in this indirect fashion? He might be of the Genevese family to whom Louis Turquet and his son Theodore belonged, both well-known, and both strong Protestants. The obscurity relating to this matter is far from being cleared up, and perhaps never will be.
It fell to my lot—here, unfortunately, I am forced to speak of a personal matter—to print for the first time the manuscript of the fifth book. At first it was hoped it might be in Rabelais' own hand; afterwards that it might be at least a copy of his unfinished work. The task was a difficult one, for the writing, extremely flowing and rapid, is execrable, and most difficult to decipher and to transcribe accurately. Besides, it often happens in the sixteenth and the end of the fifteenth century, that manuscripts are much less correct than the printed versions, even when they have not been copied by clumsy and ignorant hands. In this case, it is the writing of a clerk executed as quickly as possible. The farther it goes the more incorrect it becomes, as if the writer were in haste to finish.
What is really the origin of it? It has less the appearance of notes or fragments prepared by Rabelais than of a first attempt at revision. It is not an author's rough draft; still less is it his manuscript. If I had not printed this enigmatical text with scrupulous and painful fidelity, I would do it now. It was necessary to do it so as to clear the way. But as the thing is done, and accessible to those who may be interested, and who wish to critically examine it, there is no further need of reprinting it. All the editions of Rabelais continue, and rightly, to reproduce the edition of 1564. It is not the real Rabelais, but however open to criticism it may be, it was under that form that the fifth book appeared in the sixteenth century, under that form it was accepted. Consequently it is convenient and even necessary to follow and keep to the original edition.
The first sixteen chapters may, and really must be, the text of Rabelais, in the final form as left by him, and found after his death; the framework, and a number of the passages in the continuation, the best ones, of course, are his, but have been patched up and tampered with. Nothing can have been suppressed of what existed; it was evidently thought that everything should be admitted with the final revision; but the tone was changed, additions were made, and 'improvements.' Adapters are always strangely vain.
In the seventeenth century, the French printing-press, save for an edition issued at Troyes in 1613, gave up publishing Rabelais, and the work passed to foreign countries. Jean Fuet reprinted him at Antwerp in 1602. After the Amsterdam edition of 1659, where for the first time appears 'The Alphabet of the French Author,' comes the Elzevire edition of 1663. The type, an imitation of what made the reputation of the little volumes of the Gryphes of Lyons, is charming, the printing is perfect, and the paper, which is French—the development of paper-making in Holland and England did not take place till after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes—is excellent. They are pretty volumes to the eye, but, as in all the reprints of the seventeenth century, the text is full of faults and most untrustworthy.
France, through a representative in a foreign land, however, comes into line again in the beginning of the eighteenth century, and in a really serious fashion, thanks to the very considerable learning of a French refugee, Jacob Le Duchat, who died in 1748. He had a most thorough knowledge of the French prose-writers of the sixteenth century, and he made them accessible by his editions of the Quinze Joies du Mariage, of Henri Estienne, of Agrippa d'Aubigne, of L'Etoile, and of the Satyre Menippee. In 1711 he published an edition of Rabelais at Amsterdam, through Henry Bordesius, in five duodecimo volumes. The reprint in quarto which he issued in 1741, seven years before his death, is, with its engravings by Bernard Picot, a fine library edition. Le Duchat's is the first of the critical editions. It takes account of differences in the texts, and begins to point out the variations. His very numerous notes are remarkable, and are still worthy of most serious consideration. He was the first to offer useful elucidations, and these have been repeated after him, and with good reason will continue to be so. The Abbe de Massy's edition of 1752, also an Amsterdam production, has made use of Le Duchat's but does not take its place. Finally, at the end of the century, Cazin printed Rabelais in his little volume, in 1782, and Bartiers issued two editions (of no importance) at Paris in 1782 and 1798. Fortunately the nineteenth century has occupied itself with the great 'Satyrique' in a more competent and useful fashion.
In 1820 L'Aulnaye published through Desoer his three little volumes, printed in exquisite style, and which have other merits besides. His volume of annotations, in which, that nothing might be lost of his own notes, he has included many things not directly relating to Rabelais, is full of observations and curious remarks which are very useful additions to Le Duchat. One fault to be found with him is his further complication of the spelling. This he did in accordance with a principle that the words should be referred to their real etymology. Learned though he was, Rabelais had little care to be so etymological, and it is not his theories but those of the modern scholar that have been ventilated.
Somewhat later, from 1823 to 1826, Esmangart and Johanneau issued a variorum edition in nine volumes, in which the text is often encumbered by notes which are really too numerous, and, above all, too long. The work was an enormous one, but the best part of it is Le Duchat's, and what is not his is too often absolutely hypothetical and beside the truth. Le Duchat had already given too much importance to the false historical explanation. Here it is constantly coming in, and it rests on no evidence. In reality, there is no need of the key to Rabelais by which to discover the meaning of subtle allusions. He is neither so complicated nor so full of riddles. We know how he has scattered the names of contemporaries about his work, sometimes of friends, sometimes of enemies, and without disguising them under any mask. He is no more Panurge than Louis XII. is Gargantua or Francis I. Pantagruel. Rabelais says what he wants, all he wants, and in the way he wants. There are no mysteries below the surface, and it is a waste of time to look for knots in a bulrush. All the historical explanations are purely imaginary, utterly without proof, and should the more emphatically be looked on as baseless and dismissed. They are radically false, and therefore both worthless and harmful.
In 1840 there appeared in the Bibliotheque Charpentier the Rabelais in a single duodecimo volume, begun by Charles Labiche, and, after his death, completed by M. Paul Lacroix, whose share is the larger. The text is that of L'Aulnaye; the short footnotes, with all their brevity, contain useful explanations of difficult words. Amongst the editions of Rabelais this is one of the most important, because it brought him many readers and admirers. No other has made him so well and so widely known as this portable volume, which has been constantly reprinted. No other has been so widely circulated, and the sale still goes on. It was, and must still be looked on as a most serviceable edition.
The edition published by Didot in 1857 has an altogether special character. In the biographical notice M. Rathery for the first time treated as they deserve the foolish prejudices which have made Rabelais misunderstood, and M. Burgaud des Marets set the text on a quite new base. Having proved, what of course is very evident, that in the original editions the spelling, and the language too, were of the simplest and clearest, and were not bristling with the nonsensical and superfluous consonants which have given rise to the idea that Rabelais is difficult to read, he took the trouble first of all to note the spelling of each word. Whenever in a single instance he found it in accordance with modern spelling, he made it the same throughout. The task was a hard one, and Rabelais certainly gained in clearness, but over-zeal is often fatal to a reform. In respect to its precision and the value of its notes, which are short and very judicious, Burgaud des Marets' edition is valuable, and is amongst those which should be known and taken into account.
Since Le Duchat all the editions have a common fault. They are not exactly guilty of fabricating, but they set up an artificial text in the sense that, in order to lose as little as possible, they have collected and united what originally were variations—the revisions, in short, of the original editions. Guided by the wise counsels given by Brunet in 1852 in his Researches on the old editions of Rabelais, Pierre Jannet published the first three books in 1858; then, when the publication of the Bibliotheque Elzevirienne was discontinued, he took up the work again and finished the edition in Picard's blue library, in little volumes, each book quite distinct. It was M. Jannet who in our days first restored the pure and exact text of Rabelais, not only without retouching it, but without making additions or insertions, or juxtaposition of things that were not formerly found together. For each of the books he has followed the last edition issued by Rabelais, and all the earlier differences he gives as variations. It is astonishing that a thing so simple and so fitting should not have been done before, and the result is that this absolutely exact fidelity has restored a lucidity which was not wanting in Rabelais's time, but which had since been obscured. All who have come after Jannet have followed in his path, and there is no reason for straying from it.
To the Honoured, Noble Translator of Rabelais.
Rabelais, whose wit prodigiously was made, All men, professions, actions to invade, With so much furious vigour, as if it Had lived o'er each of them, and each had quit, Yet with such happy sleight and careless skill, As, like the serpent, doth with laughter kill, So that although his noble leaves appear Antic and Gottish, and dull souls forbear To turn them o'er, lest they should only find Nothing but savage monsters of a mind,— No shapen beauteous thoughts; yet when the wise Seriously strip him of his wild disguise, Melt down his dross, refine his massy ore, And polish that which seem'd rough-cast before, Search his deep sense, unveil his hidden mirth, And make that fiery which before seem'd earth (Conquering those things of highest consequence, What's difficult of language or of sense), He will appear some noble table writ In the old Egyptian hieroglyphic wit; Where, though you monsters and grotescoes see, You meet all mysteries of philosophy. For he was wise and sovereignly bred To know what mankind is, how 't may be led: He stoop'd unto them, like that wise man, who Rid on a stick, when 's children would do so. For we are easy sullen things, and must Be laugh'd aright, and cheated into trust; Whilst a black piece of phlegm, that lays about Dull menaces, and terrifies the rout, And cajoles it, with all its peevish strength Piteously stretch'd and botch'd up into length, Whilst the tired rabble sleepily obey Such opiate talk, and snore away the day, By all his noise as much their minds relieves, As caterwauling of wild cats frights thieves. But Rabelais was another thing, a man Made up of all that art and nature can Form from a fiery genius,—he was one Whose soul so universally was thrown Through all the arts of life, who understood Each stratagem by which we stray from good; So that he best might solid virtue teach, As some 'gainst sins of their own bosoms preach: He from wise choice did the true means prefer, In the fool's coat acting th' philosopher. Thus hoary Aesop's beasts did mildly tame Fierce man, and moralize him into shame; Thus brave romances, while they seem to lay Great trains of lust, platonic love display; Thus would old Sparta, if a seldom chance Show'd a drunk slave, teach children temperance; Thus did the later poets nobly bring The scene to height, making the fool the king. And, noble sir, you vigorously have trod In this hard path, unknown, un-understood By its own countrymen, 'tis you appear Our full enjoyment which was our despair, Scattering his mists, cheering his cynic frowns (For radiant brightness now dark Rabelais crowns), Leaving your brave heroic cares, which must Make better mankind and embalm your dust, So undeceiving us, that now we see All wit in Gascon and in Cromarty, Besides that Rabelais is convey'd to us, And that our Scotland is not barbarous. J. De la Salle.
The First Decade.
Musa! canas nostrorum in testimonium Amorum, Et Gargantueas perpetuato faces, Utque homini tali resultet nobilis Eccho: Quicquid Fama canit, Pantagruelis erit.
Here I intend mysteriously to sing With a pen pluck'd from Fame's own wing, Of Gargantua that learn'd breech-wiping king.
Decade the First.
I. Help me, propitious stars; a mighty blaze Benumbs me! I must sound the praise Of him hath turn'd this crabbed work in such heroic phrase. II. What wit would not court martyrdom to hold Upon his head a laurel of gold, Where for each rich conceit a Pumpion-pearl is told: III. And such a one is this, art's masterpiece, A thing ne'er equall'd by old Greece: A thing ne'er match'd as yet, a real Golden Fleece. IV. Vice is a soldier fights against mankind; Which you may look but never find: For 'tis an envious thing, with cunning interlined. V. And thus he rails at drinking all before 'em, And for lewd women does be-whore 'em, And brings their painted faces and black patches to th' quorum. VI. To drink he was a furious enemy Contented with a six-penny— (with diamond hatband, silver spurs, six horses.) pie— VII. And for tobacco's pate-rotunding smoke, Much had he said, and much more spoke, But 'twas not then found out, so the design was broke. VIII. Muse! Fancy! Faith! come now arise aloud, Assembled in a blue-vein'd cloud, And this tall infant in angelic arms now shroud. IX. To praise it further I would now begin Were 't now a thoroughfare and inn, It harbours vice, though 't be to catch it in a gin. X. Therefore, my Muse, draw up thy flowing sail, And acclamate a gentle hail With all thy art and metaphors, which must prevail.
Jam prima Oceani pars est praeterita nostri. Imparibus restat danda secunda modis. Quam si praestiterit mentem Daemon malus addam, Cum sapiens totus prodierit Rabelais. Malevolus.
(Reader, the Errata, which in this book are not a few, are casually lost; and therefore the Translator, not having leisure to collect them again, craves thy pardon for such as thou may'st meet with.)
Most noble and illustrious drinkers, and you thrice precious pockified blades (for to you, and none else, do I dedicate my writings), Alcibiades, in that dialogue of Plato's, which is entitled The Banquet, whilst he was setting forth the praises of his schoolmaster Socrates (without all question the prince of philosophers), amongst other discourses to that purpose, said that he resembled the Silenes. Silenes of old were little boxes, like those we now may see in the shops of apothecaries, painted on the outside with wanton toyish figures, as harpies, satyrs, bridled geese, horned hares, saddled ducks, flying goats, thiller harts, and other such-like counterfeited pictures at discretion, to excite people unto laughter, as Silenus himself, who was the foster-father of good Bacchus, was wont to do; but within those capricious caskets were carefully preserved and kept many rich jewels and fine drugs, such as balm, ambergris, amomon, musk, civet, with several kinds of precious stones, and other things of great price. Just such another thing was Socrates. For to have eyed his outside, and esteemed of him by his exterior appearance, you would not have given the peel of an onion for him, so deformed he was in body, and ridiculous in his gesture. He had a sharp pointed nose, with the look of a bull, and countenance of a fool: he was in his carriage simple, boorish in his apparel, in fortune poor, unhappy in his wives, unfit for all offices in the commonwealth, always laughing, tippling, and merrily carousing to everyone, with continual gibes and jeers, the better by those means to conceal his divine knowledge. Now, opening this box you would have found within it a heavenly and inestimable drug, a more than human understanding, an admirable virtue, matchless learning, invincible courage, unimitable sobriety, certain contentment of mind, perfect assurance, and an incredible misregard of all that for which men commonly do so much watch, run, sail, fight, travel, toil and turmoil themselves.
Whereunto (in your opinion) doth this little flourish of a preamble tend? For so much as you, my good disciples, and some other jolly fools of ease and leisure, reading the pleasant titles of some books of our invention, as Gargantua, Pantagruel, Whippot (Fessepinte.), the Dignity of Codpieces, of Pease and Bacon with a Commentary, &c., are too ready to judge that there is nothing in them but jests, mockeries, lascivious discourse, and recreative lies; because the outside (which is the title) is usually, without any farther inquiry, entertained with scoffing and derision. But truly it is very unbeseeming to make so slight account of the works of men, seeing yourselves avouch that it is not the habit makes the monk, many being monasterially accoutred, who inwardly are nothing less than monachal, and that there are of those that wear Spanish capes, who have but little of the valour of Spaniards in them. Therefore is it, that you must open the book, and seriously consider of the matter treated in it. Then shall you find that it containeth things of far higher value than the box did promise; that is to say, that the subject thereof is not so foolish as by the title at the first sight it would appear to be.
And put the case, that in the literal sense you meet with purposes merry and solacious enough, and consequently very correspondent to their inscriptions, yet must not you stop there as at the melody of the charming syrens, but endeavour to interpret that in a sublimer sense which possibly you intended to have spoken in the jollity of your heart. Did you ever pick the lock of a cupboard to steal a bottle of wine out of it? Tell me truly, and, if you did, call to mind the countenance which then you had. Or, did you ever see a dog with a marrowbone in his mouth,—the beast of all other, says Plato, lib. 2, de Republica, the most philosophical? If you have seen him, you might have remarked with what devotion and circumspectness he wards and watcheth it: with what care he keeps it: how fervently he holds it: how prudently he gobbets it: with what affection he breaks it: and with what diligence he sucks it. To what end all this? What moveth him to take all these pains? What are the hopes of his labour? What doth he expect to reap thereby? Nothing but a little marrow. True it is, that this little is more savoury and delicious than the great quantities of other sorts of meat, because the marrow (as Galen testifieth, 5. facult. nat. & 11. de usu partium) is a nourishment most perfectly elaboured by nature.
In imitation of this dog, it becomes you to be wise, to smell, feel and have in estimation these fair goodly books, stuffed with high conceptions, which, though seemingly easy in the pursuit, are in the cope and encounter somewhat difficult. And then, like him, you must, by a sedulous lecture, and frequent meditation, break the bone, and suck out the marrow,—that is, my allegorical sense, or the things I to myself propose to be signified by these Pythagorical symbols, with assured hope, that in so doing you will at last attain to be both well-advised and valiant by the reading of them: for in the perusal of this treatise you shall find another kind of taste, and a doctrine of a more profound and abstruse consideration, which will disclose unto you the most glorious sacraments and dreadful mysteries, as well in what concerneth your religion, as matters of the public state, and life economical.
Do you believe, upon your conscience, that Homer, whilst he was a-couching his Iliads and Odysses, had any thought upon those allegories, which Plutarch, Heraclides Ponticus, Eustathius, Cornutus squeezed out of him, and which Politian filched again from them? If you trust it, with neither hand nor foot do you come near to my opinion, which judgeth them to have been as little dreamed of by Homer, as the Gospel sacraments were by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, though a certain gulligut friar (Frere Lubin croquelardon.) and true bacon-picker would have undertaken to prove it, if perhaps he had met with as very fools as himself, (and as the proverb says) a lid worthy of such a kettle.
If you give no credit thereto, why do not you the same in these jovial new chronicles of mine? Albeit when I did dictate them, I thought upon no more than you, who possibly were drinking the whilst as I was. For in the composing of this lordly book, I never lost nor bestowed any more, nor any other time than what was appointed to serve me for taking of my bodily refection, that is, whilst I was eating and drinking. And indeed that is the fittest and most proper hour wherein to write these high matters and deep sciences: as Homer knew very well, the paragon of all philologues, and Ennius, the father of the Latin poets, as Horace calls him, although a certain sneaking jobernol alleged that his verses smelled more of the wine than oil.
So saith a turlupin or a new start-up grub of my books, but a turd for him. The fragrant odour of the wine, O how much more dainty, pleasant, laughing (Riant, priant, friant.), celestial and delicious it is, than that smell of oil! And I will glory as much when it is said of me, that I have spent more on wine than oil, as did Demosthenes, when it was told him, that his expense on oil was greater than on wine. I truly hold it for an honour and praise to be called and reputed a Frolic Gualter and a Robin Goodfellow; for under this name am I welcome in all choice companies of Pantagruelists. It was upbraided to Demosthenes by an envious surly knave, that his Orations did smell like the sarpler or wrapper of a foul and filthy oil-vessel. For this cause interpret you all my deeds and sayings in the perfectest sense; reverence the cheese-like brain that feeds you with these fair billevezees and trifling jollities, and do what lies in you to keep me always merry. Be frolic now, my lads, cheer up your hearts, and joyfully read the rest, with all the ease of your body and profit of your reins. But hearken, joltheads, you viedazes, or dickens take ye, remember to drink a health to me for the like favour again, and I will pledge you instantly, Tout ares-metys.
Rabelais to the Reader.
Good friends, my Readers, who peruse this Book, Be not offended, whilst on it you look: Denude yourselves of all depraved affection, For it contains no badness, nor infection: 'Tis true that it brings forth to you no birth Of any value, but in point of mirth; Thinking therefore how sorrow might your mind Consume, I could no apter subject find; One inch of joy surmounts of grief a span; Because to laugh is proper to the man.
I must refer you to the great chronicle of Pantagruel for the knowledge of that genealogy and antiquity of race by which Gargantua is come unto us. In it you may understand more at large how the giants were born in this world, and how from them by a direct line issued Gargantua, the father of Pantagruel: and do not take it ill, if for this time I pass by it, although the subject be such, that the oftener it were remembered, the more it would please your worshipful Seniorias; according to which you have the authority of Plato in Philebo and Gorgias; and of Flaccus, who says that there are some kinds of purposes (such as these are without doubt), which, the frequentlier they be repeated, still prove the more delectable.
Would to God everyone had as certain knowledge of his genealogy since the time of the ark of Noah until this age. I think many are at this day emperors, kings, dukes, princes, and popes on the earth, whose extraction is from some porters and pardon-pedlars; as, on the contrary, many are now poor wandering beggars, wretched and miserable, who are descended of the blood and lineage of great kings and emperors, occasioned, as I conceive it, by the transport and revolution of kingdoms and empires, from the Assyrians to the Medes, from the Medes to the Persians, from the Persians to the Macedonians, from the Macedonians to the Romans, from the Romans to the Greeks, from the Greeks to the French.
And to give you some hint concerning myself, who speaks unto you, I cannot think but I am come of the race of some rich king or prince in former times; for never yet saw you any man that had a greater desire to be a king, and to be rich, than I have, and that only that I may make good cheer, do nothing, nor care for anything, and plentifully enrich my friends, and all honest and learned men. But herein do I comfort myself, that in the other world I shall be so, yea and greater too than at this present I dare wish. As for you, with the same or a better conceit consolate yourselves in your distresses, and drink fresh if you can come by it.
To return to our wethers, I say that by the sovereign gift of heaven, the antiquity and genealogy of Gargantua hath been reserved for our use more full and perfect than any other except that of the Messias, whereof I mean not to speak; for it belongs not unto my purpose, and the devils, that is to say, the false accusers and dissembled gospellers, will therein oppose me. This genealogy was found by John Andrew in a meadow, which he had near the pole-arch, under the olive-tree, as you go to Narsay: where, as he was making cast up some ditches, the diggers with their mattocks struck against a great brazen tomb, and unmeasurably long, for they could never find the end thereof, by reason that it entered too far within the sluices of Vienne. Opening this tomb in a certain place thereof, sealed on the top with the mark of a goblet, about which was written in Etrurian letters Hic Bibitur, they found nine flagons set in such order as they use to rank their kyles in Gascony, of which that which was placed in the middle had under it a big, fat, great, grey, pretty, small, mouldy, little pamphlet, smelling stronger, but no better than roses. In that book the said genealogy was found written all at length, in a chancery hand, not in paper, not in parchment, nor in wax, but in the bark of an elm-tree, yet so worn with the long tract of time, that hardly could three letters together be there perfectly discerned.
I (though unworthy) was sent for thither, and with much help of those spectacles, whereby the art of reading dim writings, and letters that do not clearly appear to the sight, is practised, as Aristotle teacheth it, did translate the book as you may see in your Pantagruelizing, that is to say, in drinking stiffly to your own heart's desire, and reading the dreadful and horrific acts of Pantagruel. At the end of the book there was a little treatise entitled the Antidoted Fanfreluches, or a Galimatia of extravagant conceits. The rats and moths, or (that I may not lie) other wicked beasts, had nibbled off the beginning: the rest I have hereto subjoined, for the reverence I bear to antiquity.
No sooner did the Cymbrians' overcomer Pass through the air to shun the dew of summer, But at his coming straight great tubs were fill'd, With pure fresh butter down in showers distill'd: Wherewith when water'd was his grandam, Hey, Aloud he cried, Fish it, sir, I pray y'; Because his beard is almost all beray'd; Or, that he would hold to 'm a scale, he pray'd.
To lick his slipper, some told was much better, Than to gain pardons, and the merit greater. In th' interim a crafty chuff approaches, From the depth issued, where they fish for roaches; Who said, Good sirs, some of them let us save, The eel is here, and in this hollow cave You'll find, if that our looks on it demur, A great waste in the bottom of his fur.
To read this chapter when he did begin, Nothing but a calf's horns were found therein; I feel, quoth he, the mitre which doth hold My head so chill, it makes my brains take cold. Being with the perfume of a turnip warm'd, To stay by chimney hearths himself he arm'd, Provided that a new thill-horse they made Of every person of a hair-brain'd head.
They talked of the bunghole of Saint Knowles, Of Gilbathar and thousand other holes, If they might be reduced t' a scarry stuff, Such as might not be subject to the cough: Since ev'ry man unseemly did it find, To see them gaping thus at ev'ry wind: For, if perhaps they handsomely were closed, For pledges they to men might be exposed.
In this arrest by Hercules the raven Was flayed at her (his) return from Lybia haven. Why am not I, said Minos, there invited? Unless it be myself, not one's omitted: And then it is their mind, I do no more Of frogs and oysters send them any store: In case they spare my life and prove but civil, I give their sale of distaffs to the devil.
To quell him comes Q.B., who limping frets At the safe pass of tricksy crackarets: The boulter, the grand Cyclops' cousin, those Did massacre, whilst each one wiped his nose: Few ingles in this fallow ground are bred, But on a tanner's mill are winnowed. Run thither all of you, th' alarms sound clear, You shall have more than you had the last year.
Short while thereafter was the bird of Jove Resolved to speak, though dismal it should prove; Yet was afraid, when he saw them in ire, They should o'erthrow quite flat down dead th' empire. He rather choosed the fire from heaven to steal, To boats where were red herrings put to sale; Than to be calm 'gainst those, who strive to brave us, And to the Massorets' fond words enslave us.
All this at last concluded gallantly, In spite of Ate and her hern-like thigh, Who, sitting, saw Penthesilea ta'en, In her old age, for a cress-selling quean. Each one cried out, Thou filthy collier toad, Doth it become thee to be found abroad? Thou hast the Roman standard filch'd away, Which they in rags of parchment did display.
Juno was born, who, under the rainbow, Was a-bird-catching with her duck below: When her with such a grievous trick they plied That she had almost been bethwacked by it. The bargain was, that, of that throatful, she Should of Proserpina have two eggs free; And if that she thereafter should be found, She to a hawthorn hill should be fast bound.
Seven months thereafter, lacking twenty-two, He, that of old did Carthage town undo, Did bravely midst them all himself advance, Requiring of them his inheritance; Although they justly made up the division, According to the shoe-welt-law's decision, By distributing store of brews and beef To these poor fellows that did pen the brief.
But th' year will come, sign of a Turkish bow, Five spindles yarn'd, and three pot-bottoms too, Wherein of a discourteous king the dock Shall pepper'd be under an hermit's frock. Ah! that for one she hypocrite you must Permit so many acres to be lost! Cease, cease, this vizard may become another, Withdraw yourselves unto the serpent's brother.
'Tis in times past, that he who is shall reign With his good friends in peace now and again. No rash nor heady prince shall then rule crave, Each good will its arbitrement shall have; And the joy, promised of old as doom To the heaven's guests, shall in its beacon come. Then shall the breeding mares, that benumb'd were, Like royal palfreys ride triumphant there.
And this continue shall from time to time, Till Mars be fetter'd for an unknown crime; Then shall one come, who others will surpass, Delightful, pleasing, matchless, full of grace. Cheer up your hearts, approach to this repast, All trusty friends of mine; for he's deceased, Who would not for a world return again, So highly shall time past be cried up then.
He who was made of wax shall lodge each member Close by the hinges of a block of timber. We then no more shall Master, master, whoot, The swagger, who th' alarum bell holds out; Could one seize on the dagger which he bears, Heads would be free from tingling in the ears, To baffle the whole storehouse of abuses. The thus farewell Apollo and the Muses.
Grangousier was a good fellow in his time, and notable jester; he loved to drink neat, as much as any man that then was in the world, and would willingly eat salt meat. To this intent he was ordinarily well furnished with gammons of bacon, both of Westphalia, Mayence and Bayonne, with store of dried neat's tongues, plenty of links, chitterlings and puddings in their season; together with salt beef and mustard, a good deal of hard roes of powdered mullet called botargos, great provision of sausages, not of Bolonia (for he feared the Lombard Boccone), but of Bigorre, Longaulnay, Brene, and Rouargue. In the vigour of his age he married Gargamelle, daughter to the King of the Parpaillons, a jolly pug, and well-mouthed wench. These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon 'gainst one another, in so far, that at last she became great with child of a fair son, and went with him unto the eleventh month; for so long, yea longer, may a woman carry her great belly, especially when it is some masterpiece of nature, and a person predestinated to the performance, in his due time, of great exploits. As Homer says, that the child, which Neptune begot upon the nymph, was born a whole year after the conception, that is, in the twelfth month. For, as Aulus Gellius saith, lib. 3, this long time was suitable to the majesty of Neptune, that in it the child might receive his perfect form. For the like reason Jupiter made the night, wherein he lay with Alcmena, last forty-eight hours, a shorter time not being sufficient for the forging of Hercules, who cleansed the world of the monsters and tyrants wherewith it was suppressed. My masters, the ancient Pantagruelists, have confirmed that which I say, and withal declared it to be not only possible, but also maintained the lawful birth and legitimation of the infant born of a woman in the eleventh month after the decease of her husband. Hypocrates, lib. de alimento. Plinius, lib. 7, cap. 5. Plautus, in his Cistelleria. Marcus Varro, in his satire inscribed The Testament, alleging to this purpose the authority of Aristotle. Censorinus, lib. de die natali. Arist. lib. 7, cap. 3 & 4, de natura animalium. Gellius, lib. 3, cap. 16. Servius, in his exposition upon this verse of Virgil's eclogues, Matri longa decem, &c., and a thousand other fools, whose number hath been increased by the lawyers ff. de suis, et legit l. intestato. paragrapho. fin. and in Auth. de restitut. et ea quae parit in xi mense. Moreover upon these grounds they have foisted in their Robidilardic, or Lapiturolive law. Gallus ff. de lib. et posth. l. sept. ff. de stat. hom., and some other laws, which at this time I dare not name. By means whereof the honest widows may without danger play at the close buttock game with might and main, and as hard as they can, for the space of the first two months after the decease of their husbands. I pray you, my good lusty springal lads, if you find any of these females, that are worth the pains of untying the codpiece-point, get up, ride upon them, and bring them to me; for, if they happen within the third month to conceive, the child should be heir to the deceased, if, before he died, he had no other children, and the mother shall pass for an honest woman.
When she is known to have conceived, thrust forward boldly, spare her not, whatever betide you, seeing the paunch is full. As Julia, the daughter of the Emperor Octavian, never prostituted herself to her belly-bumpers, but when she found herself with child, after the manner of ships, that receive not their steersman till they have their ballast and lading. And if any blame them for this their rataconniculation, and reiterated lechery upon their pregnancy and big-belliedness, seeing beasts, in the like exigent of their fulness, will never suffer the male-masculant to encroach them, their answer will be, that those are beasts, but they are women, very well skilled in the pretty vales and small fees of the pleasant trade and mysteries of superfetation: as Populia heretofore answered, according to the relation of Macrobius, lib. 2. Saturnal. If the devil will not have them to bag, he must wring hard the spigot, and stop the bung-hole.
The occasion and manner how Gargamelle was brought to bed, and delivered of her child, was thus: and, if you do not believe it, I wish your bum-gut fall out and make an escapade. Her bum-gut, indeed, or fundament escaped her in an afternoon, on the third day of February, with having eaten at dinner too many godebillios. Godebillios are the fat tripes of coiros. Coiros are beeves fattened at the cratch in ox-stalls, or in the fresh guimo meadows. Guimo meadows are those that for their fruitfulness may be mowed twice a year. Of those fat beeves they had killed three hundred sixty-seven thousand and fourteen, to be salted at Shrovetide, that in the entering of the spring they might have plenty of powdered beef, wherewith to season their mouths at the beginning of their meals, and to taste their wine the better.
They had abundance of tripes, as you have heard, and they were so delicious, that everyone licked his fingers. But the mischief was this, that, for all men could do, there was no possibility to keep them long in that relish; for in a very short while they would have stunk, which had been an undecent thing. It was therefore concluded, that they should be all of them gulched up, without losing anything. To this effect they invited all the burghers of Sainais, of Suille, of the Roche-Clermaud, of Vaugaudry, without omitting the Coudray, Monpensier, the Gue de Vede, and other their neighbours, all stiff drinkers, brave fellows, and good players at the kyles. The good man Grangousier took great pleasure in their company, and commanded there should be no want nor pinching for anything. Nevertheless he bade his wife eat sparingly, because she was near her time, and that these tripes were no very commendable meat. They would fain, said he, be at the chewing of ordure, that would eat the case wherein it was. Notwithstanding these admonitions, she did eat sixteen quarters, two bushels, three pecks and a pipkin full. O the fair fecality wherewith she swelled, by the ingrediency of such shitten stuff!
After dinner they all went out in a hurl to the grove of the willows, where, on the green grass, to the sound of the merry flutes and pleasant bagpipes, they danced so gallantly, that it was a sweet and heavenly sport to see them so frolic.
Then did they fall upon the chat of victuals and some belly furniture to be snatched at in the very same place. Which purpose was no sooner mentioned, but forthwith began flagons to go, gammons to trot, goblets to fly, great bowls to ting, glasses to ring. Draw, reach, fill, mix, give it me without water. So, my friend, so, whip me off this glass neatly, bring me hither some claret, a full weeping glass till it run over. A cessation and truce with thirst. Ha, thou false fever, wilt thou not be gone? By my figgins, godmother, I cannot as yet enter in the humour of being merry, nor drink so currently as I would. You have catched a cold, gammer? Yea, forsooth, sir. By the belly of Sanct Buff, let us talk of our drink: I never drink but at my hours, like the Pope's mule. And I never drink but in my breviary, like a fair father guardian. Which was first, thirst or drinking? Thirst, for who in the time of innocence would have drunk without being athirst? Nay, sir, it was drinking; for privatio praesupponit habitum. I am learned, you see: Foecundi calices quem non fecere disertum? We poor innocents drink but too much without thirst. Not I truly, who am a sinner, for I never drink without thirst, either present or future. To prevent it, as you know, I drink for the thirst to come. I drink eternally. This is to me an eternity of drinking, and drinking of eternity. Let us sing, let us drink, and tune up our roundelays. Where is my funnel? What, it seems I do not drink but by an attorney? Do you wet yourselves to dry, or do you dry to wet you? Pish, I understand not the rhetoric (theoric, I should say), but I help myself somewhat by the practice. Baste! enough! I sup, I wet, I humect, I moisten my gullet, I drink, and all for fear of dying. Drink always and you shall never die. If I drink not, I am a-ground, dry, gravelled and spent. I am stark dead without drink, and my soul ready to fly into some marsh amongst frogs; the soul never dwells in a dry place, drouth kills it. O you butlers, creators of new forms, make me of no drinker a drinker, a perennity and everlastingness of sprinkling and bedewing me through these my parched and sinewy bowels. He drinks in vain that feels not the pleasure of it. This entereth into my veins,—the pissing tools and urinal vessels shall have nothing of it. I would willingly wash the tripes of the calf which I apparelled this morning. I have pretty well now ballasted my stomach and stuffed my paunch. If the papers of my bonds and bills could drink as well as I do, my creditors would not want for wine when they come to see me, or when they are to make any formal exhibition of their rights to what of me they can demand. This hand of yours spoils your nose. O how many other such will enter here before this go out! What, drink so shallow? It is enough to break both girds and petrel. This is called a cup of dissimulation, or flagonal hypocrisy.
What difference is there between a bottle and a flagon. Great difference; for the bottle is stopped and shut up with a stopple, but the flagon with a vice (La bouteille est fermee a bouchon, et le flaccon a vis.). Bravely and well played upon the words! Our fathers drank lustily, and emptied their cans. Well cacked, well sung! Come, let us drink: will you send nothing to the river? Here is one going to wash the tripes. I drink no more than a sponge. I drink like a Templar knight. And I, tanquam sponsus. And I, sicut terra sine aqua. Give me a synonymon for a gammon of bacon. It is the compulsory of drinkers: it is a pulley. By a pulley-rope wine is let down into a cellar, and by a gammon into the stomach. Hey! now, boys, hither, some drink, some drink. There is no trouble in it. Respice personam, pone pro duos, bus non est in usu. If I could get up as well as I can swallow down, I had been long ere now very high in the air.
Thus became Tom Tosspot rich,—thus went in the tailor's stitch. Thus did Bacchus conquer th' Inde—thus Philosophy, Melinde. A little rain allays a great deal of wind: long tippling breaks the thunder. But if there came such liquor from my ballock, would you not willingly thereafter suck the udder whence it issued? Here, page, fill! I prithee, forget me not when it comes to my turn, and I will enter the election I have made of thee into the very register of my heart. Sup, Guillot, and spare not, there is somewhat in the pot. I appeal from thirst, and disclaim its jurisdiction. Page, sue out my appeal in form. This remnant in the bottom of the glass must follow its leader. I was wont heretofore to drink out all, but now I leave nothing. Let us not make too much haste; it is requisite we carry all along with us. Heyday, here are tripes fit for our sport, and, in earnest, excellent godebillios of the dun ox (you know) with the black streak. O, for God's sake, let us lash them soundly, yet thriftily. Drink, or I will,—No, no, drink, I beseech you (Ou je vous, je vous prie.). Sparrows will not eat unless you bob them on the tail, nor can I drink if I be not fairly spoke to. The concavities of my body are like another Hell for their capacity. Lagonaedatera (lagon lateris cavitas: aides orcus: and eteros alter.). There is not a corner, nor coney-burrow in all my body, where this wine doth not ferret out my thirst. Ho, this will bang it soundly. But this shall banish it utterly. Let us wind our horns by the sound of flagons and bottles, and cry aloud, that whoever hath lost his thirst come not hither to seek it. Long clysters of drinking are to be voided without doors. The great God made the planets, and we make the platters neat. I have the word of the gospel in my mouth, Sitio. The stone called asbestos is not more unquenchable than the thirst of my paternity. Appetite comes with eating, says Angeston, but the thirst goes away with drinking. I have a remedy against thirst, quite contrary to that which is good against the biting of a mad dog. Keep running after a dog, and he will never bite you; drink always before the thirst, and it will never come upon you. There I catch you, I awake you. Argus had a hundred eyes for his sight, a butler should have (like Briareus) a hundred hands wherewith to fill us wine indefatigably. Hey now, lads, let us moisten ourselves, it will be time to dry hereafter. White wine here, wine, boys! Pour out all in the name of Lucifer, fill here, you, fill and fill (peascods on you) till it be full. My tongue peels. Lans trinque; to thee, countryman, I drink to thee, good fellow, comrade to thee, lusty, lively! Ha, la, la, that was drunk to some purpose, and bravely gulped over. O lachryma Christi, it is of the best grape! I'faith, pure Greek, Greek! O the fine white wine! upon my conscience, it is a kind of taffetas wine,—hin, hin, it is of one ear, well wrought, and of good wool. Courage, comrade, up thy heart, billy! We will not be beasted at this bout, for I have got one trick. Ex hoc in hoc. There is no enchantment nor charm there, every one of you hath seen it. My 'prenticeship is out, I am a free man at this trade. I am prester mast (Prestre mace, maistre passe.), Prish, Brum! I should say, master past. O the drinkers, those that are a-dry, O poor thirsty souls! Good page, my friend, fill me here some, and crown the wine, I pray thee. Like a cardinal! Natura abhorret vacuum. Would you say that a fly could drink in this? This is after the fashion of Switzerland. Clear off, neat, supernaculum! Come, therefore, blades, to this divine liquor and celestial juice, swill it over heartily, and spare not! It is a decoction of nectar and ambrosia.
Whilst they were on this discourse and pleasant tattle of drinking, Gargamelle began to be a little unwell in her lower parts; whereupon Grangousier arose from off the grass, and fell to comfort her very honestly and kindly, suspecting that she was in travail, and told her that it was best for her to sit down upon the grass under the willows, because she was like very shortly to see young feet, and that therefore it was convenient she should pluck up her spirits, and take a good heart of new at the fresh arrival of her baby; saying to her withal, that although the pain was somewhat grievous to her, it would be but of short continuance, and that the succeeding joy would quickly remove that sorrow, in such sort that she should not so much as remember it. On, with a sheep's courage! quoth he. Despatch this boy, and we will speedily fall to work for the making of another. Ha! said she, so well as you speak at your own ease, you that are men! Well, then, in the name of God, I'll do my best, seeing that you will have it so, but would to God that it were cut off from you! What? said Grangousier. Ha, said she, you are a good man indeed, you understand it well enough. What, my member? said he. By the goat's blood, if it please you, that shall be done instantly; cause bring hither a knife. Alas, said she, the Lord forbid, and pray Jesus to forgive me! I did not say it from my heart, therefore let it alone, and do not do it neither more nor less any kind of harm for my speaking so to you. But I am like to have work enough to do to-day and all for your member, yet God bless you and it.
Courage, courage, said he, take you no care of the matter, let the four foremost oxen do the work. I will yet go drink one whiff more, and if in the mean time anything befall you that may require my presence, I will be so near to you, that, at the first whistling in your fist, I shall be with you forthwith. A little while after she began to groan, lament and cry. Then suddenly came the midwives from all quarters, who groping her below, found some peloderies, which was a certain filthy stuff, and of a taste truly bad enough. This they thought had been the child, but it was her fundament, that was slipped out with the mollification of her straight entrail, which you call the bum-gut, and that merely by eating of too many tripes, as we have showed you before. Whereupon an old ugly trot in the company, who had the repute of an expert she-physician, and was come from Brisepaille, near to Saint Genou, three score years before, made her so horrible a restrictive and binding medicine, and whereby all her larris, arse-pipes, and conduits were so oppilated, stopped, obstructed, and contracted, that you could hardly have opened and enlarged them with your teeth, which is a terrible thing to think upon; seeing the Devil at the mass at Saint Martin's was puzzled with the like task, when with his teeth he had lengthened out the parchment whereon he wrote the tittle-tattle of two young mangy whores. By this inconvenient the cotyledons of her matrix were presently loosed, through which the child sprang up and leaped, and so, entering into the hollow vein, did climb by the diaphragm even above her shoulders, where the vein divides itself into two, and from thence taking his way towards the left side, issued forth at her left ear. As soon as he was born, he cried not as other babes use to do, Miez, miez, miez, miez, but with a high, sturdy, and big voice shouted about, Some drink, some drink, some drink, as inviting all the world to drink with him. The noise hereof was so extremely great, that it was heard in both the countries at once of Beauce and Bibarois. I doubt me, that you do not thoroughly believe the truth of this strange nativity. Though you believe it not, I care not much: but an honest man, and of good judgment, believeth still what is told him, and that which he finds written.
Is this beyond our law or our faith—against reason or the holy Scripture? For my part, I find nothing in the sacred Bible that is against it. But tell me, if it had been the will of God, would you say that he could not do it? Ha, for favour sake, I beseech you, never emberlucock or inpulregafize your spirits with these vain thoughts and idle conceits; for I tell you, it is not impossible with God, and, if he pleased, all women henceforth should bring forth their children at the ear. Was not Bacchus engendered out of the very thigh of Jupiter? Did not Roquetaillade come out at his mother's heel, and Crocmoush from the slipper of his nurse? Was not Minerva born of the brain, even through the ear of Jove? Adonis, of the bark of a myrrh tree; and Castor and Pollux of the doupe of that egg which was laid and hatched by Leda? But you would wonder more, and with far greater amazement, if I should now present you with that chapter of Plinius, wherein he treateth of strange births, and contrary to nature, and yet am not I so impudent a liar as he was. Read the seventh book of his Natural History, chap.3, and trouble not my head any more about this.
The good man Grangousier, drinking and making merry with the rest, heard the horrible noise which his son had made as he entered into the light of this world, when he cried out, Some drink, some drink, some drink; whereupon he said in French, Que grand tu as et souple le gousier! that is to say, How great and nimble a throat thou hast. Which the company hearing, said that verily the child ought to be called Gargantua; because it was the first word that after his birth his father had spoke, in imitation, and at the example of the ancient Hebrews; whereunto he condescended, and his mother was very well pleased therewith. In the meanwhile, to quiet the child, they gave him to drink a tirelaregot, that is, till his throat was like to crack with it; then was he carried to the font, and there baptized, according to the manner of good Christians.
Immediately thereafter were appointed for him seventeen thousand, nine hundred, and thirteen cows of the towns of Pautille and Brehemond, to furnish him with milk in ordinary, for it was impossible to find a nurse sufficient for him in all the country, considering the great quantity of milk that was requisite for his nourishment; although there were not wanting some doctors of the opinion of Scotus, who affirmed that his own mother gave him suck, and that she could draw out of her breasts one thousand, four hundred, two pipes, and nine pails of milk at every time.
Which indeed is not probable, and this point hath been found duggishly scandalous and offensive to tender ears, for that it savoured a little of heresy. Thus was he handled for one year and ten months; after which time, by the advice of physicians, they began to carry him, and then was made for him a fine little cart drawn with oxen, of the invention of Jan Denio, wherein they led him hither and thither with great joy; and he was worth the seeing, for he was a fine boy, had a burly physiognomy, and almost ten chins. He cried very little, but beshit himself every hour: for, to speak truly of him, he was wonderfully phlegmatic in his posteriors, both by reason of his natural complexion and the accidental disposition which had befallen him by his too much quaffing of the Septembral juice. Yet without a cause did not he sup one drop; for if he happened to be vexed, angry, displeased, or sorry, if he did fret, if he did weep, if he did cry, and what grievous quarter soever he kept, in bringing him some drink, he would be instantly pacified, reseated in his own temper, in a good humour again, and as still and quiet as ever. One of his governesses told me (swearing by her fig), how he was so accustomed to this kind of way, that, at the sound of pints and flagons, he would on a sudden fall into an ecstasy, as if he had then tasted of the joys of paradise; so that they, upon consideration of this, his divine complexion, would every morning, to cheer him up, play with a knife upon the glasses, on the bottles with their stopples, and on the pottle-pots with their lids and covers, at the sound whereof he became gay, did leap for joy, would loll and rock himself in the cradle, then nod with his head, monochordizing with his fingers, and barytonizing with his tail.
Being of this age, his father ordained to have clothes made to him in his own livery, which was white and blue. To work then went the tailors, and with great expedition were those clothes made, cut, and sewed, according to the fashion that was then in request. I find by the ancient records or pancarts, to be seen in the chamber of accounts, or court of the exchequer at Montsoreau, that he was accoutred in manner as followeth. To make him every shirt of his were taken up nine hundred ells of Chasteleraud linen, and two hundred for the gussets, in manner of cushions, which they put under his armpits. His shirt was not gathered nor plaited, for the plaiting of shirts was not found out till the seamstresses (when the point of their needle (Besongner du cul, Englished The eye of the needle.) was broken) began to work and occupy with the tail. There were taken up for his doublet, eight hundred and thirteen ells of white satin, and for his points fifteen hundred and nine dogs' skins and a half. Then was it that men began to tie their breeches to their doublets, and not their doublets to their breeches: for it is against nature, as hath most amply been showed by Ockham upon the exponibles of Master Haultechaussade.
For his breeches were taken up eleven hundred and five ells and a third of white broadcloth. They were cut in the form of pillars, chamfered, channelled and pinked behind that they might not over-heat his reins: and were, within the panes, puffed out with the lining of as much blue damask as was needful: and remark, that he had very good leg-harness, proportionable to the rest of his stature.
For his codpiece were used sixteen ells and a quarter of the same cloth, and it was fashioned on the top like unto a triumphant arch, most gallantly fastened with two enamelled clasps, in each of which was set a great emerald, as big as an orange; for, as says Orpheus, lib. de lapidibus, and Plinius, libro ultimo, it hath an erective virtue and comfortative of the natural member. The exiture, outjecting or outstanding, of his codpiece was of the length of a yard, jagged and pinked, and withal bagging, and strutting out with the blue damask lining, after the manner of his breeches. But had you seen the fair embroidery of the small needlework purl, and the curiously interlaced knots, by the goldsmith's art set out and trimmed with rich diamonds, precious rubies, fine turquoises, costly emeralds, and Persian pearls, you would have compared it to a fair cornucopia, or horn of abundance, such as you see in antiques, or as Rhea gave to the two nymphs, Amalthea and Ida, the nurses of Jupiter.
And, like to that horn of abundance, it was still gallant, succulent, droppy, sappy, pithy, lively, always flourishing, always fructifying, full of juice, full of flower, full of fruit, and all manner of delight. I avow God, it would have done one good to have seen him, but I will tell you more of him in the book which I have made of the dignity of codpieces. One thing I will tell you, that as it was both long and large, so was it well furnished and victualled within, nothing like unto the hypocritical codpieces of some fond wooers and wench-courtiers, which are stuffed only with wind, to the great prejudice of the female sex.
For his shoes were taken up four hundred and six ells of blue crimson-velvet, and were very neatly cut by parallel lines, joined in uniform cylinders. For the soling of them were made use of eleven hundred hides of brown cows, shapen like the tail of a keeling.
For his coat were taken up eighteen hundred ells of blue velvet, dyed in grain, embroidered in its borders with fair gilliflowers, in the middle decked with silver purl, intermixed with plates of gold and store of pearls, hereby showing that in his time he would prove an especial good fellow and singular whipcan.
His girdle was made of three hundred ells and a half of silken serge, half white and half blue, if I mistake it not. His sword was not of Valentia, nor his dagger of Saragossa, for his father could not endure these hidalgos borrachos maranisados como diablos: but he had a fair sword made of wood, and the dagger of boiled leather, as well painted and gilded as any man could wish.
His purse was made of the cod of an elephant, which was given him by Herr Pracontal, proconsul of Lybia.
For his gown were employed nine thousand six hundred ells, wanting two-thirds, of blue velvet, as before, all so diagonally purled, that by true perspective issued thence an unnamed colour, like that you see in the necks of turtle-doves or turkey-cocks, which wonderfully rejoiced the eyes of the beholders. For his bonnet or cap were taken up three hundred, two ells and a quarter of white velvet, and the form thereof was wide and round, of the bigness of his head; for his father said that the caps of the Marrabaise fashion, made like the cover of a pasty, would one time or other bring a mischief on those that wore them. For his plume, he wore a fair great blue feather, plucked from an onocrotal of the country of Hircania the wild, very prettily hanging down over his right ear. For the jewel or brooch which in his cap he carried, he had in a cake of gold, weighing three score and eight marks, a fair piece enamelled, wherein was portrayed a man's body with two heads, looking towards one another, four arms, four feet, two arses, such as Plato, in Symposio, says was the mystical beginning of man's nature; and about it was written in Ionic letters, Agame ou zetei ta eautes, or rather, Aner kai gune zugada anthrotos idiaitata, that is, Vir et mulier junctim propriissime homo. To wear about his neck, he had a golden chain, weighing twenty-five thousand and sixty-three marks of gold, the links thereof being made after the manner of great berries, amongst which were set in work green jaspers engraven and cut dragon-like, all environed with beams and sparks, as king Nicepsos of old was wont to wear them: and it reached down to the very bust of the rising of his belly, whereby he reaped great benefit all his life long, as the Greek physicians know well enough. For his gloves were put in work sixteen otters' skins, and three of the loupgarous, or men-eating wolves, for the bordering of them: and of this stuff were they made, by the appointment of the Cabalists of Sanlouand. As for the rings which his father would have him to wear, to renew the ancient mark of nobility, he had on the forefinger of his left hand a carbuncle as big as an ostrich's egg, enchased very daintily in gold of the fineness of a Turkey seraph. Upon the middle finger of the same hand he had a ring made of four metals together, of the strangest fashion that ever was seen; so that the steel did not crash against the gold, nor the silver crush the copper. All this was made by Captain Chappuys, and Alcofribas his good agent. On the medical finger of his right hand he had a ring made spire-wise, wherein was set a perfect Balas ruby, a pointed diamond, and a Physon emerald, of an inestimable value. For Hans Carvel, the king of Melinda's jeweller, esteemed them at the rate of threescore nine millions, eight hundred ninety-four thousand, and eighteen French crowns of Berry, and at so much did the Foucres of Augsburg prize them.
Gargantua's colours were white and blue, as I have showed you before, by which his father would give us to understand that his son to him was a heavenly joy; for the white did signify gladness, pleasure, delight, and rejoicing, and the blue, celestial things. I know well enough that, in reading this, you laugh at the old drinker, and hold this exposition of colours to be very extravagant, and utterly disagreeable to reason, because white is said to signify faith, and blue constancy. But without moving, vexing, heating, or putting you in a chafe (for the weather is dangerous), answer me, if it please you; for no other compulsory way of arguing will I use towards you, or any else; only now and then I will mention a word or two of my bottle. What is it that induceth you, what stirs you up to believe, or who told you that white signifieth faith, and blue constancy? An old paltry book, say you, sold by the hawking pedlars and balladmongers, entitled The Blason of Colours. Who made it? Whoever it was, he was wise in that he did not set his name to it. But, besides, I know not what I should rather admire in him, his presumption or his sottishness. His presumption and overweening, for that he should without reason, without cause, or without any appearance of truth, have dared to prescribe, by his private authority, what things should be denotated and signified by the colour: which is the custom of tyrants, who will have their will to bear sway in stead of equity, and not of the wise and learned, who with the evidence of reason satisfy their readers. His sottishness and want of spirit, in that he thought that, without any other demonstration or sufficient argument, the world would be pleased to make his blockish and ridiculous impositions the rule of their devices. In effect, according to the proverb, To a shitten tail fails never ordure, he hath found, it seems, some simple ninny in those rude times of old, when the wearing of high round bonnets was in fashion, who gave some trust to his writings, according to which they carved and engraved their apophthegms and mottoes, trapped and caparisoned their mules and sumpter-horses, apparelled their pages, quartered their breeches, bordered their gloves, fringed the curtains and valances of their beds, painted their ensigns, composed songs, and, which is worse, placed many deceitful jugglings and unworthy base tricks undiscoveredly amongst the very chastest matrons and most reverend sciences. In the like darkness and mist of ignorance are wrapped up these vain-glorious courtiers and name-transposers, who, going about in their impresas to signify esperance (that is, hope), have portrayed a sphere—and birds' pennes for pains—l'ancholie (which is the flower colombine) for melancholy—a waning moon or crescent, to show the increasing or rising of one's fortune—a bench rotten and broken, to signify bankrupt—non and a corslet for non dur habit (otherwise non durabit, it shall not last), un lit sans ciel, that is, a bed without a tester, for un licencie, a graduated person, as bachelor in divinity or utter barrister-at-law; which are equivocals so absurd and witless, so barbarous and clownish, that a fox's tail should be fastened to the neck-piece of, and a vizard made of a cowsherd given to everyone that henceforth should offer, after the restitution of learning, to make use of any such fopperies in France.
By the same reasons (if reasons I should call them, and not ravings rather, and idle triflings about words), might I cause paint a pannier, to signify that I am in pain—a mustard-pot, that my heart tarries much for't—one pissing upwards for a bishop—the bottom of a pair of breeches for a vessel full of fart-hings—a codpiece for the office of the clerks of the sentences, decrees, or judgments, or rather, as the English bears it, for the tail of a codfish—and a dog's turd for the dainty turret wherein lies the love of my sweetheart. Far otherwise did heretofore the sages of Egypt, when they wrote by letters, which they called hieroglyphics, which none understood who were not skilled in the virtue, property, and nature of the things represented by them. Of which Orus Apollon hath in Greek composed two books, and Polyphilus, in his Dream of Love, set down more. In France you have a taste of them in the device or impresa of my Lord Admiral, which was carried before that time by Octavian Augustus. But my little skiff alongst these unpleasant gulfs and shoals will sail no further, therefore must I return to the port from whence I came. Yet do I hope one day to write more at large of these things, and to show both by philosophical arguments and authorities, received and approved of by and from all antiquity, what, and how many colours there are in nature, and what may be signified by every one of them, if God save the mould of my cap, which is my best wine-pot, as my grandam said.
The white therefore signifieth joy, solace, and gladness, and that not at random, but upon just and very good grounds: which you may perceive to be true, if laying aside all prejudicate affections, you will but give ear to what presently I shall expound unto you.
Aristotle saith that, supposing two things contrary in their kind, as good and evil, virtue and vice, heat and cold, white and black, pleasure and pain, joy and grief,—and so of others,—if you couple them in such manner that the contrary of one kind may agree in reason with the contrary of the other, it must follow by consequence that the other contrary must answer to the remanent opposite to that wherewith it is conferred. As, for example, virtue and vice are contrary in one kind, so are good and evil. If one of the contraries of the first kind be consonant to one of those of the second, as virtue and goodness, for it is clear that virtue is good, so shall the other two contraries, which are evil and vice, have the same connection, for vice is evil.
This logical rule being understood, take these two contraries, joy and sadness; then these other two, white and black, for they are physically contrary. If so be, then, that black do signify grief, by good reason then should white import joy. Nor is this signification instituted by human imposition, but by the universal consent of the world received, which philosophers call Jus Gentium, the Law of Nations, or an uncontrollable right of force in all countries whatsoever. For you know well enough that all people, and all languages and nations, except the ancient Syracusans and certain Argives, who had cross and thwarting souls, when they mean outwardly to give evidence of their sorrow, go in black; and all mourning is done with black. Which general consent is not without some argument and reason in nature, the which every man may by himself very suddenly comprehend, without the instruction of any—and this we call the law of nature. By virtue of the same natural instinct we know that by white all the world hath understood joy, gladness, mirth, pleasure, and delight. In former times the Thracians and Cretans did mark their good, propitious, and fortunate days with white stones, and their sad, dismal, and unfortunate ones with black. Is not the night mournful, sad, and melancholic? It is black and dark by the privation of light. Doth not the light comfort all the world? And it is more white than anything else. Which to prove, I could direct you to the book of Laurentius Valla against Bartolus; but an evangelical testimony I hope will content you. Matth. 17 it is said that, at the transfiguration of our Lord, Vestimenta ejus facta sunt alba sicut lux, his apparel was made white like the light. By which lightsome whiteness he gave his three apostles to understand the idea and figure of the eternal joys; for by the light are all men comforted, according to the word of the old woman, who, although she had never a tooth in her head, was wont to say, Bona lux. And Tobit, chap.5, after he had lost his sight, when Raphael saluted him, answered, What joy can I have, that do not see the light of Heaven? In that colour did the angels testify the joy of the whole world at the resurrection of our Saviour, John 20, and at his ascension, Acts 1. With the like colour of vesture did St. John the Evangelist, Apoc. 4.7, see the faithful clothed in the heavenly and blessed Jerusalem.
Read the ancient, both Greek and Latin histories, and you shall find that the town of Alba (the first pattern of Rome) was founded and so named by reason of a white sow that was seen there. You shall likewise find in those stories, that when any man, after he had vanquished his enemies, was by decree of the senate to enter into Rome triumphantly, he usually rode in a chariot drawn by white horses: which in the ovation triumph was also the custom; for by no sign or colour would they so significantly express the joy of their coming as by the white. You shall there also find, how Pericles, the general of the Athenians, would needs have that part of his army unto whose lot befell the white beans, to spend the whole day in mirth, pleasure, and ease, whilst the rest were a-fighting. A thousand other examples and places could I allege to this purpose, but that it is not here where I should do it.
By understanding hereof, you may resolve one problem, which Alexander Aphrodiseus hath accounted unanswerable: why the lion, who with his only cry and roaring affrights all beasts, dreads and feareth only a white cock? For, as Proclus saith, Libro de Sacrificio et Magia, it is because the presence of the virtue of the sun, which is the organ and promptuary of all terrestrial and sidereal light, doth more symbolize and agree with a white cock, as well in regard of that colour, as of his property and specifical quality, than with a lion. He saith, furthermore, that devils have been often seen in the shape of lions, which at the sight of a white cock have presently vanished. This is the cause why Galli or Gallices (so are the Frenchmen called, because they are naturally white as milk, which the Greeks call Gala,) do willingly wear in their caps white feathers, for by nature they are of a candid disposition, merry, kind, gracious, and well-beloved, and for their cognizance and arms have the whitest flower of any, the Flower de luce or Lily.
If you demand how, by white, nature would have us understand joy and gladness, I answer, that the analogy and uniformity is thus. For, as the white doth outwardly disperse and scatter the rays of the sight, whereby the optic spirits are manifestly dissolved, according to the opinion of Aristotle in his problems and perspective treatises; as you may likewise perceive by experience, when you pass over mountains covered with snow, how you will complain that you cannot see well; as Xenophon writes to have happened to his men, and as Galen very largely declareth, lib. 10, de usu partium: just so the heart with excessive joy is inwardly dilated, and suffereth a manifest resolution of the vital spirits, which may go so far on that it may thereby be deprived of its nourishment, and by consequence of life itself, by this perichary or extremity of gladness, as Galen saith, lib. 12, method, lib. 5, de locis affectis, and lib. 2, de symptomatum causis. And as it hath come to pass in former times, witness Marcus Tullius, lib. 1, Quaest. Tuscul., Verrius, Aristotle, Titus Livius, in his relation of the battle of Cannae, Plinius, lib. 7, cap. 32 and 34, A. Gellius, lib. 3, c. 15, and many other writers,—to Diagoras the Rhodian, Chilon, Sophocles, Dionysius the tyrant of Sicily, Philippides, Philemon, Polycrates, Philistion, M. Juventi, and others who died with joy. And as Avicen speaketh, in 2 canon et lib. de virib. cordis, of the saffron, that it doth so rejoice the heart that, if you take of it excessively, it will by a superfluous resolution and dilation deprive it altogether of life. Here peruse Alex. Aphrodiseus, lib. 1, Probl., cap. 19, and that for a cause. But what? It seems I am entered further into this point than I intended at the first. Here, therefore, will I strike sail, referring the rest to that book of mine which handleth this matter to the full. Meanwhile, in a word I will tell you, that blue doth certainly signify heaven and heavenly things, by the same very tokens and symbols that white signifieth joy and pleasure.
Gargantua, from three years upwards unto five, was brought up and instructed in all convenient discipline by the commandment of his father; and spent that time like the other little children of the country, that is, in drinking, eating, and sleeping: in eating, sleeping, and drinking: and in sleeping, drinking, and eating. Still he wallowed and rolled up and down himself in the mire and dirt—he blurred and sullied his nose with filth—he blotted and smutched his face with any kind of scurvy stuff—he trod down his shoes in the heel—at the flies he did oftentimes yawn, and ran very heartily after the butterflies, the empire whereof belonged to his father. He pissed in his shoes, shit in his shirt, and wiped his nose on his sleeve—he did let his snot and snivel fall in his pottage, and dabbled, paddled, and slobbered everywhere—he would drink in his slipper, and ordinarily rub his belly against a pannier. He sharpened his teeth with a top, washed his hands with his broth, and combed his head with a bowl. He would sit down betwixt two stools, and his arse to the ground —would cover himself with a wet sack, and drink in eating of his soup. He did eat his cake sometimes without bread, would bite in laughing, and laugh in biting. Oftentimes did he spit in the basin, and fart for fatness, piss against the sun, and hide himself in the water for fear of rain. He would strike out of the cold iron, be often in the dumps, and frig and wriggle it. He would flay the fox, say the ape's paternoster, return to his sheep, and turn the hogs to the hay. He would beat the dogs before the lion, put the plough before the oxen, and claw where it did not itch. He would pump one to draw somewhat out of him, by griping all would hold fast nothing, and always eat his white bread first. He shoed the geese, kept a self-tickling to make himself laugh, and was very steadable in the kitchen: made a mock at the gods, would cause sing Magnificat at matins, and found it very convenient so to do. He would eat cabbage, and shite beets,—knew flies in a dish of milk, and would make them lose their feet. He would scrape paper, blur parchment, then run away as hard as he could. He would pull at the kid's leather, or vomit up his dinner, then reckon without his host. He would beat the bushes without catching the birds, thought the moon was made of green cheese, and that bladders are lanterns. Out of one sack he would take two moultures or fees for grinding; would act the ass's part to get some bran, and of his fist would make a mallet. He took the cranes at the first leap, and would have the mail-coats to be made link after link. He always looked a given horse in the mouth, leaped from the cock to the ass, and put one ripe between two green. By robbing Peter he paid Paul, he kept the moon from the wolves, and hoped to catch larks if ever the heavens should fall. He did make of necessity virtue, of such bread such pottage, and cared as little for the peeled as for the shaven. Every morning he did cast up his gorge, and his father's little dogs eat out of the dish with him, and he with them. He would bite their ears, and they would scratch his nose—he would blow in their arses, and they would lick his chaps.
But hearken, good fellows, the spigot ill betake you, and whirl round your brains, if you do not give ear! This little lecher was always groping his nurses and governesses, upside down, arsiversy, topsyturvy, harri bourriquet, with a Yacco haick, hyck gio! handling them very rudely in jumbling and tumbling them to keep them going; for he had already begun to exercise the tools, and put his codpiece in practice. Which codpiece, or braguette, his governesses did every day deck up and adorn with fair nosegays, curious rubies, sweet flowers, and fine silken tufts, and very pleasantly would pass their time in taking you know what between their fingers, and dandling it, till it did revive and creep up to the bulk and stiffness of a suppository, or street magdaleon, which is a hard rolled-up salve spread upon leather. Then did they burst out in laughing, when they saw it lift up its ears, as if the sport had liked them. One of them would call it her little dille, her staff of love, her quillety, her faucetin, her dandilolly. Another, her peen, her jolly kyle, her bableret, her membretoon, her quickset imp: another again, her branch of coral, her female adamant, her placket-racket, her Cyprian sceptre, her jewel for ladies. And some of the other women would give it these names,—my bunguetee, my stopple too, my bush-rusher, my gallant wimble, my pretty borer, my coney-burrow-ferret, my little piercer, my augretine, my dangling hangers, down right to it, stiff and stout, in and to, my pusher, dresser, pouting stick, my honey pipe, my pretty pillicock, linky pinky, futilletie, my lusty andouille, and crimson chitterling, my little couille bredouille, my pretty rogue, and so forth. It belongs to me, said one. It is mine, said the other. What, quoth a third, shall I have no share in it? By my faith, I will cut it then. Ha, to cut it, said the other, would hurt him. Madam, do you cut little children's things? Were his cut off, he would be then Monsieur sans queue, the curtailed master. And that he might play and sport himself after the manner of the other little children of the country, they made him a fair weather whirl-jack of the wings of the windmill of Myrebalais.
Afterwards, that he might be all his lifetime a good rider, they made to him a fair great horse of wood, which he did make leap, curvet, jerk out behind, and skip forward, all at a time: to pace, trot, rack, gallop, amble, to play the hobby, the hackney-gelding: go the gait of the camel, and of the wild ass. He made him also change his colour of hair, as the monks of Coultibo (according to the variety of their holidays) use to do their clothes, from bay brown, to sorrel, dapple-grey, mouse-dun, deer-colour, roan, cow-colour, gingioline, skewed colour, piebald, and the colour of the savage elk.
Himself of a huge big post made a hunting nag, and another for daily service of the beam of a vinepress: and of a great oak made up a mule, with a footcloth, for his chamber. Besides this, he had ten or twelve spare horses, and seven horses for post; and all these were lodged in his own chamber, close by his bedside. One day the Lord of Breadinbag (Painensac.) came to visit his father in great bravery, and with a gallant train: and, at the same time, to see him came likewise the Duke of Freemeal (Francrepas.) and the Earl of Wetgullet (Mouillevent.). The house truly for so many guests at once was somewhat narrow, but especially the stables; whereupon the steward and harbinger of the said Lord Breadinbag, to know if there were any other empty stable in the house, came to Gargantua, a little young lad, and secretly asked him where the stables of the great horses were, thinking that children would be ready to tell all. Then he led them up along the stairs of the castle, passing by the second hall unto a broad great gallery, by which they entered into a large tower, and as they were going up at another pair of stairs, said the harbinger to the steward, This child deceives us, for the stables are never on the top of the house. You may be mistaken, said the steward, for I know some places at Lyons, at the Basmette, at Chaisnon, and elsewhere, which have their stables at the very tops of the houses: so it may be that behind the house there is a way to come to this ascent. But I will question with him further. Then said he to Gargantua, My pretty little boy, whither do you lead us? To the stable, said he, of my great horses. We are almost come to it; we have but these stairs to go up at. Then leading them alongst another great hall, he brought them into his chamber, and, opening the door, said unto them, This is the stable you ask for; this is my jennet; this is my gelding; this is my courser, and this is my hackney, and laid on them with a great lever. I will bestow upon you, said he, this Friesland horse; I had him from Frankfort, yet will I give him you; for he is a pretty little nag, and will go very well, with a tessel of goshawks, half a dozen of spaniels, and a brace of greyhounds: thus are you king of the hares and partridges for all this winter. By St. John, said they, now we are paid, he hath gleeked us to some purpose, bobbed we are now for ever. I deny it, said he,—he was not here above three days. Judge you now, whether they had most cause, either to hide their heads for shame, or to laugh at the jest. As they were going down again thus amazed, he asked them, Will you have a whimwham (Aubeliere.)? What is that, said they? It is, said he, five turds to make you a muzzle. To-day, said the steward, though we happen to be roasted, we shall not be burnt, for we are pretty well quipped and larded, in my opinion. O my jolly dapper boy, thou hast given us a gudgeon; I hope to see thee Pope before I die. I think so, said he, myself; and then shall you be a puppy, and this gentle popinjay a perfect papelard, that is, dissembler. Well, well, said the harbinger. But, said Gargantua, guess how many stitches there are in my mother's smock. Sixteen, quoth the harbinger. You do not speak gospel, said Gargantua, for there is cent before, and cent behind, and you did not reckon them ill, considering the two under holes. When? said the harbinger. Even then, said Gargantua, when they made a shovel of your nose to take up a quarter of dirt, and of your throat a funnel, wherewith to put it into another vessel, because the bottom of the old one was out. Cocksbod, said the steward, we have met with a prater. Farewell, master tattler, God keep you, so goodly are the words which you come out with, and so fresh in your mouth, that it had need to be salted.
Thus going down in great haste, under the arch of the stairs they let fall the great lever, which he had put upon their backs; whereupon Gargantua said, What a devil! you are, it seems, but bad horsemen, that suffer your bilder to fail you when you need him most. If you were to go from hence to Cahusac, whether had you rather, ride on a gosling or lead a sow in a leash? I had rather drink, said the harbinger. With this they entered into the lower hall, where the company was, and relating to them this new story, they made them laugh like a swarm of flies.
About the end of the fifth year, Grangousier returning from the conquest of the Canarians, went by the way to see his son Gargantua. There was he filled with joy, as such a father might be at the sight of such a child of his: and whilst he kissed and embraced him, he asked many childish questions of him about divers matters, and drank very freely with him and with his governesses, of whom in great earnest he asked, amongst other things, whether they had been careful to keep him clean and sweet. To this Gargantua answered, that he had taken such a course for that himself, that in all the country there was not to be found a cleanlier boy than he. How is that? said Grangousier. I have, answered Gargantua, by a long and curious experience, found out a means to wipe my bum, the most lordly, the most excellent, and the most convenient that ever was seen. What is that? said Grangousier, how is it? I will tell you by-and-by, said Gargantua. Once I did wipe me with a gentle-woman's velvet mask, and found it to be good; for the softness of the silk was very voluptuous and pleasant to my fundament. Another time with one of their hoods, and in like manner that was comfortable. At another time with a lady's neckerchief, and after that I wiped me with some ear-pieces of hers made of crimson satin, but there was such a number of golden spangles in them (turdy round things, a pox take them) that they fetched away all the skin of my tail with a vengeance. Now I wish St. Antony's fire burn the bum-gut of the goldsmith that made them, and of her that wore them! This hurt I cured by wiping myself with a page's cap, garnished with a feather after the Switzers' fashion.
Afterwards, in dunging behind a bush, I found a March-cat, and with it I wiped my breech, but her claws were so sharp that they scratched and exulcerated all my perinee. Of this I recovered the next morning thereafter, by wiping myself with my mother's gloves, of a most excellent perfume and scent of the Arabian Benin. After that I wiped me with sage, with fennel, with anet, with marjoram, with roses, with gourd-leaves, with beets, with colewort, with leaves of the vine-tree, with mallows, wool-blade, which is a tail-scarlet, with lettuce, and with spinach leaves. All this did very great good to my leg. Then with mercury, with parsley, with nettles, with comfrey, but that gave me the bloody flux of Lombardy, which I healed by wiping me with my braguette. Then I wiped my tail in the sheets, in the coverlet, in the curtains, with a cushion, with arras hangings, with a green carpet, with a table-cloth, with a napkin, with a handkerchief, with a combing-cloth; in all which I found more pleasure than do the mangy dogs when you rub them. Yea, but, said Grangousier, which torchecul did you find to be the best? I was coming to it, said Gargantua, and by-and-by shall you hear the tu autem, and know the whole mystery and knot of the matter. I wiped myself with hay, with straw, with thatch-rushes, with flax, with wool, with paper, but,
Who his foul tail with paper wipes, Shall at his ballocks leave some chips.
What, said Grangousier, my little rogue, hast thou been at the pot, that thou dost rhyme already? Yes, yes, my lord the king, answered Gargantua, I can rhyme gallantly, and rhyme till I become hoarse with rheum. Hark, what our privy says to the skiters:
Shittard, Squirtard, Crackard, Turdous, Thy bung Hath flung Some dung On us: Filthard, Cackard, Stinkard, St. Antony's fire seize on thy toane (bone?), If thy Dirty Dounby Thou do not wipe, ere thou be gone.
Will you have any more of it? Yes, yes, answered Grangousier. Then, said Gargantua,
In shitting yes'day I did know The sess I to my arse did owe: The smell was such came from that slunk, That I was with it all bestunk: O had but then some brave Signor Brought her to me I waited for, In shitting!
I would have cleft her watergap, And join'd it close to my flipflap, Whilst she had with her fingers guarded My foul nockandrow, all bemerded In shitting.
Now say that I can do nothing! By the Merdi, they are not of my making, but I heard them of this good old grandam, that you see here, and ever since have retained them in the budget of my memory.
Let us return to our purpose, said Grangousier. What, said Gargantua, to skite? No, said Grangousier, but to wipe our tail. But, said Gargantua, will not you be content to pay a puncheon of Breton wine, if I do not blank and gravel you in this matter, and put you to a non-plus? Yes, truly, said Grangousier.
There is no need of wiping one's tail, said Gargantua, but when it is foul; foul it cannot be, unless one have been a-skiting; skite then we must before we wipe our tails. O my pretty little waggish boy, said Grangousier, what an excellent wit thou hast? I will make thee very shortly proceed doctor in the jovial quirks of gay learning, and that, by G—, for thou hast more wit than age. Now, I prithee, go on in this torcheculative, or wipe-bummatory discourse, and by my beard I swear, for one puncheon, thou shalt have threescore pipes, I mean of the good Breton wine, not that which grows in Britain, but in the good country of Verron. Afterwards I wiped my bum, said Gargantua, with a kerchief, with a pillow, with a pantoufle, with a pouch, with a pannier, but that was a wicked and unpleasant torchecul; then with a hat. Of hats, note that some are shorn, and others shaggy, some velveted, others covered with taffeties, and others with satin. The best of all these is the shaggy hat, for it makes a very neat abstersion of the fecal matter.
Afterwards I wiped my tail with a hen, with a cock, with a pullet, with a calf's skin, with a hare, with a pigeon, with a cormorant, with an attorney's bag, with a montero, with a coif, with a falconer's lure. But, to conclude, I say and maintain, that of all torcheculs, arsewisps, bumfodders, tail-napkins, bunghole cleansers, and wipe-breeches, there is none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed, if you hold her head betwixt your legs. And believe me therein upon mine honour, for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure, both in regard of the softness of the said down and of the temporate heat of the goose, which is easily communicated to the bum-gut and the rest of the inwards, in so far as to come even to the regions of the heart and brains. And think not that the felicity of the heroes and demigods in the Elysian fields consisteth either in their asphodel, ambrosia, or nectar, as our old women here used to say; but in this, according to my judgment, that they wipe their tails with the neck of a goose, holding her head betwixt their legs, and such is the opinion of Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus.
The good man Grangousier having heard this discourse, was ravished with admiration, considering the high reach and marvellous understanding of his son Gargantua, and said to his governesses, Philip, king of Macedon, knew the great wit of his son Alexander by his skilful managing of a horse; for his horse Bucephalus was so fierce and unruly that none durst adventure to ride him, after that he had given to his riders such devilish falls, breaking the neck of this man, the other man's leg, braining one, and putting another out of his jawbone. This by Alexander being considered, one day in the hippodrome (which was a place appointed for the breaking and managing of great horses), he perceived that the fury of the horse proceeded merely from the fear he had of his own shadow, whereupon getting on his back, he run him against the sun, so that the shadow fell behind, and by that means tamed the horse and brought him to his hand. Whereby his father, knowing the divine judgment that was in him, caused him most carefully to be instructed by Aristotle, who at that time was highly renowned above all the philosophers of Greece. After the same manner I tell you, that by this only discourse, which now I have here had before you with my son Gargantua, I know that his understanding doth participate of some divinity, and that, if he be well taught, and have that education which is fitting, he will attain to a supreme degree of wisdom. Therefore will I commit him to some learned man, to have him indoctrinated according to his capacity, and will spare no cost. Presently they appointed him a great sophister-doctor, called Master Tubal Holofernes, who taught him his ABC so well, that he could say it by heart backwards; and about this he was five years and three months. Then read he to him Donat, Le Facet, Theodolet, and Alanus in parabolis. About this he was thirteen years, six months, and two weeks. But you must remark that in the mean time he did learn to write in Gothic characters, and that he wrote all his books—for the art of printing was not then in use—and did ordinarily carry a great pen and inkhorn, weighing about seven thousand quintals (that is, 700,000 pound weight), the penner whereof was as big and as long as the great pillars of Enay, and the horn was hanging to it in great iron chains, it being of the wideness of a tun of merchant ware. After that he read unto him the book de modis significandi, with the commentaries of Hurtbise, of Fasquin, of Tropdieux, of Gualhaut, of John Calf, of Billonio, of Berlinguandus, and a rabble of others; and herein he spent more than eighteen years and eleven months, and was so well versed in it that, to try masteries in school disputes with his condisciples, he would recite it by heart backwards, and did sometimes prove on his finger-ends to his mother, quod de modis significandi non erat scientia. Then did he read to him the compost for knowing the age of the moon, the seasons of the year, and tides of the sea, on which he spent sixteen years and two months, and that justly at the time that his said preceptor died of the French pox, which was in the year one thousand four hundred and twenty. Afterwards he got an old coughing fellow to teach him, named Master Jobelin Bride, or muzzled dolt, who read unto him Hugutio, Hebrard('s) Grecism, the Doctrinal, the Parts, the Quid est, the Supplementum, Marmotretus, De moribus in mensa servandis, Seneca de quatuor virtutibus cardinalibus, Passavantus cum commento, and Dormi secure for the holidays, and some other of such like mealy stuff, by reading whereof he became as wise as any we ever since baked in an oven.
At the last his father perceived that indeed he studied hard, and that, although he spent all his time in it, he did nevertheless profit nothing, but which is worse, grew thereby foolish, simple, doted, and blockish, whereof making a heavy regret to Don Philip of Marays, Viceroy or Depute King of Papeligosse, he found that it were better for him to learn nothing at all, than to be taught such-like books, under such schoolmasters; because their knowledge was nothing but brutishness, and their wisdom but blunt foppish toys, serving only to bastardize good and noble spirits, and to corrupt all the flower of youth. That it is so, take, said he, any young boy of this time who hath only studied two years,—if he have not a better judgment, a better discourse, and that expressed in better terms than your son, with a completer carriage and civility to all manner of persons, account me for ever hereafter a very clounch and bacon-slicer of Brene. This pleased Grangousier very well, and he commanded that it should be done. At night at supper, the said Des Marays brought in a young page of his, of Ville-gouges, called Eudemon, so neat, so trim, so handsome in his apparel, so spruce, with his hair in so good order, and so sweet and comely in his behaviour, that he had the resemblance of a little angel more than of a human creature. Then he said to Grangousier, Do you see this young boy? He is not as yet full twelve years old. Let us try, if it please you, what difference there is betwixt the knowledge of the doting Mateologians of old time and the young lads that are now. The trial pleased Grangousier, and he commanded the page to begin. Then Eudemon, asking leave of the vice-king his master so to do, with his cap in his hand, a clear and open countenance, beautiful and ruddy lips, his eyes steady, and his looks fixed upon Gargantua with a youthful modesty, standing up straight on his feet, began very gracefully to commend him; first, for his virtue and good manners; secondly, for his knowledge, thirdly, for his nobility; fourthly, for his bodily accomplishments; and, in the fifth place, most sweetly exhorted him to reverence his father with all due observancy, who was so careful to have him well brought up. In the end he prayed him, that he would vouchsafe to admit of him amongst the least of his servants; for other favour at that time desired he none of heaven, but that he might do him some grateful and acceptable service. All this was by him delivered with such proper gestures, such distinct pronunciation, so pleasant a delivery, in such exquisite fine terms, and so good Latin, that he seemed rather a Gracchus, a Cicero, an Aemilius of the time past, than a youth of this age. But all the countenance that Gargantua kept was, that he fell to crying like a cow, and cast down his face, hiding it with his cap, nor could they possibly draw one word from him, no more than a fart from a dead ass. Whereat his father was so grievously vexed that he would have killed Master Jobelin, but the said Des Marays withheld him from it by fair persuasions, so that at length he pacified his wrath. Then Grangousier commanded he should be paid his wages, that they should whittle him up soundly, like a sophister, with good drink, and then give him leave to go to all the devils in hell. At least, said he, today shall it not cost his host much if by chance he should die as drunk as a Switzer. Master Jobelin being gone out of the house, Grangousier consulted with the Viceroy what schoolmaster they should choose for him, and it was betwixt them resolved that Ponocrates, the tutor of Eudemon, should have the charge, and that they should go altogether to Paris, to know what was the study of the young men of France at that time.
In the same season Fayoles, the fourth King of Numidia, sent out of the country of Africa to Grangousier the most hideously great mare that ever was seen, and of the strangest form, for you know well enough how it is said that Africa always is productive of some new thing. She was as big as six elephants, and had her feet cloven into fingers, like Julius Caesar's horse, with slouch-hanging ears, like the goats in Languedoc, and a little horn on her buttock. She was of a burnt sorrel hue, with a little mixture of dapple-grey spots, but above all she had a horrible tail; for it was little more or less than every whit as great as the steeple-pillar of St. Mark beside Langes: and squared as that is, with tuffs and ennicroches or hair-plaits wrought within one another, no otherwise than as the beards are upon the ears of corn.
If you wonder at this, wonder rather at the tails of the Scythian rams, which weighed above thirty pounds each; and of the Surian sheep, who need, if Tenaud say true, a little cart at their heels to bear up their tail, it is so long and heavy. You female lechers in the plain countries have no such tails. And she was brought by sea in three carricks and a brigantine unto the harbour of Olone in Thalmondois. When Grangousier saw her, Here is, said he, what is fit to carry my son to Paris. So now, in the name of God, all will be well. He will in times coming be a great scholar. If it were not, my masters, for the beasts, we should live like clerks. The next morning—after they had drunk, you must understand—they took their journey; Gargantua, his pedagogue Ponocrates, and his train, and with them Eudemon, the young page. And because the weather was fair and temperate, his father caused to be made for him a pair of dun boots,—Babin calls them buskins. Thus did they merrily pass their time in travelling on their high way, always making good cheer, and were very pleasant till they came a little above Orleans, in which place there was a forest of five-and-thirty leagues long, and seventeen in breadth, or thereabouts. This forest was most horribly fertile and copious in dorflies, hornets, and wasps, so that it was a very purgatory for the poor mares, asses, and horses. But Gargantua's mare did avenge herself handsomely of all the outrages therein committed upon beasts of her kind, and that by a trick whereof they had no suspicion. For as soon as ever they were entered into the said forest, and that the wasps had given the assault, she drew out and unsheathed her tail, and therewith skirmishing, did so sweep them that she overthrew all the wood alongst and athwart, here and there, this way and that way, longwise and sidewise, over and under, and felled everywhere the wood with as much ease as a mower doth the grass, in such sort that never since hath there been there neither wood nor dorflies: for all the country was thereby reduced to a plain champaign field. Which Gargantua took great pleasure to behold, and said to his company no more but this: Je trouve beau ce (I find this pretty); whereupon that country hath been ever since that time called Beauce. But all the breakfast the mare got that day was but a little yawning and gaping, in memory whereof the gentlemen of Beauce do as yet to this day break their fast with gaping, which they find to be very good, and do spit the better for it. At last they came to Paris, where Gargantua refreshed himself two or three days, making very merry with his folks, and inquiring what men of learning there were then in the city, and what wine they drunk there.
Some few days after that they had refreshed themselves, he went to see the city, and was beheld of everybody there with great admiration; for the people of Paris are so sottish, so badot, so foolish and fond by nature, that a juggler, a carrier of indulgences, a sumpter-horse, or mule with cymbals or tinkling bells, a blind fiddler in the middle of a cross lane, shall draw a greater confluence of people together than an evangelical preacher. And they pressed so hard upon him that he was constrained to rest himself upon the towers of Our Lady's Church. At which place, seeing so many about him, he said with a loud voice, I believe that these buzzards will have me to pay them here my welcome hither, and my Proficiat. It is but good reason. I will now give them their wine, but it shall be only in sport. Then smiling, he untied his fair braguette, and drawing out his mentul into the open air, he so bitterly all-to-bepissed them, that he drowned two hundred and sixty thousand, four hundred and eighteen, besides the women and little children. Some, nevertheless, of the company escaped this piss-flood by mere speed of foot, who, when they were at the higher end of the university, sweating, coughing, spitting, and out of breath, they began to swear and curse, some in good hot earnest, and others in jest. Carimari, carimara: golynoly, golynolo. By my sweet Sanctess, we are washed in sport, a sport truly to laugh at;—in French, Par ris, for which that city hath been ever since called Paris; whose name formerly was Leucotia, as Strabo testifieth, lib. quarto, from the Greek word leukotes, whiteness,—because of the white thighs of the ladies of that place. And forasmuch as, at this imposition of a new name, all the people that were there swore everyone by the Sancts of his parish, the Parisians, which are patched up of all nations and all pieces of countries, are by nature both good jurors and good jurists, and somewhat overweening; whereupon Joanninus de Barrauco, libro de copiositate reverentiarum, thinks that they are called Parisians from the Greek word parresia, which signifies boldness and liberty in speech. This done, he considered the great bells, which were in the said towers, and made them sound very harmoniously. Which whilst he was doing, it came into his mind that they would serve very well for tingling tantans and ringing campanels to hang about his mare's neck when she should be sent back to his father, as he intended to do, loaded with Brie cheese and fresh herring. And indeed he forthwith carried them to his lodging. In the meanwhile there came a master beggar of the friars of St. Anthony to demand in his canting way the usual benevolence of some hoggish stuff, who, that he might be heard afar off, and to make the bacon he was in quest of shake in the very chimneys, made account to filch them away privily. Nevertheless, he left them behind very honestly, not for that they were too hot, but that they were somewhat too heavy for his carriage. This was not he of Bourg, for he was too good a friend of mine. All the city was risen up in sedition, they being, as you know, upon any slight occasion, so ready to uproars and insurrections, that foreign nations wonder at the patience of the kings of France, who do not by good justice restrain them from such tumultuous courses, seeing the manifold inconveniences which thence arise from day to day. Would to God I knew the shop wherein are forged these divisions and factious combinations, that I might bring them to light in the confraternities of my parish! Believe for a truth, that the place wherein the people gathered together, were thus sulphured, hopurymated, moiled, and bepissed, was called Nesle, where then was, but now is no more, the oracle of Leucotia. There was the case proposed, and the inconvenience showed of the transporting of the bells. After they had well ergoted pro and con, they concluded in baralipton, that they should send the oldest and most sufficient of the faculty unto Gargantua, to signify unto him the great and horrible prejudice they sustain by the want of those bells. And notwithstanding the good reasons given in by some of the university why this charge was fitter for an orator than a sophister, there was chosen for this purpose our Master Janotus de Bragmardo.
Master Janotus, with his hair cut round like a dish a la Caesarine, in his most antique accoutrement liripipionated with a graduate's hood, and having sufficiently antidoted his stomach with oven-marmalades, that is, bread and holy water of the cellar, transported himself to the lodging of Gargantua, driving before him three red-muzzled beadles, and dragging after him five or six artless masters, all thoroughly bedaggled with the mire of the streets. At their entry Ponocrates met them, who was afraid, seeing them so disguised, and thought they had been some masquers out of their wits, which moved him to inquire of one of the said artless masters of the company what this mummery meant. It was answered him, that they desired to have their bells restored to them. As soon as Ponocrates heard that, he ran in all haste to carry the news unto Gargantua, that he might be ready to answer them, and speedily resolve what was to be done. Gargantua being advertised hereof, called apart his schoolmaster Ponocrates, Philotimus, steward of his house, Gymnastes, his esquire, and Eudemon, and very summarily conferred with them, both of what he should do and what answer he should give. They were all of opinion that they should bring them unto the goblet-office, which is the buttery, and there make them drink like roysters and line their jackets soundly. And that this cougher might not be puffed up with vain-glory by thinking the bells were restored at his request, they sent, whilst he was chopining and plying the pot, for the mayor of the city, the rector of the faculty, and the vicar of the church, unto whom they resolved to deliver the bells before the sophister had propounded his commission. After that, in their hearing, he should pronounce his gallant oration, which was done; and they being come, the sophister was brought in full hall, and began as followeth, in coughing.
Hem, hem, gud-day, sirs, gud-day. Et vobis, my masters. It were but reason that you should restore to us our bells; for we have great need of them. Hem, hem, aihfuhash. We have oftentimes heretofore refused good money for them of those of London in Cahors, yea and those of Bourdeaux in Brie, who would have bought them for the substantific quality of the elementary complexion, which is intronificated in the terrestreity of their quidditative nature, to extraneize the blasting mists and whirlwinds upon our vines, indeed not ours, but these round about us. For if we lose the piot and liquor of the grape, we lose all, both sense and law. If you restore them unto us at my request, I shall gain by it six basketfuls of sausages and a fine pair of breeches, which will do my legs a great deal of good, or else they will not keep their promise to me. Ho by gob, Domine, a pair of breeches is good, et vir sapiens non abhorrebit eam. Ha, ha, a pair of breeches is not so easily got; I have experience of it myself. Consider, Domine, I have been these eighteen days in matagrabolizing this brave speech. Reddite quae sunt Caesaris, Caesari, et quae sunt Dei, Deo. Ibi jacet lepus. By my faith, Domine, if you will sup with me in cameris, by cox body, charitatis, nos faciemus bonum cherubin. Ego occiditunum porcum, et ego habet bonum vino: but of good wine we cannot make bad Latin. Well, de parte Dei date nobis bellas nostras. Hold, I give you in the name of the faculty a Sermones de Utino, that utinam you would give us our bells. Vultis etiam pardonos? Per diem vos habebitis, et nihil payabitis. O, sir, Domine, bellagivaminor nobis; verily, est bonum vobis. They are useful to everybody. If they fit your mare well, so do they do our faculty; quae comparata est jumentis insipientibus, et similis facta est eis, Psalmo nescio quo. Yet did I quote it in my note-book, et est unum bonum Achilles, a good defending argument. Hem, hem, hem, haikhash! For I prove unto you, that you should give me them. Ego sic argumentor. Omnis bella bellabilis in bellerio bellando, bellans, bellativo, bellare facit, bellabiliter bellantes. Parisius habet bellas. Ergo gluc, Ha, ha, ha. This is spoken to some purpose. It is in tertio primae, in Darii, or elsewhere. By my soul, I have seen the time that I could play the devil in arguing, but now I am much failed, and henceforward want nothing but a cup of good wine, a good bed, my back to the fire, my belly to the table, and a good deep dish. Hei, Domine, I beseech you, in nomine Patris, Filii, et Spiritus sancti, Amen, to restore unto us our bells: and God keep you from evil, and our Lady from health, qui vivit et regnat per omnia secula seculorum, Amen. Hem, hashchehhawksash, qzrchremhemhash.
Verum enim vero, quandoquidem, dubio procul. Edepol, quoniam, ita certe, medius fidius; a town without bells is like a blind man without a staff, an ass without a crupper, and a cow without cymbals. Therefore be assured, until you have restored them unto us, we will never leave crying after you, like a blind man that hath lost his staff, braying like an ass without a crupper, and making a noise like a cow without cymbals. A certain latinisator, dwelling near the hospital, said since, producing the authority of one Taponnus,—I lie, it was one Pontanus the secular poet, —who wished those bells had been made of feathers, and the clapper of a foxtail, to the end they might have begot a chronicle in the bowels of his brain, when he was about the composing of his carminiformal lines. But nac petetin petetac, tic, torche lorgne, or rot kipipur kipipot put pantse malf, he was declared an heretic. We make them as of wax. And no more saith the deponent. Valete et plaudite. Calepinus recensui.
The sophister had no sooner ended, but Ponocrates and Eudemon burst out in a laughing so heartily, that they had almost split with it, and given up the ghost, in rendering their souls to God: even just as Crassus did, seeing a lubberly ass eat thistles; and as Philemon, who, for seeing an ass eat those figs which were provided for his own dinner, died with force of laughing. Together with them Master Janotus fell a-laughing too as fast as he could, in which mood of laughing they continued so long, that their eyes did water by the vehement concussion of the substance of the brain, by which these lachrymal humidities, being pressed out, glided through the optic nerves, and so to the full represented Democritus Heraclitizing and Heraclitus Democritizing.
When they had done laughing, Gargantua consulted with the prime of his retinue what should be done. There Ponocrates was of opinion that they should make this fair orator drink again; and seeing he had showed them more pastime, and made them laugh more than a natural soul could have done, that they should give him ten baskets full of sausages, mentioned in his pleasant speech, with a pair of hose, three hundred great billets of logwood, five-and-twenty hogsheads of wine, a good large down-bed, and a deep capacious dish, which he said were necessary for his old age. All this was done as they did appoint: only Gargantua, doubting that they could not quickly find out breeches fit for his wearing, because he knew not what fashion would best become the said orator, whether the martingale fashion of breeches, wherein is a spunghole with a drawbridge for the more easy caguing: or the fashion of the mariners, for the greater solace and comfort of his kidneys: or that of the Switzers, which keeps warm the bedondaine or belly-tabret: or round breeches with straight cannions, having in the seat a piece like a cod's tail, for fear of over-heating his reins:—all which considered, he caused to be given him seven ells of white cloth for the linings. The wood was carried by the porters, the masters of arts carried the sausages and the dishes, and Master Janotus himself would carry the cloth. One of the said masters, called Jousse Bandouille, showed him that it was not seemly nor decent for one of his condition to do so, and that therefore he should deliver it to one of them. Ha, said Janotus, baudet, baudet, or blockhead, blockhead, thou dost not conclude in modo et figura. For lo, to this end serve the suppositions and parva logicalia. Pannus, pro quo supponit? Confuse, said Bandouille, et distributive. I do not ask thee, said Janotus, blockhead, quomodo supponit, but pro quo? It is, blockhead, pro tibiis meis, and therefore I will carry it, Egomet, sicut suppositum portat appositum. So did he carry it away very close and covertly, as Patelin the buffoon did his cloth. The best was, that when this cougher, in a full act or assembly held at the Mathurins, had with great confidence required his breeches and sausages, and that they were flatly denied him, because he had them of Gargantua, according to the informations thereupon made, he showed them that this was gratis, and out of his liberality, by which they were not in any sort quit of their promises. Notwithstanding this, it was answered him that he should be content with reason, without expectation of any other bribe there. Reason? said Janotus. We use none of it here. Unlucky traitors, you are not worth the hanging. The earth beareth not more arrant villains than you are. I know it well enough; halt not before the lame. I have practised wickedness with you. By God's rattle, I will inform the king of the enormous abuses that are forged here and carried underhand by you, and let me be a leper, if he do not burn you alive like sodomites, traitors, heretics and seducers, enemies to God and virtue.
Upon these words they framed articles against him: he on the other side warned them to appear. In sum, the process was retained by the court, and is there as yet. Hereupon the magisters made a vow never to decrott themselves in rubbing off the dirt of either their shoes or clothes: Master Janotus with his adherents vowed never to blow or snuff their noses, until judgment were given by a definitive sentence.
By these vows do they continue unto this time both dirty and snotty; for the court hath not garbled, sifted, and fully looked into all the pieces as yet. The judgment or decree shall be given out and pronounced at the next Greek kalends, that is, never. As you know that they do more than nature, and contrary to their own articles. The articles of Paris maintain that to God alone belongs infinity, and nature produceth nothing that is immortal; for she putteth an end and period to all things by her engendered, according to the saying, Omnia orta cadunt, &c. But these thick mist-swallowers make the suits in law depending before them both infinite and immortal. In doing whereof, they have given occasion to, and verified the saying of Chilo the Lacedaemonian, consecrated to the oracle at Delphos, that misery is the inseparable companion of law-debates; and that pleaders are miserable; for sooner shall they attain to the end of their lives, than to the final decision of their pretended rights.
The first day being thus spent, and the bells put up again in their own place, the citizens of Paris, in acknowledgment of this courtesy, offered to maintain and feed his mare as long as he pleased, which Gargantua took in good part, and they sent her to graze in the forest of Biere. I think she is not there now. This done, he with all his heart submitted his study to the discretion of Ponocrates; who for the beginning appointed that he should do as he was accustomed, to the end he might understand by what means, in so long time, his old masters had made him so sottish and ignorant. He disposed therefore of his time in such fashion, that ordinarily he did awake betwixt eight and nine o'clock, whether it was day or not, for so had his ancient governors ordained, alleging that which David saith, Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere. Then did he tumble and toss, wag his legs, and wallow in the bed some time, the better to stir up and rouse his vital spirits, and apparelled himself according to the season: but willingly he would wear a great long gown of thick frieze, furred with fox-skins. Afterwards he combed his head with an Almain comb, which is the four fingers and the thumb. For his preceptor said that to comb himself otherwise, to wash and make himself neat, was to lose time in this world. Then he dunged, pissed, spewed, belched, cracked, yawned, spitted, coughed, yexed, sneezed and snotted himself like an archdeacon, and, to suppress the dew and bad air, went to breakfast, having some good fried tripes, fair rashers on the coals, excellent gammons of bacon, store of fine minced meat, and a great deal of sippet brewis, made up of the fat of the beef-pot, laid upon bread, cheese, and chopped parsley strewed together. Ponocrates showed him that he ought not to eat so soon after rising out of his bed, unless he had performed some exercise beforehand. Gargantua answered, What! have not I sufficiently well exercised myself? I have wallowed and rolled myself six or seven turns in my bed before I rose. Is not that enough? Pope Alexander did so, by the advice of a Jew his physician, and lived till his dying day in despite of his enemies. My first masters have used me to it, saying that to breakfast made a good memory, and therefore they drank first. I am very well after it, and dine but the better. And Master Tubal, who was the first licenciate at Paris, told me that it was not enough to run apace, but to set forth betimes: so doth not the total welfare of our humanity depend upon perpetual drinking in a ribble rabble, like ducks, but on drinking early in the morning; unde versus,
To rise betimes is no good hour, To drink betimes is better sure.
After that he had thoroughly broke his fast, he went to church, and they carried to him, in a great basket, a huge impantoufled or thick-covered breviary, weighing, what in grease, clasps, parchment and cover, little more or less than eleven hundred and six pounds. There he heard six-and-twenty or thirty masses. This while, to the same place came his orison-mutterer impaletocked, or lapped up about the chin like a tufted whoop, and his breath pretty well antidoted with store of the vine-tree-syrup. With him he mumbled all his kiriels and dunsical breborions, which he so curiously thumbed and fingered, that there fell not so much as one grain to the ground. As he went from the church, they brought him, upon a dray drawn with oxen, a confused heap of paternosters and aves of St. Claude, every one of them being of the bigness of a hat-block; and thus walking through the cloisters, galleries, or garden, he said more in turning them over than sixteen hermits would have done. Then did he study some paltry half-hour with his eyes fixed upon his book; but, as the comic saith, his mind was in the kitchen. Pissing then a full urinal, he sat down at table; and because he was naturally phlegmatic, he began his meal with some dozens of gammons, dried neat's tongues, hard roes of mullet, called botargos, andouilles or sausages, and such other forerunners of wine. In the meanwhile, four of his folks did cast into his mouth one after another continually mustard by whole shovelfuls. Immediately after that, he drank a horrible draught of white wine for the ease of his kidneys. When that was done, he ate according to the season meat agreeable to his appetite, and then left off eating when his belly began to strout, and was like to crack for fulness. As for his drinking, he had in that neither end nor rule. For he was wont to say, That the limits and bounds of drinking were, when the cork of the shoes of him that drinketh swelleth up half a foot high.
Then blockishly mumbling with a set on countenance a piece of scurvy grace, he washed his hands in fresh wine, picked his teeth with the foot of a hog, and talked jovially with his attendants. Then the carpet being spread, they brought plenty of cards, many dice, with great store and abundance of chequers and chessboards.
There he played. At flush. At love. At primero. At the chess. At the beast. At Reynard the fox. At the rifle. At the squares. At trump. At the cows. At the prick and spare not. At the lottery. At the hundred. At the chance or mumchance. At the peeny. At three dice or maniest bleaks. At the unfortunate woman. At the tables. At the fib. At nivinivinack. At the pass ten. At the lurch. At one-and-thirty. At doublets or queen's game. At post and pair, or even and At the faily. sequence. At the French trictrac. At three hundred. At the long tables or ferkeering. At the unlucky man. At feldown. At the last couple in hell. At tod's body. At the hock. At needs must. At the surly. At the dames or draughts. At the lansquenet. At bob and mow. At the cuckoo. At primus secundus. At puff, or let him speak that At mark-knife. hath it. At the keys. At take nothing and throw out. At span-counter. At the marriage. At even or odd. At the frolic or jackdaw. At cross or pile. At the opinion. At ball and huckle-bones. At who doth the one, doth the At ivory balls. other. At the billiards. At the sequences. At bob and hit. At the ivory bundles. At the owl. At the tarots. At the charming of the hare. At losing load him. At pull yet a little. At he's gulled and esto. At trudgepig. At the torture. At the magatapies. At the handruff. At the horn. At the click. At the flowered or Shrovetide ox. At honours. At the madge-owlet. At pinch without laughing. At tilt at weeky. At prickle me tickle me. At ninepins. At the unshoeing of the ass. At the cock quintin. At the cocksess. At tip and hurl. At hari hohi. At the flat bowls. At I set me down. At the veer and turn. At earl beardy. At rogue and ruffian. At the old mode. At bumbatch touch. At draw the spit. At the mysterious trough. At put out. At the short bowls. At gossip lend me your sack. At the dapple-grey. At the ramcod ball. At cock and crank it. At thrust out the harlot. At break-pot. At Marseilles figs. At my desire. At nicknamry. At twirly whirlytrill. At stick and hole. At the rush bundles. At boke or him, or flaying the fox. At the short staff. At the branching it. At the whirling gig. At trill madam, or grapple my lady. At hide and seek, or are you all At the cat selling. hid? At blow the coal. At the picket. At the re-wedding. At the blank. At the quick and dead judge. At the pilferers. At unoven the iron. At the caveson. At the false clown. At prison bars. At the flints, or at the nine stones.At have at the nuts. At to the crutch hulch back. At cherry-pit. At the Sanct is found. At rub and rice. At hinch, pinch and laugh not. At whiptop. At the leek. At the casting top. At bumdockdousse. At the hobgoblins. At the loose gig. At the O wonderful. At the hoop. At the soily smutchy. At the sow. At fast and loose. At belly to belly. At scutchbreech. At the dales or straths. At the broom-besom. At the twigs. At St. Cosme, I come to adore At the quoits. thee. At I'm for that. At the lusty brown boy. At I take you napping. At greedy glutton. At fair and softly passeth Lent. At the morris dance. At the forked oak. At feeby. At truss. At the whole frisk and gambol. At the wolf's tail. At battabum, or riding of the At bum to buss, or nose in breech. wild mare. At Geordie, give me my lance. At Hind the ploughman. At swaggy, waggy or shoggyshou. At the good mawkin. At stook and rook, shear and At the dead beast. threave. At climb the ladder, Billy. At the birch. At the dying hog. At the muss. At the salt doup. At the dilly dilly darling. At the pretty pigeon. At ox moudy. At barley break. At purpose in purpose. At the bavine. At nine less. At the bush leap. At blind-man-buff. At crossing. At the fallen bridges. At bo-peep. At bridled nick. At the hardit arsepursy. At the white at butts. At the harrower's nest. At thwack swinge him. At forward hey. At apple, pear, plum. At the fig. At mumgi. At gunshot crack. At the toad. At mustard peel. At cricket. At the gome. At the pounding stick. At the relapse. At jack and the box. At jog breech, or prick him At the queens. forward. At the trades. At knockpate. At heads and points. At the Cornish c(h)ough. At the vine-tree hug. At the crane-dance. At black be thy fall. At slash and cut. At ho the distaff. At bobbing, or flirt on the At Joan Thomson. nose. At the bolting cloth. At the larks. At the oat's seed. At fillipping.
After he had thus well played, revelled, past and spent his time, it was thought fit to drink a little, and that was eleven glassfuls the man, and, immediately after making good cheer again, he would stretch himself upon a fair bench, or a good large bed, and there sleep two or three hours together, without thinking or speaking any hurt. After he was awakened he would shake his ears a little. In the mean time they brought him fresh wine. There he drank better than ever. Ponocrates showed him that it was an ill diet to drink so after sleeping. It is, answered Gargantua, the very life of the patriarchs and holy fathers; for naturally I sleep salt, and my sleep hath been to me in stead of so many gammons of bacon. Then began he to study a little, and out came the paternosters or rosary of beads, which the better and more formally to despatch, he got upon an old mule, which had served nine kings, and so mumbling with his mouth, nodding and doddling his head, would go see a coney ferreted or caught in a gin. At his return he went into the kitchen to know what roast meat was on the spit, and what otherwise was to be dressed for supper. And supped very well, upon my conscience, and commonly did invite some of his neighbours that were good drinkers, with whom carousing and drinking merrily, they told stories of all sorts from the old to the new. Amongst others he had for domestics the Lords of Fou, of Gourville, of Griniot, and of Marigny. After supper were brought in upon the place the fair wooden gospels and the books of the four kings, that is to say, many pairs of tables and cards—or the fair flush, one, two, three—or at all, to make short work; or else they went to see the wenches thereabouts, with little small banquets, intermixed with collations and rear-suppers. Then did he sleep, without unbridling, until eight o'clock in the next morning.
When Ponocrates knew Gargantua's vicious manner of living, he resolved to bring him up in another kind; but for a while he bore with him, considering that nature cannot endure a sudden change, without great violence. Therefore, to begin his work the better, he requested a learned physician of that time, called Master Theodorus, seriously to perpend, if it were possible, how to bring Gargantua into a better course. The said physician purged him canonically with Anticyrian hellebore, by which medicine he cleansed all the alteration and perverse habitude of his brain. By this means also Ponocrates made him forget all that he had learned under his ancient preceptors, as Timotheus did to his disciples, who had been instructed under other musicians. To do this the better, they brought him into the company of learned men, which were there, in whose imitation he had a great desire and affection to study otherwise, and to improve his parts. Afterwards he put himself into such a road and way of studying, that he lost not any one hour in the day, but employed all his time in learning and honest knowledge. Gargantua awaked, then, about four o'clock in the morning. Whilst they were in rubbing of him, there was read unto him some chapter of the holy Scripture aloud and clearly, with a pronunciation fit for the matter, and hereunto was appointed a young page born in Basche, named Anagnostes. According to the purpose and argument of that lesson, he oftentimes gave himself to worship, adore, pray, and send up his supplications to that good God, whose Word did show his majesty and marvellous judgment. Then went he unto the secret places to make excretion of his natural digestions. There his master repeated what had been read, expounding unto him the most obscure and difficult points. In returning, they considered the face of the sky, if it was such as they had observed it the night before, and into what signs the sun was entering, as also the moon for that day. This done, he was apparelled, combed, curled, trimmed, and perfumed, during which time they repeated to him the lessons of the day before. He himself said them by heart, and upon them would ground some practical cases concerning the estate of man, which he would prosecute sometimes two or three hours, but ordinarily they ceased as soon as he was fully clothed. Then for three good hours he had a lecture read unto him. This done they went forth, still conferring of the substance of the lecture, either unto a field near the university called the Brack, or unto the meadows, where they played at the ball, the long-tennis, and at the piletrigone (which is a play wherein we throw a triangular piece of iron at a ring, to pass it), most gallantly exercising their bodies, as formerly they had done their minds. All their play was but in liberty, for they left off when they pleased, and that was commonly when they did sweat over all their body, or were otherwise weary. Then were they very well wiped and rubbed, shifted their shirts, and, walking soberly, went to see if dinner was ready. Whilst they stayed for that, they did clearly and eloquently pronounce some sentences that they had retained of the lecture. In the meantime Master Appetite came, and then very orderly sat they down at table. At the beginning of the meal there was read some pleasant history of the warlike actions of former times, until he had taken a glass of wine. Then, if they thought good, they continued reading, or began to discourse merrily together; speaking first of the virtue, propriety, efficacy, and nature of all that was served in at the table; of bread, of wine, of water, of salt, of fleshes, fishes, fruits, herbs, roots, and of their dressing. By means whereof he learned in a little time all the passages competent for this that were to be found in Pliny, Athenaeus, Dioscorides, Julius Pollux, Galen, Porphyry, Oppian, Polybius, Heliodore, Aristotle, Aelian, and others. Whilst they talked of these things, many times, to be the more certain, they caused the very books to be brought to the table, and so well and perfectly did he in his memory retain the things above said, that in that time there was not a physician that knew half so much as he did. Afterwards they conferred of the lessons read in the morning, and, ending their repast with some conserve or marmalade of quinces, he picked his teeth with mastic tooth-pickers, washed his hands and eyes with fair fresh water, and gave thanks unto God in some fine cantiques, made in praise of the divine bounty and munificence. This done, they brought in cards, not to play, but to learn a thousand pretty tricks and new inventions, which were all grounded upon arithmetic. By this means he fell in love with that numerical science, and every day after dinner and supper he passed his time in it as pleasantly as he was wont to do at cards and dice; so that at last he understood so well both the theory and practical part thereof, that Tunstall the Englishman, who had written very largely of that purpose, confessed that verily in comparison of him he had no skill at all. And not only in that, but in the other mathematical sciences, as geometry, astronomy, music, &c. For in waiting on the concoction and attending the digestion of his food, they made a thousand pretty instruments and geometrical figures, and did in some measure practise the astronomical canons.
After this they recreated themselves with singing musically, in four or five parts, or upon a set theme or ground at random, as it best pleased them. In matter of musical instruments, he learned to play upon the lute, the virginals, the harp, the Almain flute with nine holes, the viol, and the sackbut. This hour thus spent, and digestion finished, he did purge his body of natural excrements, then betook himself to his principal study for three hours together, or more, as well to repeat his matutinal lectures as to proceed in the book wherein he was, as also to write handsomely, to draw and form the antique and Roman letters. This being done, they went out of their house, and with them a young gentleman of Touraine, named the Esquire Gymnast, who taught him the art of riding. Changing then his clothes, he rode a Naples courser, a Dutch roussin, a Spanish jennet, a barded or trapped steed, then a light fleet horse, unto whom he gave a hundred carieres, made him go the high saults, bounding in the air, free the ditch with a skip, leap over a stile or pale, turn short in a ring both to the right and left hand. There he broke not his lance; for it is the greatest foolery in the world to say, I have broken ten lances at tilts or in fight. A carpenter can do even as much. But it is a glorious and praise-worthy action with one lance to break and overthrow ten enemies. Therefore, with a sharp, stiff, strong, and well-steeled lance would he usually force up a door, pierce a harness, beat down a tree, carry away the ring, lift up a cuirassier saddle, with the mail-coat and gauntlet. All this he did in complete arms from head to foot. As for the prancing flourishes and smacking popisms for the better cherishing of the horse, commonly used in riding, none did them better than he. The cavallerize of Ferrara was but as an ape compared to him. He was singularly skilful in leaping nimbly from one horse to another without putting foot to ground, and these horses were called desultories. He could likewise from either side, with a lance in his hand, leap on horseback without stirrups, and rule the horse at his pleasure without a bridle, for such things are useful in military engagements. Another day he exercised the battle-axe, which he so dexterously wielded, both in the nimble, strong, and smooth management of that weapon, and that in all the feats practicable by it, that he passed knight of arms in the field, and at all essays.
Then tossed he the pike, played with the two-handed sword, with the backsword, with the Spanish tuck, the dagger, poniard, armed, unarmed, with a buckler, with a cloak, with a target. Then would he hunt the hart, the roebuck, the bear, the fallow deer, the wild boar, the hare, the pheasant, the partridge, and the bustard. He played at the balloon, and made it bound in the air, both with fist and foot. He wrestled, ran, jumped—not at three steps and a leap, called the hops, nor at clochepied, called the hare's leap, nor yet at the Almains; for, said Gymnast, these jumps are for the wars altogether unprofitable, and of no use—but at one leap he would skip over a ditch, spring over a hedge, mount six paces upon a wall, ramp and grapple after this fashion up against a window of the full height of a lance. He did swim in deep waters on his belly, on his back, sideways, with all his body, with his feet only, with one hand in the air, wherein he held a book, crossing thus the breadth of the river of Seine without wetting it, and dragged along his cloak with his teeth, as did Julius Caesar; then with the help of one hand he entered forcibly into a boat, from whence he cast himself again headlong into the water, sounded the depths, hollowed the rocks, and plunged into the pits and gulfs. Then turned he the boat about, governed it, led it swiftly or slowly with the stream and against the stream, stopped it in his course, guided it with one hand, and with the other laid hard about him with a huge great oar, hoisted the sail, hied up along the mast by the shrouds, ran upon the edge of the decks, set the compass in order, tackled the bowlines, and steered the helm. Coming out of the water, he ran furiously up against a hill, and with the same alacrity and swiftness ran down again. He climbed up at trees like a cat, and leaped from the one to the other like a squirrel. He did pull down the great boughs and branches like another Milo; then with two sharp well-steeled daggers and two tried bodkins would he run up by the wall to the very top of a house like a rat; then suddenly came down from the top to the bottom, with such an even composition of members that by the fall he would catch no harm.
He did cast the dart, throw the bar, put the stone, practise the javelin, the boar-spear or partisan, and the halbert. He broke the strongest bows in drawing, bended against his breast the greatest crossbows of steel, took his aim by the eye with the hand-gun, and shot well, traversed and planted the cannon, shot at butt-marks, at the papgay from below upwards, or to a height from above downwards, or to a descent; then before him, sideways, and behind him, like the Parthians. They tied a cable-rope to the top of a high tower, by one end whereof hanging near the ground he wrought himself with his hands to the very top; then upon the same track came down so sturdily and firm that you could not on a plain meadow have run with more assurance. They set up a great pole fixed upon two trees. There would he hang by his hands, and with them alone, his feet touching at nothing, would go back and fore along the foresaid rope with so great swiftness that hardly could one overtake him with running; and then, to exercise his breast and lungs, he would shout like all the devils in hell. I heard him once call Eudemon from St. Victor's gate to Montmartre. Stentor had never such a voice at the siege of Troy. Then for the strengthening of his nerves or sinews they made him two great sows of lead, each of them weighing eight thousand and seven hundred quintals, which they called alteres. Those he took up from the ground, in each hand one, then lifted them up over his head, and held them so without stirring three quarters of an hour and more, which was an inimitable force. He fought at barriers with the stoutest and most vigorous champions; and when it came to the cope, he stood so sturdily on his feet that he abandoned himself unto the strongest, in case they could remove him from his place, as Milo was wont to do of old. In whose imitation, likewise, he held a pomegranate in his hand, to give it unto him that could take it from him. The time being thus bestowed, and himself rubbed, cleansed, wiped, and refreshed with other clothes, he returned fair and softly; and passing through certain meadows, or other grassy places, beheld the trees and plants, comparing them with what is written of them in the books of the ancients, such as Theophrast, Dioscorides, Marinus, Pliny, Nicander, Macer, and Galen, and carried home to the house great handfuls of them, whereof a young page called Rizotomos had charge; together with little mattocks, pickaxes, grubbing-hooks, cabbies, pruning-knives, and other instruments requisite for herborizing. Being come to their lodging, whilst supper was making ready, they repeated certain passages of that which hath been read, and sat down to table. Here remark, that his dinner was sober and thrifty, for he did then eat only to prevent the gnawings of his stomach, but his supper was copious and large, for he took then as much as was fit to maintain and nourish him; which, indeed, is the true diet prescribed by the art of good and sound physic, although a rabble of loggerheaded physicians, nuzzeled in the brabbling shop of sophisters, counsel the contrary. During that repast was continued the lesson read at dinner as long as they thought good; the rest was spent in good discourse, learned and profitable. After that they had given thanks, he set himself to sing vocally, and play upon harmonious instruments, or otherwise passed his time at some pretty sports, made with cards or dice, or in practising the feats of legerdemain with cups and balls. There they stayed some nights in frolicking thus, and making themselves merry till it was time to go to bed; and on other nights they would go make visits unto learned men, or to such as had been travellers in strange and remote countries. When it was full night before they retired themselves, they went unto the most open place of the house to see the face of the sky, and there beheld the comets, if any were, as likewise the figures, situations, aspects, oppositions, and conjunctions of both the fixed stars and planets.
Then with his master did he briefly recapitulate, after the manner of the Pythagoreans, that which he had read, seen, learned, done, and understood in the whole course of that day.
Then prayed they unto God the Creator, in falling down before him, and strengthening their faith towards him, and glorifying him for his boundless bounty; and, giving thanks unto him for the time that was past, they recommended themselves to his divine clemency for the future. Which being done, they went to bed, and betook themselves to their repose and rest.
If it happened that the weather were anything cloudy, foul, and rainy, all the forenoon was employed, as before specified, according to custom, with this difference only, that they had a good clear fire lighted to correct the distempers of the air. But after dinner, instead of their wonted exercitations, they did abide within, and, by way of apotherapy (that is, a making the body healthful by exercise), did recreate themselves in bottling up of hay, in cleaving and sawing of wood, and in threshing sheaves of corn at the barn. Then they studied the art of painting or carving; or brought into use the antique play of tables, as Leonicus hath written of it, and as our good friend Lascaris playeth at it. In playing they examined the passages of ancient authors wherein the said play is mentioned or any metaphor drawn from it. They went likewise to see the drawing of metals, or the casting of great ordnance; how the lapidaries did work; as also the goldsmiths and cutters of precious stones. Nor did they omit to visit the alchemists, money-coiners, upholsterers, weavers, velvet-workers, watchmakers, looking-glass framers, printers, organists, and other such kind of artificers, and, everywhere giving them somewhat to drink, did learn and consider the industry and invention of the trades. They went also to hear the public lectures, the solemn commencements, the repetitions, the acclamations, the pleadings of the gentle lawyers, and sermons of evangelical preachers. He went through the halls and places appointed for fencing, and there played against the masters themselves at all weapons, and showed them by experience that he knew as much in it as, yea, more than, they. And, instead of herborizing, they visited the shops of druggists, herbalists, and apothecaries, and diligently considered the fruits, roots, leaves, gums, seeds, the grease and ointments of some foreign parts, as also how they did adulterate them. He went to see the jugglers, tumblers, mountebanks, and quacksalvers, and considered their cunning, their shifts, their somersaults and smooth tongue, especially of those of Chauny in Picardy, who are naturally great praters, and brave givers of fibs, in matter of green apes.
At their return they did eat more soberly at supper than at other times, and meats more desiccative and extenuating; to the end that the intemperate moisture of the air, communicated to the body by a necessary confinitive, might by this means be corrected, and that they might not receive any prejudice for want of their ordinary bodily exercise. Thus was Gargantua governed, and kept on in this course of education, from day to day profiting, as you may understand such a young man of his age may, of a pregnant judgment, with good discipline well continued. Which, although at the beginning it seemed difficult, became a little after so sweet, so easy, and so delightful, that it seemed rather the recreation of a king than the study of a scholar. Nevertheless Ponocrates, to divert him from this vehement intension of the spirits, thought fit, once in a month, upon some fair and clear day, to go out of the city betimes in the morning, either towards Gentilly, or Boulogne, or to Montrouge, or Charanton bridge, or to Vanves, or St. Clou, and there spend all the day long in making the greatest cheer that could be devised, sporting, making merry, drinking healths, playing, singing, dancing, tumbling in some fair meadow, unnestling of sparrows, taking of quails, and fishing for frogs and crabs. But although that day was passed without books or lecture, yet was it not spent without profit; for in the said meadows they usually repeated certain pleasant verses of Virgil's agriculture, of Hesiod and of Politian's husbandry, would set a-broach some witty Latin epigrams, then immediately turned them into roundelays and songs for dancing in the French language. In their feasting they would sometimes separate the water from the wine that was therewith mixed, as Cato teacheth, De re rustica, and Pliny with an ivy cup would wash the wine in a basinful of water, then take it out again with a funnel as pure as ever. They made the water go from one glass to another, and contrived a thousand little automatory engines, that is to say, moving of themselves.
At that time, which was the season of vintage, in the beginning of harvest, when the country shepherds were set to keep the vines, and hinder the starlings from eating up the grapes, as some cake-bakers of Lerne happened to pass along in the broad highway, driving into the city ten or twelve horses loaded with cakes, the said shepherds courteously entreated them to give them some for their money, as the price then ruled in the market. For here it is to be remarked, that it is a celestial food to eat for breakfast hot fresh cakes with grapes, especially the frail clusters, the great red grapes, the muscadine, the verjuice grape, and the laskard, for those that are costive in their belly, because it will make them gush out, and squirt the length of a hunter's staff, like the very tap of a barrel; and oftentimes, thinking to let a squib, they did all-to-besquatter and conskite themselves, whereupon they are commonly called the vintage thinkers. The bun-sellers or cake-makers were in nothing inclinable to their request; but, which was worse, did injure them most outrageously, calling them prattling gabblers, lickorous gluttons, freckled bittors, mangy rascals, shite-a-bed scoundrels, drunken roysters, sly knaves, drowsy loiterers, slapsauce fellows, slabberdegullion druggels, lubberly louts, cozening foxes, ruffian rogues, paltry customers, sycophant-varlets, drawlatch hoydens, flouting milksops, jeering companions, staring clowns, forlorn snakes, ninny lobcocks, scurvy sneaksbies, fondling fops, base loons, saucy coxcombs, idle lusks, scoffing braggarts, noddy meacocks, blockish grutnols, doddipol-joltheads, jobbernol goosecaps, foolish loggerheads, flutch calf-lollies, grouthead gnat-snappers, lob-dotterels, gaping changelings, codshead loobies, woodcock slangams, ninny-hammer flycatchers, noddypeak simpletons, turdy gut, shitten shepherds, and other suchlike defamatory epithets; saying further, that it was not for them to eat of these dainty cakes, but might very well content themselves with the coarse unranged bread, or to eat of the great brown household loaf. To which provoking words, one amongst them, called Forgier, an honest fellow of his person and a notable springal, made answer very calmly thus: How long is it since you have got horns, that you are become so proud? Indeed formerly you were wont to give us some freely, and will you not now let us have any for our money? This is not the part of good neighbours, neither do we serve you thus when you come hither to buy our good corn, whereof you make your cakes and buns. Besides that, we would have given you to the bargain some of our grapes, but, by his zounds, you may chance to repent it, and possibly have need of us at another time, when we shall use you after the like manner, and therefore remember it. Then Marquet, a prime man in the confraternity of the cake-bakers, said unto him, Yea, sir, thou art pretty well crest-risen this morning, thou didst eat yesternight too much millet and bolymong. Come hither, sirrah, come hither, I will give thee some cakes. Whereupon Forgier, dreading no harm, in all simplicity went towards him, and drew a sixpence out of his leather satchel, thinking that Marquet would have sold him some of his cakes. But, instead of cakes, he gave him with his whip such a rude lash overthwart the legs, that the marks of the whipcord knots were apparent in them, then would have fled away; but Forgier cried out as loud as he could, O, murder, murder, help, help, help! and in the meantime threw a great cudgel after him, which he carried under his arm, wherewith he hit him in the coronal joint of his head, upon the crotaphic artery of the right side thereof, so forcibly, that Marquet fell down from his mare more like a dead than living man. Meanwhile the farmers and country swains, that were watching their walnuts near to that place, came running with their great poles and long staves, and laid such load on these cake-bakers, as if they had been to thresh upon green rye. The other shepherds and shepherdesses, hearing the lamentable shout of Forgier, came with their slings and slackies following them, and throwing great stones at them, as thick as if it had been hail. At last they overtook them, and took from them about four or five dozen of their cakes. Nevertheless they paid for them the ordinary price, and gave them over and above one hundred eggs and three baskets full of mulberries. Then did the cake-bakers help to get up to his mare Marquet, who was most shrewdly wounded, and forthwith returned to Lerne, changing the resolution they had to go to Pareille, threatening very sharp and boisterously the cowherds, shepherds, and farmers of Seville and Sinays. This done, the shepherds and shepherdesses made merry with these cakes and fine grapes, and sported themselves together at the sound of the pretty small pipe, scoffing and laughing at those vainglorious cake-bakers, who had that day met with a mischief for want of crossing themselves with a good hand in the morning. Nor did they forget to apply to Forgier's leg some fair great red medicinal grapes, and so handsomely dressed it and bound it up that he was quickly cured.
The cake-bakers, being returned to Lerne, went presently, before they did either eat or drink, to the Capitol, and there before their king, called Picrochole, the third of that name, made their complaint, showing their panniers broken, their caps all crumpled, their coats torn, their cakes taken away, but, above all, Marquet most enormously wounded, saying that all that mischief was done by the shepherds and herdsmen of Grangousier, near the broad highway beyond Seville. Picrochole incontinent grew angry and furious; and, without asking any further what, how, why, or wherefore, commanded the ban and arriere ban to be sounded throughout all his country, that all his vassals of what condition soever should, upon pain of the halter, come, in the best arms they could, unto the great place before the castle, at the hour of noon, and, the better to strengthen his design, he caused the drum to be beat about the town. Himself, whilst his dinner was making ready, went to see his artillery mounted upon the carriage, to display his colours, and set up the great royal standard, and loaded wains with store of ammunition both for the field and the belly, arms and victuals. At dinner he despatched his commissions, and by his express edict my Lord Shagrag was appointed to command the vanguard, wherein were numbered sixteen thousand and fourteen arquebusiers or firelocks, together with thirty thousand and eleven volunteer adventurers. The great Touquedillon, master of the horse, had the charge of the ordnance, wherein were reckoned nine hundred and fourteen brazen pieces, in cannons, double cannons, basilisks, serpentines, culverins, bombards or murderers, falcons, bases or passevolins, spirols, and other sorts of great guns. The rearguard was committed to the Duke of Scrapegood. In the main battle was the king and the princes of his kingdom. Thus being hastily furnished, before they would set forward, they sent three hundred light horsemen, under the conduct of Captain Swillwind, to discover the country, clear the avenues, and see whether there was any ambush laid for them. But, after they had made diligent search, they found all the land round about in peace and quiet, without any meeting or convention at all; which Picrochole understanding, commanded that everyone should march speedily under his colours. Then immediately in all disorder, without keeping either rank or file, they took the fields one amongst another, wasting, spoiling, destroying, and making havoc of all wherever they went, not sparing poor nor rich, privileged or unprivileged places, church nor laity, drove away oxen and cows, bulls, calves, heifers, wethers, ewes, lambs, goats, kids, hens, capons, chickens, geese, ganders, goslings, hogs, swine, pigs, and such like; beating down the walnuts, plucking the grapes, tearing the hedges, shaking the fruit-trees, and committing such incomparable abuses, that the like abomination was never heard of. Nevertheless, they met with none to resist them, for everyone submitted to their mercy, beseeching them that they might be dealt with courteously in regard that they had always carried themselves as became good and loving neighbours, and that they had never been guilty of any wrong or outrage done upon them, to be thus suddenly surprised, troubled, and disquieted, and that, if they would not desist, God would punish them very shortly. To which expostulations and remonstrances no other answer was made, but that they would teach them to eat cakes.
So much they did, and so far they went pillaging and stealing, that at last they came to Seville, where they robbed both men and women, and took all they could catch: nothing was either too hot or too heavy for them. Although the plague was there in the most part of all the houses, they nevertheless entered everywhere, then plundered and carried away all that was within, and yet for all this not one of them took any hurt, which is a most wonderful case. For the curates, vicars, preachers, physicians, chirurgeons, and apothecaries, who went to visit, to dress, to cure, to heal, to preach unto and admonish those that were sick, were all dead of the infection, and these devilish robbers and murderers caught never any harm at all. Whence comes this to pass, my masters? I beseech you think upon it. The town being thus pillaged, they went unto the abbey with a horrible noise and tumult, but they found it shut and made fast against them. Whereupon the body of the army marched forward towards a pass or ford called the Gue de Vede, except seven companies of foot and two hundred lancers, who, staying there, broke down the walls of the close, to waste, spoil, and make havoc of all the vines and vintage within that place. The monks (poor devils) knew not in that extremity to which of all their sancts they should vow themselves. Nevertheless, at all adventures they rang the bells ad capitulum capitulantes. There it was decreed that they should make a fair procession, stuffed with good lectures, prayers, and litanies contra hostium insidias, and jolly responses pro pace.
There was then in the abbey a claustral monk, called Friar John of the funnels and gobbets, in French des entoumeures, young, gallant, frisk, lusty, nimble, quick, active, bold, adventurous, resolute, tall, lean, wide-mouthed, long-nosed, a fair despatcher of morning prayers, unbridler of masses, and runner over of vigils; and, to conclude summarily in a word, a right monk, if ever there was any, since the monking world monked a monkery: for the rest, a clerk even to the teeth in matter of breviary. This monk, hearing the noise that the enemy made within the enclosure of the vineyard, went out to see what they were doing; and perceiving that they were cutting and gathering the grapes, whereon was grounded the foundation of all their next year's wine, returned unto the choir of the church where the other monks were, all amazed and astonished like so many bell-melters. Whom when he heard sing, im, nim, pe, ne, ne, ne, ne, nene, tum, ne, num, num, ini, i mi, co, o, no, o, o, neno, ne, no, no, no, rum, nenum, num: It is well shit, well sung, said he. By the virtue of God, why do not you sing, Panniers, farewell, vintage is done? The devil snatch me, if they be not already within the middle of our close, and cut so well both vines and grapes, that, by Cod's body, there will not be found for these four years to come so much as a gleaning in it. By the belly of Sanct James, what shall we poor devils drink the while? Lord God! da mihi potum. Then said the prior of the convent: What should this drunken fellow do here? let him be carried to prison for troubling the divine service. Nay, said the monk, the wine service, let us behave ourselves so that it be not troubled; for you yourself, my lord prior, love to drink of the best, and so doth every honest man. Never yet did a man of worth dislike good wine, it is a monastical apophthegm. But these responses that you chant here, by G—, are not in season. Wherefore is it, that our devotions were instituted to be short in the time of harvest and vintage, and long in the advent, and all the winter? The late friar, Massepelosse, of good memory, a true zealous man, or else I give myself to the devil, of our religion, told me, and I remember it well, how the reason was, that in this season we might press and make the wine, and in winter whiff it up. Hark you, my masters, you that love the wine, Cop's body, follow me; for Sanct Anthony burn me as freely as a faggot, if they get leave to taste one drop of the liquor that will not now come and fight for relief of the vine. Hog's belly, the goods of the church! Ha, no, no. What the devil, Sanct Thomas of England was well content to die for them; if I died in the same cause, should not I be a sanct likewise? Yes. Yet shall not I die there for all this, for it is I that must do it to others and send them a-packing.
As he spake this he threw off his great monk's habit, and laid hold upon the staff of the cross, which was made of the heart of a sorbapple-tree, it being of the length of a lance, round, of a full grip, and a little powdered with lilies called flower de luce, the workmanship whereof was almost all defaced and worn out. Thus went he out in a fair long-skirted jacket, putting his frock scarfwise athwart his breast, and in this equipage, with his staff, shaft or truncheon of the cross, laid on so lustily, brisk, and fiercely upon his enemies, who, without any order, or ensign, or trumpet, or drum, were busied in gathering the grapes of the vineyard. For the cornets, guidons, and ensign-bearers had laid down their standards, banners, and colours by the wall sides: the drummers had knocked out the heads of their drums on one end to fill them with grapes: the trumpeters were loaded with great bundles of bunches and huge knots of clusters: in sum, everyone of them was out of array, and all in disorder. He hurried, therefore, upon them so rudely, without crying gare or beware, that he overthrew them like hogs, tumbled them over like swine, striking athwart and alongst, and by one means or other laid so about him, after the old fashion of fencing, that to some he beat out their brains, to others he crushed their arms, battered their legs, and bethwacked their sides till their ribs cracked with it. To others again he unjointed the spondyles or knuckles of the neck, disfigured their chaps, gashed their faces, made their cheeks hang flapping on their chin, and so swinged and balammed them that they fell down before him like hay before a mower. To some others he spoiled the frame of their kidneys, marred their backs, broke their thigh-bones, pashed in their noses, poached out their eyes, cleft their mandibles, tore their jaws, dung in their teeth into their throat, shook asunder their omoplates or shoulder-blades, sphacelated their shins, mortified their shanks, inflamed their ankles, heaved off of the hinges their ishies, their sciatica or hip-gout, dislocated the joints of their knees, squattered into pieces the boughts or pestles of their thighs, and so thumped, mauled and belaboured them everywhere, that never was corn so thick and threefold threshed upon by ploughmen's flails as were the pitifully disjointed members of their mangled bodies under the merciless baton of the cross. If any offered to hide himself amongst the thickest of the vines, he laid him squat as a flounder, bruised the ridge of his back, and dashed his reins like a dog. If any thought by flight to escape, he made his head to fly in pieces by the lamboidal commissure, which is a seam in the hinder part of the skull. If anyone did scramble up into a tree, thinking there to be safe, he rent up his perinee, and impaled him in at the fundament. If any of his old acquaintance happened to cry out, Ha, Friar John, my friend Friar John, quarter, quarter, I yield myself to you, to you I render myself! So thou shalt, said he, and must, whether thou wouldst or no, and withal render and yield up thy soul to all the devils in hell; then suddenly gave them dronos, that is, so many knocks, thumps, raps, dints, thwacks, and bangs, as sufficed to warn Pluto of their coming and despatch them a-going. If any was so rash and full of temerity as to resist him to his face, then was it he did show the strength of his muscles, for without more ado he did transpierce him, by running him in at the breast, through the mediastine and the heart. Others, again, he so quashed and bebumped, that, with a sound bounce under the hollow of their short ribs, he overturned their stomachs so that they died immediately. To some, with a smart souse on the epigaster, he would make their midriff swag, then, redoubling the blow, gave them such a homepush on the navel that he made their puddings to gush out. To others through their ballocks he pierced their bumgut, and left not bowel, tripe, nor entrail in their body that had not felt the impetuosity, fierceness, and fury of his violence. Believe, that it was the most horrible spectacle that ever one saw. Some cried unto Sanct Barbe, others to St. George. O the holy Lady Nytouch, said one, the good Sanctess; O our Lady of Succours, said another, help, help! Others cried, Our Lady of Cunaut, of Loretto, of Good Tidings, on the other side of the water St. Mary Over. Some vowed a pilgrimage to St. James, and others to the holy handkerchief at Chamberry, which three months after that burnt so well in the fire that they could not get one thread of it saved. Others sent up their vows to St. Cadouin, others to St. John d'Angely, and to St. Eutropius of Xaintes. Others again invoked St. Mesmes of Chinon, St. Martin of Candes, St. Clouaud of Sinays, the holy relics of Laurezay, with a thousand other jolly little sancts and santrels. Some died without speaking, others spoke without dying; some died in speaking, others spoke in dying. Others shouted as loud as they could Confession, Confession, Confiteor, Miserere, In manus! So great was the cry of the wounded, that the prior of the abbey with all his monks came forth, who, when they saw these poor wretches so slain amongst the vines, and wounded to death, confessed some of them. But whilst the priests were busied in confessing them, the little monkies ran all to the place where Friar John was, and asked him wherein he would be pleased to require their assistance. To which he answered that they should cut the throats of those he had thrown down upon the ground. They presently, leaving their outer habits and cowls upon the rails, began to throttle and make an end of those whom he had already crushed. Can you tell with what instruments they did it? With fair gullies, which are little hulchbacked demi-knives, the iron tool whereof is two inches long, and the wooden handle one inch thick, and three inches in length, wherewith the little boys in our country cut ripe walnuts in two while they are yet in the shell, and pick out the kernel, and they found them very fit for the expediting of that weasand-slitting exploit. In the meantime Friar John, with his formidable baton of the cross, got to the breach which the enemies had made, and there stood to snatch up those that endeavoured to escape. Some of the monkitos carried the standards, banners, ensigns, guidons, and colours into their cells and chambers to make garters of them. But when those that had been shriven would have gone out at the gap of the said breach, the sturdy monk quashed and felled them down with blows, saying, These men have had confession and are penitent souls; they have got their absolution and gained the pardons; they go into paradise as straight as a sickle, or as the way is to Faye (like Crooked-Lane at Eastcheap). Thus by his prowess and valour were discomfited all those of the army that entered into the close of the abbey, unto the number of thirteen thousand, six hundred, twenty and two, besides the women and little children, which is always to be understood. Never did Maugis the Hermit bear himself more valiantly with his bourdon or pilgrim's staff against the Saracens, of whom is written in the Acts of the four sons of Aymon, than did this monk against his enemies with the staff of the cross.
Whilst the monk did thus skirmish, as we have said, against those which were entered within the close, Picrochole in great haste passed the ford of Vede—a very especial pass—with all his soldiers, and set upon the rock Clermond, where there was made him no resistance at all; and, because it was already night, he resolved to quarter himself and his army in that town, and to refresh himself of his pugnative choler. In the morning he stormed and took the bulwarks and castle, which afterwards he fortified with rampiers, and furnished with all ammunition requisite, intending to make his retreat there, if he should happen to be otherwise worsted; for it was a strong place, both by art and nature, in regard of the stance and situation of it. But let us leave them there, and return to our good Gargantua, who is at Paris very assiduous and earnest at the study of good letters and athletical exercitations, and to the good old man Grangousier his father, who after supper warmeth his ballocks by a good, clear, great fire, and, waiting upon the broiling of some chestnuts, is very serious in drawing scratches on the hearth, with a stick burnt at the one end, wherewith they did stir up the fire, telling to his wife and the rest of the family pleasant old stories and tales of former times.
Whilst he was thus employed, one of the shepherds which did keep the vines, named Pillot, came towards him, and to the full related the enormous abuses which were committed, and the excessive spoil that was made by Picrochole, King of Lerne, upon his lands and territories, and how he had pillaged, wasted, and ransacked all the country, except the enclosure at Seville, which Friar John des Entoumeures to his great honour had preserved; and that at the same present time the said king was in the rock Clermond, and there, with great industry and circumspection, was strengthening himself and his whole army. Halas, halas, alas! said Grangousier, what is this, good people? Do I dream, or is it true that they tell me? Picrochole, my ancient friend of old time, of my own kindred and alliance, comes he to invade me? What moves him? What provokes him? What sets him on? What drives him to it? Who hath given him this counsel? Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, my God, my Saviour, help me, inspire me, and advise me what I shall do! I protest, I swear before thee, so be thou favourable to me, if ever I did him or his subjects any damage or displeasure, or committed any the least robbery in his country; but, on the contrary, I have succoured and supplied him with men, money, friendship, and counsel, upon any occasion wherein I could be steadable for the improvement of his good. That he hath therefore at this nick of time so outraged and wronged me, it cannot be but by the malevolent and wicked spirit. Good God, thou knowest my courage, for nothing can be hidden from thee. If perhaps he be grown mad, and that thou hast sent him hither to me for the better recovery and re-establishment of his brain, grant me power and wisdom to bring him to the yoke of thy holy will by good discipline. Ho, ho, ho, ho, my good people, my friends and my faithful servants, must I hinder you from helping me? Alas, my old age required hence-forward nothing else but rest, and all the days of my life I have laboured for nothing so much as peace; but now I must, I see it well, load with arms my poor, weary, and feeble shoulders, and take in my trembling hand the lance and horseman's mace, to succour and protect my honest subjects. Reason will have it so; for by their labour am I entertained, and with their sweat am I nourished, I, my children and my family. This notwithstanding, I will not undertake war, until I have first tried all the ways and means of peace: that I resolve upon.
Then assembled he his council, and proposed the matter as it was indeed. Whereupon it was concluded that they should send some discreet man unto Picrochole, to know wherefore he had thus suddenly broken the peace and invaded those lands unto which he had no right nor title. Furthermore, that they should send for Gargantua, and those under his command, for the preservation of the country, and defence thereof now at need. All this pleased Grangousier very well, and he commanded that so it should be done. Presently therefore he sent the Basque his lackey to fetch Gargantua with all diligence, and wrote him as followeth.
The fervency of thy studies did require that I should not in a long time recall thee from that philosophical rest thou now enjoyest, if the confidence reposed in our friends and ancient confederates had not at this present disappointed the assurance of my old age. But seeing such is my fatal destiny, that I should be now disquieted by those in whom I trusted most, I am forced to call thee back to help the people and goods which by the right of nature belong unto thee. For even as arms are weak abroad, if there be not counsel at home, so is that study vain and counsel unprofitable which in a due and convenient time is not by virtue executed and put in effect. My deliberation is not to provoke, but to appease—not to assault, but to defend—not to conquer, but to preserve my faithful subjects and hereditary dominions, into which Picrochole is entered in a hostile manner without any ground or cause, and from day to day pursueth his furious enterprise with that height of insolence that is intolerable to freeborn spirits. I have endeavoured to moderate his tyrannical choler, offering him all that which I thought might give him satisfaction; and oftentimes have I sent lovingly unto him to understand wherein, by whom, and how he found himself to be wronged. But of him could I obtain no other answer but a mere defiance, and that in my lands he did pretend only to the right of a civil correspondency and good behaviour, whereby I knew that the eternal God hath left him to the disposure of his own free will and sensual appetite—which cannot choose but be wicked, if by divine grace it be not continually guided—and to contain him within his duty, and bring him to know himself, hath sent him hither to me by a grievous token. Therefore, my beloved son, as soon as thou canst, upon sight of these letters, repair hither with all diligence, to succour not me so much, which nevertheless by natural piety thou oughtest to do, as thine own people, which by reason thou mayest save and preserve. The exploit shall be done with as little effusion of blood as may be. And, if possible, by means far more expedient, such as military policy, devices, and stratagems of war, we shall save all the souls, and send them home as merry as crickets unto their own houses. My dearest son, the peace of Jesus Christ our Redeemer be with thee. Salute from me Ponocrates, Gymnastes, and Eudemon. The twentieth of September. Thy Father Grangousier.
The letters being dictated, signed, and sealed, Grangousier ordained that Ulric Gallet, master of the requests, a very wise and discreet man, of whose prudence and sound judgment he had made trial in several difficult and debateful matters, (should) go unto Picrochole, to show what had been decreed amongst them. At the same hour departed the good man Gallet, and having passed the ford, asked at the miller that dwelt there in what condition Picrochole was: who answered him that his soldiers had left him neither cock nor hen, that they were retired and shut up into the rock Clermond, and that he would not advise him to go any further for fear of the scouts, because they were enormously furious. Which he easily believed, and therefore lodged that night with the miller.
The next morning he went with a trumpeter to the gate of the castle, and required the guards he might be admitted to speak with the king of somewhat that concerned him. These words being told unto the king, he would by no means consent that they should open the gate; but, getting upon the top of the bulwark, said unto the ambassador, What is the news, what have you to say? Then the ambassador began to speak as followeth.
There cannot arise amongst men a juster cause of grief than when they receive hurt and damage where they may justly expect for favour and good will; and not without cause, though without reason, have many, after they had fallen into such a calamitous accident, esteemed this indignity less supportable than the loss of their own lives, in such sort that, if they have not been able by force of arms nor any other means, by reach of wit or subtlety, to stop them in their course and restrain their fury, they have fallen into desperation, and utterly deprived themselves of this light. It is therefore no wonder if King Grangousier, my master, be full of high displeasure and much disquieted in mind upon thy outrageous and hostile coming; but truly it would be a marvel if he were not sensible of and moved with the incomparable abuses and injuries perpetrated by thee and thine upon those of his country, towards whom there hath been no example of inhumanity omitted. Which in itself is to him so grievous, for the cordial affection wherewith he hath always cherished his subjects, that more it cannot be to any mortal man; yet in this, above human apprehension, is it to him the more grievous that these wrongs and sad offences have been committed by thee and thine, who, time out of mind, from all antiquity, thou and thy predecessors have been in a continual league and amity with him and all his ancestors; which, even until this time, you have as sacred together inviolably preserved, kept, and entertained, so well, that not he and his only, but the very barbarous nations of the Poictevins, Bretons, Manceaux, and those that dwell beyond the isles of the Canaries, and that of Isabella, have thought it as easy to pull down the firmament, and to set up the depths above the clouds, as to make a breach in your alliance; and have been so afraid of it in their enterprises that they have never dared to provoke, incense, or endamage the one for fear of the other. Nay, which is more, this sacred league hath so filled the world, that there are few nations at this day inhabiting throughout all the continent and isles of the ocean, who have not ambitiously aspired to be received into it, upon your own covenants and conditions, holding your joint confederacy in as high esteem as their own territories and dominions, in such sort, that from the memory of man there hath not been either prince or league so wild and proud that durst have offered to invade, I say not your countries, but not so much as those of your confederates. And if, by rash and heady counsel, they have attempted any new design against them, as soon as they heard the name and title of your alliance, they have suddenly desisted from their enterprises. What rage and madness, therefore, doth now incite thee, all old alliance infringed, all amity trod under foot, and all right violated, thus in a hostile manner to invade his country, without having been by him or his in anything prejudiced, wronged, or provoked? Where is faith? Where is law? Where is reason? Where is humanity? Where is the fear of God? Dost thou think that these atrocious abuses are hidden from the eternal spirit and the supreme God who is the just rewarder of all our undertakings? If thou so think, thou deceivest thyself; for all things shall come to pass as in his incomprehensible judgment he hath appointed. Is it thy fatal destiny, or influences of the stars, that would put an end to thy so long enjoyed ease and rest? For that all things have their end and period, so as that, when they are come to the superlative point of their greatest height, they are in a trice tumbled down again, as not being able to abide long in that state. This is the conclusion and end of those who cannot by reason and temperance moderate their fortunes and prosperities. But if it be predestinated that thy happiness and ease must now come to an end, must it needs be by wronging my king,—him by whom thou wert established? If thy house must come to ruin, should it therefore in its fall crush the heels of him that set it up? The matter is so unreasonable, and so dissonant from common sense, that hardly can it be conceived by human understanding, and altogether incredible unto strangers, till by the certain and undoubted effects thereof it be made apparent that nothing is either sacred or holy to those who, having emancipated themselves from God and reason, do merely follow the perverse affections of their own depraved nature. If any wrong had been done by us to thy subjects and dominions—if we had favoured thy ill-willers—if we had not assisted thee in thy need—if thy name and reputation had been wounded by us—or, to speak more truly, if the calumniating spirit, tempting to induce thee to evil, had, by false illusions and deceitful fantasies, put into thy conceit the impression of a thought that we had done unto thee anything unworthy of our ancient correspondence and friendship, thou oughtest first to have inquired out the truth, and afterwards by a seasonable warning to admonish us thereof; and we should have so satisfied thee, according to thine own heart's desire, that thou shouldst have had occasion to be contented. But, O eternal God, what is thy enterprise? Wouldst thou, like a perfidious tyrant, thus spoil and lay waste my master's kingdom? Hast thou found him so silly and blockish, that he would not—or so destitute of men and money, of counsel and skill in military discipline, that he cannot withstand thy unjust invasion? March hence presently, and to-morrow, some time of the day, retreat unto thine own country, without doing any kind of violence or disorderly act by the way; and pay withal a thousand besans of gold (which, in English money, amounteth to five thousand pounds), for reparation of the damages thou hast done in this country. Half thou shalt pay to-morrow, and the other half at the ides of May next coming, leaving with us in the mean time, for hostages, the Dukes of Turnbank, Lowbuttock, and Smalltrash, together with the Prince of Itches and Viscount of Snatchbit (Tournemoule, Bas-de-fesses, Menuail, Gratelles, Morpiaille.).
With that the good man Gallet held his peace, but Picrochole to all his discourse answered nothing but Come and fetch them, come and fetch them, —they have ballocks fair and soft,—they will knead and provide some cakes for you. Then returned he to Grangousier, whom he found upon his knees bareheaded, crouching in a little corner of his cabinet, and humbly praying unto God that he would vouchsafe to assuage the choler of Picrochole, and bring him to the rule of reason without proceeding by force. When the good man came back, he asked him, Ha, my friend, what news do you bring me? There is neither hope nor remedy, said Gallet; the man is quite out of his wits, and forsaken of God. Yea, but, said Grangousier, my friend, what cause doth he pretend for his outrages? He did not show me any cause at all, said Gallet, only that in a great anger he spoke some words of cakes. I cannot tell if they have done any wrong to his cake-bakers. I will know, said Grangousier, the matter thoroughly, before I resolve any more upon what is to be done. Then sent he to learn concerning that business, and found by true information that his men had taken violently some cakes from Picrochole's people, and that Marquet's head was broken with a slacky or short cudgel; that, nevertheless, all was well paid, and that the said Marquet had first hurt Forgier with a stroke of his whip athwart the legs. And it seemed good to his whole council, that he should defend himself with all his might. Notwithstanding all this, said Grangousier, seeing the question is but about a few cakes, I will labour to content him; for I am very unwilling to wage war against him. He inquired then what quantity of cakes they had taken away, and understanding that it was but some four or five dozen, he commanded five cartloads of them to be baked that same night; and that there should be one full of cakes made with fine butter, fine yolks of eggs, fine saffron, and fine spice, to be bestowed upon Marquet, unto whom likewise he directed to be given seven hundred thousand and three Philips (that is, at three shillings the piece, one hundred five thousand pounds and nine shillings of English money), for reparation of his losses and hindrances, and for satisfaction of the chirurgeon that had dressed his wound; and furthermore settled upon him and his for ever in freehold the apple-orchard called La Pomardiere. For the conveyance and passing of all which was sent Gallet, who by the way as they went made them gather near the willow-trees great store of boughs, canes, and reeds, wherewith all the carriers were enjoined to garnish and deck their carts, and each of them to carry one in his hand, as himself likewise did, thereby to give all men to understand that they demanded but peace, and that they came to buy it.
Being come to the gate, they required to speak with Picrochole from Grangousier. Picrochole would not so much as let them in, nor go to speak with them, but sent them word that he was busy, and that they should deliver their mind to Captain Touquedillon, who was then planting a piece of ordnance upon the wall. Then said the good man unto him, My lord, to ease you of all this labour, and to take away all excuses why you may not return unto our former alliance, we do here presently restore unto you the cakes upon which the quarrel arose. Five dozen did our people take away: they were well paid for: we love peace so well that we restore unto you five cartloads, of which this cart shall be for Marquet, who doth most complain. Besides, to content him entirely, here are seven hundred thousand and three Philips, which I deliver to him, and, for the losses he may pretend to have sustained, I resign for ever the farm of the Pomardiere, to be possessed in fee-simple by him and his for ever, without the payment of any duty, or acknowledgement of homage, fealty, fine, or service whatsoever, and here is the tenour of the deed. And, for God's sake, let us live henceforward in peace, and withdraw yourselves merrily into your own country from within this place, unto which you have no right at all, as yourselves must needs confess, and let us be good friends as before. Touquedillon related all this to Picrochole, and more and more exasperated his courage, saying to him, These clowns are afraid to some purpose. By G—, Grangousier conskites himself for fear, the poor drinker. He is not skilled in warfare, nor hath he any stomach for it. He knows better how to empty the flagons,—that is his art. I am of opinion that it is fit we send back the carts and the money, and, for the rest, that very speedily we fortify ourselves here, then prosecute our fortune. But what! Do they think to have to do with a ninnywhoop, to feed you thus with cakes? You may see what it is. The good usage and great familiarity which you have had with them heretofore hath made you contemptible in their eyes. Anoint a villain, he will prick you: prick a villain, and he will anoint you (Ungentem pungit, pungentem rusticus ungit.).
Sa, sa, sa, said Picrochole, by St. James you have given a true character of them. One thing I will advise you, said Touquedillon. We are here but badly victualled, and furnished with mouth-harness very slenderly. If Grangousier should come to besiege us, I would go presently, and pluck out of all your soldiers' heads and mine own all the teeth, except three to each of us, and with them alone we should make an end of our provision but too soon. We shall have, said Picrochole, but too much sustenance and feeding-stuff. Came we hither to eat or to fight? To fight, indeed, said Touquedillon; yet from the paunch comes the dance, and where famine rules force is exiled. Leave off your prating, said Picrochole, and forthwith seize upon what they have brought. Then took they money and cakes, oxen and carts, and sent them away without speaking one word, only that they would come no more so near, for a reason that they would give them the morrow after. Thus, without doing anything, returned they to Grangousier, and related the whole matter unto him, subjoining that there was no hope left to draw them to peace but by sharp and fierce wars.
The carts being unloaded, and the money and cakes secured, there came before Picrochole the Duke of Smalltrash, the Earl Swashbuckler, and Captain Dirt-tail (Menuail, Spadassin, Merdaille.), who said unto him, Sir, this day we make you the happiest, the most warlike and chivalrous prince that ever was since the death of Alexander of Macedonia. Be covered, be covered, said Picrochole. Gramercy, said they, we do but our duty. The manner is thus. You shall leave some captain here to have the charge of this garrison, with a party competent for keeping of the place, which, besides its natural strength, is made stronger by the rampiers and fortresses of your devising. Your army you are to divide into two parts, as you know very well how to do. One part thereof shall fall upon Grangousier and his forces. By it shall he be easily at the very first shock routed, and then shall you get money by heaps, for the clown hath store of ready coin. Clown we call him, because a noble and generous prince hath never a penny, and that to hoard up treasure is but a clownish trick. The other part of the army, in the meantime, shall draw towards Onys, Xaintonge, Angomois, and Gascony. Then march to Perigot, Medoc, and Elanes, taking wherever you come, without resistance, towns, castles, and forts; afterwards to Bayonne, St. John de Luc, to Fontarabia, where you shall seize upon all the ships, and coasting along Galicia and Portugal, shall pillage all the maritime places, even unto Lisbon, where you shall be supplied with all necessaries befitting a conqueror. By copsody, Spain will yield, for they are but a race of loobies. Then are you to pass by the Straits of Gibraltar, where you shall erect two pillars more stately than those of Hercules, to the perpetual memory of your name, and the narrow entrance there shall be called the Picrocholinal sea.
Having passed the Picrocholinal sea, behold, Barbarossa yields himself your slave. I will, said Picrochole, give him fair quarter and spare his life. Yea, said they, so that he be content to be christened. And you shall conquer the kingdoms of Tunis, of Hippo, Argier, Bomine (Bona), Corone, yea, all Barbary. Furthermore, you shall take into your hands Majorca, Minorca, Sardinia, Corsica, with the other islands of the Ligustic and Balearian seas. Going alongst on the left hand, you shall rule all Gallia Narbonensis, Provence, the Allobrogians, Genoa, Florence, Lucca, and then God b'w'ye, Rome. (Our poor Monsieur the Pope dies now for fear.) By my faith, said Picrochole, I will not then kiss his pantoufle.
Italy being thus taken, behold Naples, Calabria, Apulia, and Sicily, all ransacked, and Malta too. I wish the pleasant Knights of the Rhodes heretofore would but come to resist you, that we might see their urine. I would, said Picrochole, very willingly go to Loretto. No, no, said they, that shall be at our return. From thence we will sail eastwards, and take Candia, Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Cyclade Islands, and set upon (the) Morea. It is ours, by St. Trenian. The Lord preserve Jerusalem; for the great Soldan is not comparable to you in power. I will then, said he, cause Solomon's temple to be built. No, said they, not yet, have a little patience, stay awhile, be never too sudden in your enterprises. Can you tell what Octavian Augustus said? Festina lente. It is requisite that you first have the Lesser Asia, Caria, Lycia, Pamphilia, Cilicia, Lydia, Phrygia, Mysia, Bithynia, Carazia, Satalia, Samagaria, Castamena, Luga, Savasta, even unto Euphrates. Shall we see, said Picrochole, Babylon and Mount Sinai? There is no need, said they, at this time. Have we not hurried up and down, travelled and toiled enough, in having transfretted and passed over the Hircanian sea, marched alongst the two Armenias and the three Arabias? Ay, by my faith, said he, we have played the fools, and are undone. Ha, poor souls! What's the matter? said they. What shall we have, said he, to drink in these deserts? For Julian Augustus with his whole army died there for thirst, as they say. We have already, said they, given order for that. In the Syriac sea you have nine thousand and fourteen great ships laden with the best wines in the world. They arrived at Port Joppa. There they found two-and-twenty thousand camels and sixteen hundred elephants, which you shall have taken at one hunting about Sigelmes, when you entered into Lybia; and, besides this, you had all the Mecca caravan. Did not they furnish you sufficiently with wine? Yes, but, said he, we did not drink it fresh. By the virtue, said they, not of a fish, a valiant man, a conqueror, who pretends and aspires to the monarchy of the world, cannot always have his ease. God be thanked that you and your men are come safe and sound unto the banks of the river Tigris. But, said he, what doth that part of our army in the meantime which overthrows that unworthy swillpot Grangousier? They are not idle, said they. We shall meet with them by-and-by. They shall have won you Brittany, Normandy, Flanders, Hainault, Brabant, Artois, Holland, Zealand; they have passed the Rhine over the bellies of the Switzers and lansquenets, and a party of these hath subdued Luxembourg, Lorraine, Champagne, and Savoy, even to Lyons, in which place they have met with your forces returning from the naval conquests of the Mediterranean sea; and have rallied again in Bohemia, after they had plundered and sacked Suevia, Wittemberg, Bavaria, Austria, Moravia, and Styria. Then they set fiercely together upon Lubeck, Norway, Swedeland, Rie, Denmark, Gitland, Greenland, the Sterlins, even unto the frozen sea. This done, they conquered the Isles of Orkney and subdued Scotland, England, and Ireland. From thence sailing through the sandy sea and by the Sarmates, they have vanquished and overcome Prussia, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Wallachia, Transylvania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkeyland, and are now at Constantinople. Come, said Picrochole, let us go join with them quickly, for I will be Emperor of Trebizond also. Shall we not kill all these dogs, Turks and Mahometans? What a devil should we do else? said they. And you shall give their goods and lands to such as shall have served you honestly. Reason, said he, will have it so, that is but just. I give unto you the Caramania, Suria, and all the Palestine. Ha, sir, said they, it is out of your goodness; gramercy, we thank you. God grant you may always prosper. There was there present at that time an old gentleman well experienced in the wars, a stern soldier, and who had been in many great hazards, named Echephron, who, hearing this discourse, said, I do greatly doubt that all this enterprise will be like the tale or interlude of the pitcher full of milk wherewith a shoemaker made himself rich in conceit; but, when the pitcher was broken, he had not whereupon to dine. What do you pretend by these large conquests? What shall be the end of so many labours and crosses? Thus it shall be, said Picrochole, that when we are returned we shall sit down, rest, and be merry. But, said Echephron, if by chance you should never come back, for the voyage is long and dangerous, were it not better for us to take our rest now, than unnecessarily to expose ourselves to so many dangers? O, said Swashbuckler, by G—, here is a good dotard; come, let us go hide ourselves in the corner of a chimney, and there spend the whole time of our life amongst ladies, in threading of pearls, or spinning, like Sardanapalus. He that nothing ventures hath neither horse nor mule, says Solomon. He who adventureth too much, said Echephron, loseth both horse and mule, answered Malchon. Enough, said Picrochole, go forward. I fear nothing but that these devilish legions of Grangousier, whilst we are in Mesopotamia, will come on our backs and charge up our rear. What course shall we then take? What shall be our remedy? A very good one, said Dirt-tail; a pretty little commission, which you must send unto the Muscovites, shall bring you into the field in an instant four hundred and fifty thousand choice men of war. Oh that you would but make me your lieutenant-general, I should for the lightest faults of any inflict great punishments. I fret, I charge, I strike, I take, I kill, I slay, I play the devil. On, on, said Picrochole, make haste, my lads, and let him that loves me follow me.
In this same very hour Gargantua, who was gone out of Paris as soon as he had read his father's letters, coming upon his great mare, had already passed the Nunnery-bridge, himself, Ponocrates, Gymnast, and Eudemon, who all three, the better to enable them to go along with him, took post-horses. The rest of his train came after him by even journeys at a slower pace, bringing with them all his books and philosophical instruments. As soon as he had alighted at Parille, he was informed by a farmer of Gouguet how Picrochole had fortified himself within the rock Clermond, and had sent Captain Tripet with a great army to set upon the wood of Vede and Vaugaudry, and that they had already plundered the whole country, not leaving cock nor hen, even as far as to the winepress of Billard. These strange and almost incredible news of the enormous abuses thus committed over all the land, so affrighted Gargantua that he knew not what to say nor do. But Ponocrates counselled him to go unto the Lord of Vauguyon, who at all times had been their friend and confederate, and that by him they should be better advised in their business. Which they did incontinently, and found him very willing and fully resolved to assist them, and therefore was of opinion that they should send some one of his company to scout along and discover the country, to learn in what condition and posture the enemy was, that they might take counsel, and proceed according to the present occasion. Gymnast offered himself to go. Whereupon it was concluded, that for his safety and the better expedition, he should have with him someone that knew the ways, avenues, turnings, windings, and rivers thereabout. Then away went he and Prelingot, the equerry or gentleman of Vauguyon's horse, who scouted and espied as narrowly as they could upon all quarters without any fear. In the meantime Gargantua took a little refreshment, ate somewhat himself, the like did those who were with him, and caused to give to his mare a picotine of oats, that is, three score and fourteen quarters and three bushels. Gymnast and his comrade rode so long, that at last they met with the enemy's forces, all scattered and out of order, plundering, stealing, robbing, and pillaging all they could lay their hands on. And, as far off as they could perceive him, they ran thronging upon the back of one another in all haste towards him, to unload him of his money, and untruss his portmantles. Then cried he out unto them, My masters, I am a poor devil, I desire you to spare me. I have yet one crown left. Come, we must drink it, for it is aurum potabile, and this horse here shall be sold to pay my welcome. Afterwards take me for one of your own, for never yet was there any man that knew better how to take, lard, roast, and dress, yea, by G—, to tear asunder and devour a hen, than I that am here: and for my proficiat I drink to all good fellows. With that he unscrewed his borracho (which was a great Dutch leathern bottle), and without putting in his nose drank very honestly. The maroufle rogues looked upon him, opening their throats a foot wide, and putting out their tongues like greyhounds, in hopes to drink after him; but Captain Tripet, in the very nick of that their expectation, came running to him to see who it was. To him Gymnast offered his bottle, saying, Hold, captain, drink boldly and spare not; I have been thy taster, it is wine of La Faye Monjau. What! said Tripet, this fellow gibes and flouts us? Who art thou? said Tripet. I am, said Gymnast, a poor devil (pauvre diable). Ha, said Tripet, seeing thou art a poor devil, it is reason that thou shouldst be permitted to go whithersoever thou wilt, for all poor devils pass everywhere without toll or tax. But it is not the custom of poor devils to be so well mounted; therefore, sir devil, come down, and let me have your horse, and if he do not carry me well, you, master devil, must do it: for I love a life that such a devil as you should carry me away.
When they heard these words, some amongst them began to be afraid, and blessed themselves with both hands, thinking indeed that he had been a devil disguised, insomuch that one of them, named Good John, captain of the trained bands of the country bumpkins, took his psalter out of his codpiece, and cried out aloud, Hagios ho theos. If thou be of God, speak; if thou be of the other spirit, avoid hence, and get thee going. Yet he went not away. Which words being heard by all the soldiers that were there, divers of them being a little inwardly terrified, departed from the place. All this did Gymnast very well remark and consider, and therefore making as if he would have alighted from off his horse, as he was poising himself on the mounting side, he most nimbly, with his short sword by his thigh, shifting his foot in the stirrup, performed the stirrup-leather feat, whereby, after the inclining of his body downwards, he forthwith launched himself aloft in the air, and placed both his feet together on the saddle, standing upright with his back turned towards the horse's head. Now, said he, my case goes backward. Then suddenly in the same very posture wherein he was, he fetched a gambol upon one foot, and, turning to the left hand, failed not to carry his body perfectly round, just into its former stance, without missing one jot. Ha, said Tripet, I will not do that at this time, and not without cause. Well, said Gymnast, I have failed, I will undo this leap. Then with a marvellous strength and agility, turning towards the right hand, he fetched another frisking gambol as before, which done, he set his right-hand thumb upon the hind-bow of the saddle, raised himself up, and sprung in the air, poising and upholding his whole body upon the muscle and nerve of the said thumb, and so turned and whirled himself about three times. At the fourth, reversing his body, and overturning it upside down, and foreside back, without touching anything, he brought himself betwixt the horse's two ears, springing with all his body into the air, upon the thumb of his left hand, and in that posture, turning like a windmill, did most actively do that trick which is called the miller's pass. After this, clapping his right hand flat upon the middle of the saddle, he gave himself such a jerking swing that he thereby seated himself upon the crupper, after the manner of gentlewomen sitting on horseback. This done, he easily passed his right leg over the saddle, and placed himself like one that rides in croup. But, said he, it were better for me to get into the saddle; then putting the thumbs of both hands upon the crupper before him, and thereupon leaning himself, as upon the only supporters of his body, he incontinently turned heels over head in the air, and straight found himself betwixt the bow of the saddle in a good settlement. Then with a somersault springing into the air again, he fell to stand with both his feet close together upon the saddle, and there made above a hundred frisks, turns, and demipommads, with his arms held out across, and in so doing cried out aloud, I rage, I rage, devils, I am stark mad, devils, I am mad, hold me, devils, hold me, hold, devils, hold, hold!
Whilst he was thus vaulting, the rogues in great astonishment said to one another, By cock's death, he is a goblin or a devil thus disguised. Ab hoste maligno libera nos, Domine, and ran away in a full flight, as if they had been routed, looking now and then behind them, like a dog that carrieth away a goose-wing in his mouth. Then Gymnast, spying his advantage, alighted from his horse, drew his sword, and laid on great blows upon the thickset and highest crested among them, and overthrew them in great heaps, hurt, wounded, and bruised, being resisted by nobody, they thinking he had been a starved devil, as well in regard of his wonderful feats in vaulting, which they had seen, as for the talk Tripet had with him, calling him poor devil. Only Tripet would have traitorously cleft his head with his horseman's sword, or lance-knight falchion; but he was well armed, and felt nothing of the blow but the weight of the stroke. Whereupon, turning suddenly about, he gave Tripet a home-thrust, and upon the back of that, whilst he was about to ward his head from a slash, he ran him in at the breast with a hit, which at once cut his stomach, the fifth gut called the colon, and the half of his liver, wherewith he fell to the ground, and in falling gushed forth above four pottles of pottage, and his soul mingled with the pottage.
This done, Gymnast withdrew himself, very wisely considering that a case of great adventure and hazard should not be pursued unto its utmost period, and that it becomes all cavaliers modestly to use their good fortune, without troubling or stretching it too far. Wherefore, getting to horse, he gave him the spur, taking the right way unto Vauguyon, and Prelinguand with him.
As soon as he came, he related the estate and condition wherein they had found the enemy, and the stratagem which he alone had used against all their multitude, affirming that they were but rascally rogues, plunderers, thieves, and robbers, ignorant of all military discipline, and that they might boldly set forward unto the field; it being an easy matter to fell and strike them down like beasts. Then Gargantua mounted his great mare, accompanied as we have said before, and finding in his way a high and great tree, which commonly was called by the name of St. Martin's tree, because heretofore St. Martin planted a pilgrim's staff there, which in tract of time grew to that height and greatness, said, This is that which I lacked; this tree shall serve me both for a staff and lance. With that he pulled it up easily, plucked off the boughs, and trimmed it at his pleasure. In the meantime his mare pissed to ease her belly, but it was in such abundance that it did overflow the country seven leagues, and all the piss of that urinal flood ran glib away towards the ford of Vede, wherewith the water was so swollen that all the forces the enemy had there were with great horror drowned, except some who had taken the way on the left hand towards the hills. Gargantua, being come to the place of the wood of Vede, was informed by Eudemon that there was some remainder of the enemy within the castle, which to know, Gargantua cried out as loud as he was able, Are you there, or are you not there? If you be there, be there no more; and if you are not there, I have no more to say. But a ruffian gunner, whose charge was to attend the portcullis over the gate, let fly a cannon-ball at him, and hit him with that shot most furiously on the right temple of his head, yet did him no more hurt than if he had but cast a prune or kernel of a wine-grape at him. What is this? said Gargantua; do you throw at us grape-kernels here? The vintage shall cost you dear; thinking indeed that the bullet had been the kernel of a grape, or raisin-kernel.
Those who were within the castle, being till then busy at the pillage, when they heard this noise ran to the towers and fortresses, from whence they shot at him above nine thousand and five-and-twenty falconshot and arquebusades, aiming all at his head, and so thick did they shoot at him that he cried out, Ponocrates, my friend, these flies here are like to put out mine eyes; give me a branch of those willow-trees to drive them away, thinking that the bullets and stones shot out of the great ordnance had been but dunflies. Ponocrates looked and saw that there were no other flies but great shot which they had shot from the castle. Then was it that he rushed with his great tree against the castle, and with mighty blows overthrew both towers and fortresses, and laid all level with the ground, by which means all that were within were slain and broken in pieces. Going from thence, they came to the bridge at the mill, where they found all the ford covered with dead bodies, so thick that they had choked up the mill and stopped the current of its water, and these were those that were destroyed in the urinal deluge of the mare. There they were at a stand, consulting how they might pass without hindrance by these dead carcasses. But Gymnast said, If the devils have passed there, I will pass well enough. The devils have passed there, said Eudemon, to carry away the damned souls. By St. Treignan! said Ponocrates, then by necessary consequence he shall pass there. Yes, yes, said Gymnastes, or I shall stick in the way. Then setting spurs to his horse, he passed through freely, his horse not fearing nor being anything affrighted at the sight of the dead bodies; for he had accustomed him, according to the doctrine of Aelian, not to fear armour, nor the carcasses of dead men; and that not by killing men as Diomedes did the Thracians, or as Ulysses did in throwing the corpses of his enemies at his horse's feet, as Homer saith, but by putting a Jack-a-lent amongst his hay, and making him go over it ordinarily when he gave him his oats. The other three followed him very close, except Eudemon only, whose horse's fore-right or far forefoot sank up to the knee in the paunch of a great fat chuff who lay there upon his back drowned, and could not get it out. There was he pestered, until Gargantua, with the end of his staff, thrust down the rest of the villain's tripes into the water whilst the horse pulled out his foot; and, which is a wonderful thing in hippiatry, the said horse was thoroughly cured of a ringbone which he had in that foot by this touch of the burst guts of that great looby.
Being come out of the river of Vede, they came very shortly after to Grangousier's castle, who waited for them with great longing. At their coming they were entertained with many congees, and cherished with embraces. Never was seen a more joyful company, for Supplementum Supplementi Chronicorum saith that Gargamelle died there with joy; for my part, truly I cannot tell, neither do I care very much for her, nor for anybody else. The truth was, that Gargantua, in shifting his clothes, and combing his head with a comb, which was nine hundred foot long of the Jewish cane measure, and whereof the teeth were great tusks of elephants, whole and entire, he made fall at every rake above seven balls of bullets, at a dozen the ball, that stuck in his hair at the razing of the castle of the wood of Vede. Which his father Grangousier seeing, thought they had been lice, and said unto him, What, my dear son, hast thou brought us this far some short-winged hawks of the college of Montague? I did not mean that thou shouldst reside there. Then answered Ponocrates, My sovereign lord, think not that I have placed him in that lousy college which they call Montague; I had rather have put him amongst the grave-diggers of Sanct Innocent, so enormous is the cruelty and villainy that I have known there: for the galley-slaves are far better used amongst the Moors and Tartars, the murderers in the criminal dungeons, yea, the very dogs in your house, than are the poor wretched students in the aforesaid college. And if I were King of Paris, the devil take me if I would not set it on fire, and burn both principal and regents, for suffering this inhumanity to be exercised before their eyes. Then, taking up one of these bullets, he said, These are cannon-shot, which your son Gargantua hath lately received by the treachery of your enemies, as he was passing before the wood of Vede.
But they have been so rewarded, that they are all destroyed in the ruin of the castle, as were the Philistines by the policy of Samson, and those whom the tower of Silohim slew, as it is written in the thirteenth of Luke. My opinion is, that we pursue them whilst the luck is on our side; for occasion hath all her hair on her forehead; when she is passed, you may not recall her,—she hath no tuft whereby you can lay hold on her, for she is bald in the hind-part of her head, and never returneth again. Truly, said Grangousier, it shall not be at this time; for I will make you a feast this night, and bid you welcome.
This said, they made ready supper, and, of extraordinary besides his daily fare, were roasted sixteen oxen, three heifers, two and thirty calves, three score and three fat kids, four score and fifteen wethers, three hundred farrow pigs or sheats soused in sweet wine or must, eleven score partridges, seven hundred snipes and woodcocks, four hundred Loudun and Cornwall capons, six thousand pullets, and as many pigeons, six hundred crammed hens, fourteen hundred leverets, or young hares and rabbits, three hundred and three buzzards, and one thousand and seven hundred cockerels. For venison, they could not so suddenly come by it, only eleven wild boars, which the Abbot of Turpenay sent, and eighteen fallow deer which the Lord of Gramount bestowed; together with seven score pheasants, which were sent by the Lord of Essars; and some dozens of queests, coushats, ringdoves, and woodculvers; river-fowl, teals and awteals, bitterns, courtes, plovers, francolins, briganders, tyrasons, young lapwings, tame ducks, shovellers, woodlanders, herons, moorhens, criels, storks, canepetiers, oranges, flamans, which are phaenicopters, or crimson-winged sea-fowls, terrigoles, turkeys, arbens, coots, solan-geese, curlews, termagants, and water-wagtails, with a great deal of cream, curds, and fresh cheese, and store of soup, pottages, and brewis with great variety. Without doubt there was meat enough, and it was handsomely dressed by Snapsauce, Hotchpot, and Brayverjuice, Grangousier's cooks. Jenkin Trudgeapace and Cleanglass were very careful to fill them drink.
The story requireth that we relate that which happened unto six pilgrims who came from Sebastian near to Nantes, and who for shelter that night, being afraid of the enemy, had hid themselves in the garden upon the chichling peas, among the cabbages and lettuces. Gargantua finding himself somewhat dry, asked whether they could get any lettuce to make him a salad; and hearing that there were the greatest and fairest in the country, for they were as great as plum-trees or as walnut-trees, he would go thither himself, and brought thence in his hand what he thought good, and withal carried away the six pilgrims, who were in so great fear that they did not dare to speak nor cough.
Washing them, therefore, first at the fountain, the pilgrims said one to another softly, What shall we do? We are almost drowned here amongst these lettuce, shall we speak? But if we speak, he will kill us for spies. And, as they were thus deliberating what to do, Gargantua put them with the lettuce into a platter of the house, as large as the huge tun of the White Friars of the Cistercian order; which done, with oil, vinegar, and salt, he ate them up, to refresh himself a little before supper, and had already swallowed up five of the pilgrims, the sixth being in the platter, totally hid under a lettuce, except his bourdon or staff that appeared, and nothing else. Which Grangousier seeing, said to Gargantua, I think that is the horn of a shell-snail, do not eat it. Why not? said Gargantua, they are good all this month: which he no sooner said, but, drawing up the staff, and therewith taking up the pilgrim, he ate him very well, then drank a terrible draught of excellent white wine. The pilgrims, thus devoured, made shift to save themselves as well as they could, by withdrawing their bodies out of the reach of the grinders of his teeth, but could not escape from thinking they had been put in the lowest dungeon of a prison. And when Gargantua whiffed the great draught, they thought to have been drowned in his mouth, and the flood of wine had almost carried them away into the gulf of his stomach. Nevertheless, skipping with their bourdons, as St. Michael's palmers use to do, they sheltered themselves from the danger of that inundation under the banks of his teeth. But one of them by chance, groping or sounding the country with his staff, to try whether they were in safety or no, struck hard against the cleft of a hollow tooth, and hit the mandibulary sinew or nerve of the jaw, which put Gargantua to very great pain, so that he began to cry for the rage that he felt. To ease himself therefore of his smarting ache, he called for his toothpicker, and rubbing towards a young walnut-tree, where they lay skulking, unnestled you my gentlemen pilgrims.
For he caught one by the legs, another by the scrip, another by the pocket, another by the scarf, another by the band of the breeches, and the poor fellow that had hurt him with the bourdon, him he hooked to him by the codpiece, which snatch nevertheless did him a great deal of good, for it pierced unto him a pocky botch he had in the groin, which grievously tormented him ever since they were past Ancenis. The pilgrims, thus dislodged, ran away athwart the plain a pretty fast pace, and the pain ceased, even just at the time when by Eudemon he was called to supper, for all was ready. I will go then, said he, and piss away my misfortune; which he did do in such a copious measure, that the urine taking away the feet from the pilgrims, they were carried along with the stream unto the bank of a tuft of trees. Upon which, as soon as they had taken footing, and that for their self-preservation they had run a little out of the road, they on a sudden fell all six, except Fourniller, into a trap that had been made to take wolves by a train, out of which, nevertheless, they escaped by the industry of the said Fourniller, who broke all the snares and ropes. Being gone from thence, they lay all the rest of that night in a lodge near unto Coudray, where they were comforted in their miseries by the gracious words of one of their company, called Sweer-to-go, who showed them that this adventure had been foretold by the prophet David, Psalm. Quum exsurgerent homines in nos, forte vivos deglutissent nos; when we were eaten in the salad, with salt, oil, and vinegar. Quum irasceretur furor eorum in nos, forsitan aqua absorbuisset nos; when he drank the great draught. Torrentem pertransivit anima nostra; when the stream of his water carried us to the thicket. Forsitan pertransisset anima nostra aquam intolerabilem; that is, the water of his urine, the flood whereof, cutting our way, took our feet from us. Benedictus Dominus qui non dedit nos in captionem dentibus eorum. Anima nostra sicut passer erepta est de laqueo venantium; when we fell in the trap. Laqueus contritus est, by Fourniller, et nos liberati sumus. Adjutorium nostrum, &c.
When Gargantua was set down at table, after all of them had somewhat stayed their stomachs by a snatch or two of the first bits eaten heartily, Grangousier began to relate the source and cause of the war raised between him and Picrochole; and came to tell how Friar John of the Funnels had triumphed at the defence of the close of the abbey, and extolled him for his valour above Camillus, Scipio, Pompey, Caesar, and Themistocles. Then Gargantua desired that he might be presently sent for, to the end that with him they might consult of what was to be done. Whereupon, by a joint consent, his steward went for him, and brought him along merrily, with his staff of the cross, upon Grangousier's mule. When he was come, a thousand huggings, a thousand embracements, a thousand good days were given. Ha, Friar John, my friend Friar John, my brave cousin Friar John from the devil! Let me clip thee, my heart, about the neck; to me an armful. I must grip thee, my ballock, till thy back crack with it. Come, my cod, let me coll thee till I kill thee. And Friar John, the gladdest man in the world, never was man made welcomer, never was any more courteously and graciously received than Friar John. Come, come, said Gargantua, a stool here close by me at this end. I am content, said the monk, seeing you will have it so. Some water, page; fill, my boy, fill; it is to refresh my liver. Give me some, child, to gargle my throat withal. Deposita cappa, said Gymnast, let us pull off this frock. Ho, by G—, gentlemen, said the monk, there is a chapter in Statutis Ordinis which opposeth my laying of it down. Pish! said Gymnast, a fig for your chapter! This frock breaks both your shoulders, put it off. My friend, said the monk, let me alone with it; for, by G—, I'll drink the better that it is on. It makes all my body jocund. If I should lay it aside, the waggish pages would cut to themselves garters out of it, as I was once served at Coulaines. And, which is worse, I shall lose my appetite. But if in this habit I sit down at table, I will drink, by G—, both to thee and to thy horse, and so courage, frolic, God save the company! I have already supped, yet will I eat never a whit the less for that; for I have a paved stomach, as hollow as a butt of malvoisie or St. Benedictus' boot (butt), and always open like a lawyer's pouch. Of all fishes but the tench take the wing of a partridge or the thigh of a nun. Doth not he die like a good fellow that dies with a stiff catso? Our prior loves exceedingly the white of a capon. In that, said Gymnast, he doth not resemble the foxes; for of the capons, hens, and pullets which they carry away they never eat the white. Why? said the monk. Because, said Gymnast, they have no cooks to dress them; and, if they be not competently made ready, they remain red and not white; the redness of meats being a token that they have not got enough of the fire, whether by boiling, roasting, or otherwise, except the shrimps, lobsters, crabs, and crayfishes, which are cardinalized with boiling. By God's feast-gazers, said the monk, the porter of our abbey then hath not his head well boiled, for his eyes are as red as a mazer made of an alder-tree. The thigh of this leveret is good for those that have the gout. To the purpose of the truel,—what is the reason that the thighs of a gentlewoman are always fresh and cool? This problem, said Gargantua, is neither in Aristotle, in Alexander Aphrodiseus, nor in Plutarch. There are three causes, said the monk, by which that place is naturally refreshed. Primo, because the water runs all along by it. Secundo, because it is a shady place, obscure and dark, upon which the sun never shines. And thirdly, because it is continually flabbelled, blown upon, and aired by the north winds of the hole arstick, the fan of the smock, and flipflap of the codpiece. And lusty, my lads. Some bousing liquor, page! So! crack, crack, crack. O how good is God, that gives us of this excellent juice! I call him to witness, if I had been in the time of Jesus Christ, I would have kept him from being taken by the Jews in the garden of Olivet. And the devil fail me, if I should have failed to cut off the hams of these gentlemen apostles who ran away so basely after they had well supped, and left their good master in the lurch. I hate that man worse than poison that offers to run away when he should fight and lay stoutly about him. Oh that I were but King of France for fourscore or a hundred years! By G—, I should whip like curtail-dogs these runaways of Pavia. A plague take them; why did they not choose rather to die there than to leave their good prince in that pinch and necessity? Is it not better and more honourable to perish in fighting valiantly than to live in disgrace by a cowardly running away? We are like to eat no great store of goslings this year; therefore, friend, reach me some of that roasted pig there.
Diavolo, is there no more must? No more sweet wine? Germinavit radix Jesse. Je renie ma vie, je meurs de soif; I renounce my life, I rage for thirst. This wine is none of the worst. What wine drink you at Paris? I give myself to the devil, if I did not once keep open house at Paris for all comers six months together. Do you know Friar Claude of the high kilderkins? Oh the good fellow that he is! But I do not know what fly hath stung him of late, he is become so hard a student. For my part, I study not at all. In our abbey we never study for fear of the mumps, which disease in horses is called the mourning in the chine. Our late abbot was wont to say that it is a monstrous thing to see a learned monk. By G—, master, my friend, Magis magnos clericos non sunt magis magnos sapientes. You never saw so many hares as there are this year. I could not anywhere come by a goshawk nor tassel of falcon. My Lord Belloniere promised me a lanner, but he wrote to me not long ago that he was become pursy. The partridges will so multiply henceforth, that they will go near to eat up our ears. I take no delight in the stalking-horse, for I catch such cold that I am like to founder myself at that sport. If I do not run, toil, travel, and trot about, I am not well at ease. True it is that in leaping over the hedges and bushes my frock leaves always some of its wool behind it. I have recovered a dainty greyhound; I give him to the devil, if he suffer a hare to escape him. A groom was leading him to my Lord Huntlittle, and I robbed him of him. Did I ill? No, Friar John, said Gymnast, no, by all the devils that are, no! So, said the monk, do I attest these same devils so long as they last, or rather, virtue (of) G—, what could that gouty limpard have done with so fine a dog? By the body of G—, he is better pleased when one presents him with a good yoke of oxen. How now, said Ponocrates, you swear, Friar John. It is only, said the monk, but to grace and adorn my speech. They are colours of a Ciceronian rhetoric.
By the faith of a Christian, said Eudemon, I do wonderfully dote and enter in a great ecstasy when I consider the honesty and good fellowship of this monk, for he makes us here all merry. How is it, then, that they exclude the monks from all good companies, calling them feast-troublers, marrers of mirth, and disturbers of all civil conversation, as the bees drive away the drones from their hives? Ignavum fucos pecus, said Maro, a praesepibus arcent. Hereunto, answered Gargantua, there is nothing so true as that the frock and cowl draw unto itself the opprobries, injuries, and maledictions of the world, just as the wind called Cecias attracts the clouds. The peremptory reason is, because they eat the ordure and excrements of the world, that is to say, the sins of the people, and, like dung-chewers and excrementitious eaters, they are cast into the privies and secessive places, that is, the convents and abbeys, separated from political conversation, as the jakes and retreats of a house are. But if you conceive how an ape in a family is always mocked and provokingly incensed, you shall easily apprehend how monks are shunned of all men, both young and old. The ape keeps not the house as a dog doth, he draws not in the plough as the ox, he yields neither milk nor wool as the sheep, he carrieth no burden as a horse doth. That which he doth, is only to conskite, spoil, and defile all, which is the cause wherefore he hath of all men mocks, frumperies, and bastinadoes.
After the same manner a monk—I mean those lither, idle, lazy monks—doth not labour and work, as do the peasant and artificer; doth not ward and defend the country, as doth the man of war; cureth not the sick and diseased, as the physician doth; doth neither preach nor teach, as do the evangelical doctors and schoolmasters; doth not import commodities and things necessary for the commonwealth, as the merchant doth. Therefore is it that by and of all men they are hooted at, hated, and abhorred. Yea, but, said Grangousier, they pray to God for us. Nothing less, answered Gargantua. True it is, that with a tingle tangle jangling of bells they trouble and disquiet all their neighbours about them. Right, said the monk; a mass, a matin, a vesper well rung, are half said. They mumble out great store of legends and psalms, by them not at all understood; they say many paternosters interlarded with Ave-Maries, without thinking upon or apprehending the meaning of what it is they say, which truly I call mocking of God, and not prayers. But so help them God, as they pray for us, and not for being afraid to lose their victuals, their manchots, and good fat pottage. All true Christians, of all estates and conditions, in all places and at all times, send up their prayers to God, and the Mediator prayeth and intercedeth for them, and God is gracious to them. Now such a one is our good Friar John; therefore every man desireth to have him in his company. He is no bigot or hypocrite; he is not torn and divided betwixt reality and appearance; no wretch of a rugged and peevish disposition, but honest, jovial, resolute, and a good fellow. He travels, he labours, he defends the oppressed, comforts the afflicted, helps the needy, and keeps the close of the abbey. Nay, said the monk, I do a great deal more than that; for whilst we are in despatching our matins and anniversaries in the choir, I make withal some crossbow-strings, polish glass bottles and bolts, I twist lines and weave purse nets wherein to catch coneys. I am never idle. But now, hither come, some drink, some drink here! Bring the fruit. These chestnuts are of the wood of Estrox, and with good new wine are able to make you a fine cracker and composer of bum-sonnets. You are not as yet, it seems, well moistened in this house with the sweet wine and must. By G—, I drink to all men freely, and at all fords, like a proctor or promoter's horse. Friar John, said Gymnast, take away the snot that hangs at your nose. Ha, ha, said the monk, am not I in danger of drowning, seeing I am in water even to the nose? No, no, Quare? Quia, though some water come out from thence, there never goes in any; for it is well antidoted with pot-proof armour and syrup of the vine-leaf.
Oh, my friend, he that hath winter-boots made of such leather may boldly fish for oysters, for they will never take water. What is the cause, said Gargantua, that Friar John hath such a fair nose? Because, said Grangousier, that God would have it so, who frameth us in such form and for such end as is most agreeable with his divine will, even as a potter fashioneth his vessels. Because, said Ponocrates, he came with the first to the fair of noses, and therefore made choice of the fairest and the greatest. Pish, said the monk, that is not the reason of it, but, according to the true monastical philosophy, it is because my nurse had soft teats, by virtue whereof, whilst she gave me suck, my nose did sink in as in so much butter. The hard breasts of nurses make children short-nosed. But hey, gay, Ad formam nasi cognoscitur ad te levavi. I never eat any confections, page, whilst I am at the bibbery. Item, bring me rather some toasts.
Supper being ended, they consulted of the business in hand, and concluded that about midnight they should fall unawares upon the enemy, to know what manner of watch and ward they kept, and that in the meanwhile they should take a little rest the better to refresh themselves. But Gargantua could not sleep by any means, on which side soever he turned himself. Whereupon the monk said to him, I never sleep soundly but when I am at sermon or prayers. Let us therefore begin, you and I, the seven penitential psalms, to try whether you shall not quickly fall asleep. The conceit pleased Gargantua very well, and, beginning the first of these psalms, as soon as they came to the words Beati quorum they fell asleep, both the one and the other. But the monk, for his being formerly accustomed to the hour of claustral matins, failed not to awake a little before midnight, and, being up himself, awaked all the rest, in singing aloud, and with a full clear voice, the song:
Awake, O Reinian, ho, awake! Awake, O Reinian, ho! Get up, you no more sleep must take; Get up, for we must go.
When they were all roused and up, he said, My masters, it is a usual saying, that we begin matins with coughing and supper with drinking. Let us now, in doing clean contrarily, begin our matins with drinking, and at night before supper we shall cough as hard as we can. What, said Gargantua, to drink so soon after sleep? This is not to live according to the diet and prescript rule of the physicians, for you ought first to scour and cleanse your stomach of all its superfluities and excrements. Oh, well physicked, said the monk; a hundred devils leap into my body, if there be not more old drunkards than old physicians! I have made this paction and covenant with my appetite, that it always lieth down and goes to bed with myself, for to that I every day give very good order; then the next morning it also riseth with me and gets up when I am awake. Mind you your charges, gentlemen, or tend your cures as much as you will. I will get me to my drawer; in terms of falconry, my tiring. What drawer or tiring do you mean? said Gargantua. My breviary, said the monk, for just as the falconers, before they feed their hawks, do make them draw at a hen's leg to purge their brains of phlegm and sharpen them to a good appetite, so, by taking this merry little breviary in the morning, I scour all my lungs and am presently ready to drink.
After what manner, said Gargantua, do you say these fair hours and prayers of yours? After the manner of Whipfield (Fessecamp, and corruptly Fecan.), said the monk, by three psalms and three lessons, or nothing at all, he that will. I never tie myself to hours, prayers, and sacraments; for they are made for the man and not the man for them. Therefore is it that I make my prayers in fashion of stirrup-leathers; I shorten or lengthen them when I think good. Brevis oratio penetrat caelos et longa potatio evacuat scyphos. Where is that written? By my faith, said Ponocrates, I cannot tell, my pillicock, but thou art more worth than gold. Therein, said the monk, I am like you; but, venite, apotemus. Then made they ready store of carbonadoes, or rashers on the coals, and good fat soups, or brewis with sippets; and the monk drank what he pleased. Some kept him company, and the rest did forbear, for their stomachs were not as yet opened. Afterwards every man began to arm and befit himself for the field. And they armed the monk against his will; for he desired no other armour for back and breast but his frock, nor any other weapon in his hand but the staff of the cross. Yet at their pleasure was he completely armed cap-a-pie, and mounted upon one of the best horses in the kingdom, with a good slashing shable by his side, together with Gargantua, Ponocrates, Gymnast, Eudemon, and five-and-twenty more of the most resolute and adventurous of Grangousier's house, all armed at proof with their lances in their hands, mounted like St. George, and everyone of them having an arquebusier behind him.
Thus went out those valiant champions on their adventure, in full resolution to know what enterprise they should undertake, and what to take heed of and look well to in the day of the great and horrible battle. And the monk encouraged them, saying, My children, do not fear nor doubt, I will conduct you safely. God and Sanct Benedict be with us! If I had strength answerable to my courage, by's death, I would plume them for you like ducks. I fear nothing but the great ordnance; yet I know of a charm by way of prayer, which the subsexton of our abbey taught me, that will preserve a man from the violence of guns and all manner of fire-weapons and engines; but it will do me no good, because I do not believe it. Nevertheless, I hope my staff of the cross shall this day play devilish pranks amongst them. By G—, whoever of our party shall offer to play the duck, and shrink when blows are a-dealing, I give myself to the devil, if I do not make a monk of him in my stead, and hamper him within my frock, which is a sovereign cure against cowardice. Did you never hear of my Lord Meurles his greyhound, which was not worth a straw in the fields? He put a frock about his neck: by the body of G—, there was neither hare nor fox that could escape him, and, which is more, he lined all the bitches in the country, though before that he was feeble-reined and ex frigidis et maleficiatis.
The monk uttering these words in choler, as he passed under a walnut-tree, in his way towards the causey, he broached the vizor of his helmet on the stump of a great branch of the said tree. Nevertheless, he set his spurs so fiercely to the horse, who was full of mettle and quick on the spur, that he bounded forwards, and the monk going about to ungrapple his vizor, let go his hold of the bridle, and so hanged by his hand upon the bough, whilst his horse stole away from under him. By this means was the monk left hanging on the walnut-tree, and crying for help, murder, murder, swearing also that he was betrayed. Eudemon perceived him first, and calling Gargantua said, Sir, come and see Absalom hanging. Gargantua, being come, considered the countenance of the monk, and in what posture he hanged; wherefore he said to Eudemon, You were mistaken in comparing him to Absalom; for Absalom hung by his hair, but this shaveling monk hangeth by the ears. Help me, said the monk, in the devil's name; is this a time for you to prate? You seem to me to be like the decretalist preachers, who say that whosoever shall see his neighbour in the danger of death, ought, upon pain of trisulk excommunication, rather choose to admonish him to make his confession to a priest, and put his conscience in the state of peace, than otherwise to help and relieve him.
And therefore when I shall see them fallen into a river, and ready to be drowned, I shall make them a fair long sermon de contemptu mundi, et fuga seculi; and when they are stark dead, shall then go to their aid and succour in fishing after them. Be quiet, said Gymnast, and stir not, my minion. I am now coming to unhang thee and to set thee at freedom, for thou art a pretty little gentle monachus. Monachus in claustro non valet ova duo; sed quando est extra, bene valet triginta. I have seen above five hundred hanged, but I never saw any have a better countenance in his dangling and pendilatory swagging. Truly, if I had so good a one, I would willingly hang thus all my lifetime. What, said the monk, have you almost done preaching? Help me, in the name of God, seeing you will not in the name of the other spirit, or, by the habit which I wear, you shall repent it, tempore et loco praelibatis.
Then Gymnast alighted from his horse, and, climbing up the walnut-tree, lifted up the monk with one hand by the gussets of his armour under the armpits, and with the other undid his vizor from the stump of the broken branch; which done, he let him fall to the ground and himself after. As soon as the monk was down, he put off all his armour, and threw away one piece after another about the field, and, taking to him again his staff of the cross, remounted up to his horse, which Eudemon had caught in his running away. Then went they on merrily, riding along on the highway.
Picrochole, at the relation of those who had escaped out of the broil and defeat wherein Tripet was untriped, grew very angry that the devils should have so run upon his men, and held all that night a counsel of war, at which Rashcalf and Touchfaucet (Hastiveau, Touquedillon.), concluded his power to be such that he was able to defeat all the devils of hell if they should come to jostle with his forces. This Picrochole did not fully believe, though he doubted not much of it. Therefore sent he under the command and conduct of the Count Drawforth, for discovering of the country, the number of sixteen hundred horsemen, all well mounted upon light horses for skirmish and thoroughly besprinkled with holy water; and everyone for their field-mark or cognizance had the sign of a star in his scarf, to serve at all adventures in case they should happen to encounter with devils, that by the virtue, as well of that Gregorian water as of the stars which they wore, they might make them disappear and evanish.
In this equipage they made an excursion upon the country till they came near to the Vauguyon, which is the valley of Guyon, and to the spital, but could never find anybody to speak unto; whereupon they returned a little back, and took occasion to pass above the aforesaid hospital to try what intelligence they could come by in those parts. In which resolution riding on, and by chance in a pastoral lodge or shepherd's cottage near to Coudray hitting upon the five pilgrims, they carried them way-bound and manacled, as if they had been spies, for all the exclamations, adjurations, and requests that they could make. Being come down from thence towards Seville, they were heard by Gargantua, who said then unto those that were with him, Comrades and fellow-soldiers, we have here met with an encounter, and they are ten times in number more than we. Shall we charge them or no? What a devil, said the monk, shall we do else? Do you esteem men by their number rather than by their valour and prowess? With this he cried out, Charge, devils, charge! Which when the enemies heard, they thought certainly that they had been very devils, and therefore even then began all of them to run away as hard as they could drive, Drawforth only excepted, who immediately settled his lance on its rest, and therewith hit the monk with all his force on the very middle of his breast, but, coming against his horrific frock, the point of the iron being with the blow either broke off or blunted, it was in matter of execution as if you had struck against an anvil with a little wax-candle.
Then did the monk with his staff of the cross give him such a sturdy thump and whirret betwixt his neck and shoulders, upon the acromion bone, that he made him lose both sense and motion and fall down stone dead at his horse's feet; and, seeing the sign of the star which he wore scarfwise, he said unto Gargantua, These men are but priests, which is but the beginning of a monk; by St. John, I am a perfect monk, I will kill them to you like flies. Then ran he after them at a swift and full gallop till he overtook the rear, and felled them down like tree-leaves, striking athwart and alongst and every way. Gymnast presently asked Gargantua if they should pursue them. To whom Gargantua answered, By no means; for, according to right military discipline, you must never drive your enemy unto despair, for that such a strait doth multiply his force and increase his courage, which was before broken and cast down; neither is there any better help or outrage of relief for men that are amazed, out of heart, toiled, and spent, than to hope for no favour at all. How many victories have been taken out of the hands of the victors by the vanquished, when they would not rest satisfied with reason, but attempt to put all to the sword, and totally to destroy their enemies, without leaving so much as one to carry home news of the defeat of his fellows. Open, therefore, unto your enemies all the gates and ways, and make to them a bridge of silver rather than fail, that you may be rid of them. Yea, but, said Gymnast, they have the monk. Have they the monk? said Gargantua. Upon mine honour, then, it will prove to their cost. But to prevent all dangers, let us not yet retreat, but halt here quietly as in an ambush; for I think I do already understand the policy and judgment of our enemies. They are truly more directed by chance and mere fortune than by good advice and counsel. In the meanwhile, whilst these made a stop under the walnut-trees, the monk pursued on the chase, charging all he overtook, and giving quarter to none, until he met with a trooper who carried behind him one of the poor pilgrims, and there would have rifled him. The pilgrim, in hope of relief at the sight of the monk, cried out, Ha, my lord prior, my good friend, my lord prior, save me, I beseech you, save me! Which words being heard by those that rode in the van, they instantly faced about, and seeing there was nobody but the monk that made this great havoc and slaughter among them, they loaded him with blows as thick as they use to do an ass with wood. But of all this he felt nothing, especially when they struck upon his frock, his skin was so hard. Then they committed him to two of the marshal's men to keep, and, looking about, saw nobody coming against them, whereupon they thought that Gargantua and his party were fled. Then was it that they rode as hard as they could towards the walnut-trees to meet with them, and left the monk there all alone, with his two foresaid men to guard him. Gargantua heard the noise and neighing of the horses, and said to his men, Comrades, I hear the track and beating of the enemy's horse-feet, and withal perceive that some of them come in a troop and full body against us. Let us rally and close here, then set forward in order, and by this means we shall be able to receive their charge to their loss and our honour.
The monk, seeing them break off thus without order, conjectured that they were to set upon Gargantua and those that were with him, and was wonderfully grieved that he could not succour them. Then considered he the countenance of the two keepers in whose custody he was, who would have willingly run after the troops to get some booty and plunder, and were always looking towards the valley unto which they were going. Farther, he syllogized, saying, These men are but badly skilled in matters of war, for they have not required my parole, neither have they taken my sword from me. Suddenly hereafter he drew his brackmard or horseman's sword, wherewith he gave the keeper which held him on the right side such a sound slash that he cut clean through the jugulary veins and the sphagitid or transparent arteries of the neck, with the fore-part of the throat called the gargareon, even unto the two adenes, which are throat kernels; and, redoubling the blow, he opened the spinal marrow betwixt the second and third vertebrae. There fell down that keeper stark dead to the ground. Then the monk, reining his horse to the left, ran upon the other, who, seeing his fellow dead, and the monk to have the advantage of him, cried with a loud voice, Ha, my lord prior, quarter; I yield, my lord prior, quarter; quarter, my good friend, my lord prior. And the monk cried likewise, My lord posterior, my friend, my lord posterior, you shall have it upon your posteriorums. Ha, said the keeper, my lord prior, my minion, my gentle lord prior, I pray God make you an abbot. By the habit, said the monk, which I wear, I will here make you a cardinal. What! do you use to pay ransoms to religious men? You shall therefore have by-and-by a red hat of my giving. And the fellow cried, Ha, my lord prior, my lord prior, my lord abbot that shall be, my lord cardinal, my lord all! Ha, ha, hes, no, my lord prior, my good little lord the prior, I yield, render and deliver myself up to you. And I deliver thee, said the monk, to all the devils in hell. Then at one stroke he cut off his head, cutting his scalp upon the temple-bones, and lifting up in the upper part of the skull the two triangulary bones called sincipital, or the two bones bregmatis, together with the sagittal commissure or dartlike seam which distinguisheth the right side of the head from the left, as also a great part of the coronal or forehead bone, by which terrible blow likewise he cut the two meninges or films which enwrap the brain, and made a deep wound in the brain's two posterior ventricles, and the cranium or skull abode hanging upon his shoulders by the skin of the pericranium behind, in form of a doctor's bonnet, black without and red within. Thus fell he down also to the ground stark dead.
And presently the monk gave his horse the spur, and kept the way that the enemy held, who had met with Gargantua and his companions in the broad highway, and were so diminished of their number for the enormous slaughter that Gargantua had made with his great tree amongst them, as also Gymnast, Ponocrates, Eudemon, and the rest, that they began to retreat disorderly and in great haste, as men altogether affrighted and troubled in both sense and understanding, and as if they had seen the very proper species and form of death before their eyes; or rather, as when you see an ass with a brizze or gadbee under his tail, or fly that stings him, run hither and thither without keeping any path or way, throwing down his load to the ground, breaking his bridle and reins, and taking no breath nor rest, and no man can tell what ails him, for they see not anything touch him. So fled these people destitute of wit, without knowing any cause of flying, only pursued by a panic terror which in their minds they had conceived. The monk, perceiving that their whole intent was to betake themselves to their heels, alighted from his horse and got upon a big large rock which was in the way, and with his great brackmard sword laid such load upon those runaways, and with main strength fetching a compass with his arm without feigning or sparing, slew and overthrew so many that his sword broke in two pieces. Then thought he within himself that he had slain and killed sufficiently, and that the rest should escape to carry news. Therefore he took up a battle-axe of those that lay there dead, and got upon the rock again, passing his time to see the enemy thus flying and to tumble himself amongst the dead bodies, only that he suffered none to carry pike, sword, lance, nor gun with him, and those who carried the pilgrims bound he made to alight, and gave their horses unto the said pilgrims, keeping them there with him under the hedge, and also Touchfaucet, who was then his prisoner.
This skirmish being ended, Gargantua retreated with his men, excepting the monk, and about the dawning of the day they came unto Grangousier, who in his bed was praying unto God for their safety and victory. And seeing them all safe and sound, he embraced them lovingly, and asked what was become of the monk. Gargantua answered him that without doubt the enemies had the monk. Then have they mischief and ill luck, said Grangousier; which was very true. Therefore is it a common proverb to this day, to give a man the monk, or, as in French, lui bailler le moine, when they would express the doing unto one a mischief. Then commanded he a good breakfast to be provided for their refreshment. When all was ready, they called Gargantua, but he was so aggrieved that the monk was not to be heard of that he would neither eat nor drink. In the meanwhile the monk comes, and from the gate of the outer court cries out aloud, Fresh wine, fresh wine, Gymnast my friend! Gymnast went out and saw that it was Friar John, who brought along with him five pilgrims and Touchfaucet prisoners; whereupon Gargantua likewise went forth to meet him, and all of them made him the best welcome that possibly they could, and brought him before Grangousier, who asked him of all his adventures. The monk told him all, both how he was taken, how he rid himself of his keepers, of the slaughter he had made by the way, and how he had rescued the pilgrims and brought along with him Captain Touchfaucet. Then did they altogether fall to banqueting most merrily. In the meantime Grangousier asked the pilgrims what countrymen they were, whence they came, and whither they went. Sweer-to-go in the name of the rest answered, My sovereign lord, I am of Saint Genou in Berry, this man is of Palvau, this other is of Onzay, this of Argy, this of St. Nazarand, and this man of Villebrenin. We come from Saint Sebastian near Nantes, and are now returning, as we best may, by easy journeys. Yea, but, said Grangousier, what went you to do at Saint Sebastian? We went, said Sweer-to-go, to offer up unto that sanct our vows against the plague. Ah, poor men! said Grangousier, do you think that the plague comes from Saint Sebastian? Yes, truly, answered Sweer-to-go, our preachers tell us so indeed. But is it so, said Grangousier, do the false prophets teach you such abuses? Do they thus blaspheme the sancts and holy men of God, as to make them like unto the devils, who do nothing but hurt unto mankind,—as Homer writeth, that the plague was sent into the camp of the Greeks by Apollo, and as the poets feign a great rabble of Vejoves and mischievous gods. So did a certain cafard or dissembling religionary preach at Sinay, that Saint Anthony sent the fire into men's legs, that Saint Eutropius made men hydropic, Saint Clidas, fools, and that Saint Genou made them goutish. But I punished him so exemplarily, though he called me heretic for it, that since that time no such hypocritical rogue durst set his foot within my territories. And truly I wonder that your king should suffer them in their sermons to publish such scandalous doctrine in his dominions; for they deserve to be chastised with greater severity than those who, by magical art, or any other device, have brought the pestilence into a country. The pest killeth but the bodies, but such abominable imposters empoison our very souls. As he spake these words, in came the monk very resolute, and asked them, Whence are you, you poor wretches? Of Saint Genou, said they. And how, said the monk, does the Abbot Gulligut, the good drinker,—and the monks, what cheer make they? By G— body, they'll have a fling at your wives, and breast them to some purpose, whilst you are upon your roaming rant and gadding pilgrimage. Hin, hen, said Sweer-to-go, I am not afraid of mine, for he that shall see her by day will never break his neck to come to her in the night-time. Yea, marry, said the monk, now you have hit it. Let her be as ugly as ever was Proserpina, she will once, by the Lord G—, be overturned, and get her skin-coat shaken, if there dwell any monks near to her; for a good carpenter will make use of any kind of timber. Let me be peppered with the pox, if you find not all your wives with child at your return; for the very shadow of the steeple of an abbey is fruitful. It is, said Gargantua, like the water of Nilus in Egypt, if you believe Strabo and Pliny, Lib. 7, cap. 3. What virtue will there be then, said the monk, in their bullets of concupiscence, their habits and their bodies?
Then, said Grangousier, go your ways, poor men, in the name of God the Creator, to whom I pray to guide you perpetually, and henceforward be not so ready to undertake these idle and unprofitable journeys. Look to your families, labour every man in his vocation, instruct your children, and live as the good apostle St. Paul directeth you; in doing whereof, God, his angels and sancts, will guard and protect you, and no evil or plague at any time shall befall you. Then Gargantua led them into the hall to take their refection; but the pilgrims did nothing but sigh, and said to Gargantua, O how happy is that land which hath such a man for their lord! We have been more edified and instructed by the talk which he had with us, than by all the sermons that ever were preached in our town. This is, said Gargantua, that which Plato saith, Lib. 5 de Republ., that those commonwealths are happy, whose rulers philosophate, and whose philosophers rule. Then caused he their wallets to be filled with victuals and their bottles with wine, and gave unto each of them a horse to ease them upon the way, together with some pence to live by.
Touchfaucet was presented unto Grangousier, and by him examined upon the enterprise and attempt of Picrochole, what it was he could pretend to, or aim at, by the rustling stir and tumultuary coil of this his sudden invasion. Whereunto he answered, that his end and purpose was to conquer all the country, if he could, for the injury done to his cake-bakers. It is too great an undertaking, said Grangousier; and, as the proverb is, He that grips too much, holds fast but little. The time is not now as formerly, to conquer the kingdoms of our neighbour princes, and to build up our own greatness upon the loss of our nearest Christian Brother. This imitation of the ancient Herculeses, Alexanders, Hannibals, Scipios, Caesars, and other such heroes, is quite contrary to the profession of the gospel of Christ, by which we are commanded to preserve, keep, rule, and govern every man his own country and lands, and not in a hostile manner to invade others; and that which heretofore the Barbars and Saracens called prowess and valour, we do now call robbing, thievery, and wickedness. It would have been more commendable in him to have contained himself within the bounds of his own territories, royally governing them, than to insult and domineer in mine, pillaging and plundering everywhere like a most unmerciful enemy; for, by ruling his own with discretion, he might have increased his greatness, but by robbing me he cannot escape destruction. Go your ways in the name of God, prosecute good enterprises, show your king what is amiss, and never counsel him with regard unto your own particular profit, for the public loss will swallow up the private benefit. As for your ransom, I do freely remit it to you, and will that your arms and horse be restored to you; so should good neighbours do, and ancient friends, seeing this our difference is not properly war. As Plato, Lib. 5 de Repub., would not have it called war, but sedition, when the Greeks took up arms against one another, and that therefore, when such combustions should arise amongst them, his advice was to behave themselves in the managing of them with all discretion and modesty. Although you call it war, it is but superficial; it entereth not into the closet and inmost cabinet of our hearts. For neither of us hath been wronged in his honour, nor is there any question betwixt us in the main, but only how to redress, by the bye, some petty faults committed by our men,—I mean, both yours and ours, which, although you knew, you ought to let pass; for these quarrelsome persons deserve rather to be contemned than mentioned, especially seeing I offered them satisfaction according to the wrong. God shall be the just judge of our variances, whom I beseech by death rather to take me out of this life, and to permit my goods to perish and be destroyed before mine eyes, than that by me or mine he should in any sort be wronged. These words uttered, he called the monk, and before them all thus spoke unto him, Friar John, my good friend, it is you that took prisoner the Captain Touchfaucet here present? Sir, said the monk, seeing himself is here, and that he is of the years of discretion, I had rather you should know it by his confession than by any words of mine. Then said Touchfaucet, My sovereign lord it is he indeed that took me, and I do therefore most freely yield myself his prisoner. Have you put him to any ransom? said Grangousier to the monk. No, said the monk, of that I take no care. How much would you have for having taken him? Nothing, nothing, said the monk; I am not swayed by that, nor do I regard it. Then Grangousier commanded that, in presence of Touchfaucet, should be delivered to the monk for taking him the sum of three score and two thousand saluts (in English money, fifteen thousand and five hundred pounds), which was done, whilst they made a collation or little banquet to the said Touchfaucet, of whom Grangousier asked if he would stay with him, or if he loved rather to return to his king. Touchfaucet answered that he was content to take whatever course he would advise him to. Then, said Grangousier, return unto your king, and God be with you.
Then he gave him an excellent sword of a Vienne blade, with a golden scabbard wrought with vine-branch-like flourishes, of fair goldsmith's work, and a collar or neck-chain of gold, weighing seven hundred and two thousand marks (at eight ounces each), garnished with precious stones of the finest sort, esteemed at a hundred and sixty thousand ducats, and ten thousand crowns more, as an honourable donative, by way of present.
After this talk Touchfaucet got to his horse, and Gargantua for his safety allowed him the guard of thirty men-at-arms and six score archers to attend him, under the conduct of Gymnast, to bring him even unto the gate of the rock Clermond, if there were need. As soon as he was gone, the monk restored unto Grangousier the three score and two thousand saluts which he had received, saying, Sir, it is not as yet the time for you to give such gifts; stay till this war be at an end, for none can tell what accidents may occur, and war begun without good provision of money beforehand for going through with it, is but as a breathing of strength, and blast that will quickly pass away. Coin is the sinews of war. Well then, said Grangousier, at the end I will content you by some honest recompense, as also all those who shall do me good service.
About this same time those of Besse, of the Old Market, of St. James' Bourg, of the Draggage, of Parille, of the Rivers, of the rocks St. Pol, of the Vaubreton, of Pautille, of the Brehemont, of Clainbridge, of Cravant, of Grammont, of the town at the Badgerholes, of Huymes, of Segre, of Husse, of St. Lovant, of Panzoust, of the Coldraux, of Verron, of Coulaines, of Chose, of Varenes, of Bourgueil, of the Bouchard Island, of the Croullay, of Narsay, of Cande, of Montsoreau, and other bordering places, sent ambassadors unto Grangousier, to tell him that they were advised of the great wrongs which Picrochole had done him, and, in regard of their ancient confederacy, offered him what assistance they could afford, both in men, money, victuals, and ammunition, and other necessaries for war. The money which by the joint agreement of them all was sent unto him, amounted to six score and fourteen millions, two crowns and a half of pure gold. The forces wherewith they did assist him did consist in fifteen thousand cuirassiers, two-and-thirty thousand light horsemen, four score and nine thousand dragoons, and a hundred-and-forty thousand volunteer adventurers. These had with them eleven thousand and two hundred cannons, double cannons, long pieces of artillery called basilisks, and smaller sized ones known by the name of spirols, besides the mortar-pieces and grenadoes. Of pioneers they had seven-and-forty thousand, all victualled and paid for six months and four days of advance. Which offer Gargantua did not altogether refuse, nor wholly accept of; but, giving them hearty thanks, said that he would compose and order the war by such a device, that there should not be found great need to put so many honest men to trouble in the managing of it; and therefore was content at that time to give order only for bringing along the legions which he maintained in his ordinary garrison towns of the Deviniere, of Chavigny, of Gravot, and of the Quinquenais, amounting to the number of two thousand cuirassiers, three score and six thousand foot-soldiers, six-and-twenty thousand dragoons, attended by two hundred pieces of great ordnance, two-and-twenty thousand pioneers, and six thousand light horsemen, all drawn up in troops, so well befitted and accommodated with their commissaries, sutlers, farriers, harness-makers, and other such like necessary members in a military camp, so fully instructed in the art of warfare, so perfectly knowing and following their colours, so ready to hear and obey their captains, so nimble to run, so strong at their charging, so prudent in their adventures, and every day so well disciplined, that they seemed rather to be a concert of organ-pipes, or mutual concord of the wheels of a clock, than an infantry and cavalry, or army of soldiers.
Touchfaucet immediately after his return presented himself before Picrochole, and related unto him at large all that he had done and seen, and at last endeavoured to persuade him with strong and forcible arguments to capitulate and make an agreement with Grangousier, whom he found to be the honestest man in the world; saying further, that it was neither right nor reason thus to trouble his neighbours, of whom they had never received anything but good. And in regard of the main point, that they should never be able to go through stitch with that war, but to their great damage and mischief; for the forces of Picrochole were not so considerable but that Grangousier could easily overthrow them.
He had not well done speaking when Rashcalf said out aloud, Unhappy is that prince which is by such men served, who are so easily corrupted, as I know Touchfaucet is. For I see his courage so changed that he had willingly joined with our enemies to fight against us and betray us, if they would have received him; but as virtue is of all, both friends and foes, praised and esteemed, so is wickedness soon known and suspected, and although it happen the enemies to make use thereof for their profit, yet have they always the wicked and the traitors in abomination.
Touchfaucet being at these words very impatient, drew out his sword, and therewith ran Rashcalf through the body, a little under the nipple of his left side, whereof he died presently, and pulling back his sword out of his body said boldly, So let him perish that shall a faithful servant blame. Picrochole incontinently grew furious, and seeing Touchfaucet's new sword and his scabbard so richly diapered with flourishes of most excellent workmanship, said, Did they give thee this weapon so feloniously therewith to kill before my face my so good friend Rashcalf? Then immediately commanded he his guard to hew him in pieces, which was instantly done, and that so cruelly that the chamber was all dyed with blood. Afterwards he appointed the corpse of Rashcalf to be honourably buried, and that of Touchfaucet to be cast over the walls into the ditch.
The news of these excessive violences were quickly spread through all the army; whereupon many began to murmur against Picrochole, in so far that Pinchpenny said to him, My sovereign lord, I know not what the issue of this enterprise will be. I see your men much dejected, and not well resolved in their minds, by considering that we are here very ill provided of victual, and that our number is already much diminished by three or four sallies. Furthermore, great supplies and recruits come daily in to your enemies; but we so moulder away that, if we be once besieged, I do not see how we can escape a total destruction. Tush, pish, said Picrochole, you are like the Melun eels, you cry before they come to you. Let them come, let them come, if they dare.
Gargantua had the charge of the whole army, and his father Grangousier stayed in his castle, who, encouraging them with good words, promised great rewards unto those that should do any notable service. Having thus set forward, as soon as they had gained the pass at the ford of Vede, with boats and bridges speedily made they passed over in a trice. Then considering the situation of the town, which was on a high and advantageous place, Gargantua thought fit to call his council, and pass that night in deliberation upon what was to be done. But Gymnast said unto him, My sovereign lord, such is the nature and complexion of the French, that they are worth nothing but at the first push. Then are they more fierce than devils. But if they linger a little and be wearied with delays, they'll prove more faint and remiss than women. My opinion is, therefore, that now presently, after your men have taken breath and some small refection, you give order for a resolute assault, and that we storm them instantly. His advice was found very good, and for effectuating thereof he brought forth his army into the plain field, and placed the reserves on the skirt or rising of a little hill. The monk took along with him six companies of foot and two hundred horsemen well armed, and with great diligence crossed the marsh, and valiantly got upon the top of the green hillock even unto the highway which leads to Loudun. Whilst the assault was thus begun, Picrochole's men could not tell well what was best, to issue out and receive the assailants, or keep within the town and not to stir. Himself in the mean time, without deliberation, sallied forth in a rage with the cavalry of his guard, who were forthwith received and royally entertained with great cannon-shot that fell upon them like hail from the high grounds on which the artillery was planted. Whereupon the Gargantuists betook themselves unto the valleys, to give the ordnance leave to play and range with the larger scope.
Those of the town defended themselves as well as they could, but their shot passed over us without doing us any hurt at all. Some of Picrochole's men that had escaped our artillery set most fiercely upon our soldiers, but prevailed little; for they were all let in betwixt the files, and there knocked down to the ground, which their fellow-soldiers seeing, they would have retreated, but the monk having seized upon the pass by the which they were to return, they ran away and fled in all the disorder and confusion that could be imagined.
Some would have pursued after them and followed the chase, but the monk withheld them, apprehending that in their pursuit the pursuers might lose their ranks, and so give occasion to the besieged to sally out of the town upon them. Then staying there some space and none coming against him, he sent the Duke Phrontist to advise Gargantua to advance towards the hill upon the left hand, to hinder Picrochole's retreat at that gate; which Gargantua did with all expedition, and sent thither four brigades under the conduct of Sebast, which had no sooner reached the top of the hill, but they met Picrochole in the teeth, and those that were with him scattered.
Then charged they upon them stoutly, yet were they much endamaged by those that were upon the walls, who galled them with all manner of shot, both from the great ordnance, small guns, and bows. Which Gargantua perceiving, he went with a strong party to their relief, and with his artillery began to thunder so terribly upon that canton of the wall, and so long, that all the strength within the town, to maintain and fill up the breach, was drawn thither. The monk seeing that quarter which he kept besieged void of men and competent guards, and in a manner altogether naked and abandoned, did most magnanimously on a sudden lead up his men towards the fort, and never left it till he had got up upon it, knowing that such as come to the reserve in a conflict bring with them always more fear and terror than those that deal about them with they hands in the fight.
Nevertheless, he gave no alarm till all his soldiers had got within the wall, except the two hundred horsemen, whom he left without to secure his entry. Then did he give a most horrible shout, so did all these who were with him, and immediately thereafter, without resistance, putting to the edge of the sword the guard that was at that gate, they opened it to the horsemen, with whom most furiously they altogether ran towards the east gate, where all the hurlyburly was, and coming close upon them in the rear overthrew all their forces.
The besieged, seeing that the Gargantuists had won the town upon them, and that they were like to be secure in no corner of it, submitted themselves unto the mercy of the monk, and asked for quarter, which the monk very nobly granted to them, yet made them lay down their arms; then, shutting them up within churches, gave order to seize upon all the staves of the crosses, and placed men at the doors to keep them from coming forth. Then opening that east gate, he issued out to succour and assist Gargantua. But Picrochole, thinking it had been some relief coming to him from the town, adventured more forwardly than before, and was upon the giving of a most desperate home-charge, when Gargantua cried out, Ha, Friar John, my friend Friar John, you are come in a good hour. Which unexpected accident so affrighted Picrochole and his men, that, giving all for lost, they betook themselves to their heels, and fled on all hands. Gargantua chased them till they came near to Vaugaudry, killing and slaying all the way, and then sounded the retreat.
Picrochole thus in despair fled towards the Bouchard Island, and in the way to Riviere his horse stumbled and fell down, whereat he on a sudden was so incensed, that he with his sword without more ado killed him in his choler; then, not finding any that would remount him, he was about to have taken an ass at the mill that was thereby; but the miller's men did so baste his bones and so soundly bethwack him that they made him both black and blue with strokes; then stripping him of all his clothes, gave him a scurvy old canvas jacket wherewith to cover his nakedness. Thus went along this poor choleric wretch, who, passing the water at Port-Huaulx, and relating his misadventurous disasters, was foretold by an old Lourpidon hag that his kingdom should be restored to him at the coming of the Cocklicranes, which she called Coquecigrues. What is become of him since we cannot certainly tell, yet was I told that he is now a porter at Lyons, as testy and pettish in humour as ever he was before, and would be always with great lamentation inquiring at all strangers of the coming of the Cocklicranes, expecting assuredly, according to the old woman's prophecy, that at their coming he shall be re-established in his kingdom. The first thing Gargantua did after his return into the town was to call the muster-roll of his men, which when he had done, he found that there were very few either killed or wounded, only some few foot of Captain Tolmere's company, and Ponocrates, who was shot with a musket-ball through the doublet. Then he caused them all at and in their several posts and divisions to take a little refreshment, which was very plenteously provided for them in the best drink and victuals that could be had for money, and gave order to the treasurers and commissaries of the army to pay for and defray that repast, and that there should be no outrage at all nor abuse committed in the town, seeing it was his own. And furthermore commanded, that immediately after the soldiers had done with eating and drinking for that time sufficiently and to their own hearts' desire, a gathering should be beaten for bringing them altogether, to be drawn up on the piazza before the castle, there to receive six months' pay completely. All which was done. After this, by his direction, were brought before him in the said place all those that remained of Picrochole's party, unto whom, in the presence of the princes, nobles, and officers of his court and army, he spoke as followeth.
Our forefathers and ancestors of all times have been of this nature and disposition, that, upon the winning of a battle, they have chosen rather, for a sign and memorial of their triumphs and victories, to erect trophies and monuments in the hearts of the vanquished by clemency than by architecture in the lands which they had conquered. For they did hold in greater estimation the lively remembrance of men purchased by liberality than the dumb inscription of arches, pillars, and pyramids, subject to the injury of storms and tempests, and to the envy of everyone. You may very well remember of the courtesy which by them was used towards the Bretons in the battle of St. Aubin of Cormier and at the demolishing of Partenay. You have heard, and hearing admire, their gentle comportment towards those at the barriers (the barbarians) of Spaniola, who had plundered, wasted, and ransacked the maritime borders of Olone and Thalmondois. All this hemisphere of the world was filled with the praises and congratulations which yourselves and your fathers made, when Alpharbal, King of Canarre, not satisfied with his own fortunes, did most furiously invade the land of Onyx, and with cruel piracies molest all the Armoric Islands and confine regions of Britany. Yet was he in a set naval fight justly taken and vanquished by my father, whom God preserve and protect. But what? Whereas other kings and emperors, yea, those who entitle themselves Catholics, would have dealt roughly with him, kept him a close prisoner, and put him to an extreme high ransom, he entreated him very courteously, lodged him kindly with himself in his own palace, and out of his incredible mildness and gentle disposition sent him back with a safe conduct, laden with gifts, laden with favours, laden with all offices of friendship. What fell out upon it? Being returned into his country, he called a parliament, where all the princes and states of his kingdom being assembled, he showed them the humanity which he had found in us, and therefore wished them to take such course by way of compensation therein as that the whole world might be edified by the example, as well of their honest graciousness to us as of our gracious honesty towards them. The result hereof was, that it was voted and decreed by an unanimous consent, that they should offer up entirely their lands, dominions, and kingdoms, to be disposed of by us according to our pleasure.
Alpharbal in his own person presently returned with nine thousand and thirty-eight great ships of burden, bringing with him the treasures, not only of his house and royal lineage, but almost of all the country besides. For he embarking himself, to set sail with a west-north-east wind, everyone in heaps did cast into the ship gold, silver, rings, jewels, spices, drugs, and aromatical perfumes, parrots, pelicans, monkeys, civet-cats, black-spotted weasels, porcupines, &c. He was accounted no good mother's son that did not cast in all the rare and precious things he had.
Being safely arrived, he came to my said father, and would have kissed his feet. That action was found too submissively low, and therefore was not permitted, but in exchange he was most cordially embraced. He offered his presents; they were not received, because they were too excessive: he yielded himself voluntarily a servant and vassal, and was content his whole posterity should be liable to the same bondage; this was not accepted of, because it seemed not equitable: he surrendered, by virtue of the decree of his great parliamentary council, his whole countries and kingdoms to him, offering the deed and conveyance, signed, sealed, and ratified by all those that were concerned in it; this was altogether refused, and the parchments cast into the fire. In end, this free goodwill and simple meaning of the Canarians wrought such tenderness in my father's heart that he could not abstain from shedding tears, and wept most profusely; then, by choice words very congruously adapted, strove in what he could to diminish the estimation of the good offices which he had done them, saying, that any courtesy he had conferred upon them was not worth a rush, and what favour soever he had showed them he was bound to do it. But so much the more did Alpharbal augment the repute thereof. What was the issue? Whereas for his ransom, in the greatest extremity of rigour and most tyrannical dealing, could not have been exacted above twenty times a hundred thousand crowns, and his eldest sons detained as hostages till that sum had been paid, they made themselves perpetual tributaries, and obliged to give us every year two millions of gold at four-and-twenty carats fine. The first year we received the whole sum of two millions; the second year of their own accord they paid freely to us three-and-twenty hundred thousand crowns; the third year, six-and-twenty hundred thousand; the fourth year, three millions, and do so increase it always out of their own goodwill that we shall be constrained to forbid them to bring us any more. This is the nature of gratitude and true thankfulness. For time, which gnaws and diminisheth all things else, augments and increaseth benefits; because a noble action of liberality, done to a man of reason, doth grow continually by his generous thinking of it and remembering it.
Being unwilling therefore any way to degenerate from the hereditary mildness and clemency of my parents, I do now forgive you, deliver you from all fines and imprisonments, fully release you, set you at liberty, and every way make you as frank and free as ever you were before. Moreover, at your going out of the gate, you shall have every one of you three months' pay to bring you home into your houses and families, and shall have a safe convoy of six hundred cuirassiers and eight thousand foot under the conduct of Alexander, esquire of my body, that the clubmen of the country may not do you any injury. God be with you! I am sorry from my heart that Picrochole is not here; for I would have given him to understand that this war was undertaken against my will and without any hope to increase either my goods or renown. But seeing he is lost, and that no man can tell where nor how he went away, it is my will that his kingdom remain entire to his son; who, because he is too young, he not being yet full five years old, shall be brought up and instructed by the ancient princes and learned men of the kingdom. And because a realm thus desolate may easily come to ruin, if the covetousness and avarice of those who by their places are obliged to administer justice in it be not curbed and restrained, I ordain and will have it so, that Ponocrates be overseer and superintendent above all his governors, with whatever power and authority is requisite thereto, and that he be continually with the child until he find him able and capable to rule and govern by himself.
Now I must tell you, that you are to understand how a too feeble and dissolute facility in pardoning evildoers giveth them occasion to commit wickedness afterwards more readily, upon this pernicious confidence of receiving favour. I consider that Moses, the meekest man that was in his time upon the earth, did severely punish the mutinous and seditious people of Israel. I consider likewise that Julius Caesar, who was so gracious an emperor that Cicero said of him that his fortune had nothing more excellent than that he could, and his virtue nothing better than that he would always save and pardon every man—he, notwithstanding all this, did in certain places most rigorously punish the authors of rebellion. After the example of these good men, it is my will and pleasure that you deliver over unto me before you depart hence, first, that fine fellow Marquet, who was the prime cause, origin, and groundwork of this war by his vain presumption and overweening; secondly, his fellow cake-bakers, who were neglective in checking and reprehending his idle hairbrained humour in the instant time; and lastly, all the councillors, captains, officers, and domestics of Picrochole, who had been incendiaries or fomenters of the war by provoking, praising, or counselling him to come out of his limits thus to trouble us.
When Gargantua had finished his speech, the seditious men whom he required were delivered up unto him, except Swashbuckler, Dirt-tail, and Smalltrash, who ran away six hours before the battle—one of them as far as to Lainiel-neck at one course, another to the valley of Vire, and the third even unto Logroine, without looking back or taking breath by the way—and two of the cake-bakers who were slain in the fight. Gargantua did them no other hurt but that he appointed them to pull at the presses of his printing-house which he had newly set up. Then those who died there he caused to be honourably buried in Black-soile valley and Burn-hag field, and gave order that the wounded should be dressed and had care of in his great hospital or nosocome. After this, considering the great prejudice done to the town and its inhabitants, he reimbursed their charges and repaired all the losses that by their confession upon oath could appear they had sustained; and, for their better defence and security in times coming against all sudden uproars and invasions, commanded a strong citadel to be built there with a competent garrison to maintain it. At his departure he did very graciously thank all the soldiers of the brigades that had been at this overthrow, and sent them back to their winter-quarters in their several stations and garrisons; the decumane legion only excepted, whom in the field on that day he saw do some great exploit, and their captains also, whom he brought along with himself unto Grangousier.
At the sight and coming of them, the good man was so joyful, that it is not possible fully to describe it. He made them a feast the most magnificent, plentiful, and delicious that ever was seen since the time of the king Ahasuerus. At the taking up of the table he distributed amongst them his whole cupboard of plate, which weighed eight hundred thousand and fourteen bezants (Each bezant is worth five pounds English money.) of gold, in great antique vessels, huge pots, large basins, big tasses, cups, goblets, candlesticks, comfit-boxes, and other such plate, all of pure massy gold, besides the precious stones, enamelling, and workmanship, which by all men's estimation was more worth than the matter of the gold. Then unto every one of them out of his coffers caused he to be given the sum of twelve hundred thousand crowns ready money. And, further, he gave to each of them for ever and in perpetuity, unless he should happen to decease without heirs, such castles and neighbouring lands of his as were most commodious for them. To Ponocrates he gave the rock Clermond; to Gymnast, the Coudray; to Eudemon, Montpensier; Rivau, to Tolmere, to Ithibolle, Montsoreau; to Acamas, Cande; Varenes, to Chironacte; Gravot, to Sebast; Quinquenais, to Alexander; Legre, to Sophrone, and so of his other places.
There was left only the monk to provide for, whom Gargantua would have made Abbot of Seville, but he refused it. He would have given him the Abbey of Bourgueil, or of Sanct Florent, which was better, or both, if it pleased him; but the monk gave him a very peremptory answer, that he would never take upon him the charge nor government of monks. For how shall I be able, said he, to rule over others, that have not full power and command of myself? If you think I have done you, or may hereafter do any acceptable service, give me leave to found an abbey after my own mind and fancy. The motion pleased Gargantua very well, who thereupon offered him all the country of Theleme by the river of Loire till within two leagues of the great forest of Port-Huaulx. The monk then requested Gargantua to institute his religious order contrary to all others. First, then, said Gargantua, you must not build a wall about your convent, for all other abbeys are strongly walled and mured about. See, said the monk, and not without cause (seeing wall and mur signify but one and the same thing); where there is mur before and mur behind, there is store of murmur, envy, and mutual conspiracy. Moreover, seeing there are certain convents in the world whereof the custom is, if any woman come in, I mean chaste and honest women, they immediately sweep the ground which they have trod upon; therefore was it ordained, that if any man or woman entered into religious orders should by chance come within this new abbey, all the rooms should be thoroughly washed and cleansed through which they had passed. And because in all other monasteries and nunneries all is compassed, limited, and regulated by hours, it was decreed that in this new structure there should be neither clock nor dial, but that according to the opportunities and incident occasions all their hours should be disposed of; for, said Gargantua, the greatest loss of time that I know is to count the hours. What good comes of it? Nor can there be any greater dotage in the world than for one to guide and direct his courses by the sound of a bell, and not by his own judgment and discretion.
Item, Because at that time they put no women into nunneries but such as were either purblind, blinkards, lame, crooked, ill-favoured, misshapen, fools, senseless, spoiled, or corrupt; nor encloistered any men but those that were either sickly, subject to defluxions, ill-bred louts, simple sots, or peevish trouble-houses. But to the purpose, said the monk. A woman that is neither fair nor good, to what use serves she? To make a nun of, said Gargantua. Yea, said the monk, and to make shirts and smocks. Therefore was it ordained that into this religious order should be admitted no women that were not fair, well-featured, and of a sweet disposition; nor men that were not comely, personable, and well conditioned.
Item, Because in the convents of women men come not but underhand, privily, and by stealth, it was therefore enacted that in this house there shall be no women in case there be not men, nor men in case there be not women.
Item, Because both men and women that are received into religious orders after the expiring of their noviciate or probation year were constrained and forced perpetually to stay there all the days of their life, it was therefore ordered that all whatever, men or women, admitted within this abbey, should have full leave to depart with peace and contentment whensoever it should seem good to them so to do.
Item, for that the religious men and women did ordinarily make three vows, to wit, those of chastity, poverty, and obedience, it was therefore constituted and appointed that in this convent they might be honourably married, that they might be rich, and live at liberty. In regard of the legitimate time of the persons to be initiated, and years under and above which they were not capable of reception, the women were to be admitted from ten till fifteen, and the men from twelve till eighteen.
For the fabric and furniture of the abbey Gargantua caused to be delivered out in ready money seven-and-twenty hundred thousand, eight hundred and one-and-thirty of those golden rams of Berry which have a sheep stamped on the one side and a flowered cross on the other; and for every year, until the whole work were completed, he allotted threescore nine thousand crowns of the sun, and as many of the seven stars, to be charged all upon the receipt of the custom. For the foundation and maintenance thereof for ever, he settled a perpetual fee-farm-rent of three-and-twenty hundred, three score and nine thousand, five hundred and fourteen rose nobles, exempted from all homage, fealty, service, or burden whatsoever, and payable every year at the gate of the abbey; and of this by letters patent passed a very good grant. The architecture was in a figure hexagonal, and in such a fashion that in every one of the six corners there was built a great round tower of threescore foot in diameter, and were all of a like form and bigness. Upon the north side ran along the river of Loire, on the bank whereof was situated the tower called Arctic. Going towards the east, there was another called Calaer,—the next following Anatole,—the next Mesembrine,—the next Hesperia, and the last Criere. Every tower was distant from other the space of three hundred and twelve paces. The whole edifice was everywhere six storeys high, reckoning the cellars underground for one. The second was arched after the fashion of a basket-handle; the rest were ceiled with pure wainscot, flourished with Flanders fretwork, in the form of the foot of a lamp, and covered above with fine slates, with an endorsement of lead, carrying the antique figures of little puppets and animals of all sorts, notably well suited to one another, and gilt, together with the gutters, which, jutting without the walls from betwixt the crossbars in a diagonal figure, painted with gold and azure, reached to the very ground, where they ended into great conduit-pipes, which carried all away unto the river from under the house.
This same building was a hundred times more sumptuous and magnificent than ever was Bonnivet, Chambourg, or Chantilly; for there were in it nine thousand, three hundred and two-and-thirty chambers, every one whereof had a withdrawing-room, a handsome closet, a wardrobe, an oratory, and neat passage, leading into a great and spacious hall. Between every tower in the midst of the said body of building there was a pair of winding, such as we now call lantern stairs, whereof the steps were part of porphyry, which is a dark red marble spotted with white, part of Numidian stone, which is a kind of yellowishly-streaked marble upon various colours, and part of serpentine marble, with light spots on a dark green ground, each of those steps being two-and-twenty foot in length and three fingers thick, and the just number of twelve betwixt every rest, or, as we now term it, landing-place. In every resting-place were two fair antique arches where the light came in: and by those they went into a cabinet, made even with and of the breadth of the said winding, and the reascending above the roofs of the house ended conically in a pavilion. By that vise or winding they entered on every side into a great hall, and from the halls into the chambers. From the Arctic tower unto the Criere were the fair great libraries in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, Italian, and Spanish, respectively distributed in their several cantons, according to the diversity of these languages. In the midst there was a wonderful scalier or winding-stair, the entry whereof was without the house, in a vault or arch six fathom broad. It was made in such symmetry and largeness that six men-at-arms with their lances in their rests might together in a breast ride all up to the very top of all the palace. From the tower Anatole to the Mesembrine were fair spacious galleries, all coloured over and painted with the ancient prowesses, histories, and descriptions of the world. In the midst thereof there was likewise such another ascent and gate as we said there was on the river-side. Upon that gate was written in great antique letters that which followeth.
Here enter not vile bigots, hypocrites, Externally devoted apes, base snites, Puffed-up, wry-necked beasts, worse than the Huns, Or Ostrogoths, forerunners of baboons: Cursed snakes, dissembled varlets, seeming sancts, Slipshod caffards, beggars pretending wants, Fat chuffcats, smell-feast knockers, doltish gulls, Out-strouting cluster-fists, contentious bulls, Fomenters of divisions and debates, Elsewhere, not here, make sale of your deceits.
Your filthy trumperies Stuffed with pernicious lies (Not worth a bubble), Would do but trouble Our earthly paradise, Your filthy trumperies.
Here enter not attorneys, barristers, Nor bridle-champing law-practitioners: Clerks, commissaries, scribes, nor pharisees, Wilful disturbers of the people's ease: Judges, destroyers, with an unjust breath, Of honest men, like dogs, even unto death. Your salary is at the gibbet-foot: Go drink there! for we do not here fly out On those excessive courses, which may draw A waiting on your courts by suits in law.
Lawsuits, debates, and wrangling Hence are exiled, and jangling. Here we are very Frolic and merry, And free from all entangling, Lawsuits, debates, and wrangling.
Here enter not base pinching usurers, Pelf-lickers, everlasting gatherers, Gold-graspers, coin-gripers, gulpers of mists, Niggish deformed sots, who, though your chests Vast sums of money should to you afford, Would ne'ertheless add more unto that hoard, And yet not be content,—you clunchfist dastards, Insatiable fiends, and Pluto's bastards, Greedy devourers, chichy sneakbill rogues, Hell-mastiffs gnaw your bones, you ravenous dogs.
You beastly-looking fellows, Reason doth plainly tell us That we should not To you allot Room here, but at the gallows, You beastly-looking fellows.
Here enter not fond makers of demurs In love adventures, peevish, jealous curs, Sad pensive dotards, raisers of garboils, Hags, goblins, ghosts, firebrands of household broils, Nor drunkards, liars, cowards, cheaters, clowns, Thieves, cannibals, faces o'ercast with frowns, Nor lazy slugs, envious, covetous, Nor blockish, cruel, nor too credulous,— Here mangy, pocky folks shall have no place, No ugly lusks, nor persons of disgrace.
Grace, honour, praise, delight, Here sojourn day and night. Sound bodies lined With a good mind, Do here pursue with might Grace, honour, praise, delight.
Here enter you, and welcome from our hearts, All noble sparks, endowed with gallant parts. This is the glorious place, which bravely shall Afford wherewith to entertain you all. Were you a thousand, here you shall not want For anything; for what you'll ask we'll grant. Stay here, you lively, jovial, handsome, brisk, Gay, witty, frolic, cheerful, merry, frisk, Spruce, jocund, courteous, furtherers of trades, And, in a word, all worthy gentle blades.
Blades of heroic breasts Shall taste here of the feasts, Both privily And civilly Of the celestial guests, Blades of heroic breasts.
Here enter you, pure, honest, faithful, true Expounders of the Scriptures old and new. Whose glosses do not blind our reason, but Make it to see the clearer, and who shut Its passages from hatred, avarice, Pride, factions, covenants, and all sort of vice. Come, settle here a charitable faith, Which neighbourly affection nourisheth. And whose light chaseth all corrupters hence, Of the blest word, from the aforesaid sense.
The holy sacred Word, May it always afford T' us all in common, Both man and woman, A spiritual shield and sword, The holy sacred Word.
Here enter you all ladies of high birth, Delicious, stately, charming, full of mirth, Ingenious, lovely, miniard, proper, fair, Magnetic, graceful, splendid, pleasant, rare, Obliging, sprightly, virtuous, young, solacious, Kind, neat, quick, feat, bright, compt, ripe, choice, dear, precious. Alluring, courtly, comely, fine, complete, Wise, personable, ravishing, and sweet, Come joys enjoy. The Lord celestial Hath given enough wherewith to please us all.
Gold give us, God forgive us, And from all woes relieve us; That we the treasure May reap of pleasure, And shun whate'er is grievous, Gold give us, God forgive us.
In the middle of the lower court there was a stately fountain of fair alabaster. Upon the top thereof stood the three Graces, with their cornucopias, or horns of abundance, and did jet out the water at their breasts, mouth, ears, eyes, and other open passages of the body. The inside of the buildings in this lower court stood upon great pillars of chalcedony stone and porphyry marble made archways after a goodly antique fashion. Within those were spacious galleries, long and large, adorned with curious pictures, the horns of bucks and unicorns: with rhinoceroses, water-horses called hippopotames, the teeth and tusks of elephants, and other things well worth the beholding. The lodging of the ladies, for so we may call those gallant women, took up all from the tower Arctic unto the gate Mesembrine. The men possessed the rest. Before the said lodging of the ladies, that they might have their recreation, between the two first towers, on the outside, were placed the tiltyard, the barriers or lists for tournaments, the hippodrome or riding-court, the theatre or public playhouse, and natatory or place to swim in, with most admirable baths in three stages, situated above one another, well furnished with all necessary accommodation, and store of myrtle-water. By the river-side was the fair garden of pleasure, and in the midst of that the glorious labyrinth. Between the two other towers were the courts for the tennis and the balloon. Towards the tower Criere stood the orchard full of all fruit-trees, set and ranged in a quincuncial order. At the end of that was the great park, abounding with all sort of venison. Betwixt the third couple of towers were the butts and marks for shooting with a snapwork gun, an ordinary bow for common archery, or with a crossbow. The office-houses were without the tower Hesperia, of one storey high. The stables were beyond the offices, and before them stood the falconry, managed by ostrich-keepers and falconers very expert in the art, and it was yearly supplied and furnished by the Candians, Venetians, Sarmates, now called Muscoviters, with all sorts of most excellent hawks, eagles, gerfalcons, goshawks, sacres, lanners, falcons, sparrowhawks, marlins, and other kinds of them, so gentle and perfectly well manned, that, flying of themselves sometimes from the castle for their own disport, they would not fail to catch whatever they encountered. The venery, where the beagles and hounds were kept, was a little farther off, drawing towards the park.
All the halls, chambers, and closets or cabinets were richly hung with tapestry and hangings of divers sorts, according to the variety of the seasons of the year. All the pavements and floors were covered with green cloth. The beds were all embroidered. In every back-chamber or withdrawing-room there was a looking-glass of pure crystal set in a frame of fine gold, garnished all about with pearls, and was of such greatness that it would represent to the full the whole lineaments and proportion of the person that stood before it. At the going out of the halls which belong to the ladies' lodgings were the perfumers and trimmers through whose hands the gallants passed when they were to visit the ladies. Those sweet artificers did every morning furnish the ladies' chambers with the spirit of roses, orange-flower-water, and angelica; and to each of them gave a little precious casket vapouring forth the most odoriferous exhalations of the choicest aromatical scents.
The ladies at the foundation of this order were apparelled after their own pleasure and liking; but, since that of their own accord and free will they have reformed themselves, their accoutrement is in manner as followeth. They wore stockings of scarlet crimson, or ingrained purple dye, which reached just three inches above the knee, having a list beautified with exquisite embroideries and rare incisions of the cutter's art. Their garters were of the colour of their bracelets, and circled the knee a little both over and under. Their shoes, pumps, and slippers were either of red, violet, or crimson-velvet, pinked and jagged like lobster waddles.
Next to their smock they put on the pretty kirtle or vasquin of pure silk camlet: above that went the taffety or tabby farthingale, of white, red, tawny, grey, or of any other colour. Above this taffety petticoat they had another of cloth of tissue or brocade, embroidered with fine gold and interlaced with needlework, or as they thought good, and according to the temperature and disposition of the weather had their upper coats of satin, damask, or velvet, and those either orange, tawny, green, ash-coloured, blue, yellow, bright red, crimson, or white, and so forth; or had them of cloth of gold, cloth of silver, or some other choice stuff, enriched with purl, or embroidered according to the dignity of the festival days and times wherein they wore them.
Their gowns, being still correspondent to the season, were either of cloth of gold frizzled with a silver-raised work; of red satin, covered with gold purl; of tabby, or taffety, white, blue, black, tawny, &c., of silk serge, silk camlet, velvet, cloth of silver, silver tissue, cloth of gold, gold wire, figured velvet, or figured satin tinselled and overcast with golden threads, in divers variously purfled draughts.
In the summer some days instead of gowns they wore light handsome mantles, made either of the stuff of the aforesaid attire, or like Moresco rugs, of violet velvet frizzled, with a raised work of gold upon silver purl, or with a knotted cord-work of gold embroidery, everywhere garnished with little Indian pearls. They always carried a fair panache, or plume of feathers, of the colour of their muff, bravely adorned and tricked out with glistering spangles of gold. In the winter time they had their taffety gowns of all colours, as above-named, and those lined with the rich furrings of hind-wolves, or speckled lynxes, black-spotted weasels, martlet skins of Calabria, sables, and other costly furs of an inestimable value. Their beads, rings, bracelets, collars, carcanets, and neck-chains were all of precious stones, such as carbuncles, rubies, baleus, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, turquoises, garnets, agates, beryls, and excellent margarites. Their head-dressing also varied with the season of the year, according to which they decked themselves. In winter it was of the French fashion; in the spring, of the Spanish; in summer, of the fashion of Tuscany, except only upon the holy days and Sundays, at which times they were accoutred in the French mode, because they accounted it more honourable and better befitting the garb of a matronal pudicity.
The men were apparelled after their fashion. Their stockings were of tamine or of cloth serge, of white, black, scarlet, or some other ingrained colour. Their breeches were of velvet, of the same colour with their stockings, or very near, embroidered and cut according to their fancy. Their doublet was of cloth of gold, of cloth of silver, of velvet, satin, damask, taffeties, &c., of the same colours, cut, embroidered, and suitably trimmed up in perfection. The points were of silk of the same colours; the tags were of gold well enamelled. Their coats and jerkins were of cloth of gold, cloth of silver, gold, tissue or velvet embroidered, as they thought fit. Their gowns were every whit as costly as those of the ladies. Their girdles were of silks, of the colour of their doublets. Every one had a gallant sword by his side, the hilt and handle whereof were gilt, and the scabbard of velvet, of the colour of his breeches, with a chape of gold, and pure goldsmith's work. The dagger was of the same. Their caps or bonnets were of black velvet, adorned with jewels and buttons of gold. Upon that they wore a white plume, most prettily and minion-like parted by so many rows of gold spangles, at the end whereof hung dangling in a more sparkling resplendency fair rubies, emeralds, diamonds, &c., but there was such a sympathy betwixt the gallants and the ladies, that every day they were apparelled in the same livery. And that they might not miss, there were certain gentlemen appointed to tell the youths every morning what vestments the ladies would on that day wear: for all was done according to the pleasure of the ladies. In these so handsome clothes, and habiliments so rich, think not that either one or other of either sex did waste any time at all; for the masters of the wardrobes had all their raiments and apparel so ready for every morning, and the chamber-ladies so well skilled, that in a trice they would be dressed and completely in their clothes from head to foot. And to have those accoutrements with the more conveniency, there was about the wood of Theleme a row of houses of the extent of half a league, very neat and cleanly, wherein dwelt the goldsmiths, lapidaries, jewellers, embroiderers, tailors, gold-drawers, velvet-weavers, tapestry-makers and upholsterers, who wrought there every one in his own trade, and all for the aforesaid jolly friars and nuns of the new stamp. They were furnished with matter and stuff from the hands of the Lord Nausiclete, who every year brought them seven ships from the Perlas and Cannibal Islands, laden with ingots of gold, with raw silk, with pearls and precious stones. And if any margarites, called unions, began to grow old and lose somewhat of their natural whiteness and lustre, those with their art they did renew by tendering them to eat to some pretty cocks, as they use to give casting unto hawks.
All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when they thought good; they did eat, drink, labour, sleep, when they had a mind to it and were disposed for it. None did awake them, none did offer to constrain them to eat, drink, nor to do any other thing; for so had Gargantua established it. In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there was but this one clause to be observed,
Do What Thou Wilt;
because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unto virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour. Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought under and kept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they formerly were inclined to virtue, to shake off and break that bond of servitude wherein they are so tyrannously enslaved; for it is agreeable with the nature of man to long after things forbidden and to desire what is denied us.
By this liberty they entered into a very laudable emulation to do all of them what they saw did please one. If any of the gallants or ladies should say, Let us drink, they would all drink. If any one of them said, Let us play, they all played. If one said, Let us go a-walking into the fields they went all. If it were to go a-hawking or a-hunting, the ladies mounted upon dainty well-paced nags, seated in a stately palfrey saddle, carried on their lovely fists, miniardly begloved every one of them, either a sparrowhawk or a laneret or a marlin, and the young gallants carried the other kinds of hawks. So nobly were they taught, that there was neither he nor she amongst them but could read, write, sing, play upon several musical instruments, speak five or six several languages, and compose in them all very quaintly, both in verse and prose. Never were seen so valiant knights, so noble and worthy, so dexterous and skilful both on foot and a-horse-back, more brisk and lively, more nimble and quick, or better handling all manner of weapons than were there. Never were seen ladies so proper and handsome, so miniard and dainty, less froward, or more ready with their hand and with their needle in every honest and free action belonging to that sex, than were there. For this reason, when the time came that any man of the said abbey, either at the request of his parents, or for some other cause, had a mind to go out of it, he carried along with him one of the ladies, namely, her whom he had before that chosen for his mistress, and (they) were married together. And if they had formerly in Theleme lived in good devotion and amity, they did continue therein and increase it to a greater height in their state of matrimony; and did entertain that mutual love till the very last day of their life, in no less vigour and fervency than at the very day of their wedding. Here must not I forget to set down unto you a riddle which was found under the ground as they were laying the foundation of the abbey, engraven in a copper plate, and it was thus as followeth.
Poor mortals, who wait for a happy day, Cheer up your hearts, and hear what I shall say: If it be lawful firmly to believe That the celestial bodies can us give Wisdom to judge of things that are not yet; Or if from heaven such wisdom we may get As may with confidence make us discourse Of years to come, their destiny and course; I to my hearers give to understand That this next winter, though it be at hand, Yea and before, there shall appear a race Of men who, loth to sit still in one place, Shall boldly go before all people's eyes, Suborning men of divers qualities To draw them unto covenants and sides, In such a manner that, whate'er betides, They'll move you, if you give them ear, no doubt, With both your friends and kindred to fall out. They'll make a vassal to gain-stand his lord, And children their own parents; in a word, All reverence shall then be banished, No true respect to other shall be had. They'll say that every man should have his turn, Both in his going forth and his return; And hereupon there shall arise such woes, Such jarrings, and confused to's and fro's, That never were in history such coils Set down as yet, such tumults and garboils. Then shall you many gallant men see by Valour stirr'd up, and youthful fervency, Who, trusting too much in their hopeful time, Live but a while, and perish in their prime. Neither shall any, who this course shall run, Leave off the race which he hath once begun, Till they the heavens with noise by their contention Have fill'd, and with their steps the earth's dimension. Then those shall have no less authority, That have no faith, than those that will not lie; For all shall be governed by a rude, Base, ignorant, and foolish multitude; The veriest lout of all shall be their judge, O horrible and dangerous deluge! Deluge I call it, and that for good reason, For this shall be omitted in no season; Nor shall the earth of this foul stir be free, Till suddenly you in great store shall see The waters issue out, with whose streams the Most moderate of all shall moistened be, And justly too; because they did not spare The flocks of beasts that innocentest are, But did their sinews and their bowels take, Not to the gods a sacrifice to make, But usually to serve themselves for sport: And now consider, I do you exhort, In such commotions so continual, What rest can take the globe terrestrial? Most happy then are they, that can it hold, And use it carefully as precious gold, By keeping it in gaol, whence it shall have No help but him who being to it gave. And to increase his mournful accident, The sun, before it set in th' occident, Shall cease to dart upon it any light, More than in an eclipse, or in the night,— So that at once its favour shall be gone, And liberty with it be left alone. And yet, before it come to ruin thus, Its quaking shall be as impetuous As Aetna's was when Titan's sons lay under, And yield, when lost, a fearful sound like thunder. Inarime did not more quickly move, When Typheus did the vast huge hills remove, And for despite into the sea them threw. Thus shall it then be lost by ways not few, And changed suddenly, when those that have it To other men that after come shall leave it. Then shall it be high time to cease from this So long, so great, so tedious exercise; For the great waters told you now by me, Will make each think where his retreat shall be; And yet, before that they be clean disperst, You may behold in th' air, where nought was erst, The burning heat of a great flame to rise, Lick up the water, and the enterprise. It resteth after those things to declare, That those shall sit content who chosen are, With all good things, and with celestial man (ne,) And richly recompensed every man: The others at the last all stripp'd shall be, That after this great work all men may see, How each shall have his due. This is their lot; O he is worthy praise that shrinketh not!
No sooner was this enigmatical monument read over, but Gargantua, fetching a very deep sigh, said unto those that stood by, It is not now only, I perceive, that people called to the faith of the gospel, and convinced with the certainty of evangelical truths, are persecuted. But happy is that man that shall not be scandalized, but shall always continue to the end in aiming at that mark which God by his dear Son hath set before us, without being distracted or diverted by his carnal affections and depraved nature.
The monk then said, What do you think in your conscience is meant and signified by this riddle? What? said Gargantua,—the progress and carrying on of the divine truth. By St. Goderan, said the monk, that is not my exposition. It is the style of the prophet Merlin. Make upon it as many grave allegories and glosses as you will, and dote upon it you and the rest of the world as long as you please; for my part, I can conceive no other meaning in it but a description of a set at tennis in dark and obscure terms. The suborners of men are the makers of matches, which are commonly friends. After the two chases are made, he that was in the upper end of the tennis-court goeth out, and the other cometh in. They believe the first that saith the ball was over or under the line. The waters are the heats that the players take till they sweat again. The cords of the rackets are made of the guts of sheep or goats. The globe terrestrial is the tennis-ball. After playing, when the game is done, they refresh themselves before a clear fire, and change their shirts; and very willingly they make all good cheer, but most merrily those that have gained. And so, farewell!
End book 1Dore Illustrations