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Gargantua and Pantagruel
By François Rabelais
Dover Publications, Inc. Copyright © 2016 François Rabelais
All rights reserved.
THE FIRST BOOK
Of the Genealogy and Antiquity of Gargantua.
I must referre 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 passe 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 Flaccus, who saies that there are some kindes of purposes (such as these are without doubt) which the frequentlier they be repeated, still prove the more delectable.
Would to God every one had as certaine knowledge of his Genealogy since the time of the Arke of Noah untill this age. I think many are at this day Emperours, 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 wandring beggars, wretched and miserable, who are descended of the blood and lineage of great Kings and Emperours, occasioned (as I conceive it) by the transport and revolution of Kingdomes 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, & c.
And to give you some hint concerning my self, 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, then I have, and that onely that I may make good chear, do nothing, nor care for any thing, 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 then at this present I dare wish: as for you, with the same or a better conceit consolate your selves in your distresses, and drink fresh if you can come by it.
To returne 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 then 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 Marsay: 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 finde the end thereof, by reason that it entered too farre within the Sluces 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 Hetrurian letters HIC BIBITUR; They found nine Flaggons set in such order as they use to ranke their kyles in Gasgonie, of which that which was placed in the middle, had under it a big, fat, great, gray, 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 elme-tree, yet so worne 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 pantagruelising, that is to say, in drinking stiffly to your own hearts desire; and reading the dreadful and horrifick acts of Pantagruel: at the end of the book there was a little Treatise entituled the Antidoted Fanfreluches, or a Galimatia of extravagant conceits. The rats and mothes or (that I may not lie) other wicked beasts, had nibled off the beginning, the rest I have hereto subjoyned, for the reverence I beare to antiquity.
The Antidoted Fanfreluches: Or, A Galimatia of extravagant conceits found in an ancient Monument.
No sooner did the Cymbrians overcommer Pass through the air to shun the dew of summer But at his coming streight great tubs were fill'd With pure fresh Butter down in showers distill'd, Wherewith when water'd was his Grandam heigh. Aloud he cryed, Fish it, Sir, I pray 'ye; 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, Then to gaine pardons and the merit greater. In th' interim a crafty chuff approaches, From the depth issued, where they fish for Roches; Who said, Good sirs, some of them let us save, The Eele is here, and in this hollow cave You'll finde, if that our looks on it demurre, A great wast in the bottome of his furre.
To read this chapter when he did begin, Nothing but a calves homes were found therein; I feel (quoth he) the Miter which doth hold My head so chill, it makes my braines take cold. Being with the perfume of a turnup 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-braind head.
They talked of the bunghole of Saint Knowles, Of Gilbatharand thousand other holes; If they might be reduc'd t' a scarry stuffe, Such as might not be subject to the cough: Since ev'ry man unseemly did it finde, To see them gaping thus at ev'ry winde: For, if perhaps they handsomely were clos'd, For pledges they to men might be expos'd.
In this arrest by Hercules the Raven Was flayd at her returne from Lybia haven. Why am not I said Minos there invited, Unlesse it be my self, not one's omitted: And then it is their minde, 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 passe of trixie crackarets, The boulter, the grand Cyclops cousin, those Did massacre whil'st each one wip'd his nose: Few ingles in this fallow ground are bred, But on a tanners mill are winnowed: Run thither all of you, th' alarmes sound clear, You shall have more then you had the last year.
Short while thereafter was the bird of Jove Resolv'd to speak, though dismal it should prove; Yet was afraid, when he saw them in ire, They should o'rthrow quite flat down dead th' empire He rather chus'd the fire from heaven to steale, To boats where were red Herrings put to sale; Then to be calm 'gainst those who strive to brave us And to the Massorets fond words enslave us.
All this at last concluded galantly, In spight of Ate and Hern-like thigh, Who sitting saw Penthesilea tane, In her old age, for a cresse-selling quean; Each one cry'd out, Thou filthy Collier toad, Doth it become thee to be found abroad? Thou has the Roman Standard filtch'd away, Which they in rags of parchment did display.
Juno was borne who under the Rainbow, Was a bird-catching with her Duck below: When her with such a grievous trick they plyed, That she had almost been bethwacked by it: The bargain was that of that throatfull she Should of Proserpina have two egges free; And if that she thereafter should be found, She to a Haw-thorn hill should be fast bound.
Seven moneths thereafter lacking twenty two, He, that of old did Carthage town undo: Did bravely midd'st them all himself advance, Requiring of them his inheritance; Although they justly made up the division, According to the shoe-welt-lawes decision; By distributing store of brews and beef, To those poor fellows, that did pen the Brief.
But th' year will come signe of a Turkish Bowe, Five spindles yarnd, and three pot-bottomes too, Wherein of a discourteous King the dock Shall pepper'd be under an Hermits frock, Ah that for one she hypocrite you must Permit so many acres to be lost: Cease, cease, this vizard may become another, Withdraw your selves unto the Serpents brother.
'Tis in times past, that he who is shall reigne With his good friends in peace now and againe; No rash nor heady Prince shall then rule crave, Each good will its arbitrement shall have: And the joy promised of old as doome To the heavens guests, shall in its beacon come: Then shall the breeding mares, that benumm'd were, Like royall palfreys ride triumphant there.
And this continue shall from time to time, Till Mars be fettred for an unknown crime. Then shall one come who others will surpasse, Delightful, pleasing, matchlesse, full of grace. Chear up your hearts, approach to this repast, All trusty friends of mine, for hee's deceast, Who would not for a world return againe, So highly shall time past be cri'd up then.
He who was made of waxe 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 seaze on the dagger which he bears, Heads would be free from tingling in the eares, To baffle the whole storehouse of abuses, And thus farewell Apollo and the Muses.
How Gargantua was carried eleven moneths in his mothers belly.
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 eate salt meat: to this intent he was ordinarily well furnished with gammons of Bacon, both of Westphalia, Mayence and Bayone; with store of dried Neats tongues, plenty of Links, Chitterlings and Puddings in their season; together with salt Beef and mustard, a good deale of hard rows of powdered mullet called Botargos, great provision of Sauciges, not of Bolonia (for he feared the Lombard boccone) but of Bigorre, Longaulnay, Brene, and Rouargue. In the vigor of his age he married Gargamelle, daughter to the King of the Parpaillons, a jolly pug, and well mouthed wench. These two did often times do the two backed beast together, joyfully rubbing & frotting their Bacon 'gainst one another, insofarre, that at last she became great with childe of a faire sonne, and went with him unto the eleventh moneth, for so long, yea longer, may a woman carry her great belly, especially when it is some master-piece of nature, and a person predestinated to the performance, in his due time, of great exploits; as Homer saies, that the childe, which Neptune begot upon the Nymph, was borne a whole year after the conception, that is, in the twelfth moneth; for, as Aulus Gellius saith, libr. 3. this long time was suitable to the majesty of Neptune, that in it the childe might receive his perfect forme: for the like reason Jupiter made the night, wherein he lay with Alcmena, last fourty eight houres, a shorter time not being sufficient for the forging of Hercules, who cleansed the world of the Monstres and Tyrants, wherewith it was supprest. My masters, the ancient pantagruelists have confirmed that which I say, and withall declared it to be not onely possible, but also maintained the lawful birth and legitimation of the infant borne of a woman in the eleventh moneth after the decease of her husband. Hypocrates, lib. de alimento. Plinius lib. 2. cap. 5. Plautus in his Cistellaria. Marcus Varo in his Satyr inscribed, The Testament, alledging to this purpose the authority of Aristotle. Censorinus lib. de die natali. Arist. lib. 2. cap. 3 & 4 de natura animalium. Gellius lib. 3. cap. 16. Servius in his exposition upon this verse of Virgils Eclogues, Matri longa decern, &c. and a thousand other fooles whose number hath been increased by the Lawyers. §. Desuis et legit., 1. In testa to, § ft., & in Autent., De restitut. etea quce pant in xj. mense\ moreover upon these grounds they have foysted in their Robidilardick, or Lapiturolive Law. Galius, §. De lib. etposthu., & l. septimo §. De stat. homi. And some other Lawes, 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 maine, and as hard as they can for the space of the first two moneths after the decease of their husbands. I pray you, my good lusty springal lads, if you finde any of these females, that are worth the paines of untying the cod-peece-point, get up, ride upon them, and bring them to me; for if they happen within the third moneth to conceive, the childe shall be heire to the deceased, if before he died he had no other children, and the mother shall passe 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 Emperour Octavian never prostituted her self to her belly-bumpers, but when she found her self with childe, 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 bellednesse, seeing beasts in the like exigent of their fullnesse, will never suffer the male-masculant to incroach 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 Populius heretofore answered, according to the relation of Macrobius lib. 2. Satumal. If the Devill would not have them to bagge, he must wring hard the spigot, and stop the bung-hole.
How Gargamelle, being great with Gargantua, did eate a huge deal of tripes.
The occasion and manner how Gargamelle was brought to bed, and delivered of her childe, was thus: and, if you do not beleeve it, I wish your bum-gut fall out, and make an escapade. Her bumgut, indeed, or fundament escaped her in an afternoone, on the third day of February, with having eaten at dinner too many Godebillios. Godebillios are the fat tripes of coiros, coir os are beeves fatned at the cratch in Oxe stalls, or in the fresh guimo meadows, guimo meadows are those, that for their fruitfulnesse may be mowed twice a yeare, and of those fat beeves they had killed three hundred sixty seven thousand and fourteen, to be salted at Shrovetide, that in the entring of the Spring they might have plenty of poudred beef, wherewith to season their mouths at the beginning of their meales, and to taste their wine the better.
They had abundance of tripes, as you have heard, and they were so delicious, that every one licked his fingers, but the mischiefe 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 any thing; to this effect they invited all the Burguers of Sainais, of Suille, of the Roche clermand, of Vaugaudry, without omitting the Boudray, Monpensier, the Guedevede, and other their neighbours, all stiffe 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 any thing: neverthelesse he bade his wife eate sparingly, because she was near her time, and that these tripes were no very commendable meat: they would faine (said he) be at the chewing of ordure, that would eat the case wherein it was. Notwithstanding these admonitions, she did eate sixteen quarters, two bushels, three pecks and a pipkin full: O the fair fecality, wherewith she swelled by the ingrediency of such shitten stuffe; after dinner they all went out in a hurle, to the grove of the willows, where on the green grasse, 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 frolick. (Continues...)
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