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 _ery 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 th_ertainty of evangelical truths, are persecuted. But happy is that man tha_hall not be scandalized, but shall always continue to the end in aiming a_hat mark which God by his dear Son hath set before us, without bein_istracted or diverted by his carnal affections and depraved nature.
The monk then said, What do you think in your conscience is meant an_ignified by this riddle? What? said Gargantua,—the progress and carrying o_f 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 allegorie_nd glosses as you will, and dote upon it you and the rest of the world a_ong as you please; for my part, I can conceive no other meaning in it but _escription of a set at tennis in dark and obscure terms. The suborners of me_re the makers of matches, which are commonly friends. After the two chase_re made, he that was in the upper end of the tennis-court goeth out, and th_ther cometh in. They believe the first that saith the ball was over or unde_he line. The waters are the heats that the players take till they swea_gain. The cords of the rackets are made of the guts of sheep or goats. Th_lobe terrestrial is the tennis-ball. After playing, when the game is done, they refresh themselves before a clear fire, and change their shirts; and ver_illingly they make all good cheer, but most merrily those that have gained.