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Chapter 18 How Pantagruel and Panurge did diversely expound the verses o_he Sibyl of Panzoust

  • The leaves being thus collected and orderly disposed, Epistemon and Panurg_eturned to Pantagruel's court, partly well pleased and other par_iscontented; glad for their being come back, and vexed for the trouble the_ad sustained by the way, which they found to be craggy, rugged, stony, rough,
  • and ill-adjusted. They made an ample and full relation of their voyage unt_antagruel, as likewise of the estate and condition of the sibyl. Then, havin_resented to him the leaves of the sycamore, they show him the short an_wattle verses that were written in them. Pantagruel, having read an_onsidered the whole sum and substance of the matter, fetched from his heart _eep and heavy sigh; then said to Panurge, You are now, forsooth, in a goo_aking, and have brought your hogs to a fine market. The prophecy of the siby_oth explain and lay out before us the same very predictions which have bee_enoted, foretold, and presaged to us by the decree of the Virgilian lots an_he verdict of your own proper dreams, to wit, that you shall be very muc_isgraced, shamed, and discredited by your wife; for that she will make you _uckold in prostituting herself to others, being big with child by anothe_han you, —will steal from you a great deal of your goods, and will beat you,
  • scratch and bruise you, even to plucking the skin in a part from off you,—wil_eave the print of her blows in some member of your body. You understand a_uch, answered Panurge, in the veritable interpretation and expounding o_ecent prophecies as a sow in the matter of spicery. Be not offended, sir, _eseech you, that I speak thus boldly; for I find myself a little in choler,
  • and that not without cause, seeing it is the contrary that is true. Take heed,
  • and give attentive ear unto my words. The old wife said that, as the bean i_ot seen till first it be unhusked, and that its swad or hull be shelled an_eeled from off it, so is it that my virtue and transcendent worth will neve_ome by the mouth of fame to be blazed abroad proportionable to the height,
  • extent, and measure of the excellency thereof, until preallably I get a wif_nd make the full half of a married couple. How many times have I heard yo_ay that the function of a magistrate, or office of dignity, discovereth th_erits, parts, and endowments of the person so advanced and promoted, and wha_s in him. That is to say, we are then best able to judge aright of th_eservings of a man when he is called to the management of affairs; for whe_efore he lived in a private condition, we could have no more certai_nowledge of him than of a bean within his husk. And thus stands the firs_rticle explained; otherwise, could you imagine that the good fame, repute,
  • and estimation of an honest man should depend upon the tail of a whore?
  • Now to the meaning of the second article! My wife will be with child, —her_ies the prime felicity of marriage,—but not of me. Copsody, that I do believ_ndeed! It will be of a pretty little infant. O how heartily I shall love it!
  • I do already dote upon it; for it will be my dainty feedle- darling, m_enteel dilly-minion. From thenceforth no vexation, care, or grief shall tak_uch deep impression in my heart, how hugely great or vehement soever i_therwise appear, but that it shall evanish forthwith at the sight of that m_uture babe, and at the hearing of the chat and prating of its childis_ibberish. And blessed be the old wife. By my truly, I have a mind to settl_ome good revenue or pension upon her out of the readiest increase of th_ands of my Salmigondinois; not an inconstant and uncertain rent-seek, lik_hat of witless, giddy-headed bachelors, but sure and fixed, of the nature o_he well-paid incomes of regenting doctors. If this interpretation doth no_lease you, think you my wife will bear me in her flanks, conceive with me,
  • and be of me delivered, as women use in childbed to bring forth their youn_nes; so as that it may be said, Panurge is a second Bacchus, he hath bee_wice born; he is re-born, as was Hippolytus,—as was Proteus, one time o_hetis, and secondly, of the mother of the philosopher Apollonius,—as were th_wo Palici, near the flood Simaethos in Sicily. His wife was big of child wit_im. In him is renewed and begun again the palintocy of the Megarians and th_alingenesy of Democritus. Fie upon such errors! To hear stuff of that natur_ends mine ears.
  • The words of the third article are: She will suck me at my best end. Why not?
  • That pleaseth me right well. You know the thing; I need not tell you that i_s my intercrural pudding with one end. I swear and promise that, in what _an, I will preserve it sappy, full of juice, and as well victualled for he_se as may be. She shall not suck me, I believe, in vain, nor be destitute o_er allowance; there shall her justum both in peck and lippy be furnished t_he full eternally. You expound this passage allegorically, and interpret i_o theft and larceny. I love the exposition, and the allegory pleaseth me; bu_ot according to the sense whereto you stretch it. It may be that th_incerity of the affection which you bear me moveth you to harbour in you_reast those refractory thoughts concerning me, with a suspicion of m_dversity to come. We have this saying from the learned, That a marvellousl_earful thing is love, and that true love is never without fear. But, sir,
  • according to my judgment, you do understand both of and by yourself that her_tealth signifieth nothing else, no more than in a thousand other places o_reek and Latin, old and modern writings, but the sweet fruits of amorou_alliance, which Venus liketh best when reaped in secret, and culled b_ervent lovers filchingly. Why so, I prithee tell? Because, when the feat o_he loose-coat skirmish happeneth to be done underhand and privily, betwee_wo well-disposed, athwart the steps of a pair of stairs lurkingly, and i_overt behind a suit of hangings, or close hid and trussed upon an unboun_aggot, it is more pleasing to the Cyprian goddess, and to me also —I spea_his without prejudice to any better or more sound opinion—than to perfor_hat culbusting art after the Cynic manner, in the view of the clear sunshine,
  • or in a rich tent, under a precious stately canopy, within a glorious an_ublime pavilion, or yet on a soft couch betwixt rich curtains of cloth o_old, without affrightment, at long intermediate respites, enjoying o_leasures and delights a bellyfull, at all great ease, with a huge fly-fla_an of crimson satin and a bunch of feathers of some East-Indian ostric_erving to give chase unto the flies all round about; whilst, in the interim,
  • the female picks her teeth with a stiff straw picked even then from out of th_ottom of the bed she lies on. If you be not content with this my exposition,
  • are you of the mind that my wife will suck and sup me up as people use to gul_nd swallow oysters out of the shell? or as the Cilician women, according t_he testimony of Dioscorides, were wont to do the grain of alkermes? Assuredl_hat is an error. Who seizeth on it, doth neither gulch up nor swill down, bu_akes away what hath been packed up, catcheth, snatcheth, and plies the pla_f hey-pass, repass.
  • The fourth article doth imply that my wife will flay me, but not all. O th_ine word! You interpret this to beating strokes and blows. Speak wisely. Wil_ou eat a pudding? Sir, I beseech you to raise up your spirits above the low-
  • sized pitch of earthly thoughts unto that height of sublime contemplatio_hich reacheth to the apprehension of the mysteries and wonders of Dam_ature. And here be pleased to condemn yourself, by a renouncing of thos_rrors which you have committed very grossly and somewhat perversely i_xpounding the prophetic sayings of the holy sibyl. Yet put the case (albeit _ield not to it) that, by the instigation of the devil, my wife should g_bout to wrong me, make me a cuckold downwards to the very breech, disgrace m_therwise, steal my goods from me, yea, and lay violently her hands upo_e;—she nevertheless should fail of her attempts and not attain to th_roposed end of her unreasonable undertakings. The reason which induceth m_ereto is grounded totally on this last point, which is extracted from th_rofoundest privacies of a monastic pantheology, as good Friar Arthur Wagtai_old me once upon a Monday morning, as we were (if I have not forgot) eating _ushel of trotter-pies; and I remember well it rained hard. God give him th_ood morrow! The women at the beginning of the world, or a little after,
  • conspired to flay the men quick, because they found the spirit of mankin_nclined to domineer it, and bear rule over them upon the face of the whol_arth; and, in pursuit of this their resolution, promised, confirmed, swore,
  • and covenanted amongst them all, by the pure faith they owe to the nocturna_anct Rogero. But O the vain enterprises of women! O the great fragility o_hat sex feminine! They did begin to flay the man, or peel him (as say_atullus), at that member which of all the body they loved best, to wit, th_ervous and cavernous cane, and that above five thousand years ago; yet hav_hey not of that small part alone flayed any more till this hour but the head.
  • In mere despite whereof the Jews snip off that parcel of the skin i_ircumcision, choosing far rather to be called clipyards, rascals, than to b_layed by women, as are other nations. My wife, according to this femal_ovenant, will flay it to me, if it be not so already. I heartily grant m_onsent thereto, but will not give her leave to flay it all. Nay, truly will _ot, my noble king.
  • Yea but, quoth Epistemon, you say nothing of her most dreadful cries an_xclamations when she and we both saw the laurel-bough burn without yieldin_ny noise or crackling. You know it is a very dismal omen, an inauspiciou_ign, unlucky indice, and token formidable, bad, disastrous, and most unhappy,
  • as is certified by Propertius, Tibullus, the quick philosopher Porphyrius,
  • Eustathius on the Iliads of Homer, and by many others. Verily, verily, quot_anurge, brave are the allegations which you bring me, and testimonies of two-
  • footed calves. These men were fools, as they were poets; and dotards, as the_ere philosophers; full of folly, as they were of philosophy.