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Chapter 57 How the Thelemites were governed, and of their manner of living

  • All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according t_heir own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when the_hought good; they did eat, drink, labour, sleep, when they had a mind to i_nd were disposed for it. None did awake them, none did offer to constrai_hem to eat, drink, nor to do any other thing; for so had Gargantu_stablished it. In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there wa_ut this one clause to be observed,
  • Do What Thou Wilt;
  • because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in hones_ompanies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unt_irtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour. Thos_ame men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought under an_ept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they formerly wer_nclined to virtue, to shake off and break that bond of servitude wherein the_re so tyrannously enslaved; for it is agreeable with the nature of man t_ong after things forbidden and to desire what is denied us.
  • By this liberty they entered into a very laudable emulation to do all of the_hat they saw did please one. If any of the gallants or ladies should say, Le_s drink, they would all drink. If any one of them said, Let us play, they al_layed. If one said, Let us go a-walking into the fields they went all. If i_ere to go a-hawking or a-hunting, the ladies mounted upon dainty well-pace_ags, seated in a stately palfrey saddle, carried on their lovely fists,
  • miniardly begloved every one of them, either a sparrowhawk or a laneret or _arlin, and the young gallants carried the other kinds of hawks. So nobly wer_hey taught, that there was neither he nor she amongst them but could read,
  • write, sing, play upon several musical instruments, speak five or six severa_anguages, and compose in them all very quaintly, both in verse and prose.
  • Never were seen so valiant knights, so noble and worthy, so dexterous an_kilful both on foot and a-horse-back, more brisk and lively, more nimble an_uick, or better handling all manner of weapons than were there. Never wer_een ladies so proper and handsome, so miniard and dainty, less froward, o_ore ready with their hand and with their needle in every honest and fre_ction belonging to that sex, than were there. For this reason, when the tim_ame that any man of the said abbey, either at the request of his parents, o_or some other cause, had a mind to go out of it, he carried along with hi_ne of the ladies, namely, her whom he had before that chosen for hi_istress, and (they) were married together. And if they had formerly i_heleme lived in good devotion and amity, they did continue therein an_ncrease it to a greater height in their state of matrimony; and did entertai_hat mutual love till the very last day of their life, in no less vigour an_ervency than at the very day of their wedding. Here must not I forget to se_own unto you a riddle which was found under the ground as they were layin_he foundation of the abbey, engraven in a copper plate, and it was thus a_olloweth.