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Chapter 48 How Gargantua showeth that the children ought not to marr_ithout the special knowledge and advice of their fathers and mothers

  • No sooner had Pantagruel entered in at the door of the great hall of th_astle, than that he encountered full butt with the good honest Gargantu_oming forth from the council board, unto whom he made a succinct and summar_arrative of what had passed and occurred, worthy of his observation, in hi_ravels abroad, since their last interview; then, acquainting him with th_esign he had in hand, besought him that it might stand with his goodwill an_leasure to grant him leave to prosecute and go through-stitch with th_nterprise which he had undertaken. The good man Gargantua, having in one han_wo great bundles of petitions endorsed and answered, and in the other som_emembrancing notes and bills, to put him in mind of such other requests o_upplicants, which, albeit presented, had nevertheless been neither read no_eard, he gave both to Ulric Gallet, his ancient and faithful Master o_equests; then drew aside Pantagruel, and, with a countenance more serene an_ovial than customary, spoke to him thus: I praise God, and have great reaso_o to do, my most dear son, that he hath been pleased to entertain in you _onstant inclination to virtuous actions. I am well content that the voyag_hich you have motioned to me be by you accomplished, but withal I could wis_ou would have a mind and desire to marry, for that I see you are of competen_ears. Panurge in the meanwhile was in a readiness of preparing and providin_or remedies, salves, and cures against all such lets, obstacles, an_mpediments as he could in the height of his fancy conceive might by Gargantu_e cast in the way of their itinerary design. Is it your pleasure, most dea_ather, that you speak? answered Pantagruel. For my part, I have not ye_hought upon it. In all this affair I wholly submit and rest in your goo_iking and paternal authority. For I shall rather pray unto God that he woul_hrow me down stark dead at your feet, in your pleasure, than that agains_our pleasure I should be found married alive. I never yet heard that by an_aw, whether sacred or profane, yea, amongst the rudest and most barbarou_ations in the world, it was allowed and approved of that children may b_uffered and tolerated to marry at their own goodwill and pleasure, withou_he knowledge, advice, or consent asked and had thereto of their fathers,
  • mothers, and nearest kindred. All legislators, everywhere upon the face of th_hole earth, have taken away and removed this licentious liberty fro_hildren, and totally reserved it to the discretion of the parents.
  • My dearly beloved son, quoth Gargantua, I believe you, and from my heart than_od for having endowed you with the grace of having both a perfect notice o_nd entire liking to laudable and praiseworthy things; and that through th_indows of your exterior senses he hath vouchsafed to transmit unto th_nterior faculties of your mind nothing but what is good and virtuous. For i_y time there hath been found on the continent a certain country, wherein ar_ know not what kind of Pastophorian mole-catching priests, who, albeit avers_rom engaging their proper persons into a matrimonial duty, like th_ontifical flamens of Cybele in Phrygia, as if they were capons, and not cock_ull of lasciviousness, salacity, and wantonness, who yet have, nevertheless,
  • in the matter of conjugal affairs, taken upon them to prescribe laws an_rdinances to married folks. I cannot goodly determine what I should mos_bhor, detest, loathe, and abominate,—whether the tyrannical presumption o_hose dreaded sacerdotal mole-catchers, who, not being willing to contain an_oop up themselves within the grates and trellises of their own mysteriou_emples, do deal in, meddle with, obtrude upon, and thrust their sickles int_arvests of secular businesses quite contrary and diametrically opposite t_he quality, state, and condition of their callings, professions, an_ocations; or the superstitious stupidity and senseless scrupulousness o_arried folks, who have yielded obedience, and submitted their bodies,
  • fortunes, and estates to the discretion and authority of such odious,
  • perverse, barbarous, and unreasonable laws. Nor do they see that which i_learer than the light and splendour of the morning star,—how all thes_uptial and connubial sanctions, statutes, and ordinances have been decreed,
  • made, and instituted for the sole benefit, profit, and advantage of th_laminal mysts and mysterious flamens, and nothing at all for the good,
  • utility, or emolument of the silly hoodwinked married people. Whic_dministereth unto others a sufficient cause for rendering these churchme_uspicious of iniquity, and of an unjust and fraudulent manner of dealing, n_ore to be connived at nor countenanced, after that it be well weighed in th_cales of reason, than if with a reciprocal temerity the laics, by way o_ompensation, would impose laws to be followed and observed by those mysts an_lamens, how they should behave themselves in the making and performance o_heir rites and ceremonies, and after what manner they ought to proceed in th_ffering up and immolating of their various oblations, victims, an_acrifices; seeing that, besides the decimation and tithe-haling of thei_oods, they cut off and take parings, shreddings, and clippings of the gai_roceeding from the labour of their hands and sweat of their brows, therewit_o entertain themselves the better. Upon which consideration, in my opinion,
  • their injunctions and commands would not prove so pernicious and impertinen_s those of the ecclesiastic power unto which they had tendered their blin_bedience. For, as you have very well said, there is no place in the worl_here, legally, a licence is granted to the children to marry without th_dvice and consent of their parents and kindred. Nevertheless, by those wicke_aws and mole-catching customs, whereat there is a little hinted in what _ave already spoken to you, there is no scurvy, measly, leprous, or pock_uffian, pander, knave, rogue, skellum, robber, or thief, pilloried, whipped,
  • and burn-marked in his own country for his crimes and felonies, who may no_iolently snatch away and ravish what maid soever he had a mind to pitch upon,
  • how noble, how fair, how rich, honest, and chaste soever she be, and that ou_f the house of her own father, in his own presence, from the bosom of he_other, and in the sight and despite of her friends and kindred looking on _o woeful spectacle, provided that the rascal villain be so cunning as t_ssociate unto himself some mystical flamen, who, according to the covenan_ade betwixt them two, shall be in hope some day to participate of the prey.
  • Could the Goths, the Scyths, or Massagets do a worse or more cruel act to an_f the inhabitants of a hostile city, when, after the loss of many of thei_ost considerable commanders, the expense of a great deal of money, and a lon_iege, they shall have stormed and taken it by a violent and impetuou_ssault? May not these fathers and mothers, think you, be sorrowful and heavy-
  • hearted when they see an unknown fellow, a vagabond stranger, a barbarou_out, a rude cur, rotten, fleshless, putrified, scraggy, boily, botchy, poor,
  • a forlorn caitiff and miserable sneak, by an open rapt snatch away befor_heir own eyes their so fair, delicate, neat, well-behavioured, richly-
  • provided-for and healthful daughters, on whose breeding and education they ha_pared no cost nor charges, by bringing them up in an honest discipline to al_he honourable and virtuous employments becoming one of their sex descended o_ noble parentage, hoping by those commendable and industrious means in a_pportune and convenient time to bestow them on the worthy sons of their well-
  • deserving neighbours and ancient friends, who had nourished, entertained,
  • taught, instructed, and schooled their children with the same care an_olicitude, to make them matches fit to attain to the felicity of a so happ_arriage, that from them might issue an offspring and progeny no less heirs t_he laudable endowments and exquisite qualifications of their parents, who_hey every way resemble, than to their personal and real estates, movables,
  • and inheritances? How doleful, trist, and plangorous would such a sight an_ageantry prove unto them? You shall not need to think that th_ollachrymation of the Romans and their confederates at the decease o_ermanicus Drusus was comparable to this lamentation of theirs? Neither woul_ have you to believe that the discomfort and anxiety of the Lacedaemonians,
  • when the Greek Helen, by the perfidiousness of the adulterous Trojan, Paris,
  • was privily stolen away out of their country, was greater or more pitiful tha_his ruthful and deplorable collugency of theirs? You may very well imagin_hat Ceres at the ravishment of her daughter Proserpina was not mor_ttristed, sad, nor mournful than they. Trust me, and your own reason, tha_he loss of Osiris was not so regrettable to Isis, nor did Venus so deplor_he death of Adonis, nor yet did Hercules so bewail the straying of Hylas, no_as the rapt of Polyxena more throbbingly resented and condoled by Priamus an_ecuba, than this aforesaid accident would be sympathetically bemoaned,
  • grievous, ruthful, and anxious to the woefully desolate and disconsolat_arents.
  • Notwithstanding all this, the greater part of so vilely abused parents are s_imorous and afraid of devils and hobgoblins, and so deeply plunged i_uperstition, that they dare not gainsay nor contradict, much less oppose an_esist those unnatural and impious actions, when the mole-catcher hath bee_resent at the perpetrating of the fact, and a party contractor and covenante_n that detestable bargain. What do they do then? They wretchedly stay a_heir own miserable homes, destitute of their well-beloved daughters, th_athers cursing the days and the hours wherein they were married, and th_others howling and crying that it was not their fortune to have brought fort_bortive issues when they happened to be delivered of such unfortunate girls,
  • and in this pitiful plight spend at best the remainder of their time wit_ears and weeping for those their children, of and from whom they expected,
  • (and, with good reason, should have obtained and reaped,) in these latter day_f theirs, joy and comfort. Other parents there have been, so impatient o_hat affront and indignity put upon them and their families, that, transporte_ith the extremity of passion, in a mad and frantic mood, through th_ehemency of a grievous fury and raging sorrow, have drowned, hanged, killed,
  • and otherwise put violent hands on themselves. Others, again, of that parenta_elation have, upon the reception of the like injury, been of a mor_agnanimous and heroic spirit, who, in imitation and at the example of th_hildren of Jacob revenging upon the Sichemites the rapt of their siste_inah, having found the rascally ruffian in the association of his mystica_ole-catcher closely and in hugger-mugger conferring, parleying, and comin_ith their daughters, for the suborning, corrupting, depraving, perverting,
  • and enticing these innocent unexperienced maids unto filthy lewdnesses, have,
  • without any further advisement on the matter, cut them instantly into pieces,
  • and thereupon forthwith thrown out upon the fields their so dismembere_odies, to serve for food unto the wolves and ravens. Upon the chivalrous,
  • bold, and courageous achievement of a so valiant, stout, and manlike act, th_ther mole-catching symmysts have been so highly incensed, and have so chafed,
  • fretted, and fumed thereat, that, bills of complaint and accusations havin_een in a most odious and detestable manner put in before the competen_udges, the arm of secular authority hath with much importunity an_mpetuosity been by them implored and required, they proudly contending tha_he servants of God would become contemptible if exemplary punishment were no_peedily taken upon the persons of the perpetrators of such an enormous,
  • horrid, sacrilegious, crying, heinous, and execrable crime.
  • Yet neither by natural equity, by the law of nations, nor by any imperial la_hatsoever, hath there been found so much as one rubric, paragraph, point, o_ittle, by the which any kind of chastisement or correction hath been adjudge_ue to be inflicted upon any for their delinquency in that kind. Reaso_pposeth, and nature is repugnant. For there is no virtuous man in the worl_ho both naturally and with good reason will not be more hugely troubled i_ind, hearing of the news of the rapt, disgrace, ignominy, and dishonour o_is daughter, than of her death. Now any man, finding in hot blood one wh_ith a forethought felony hath murdered his daughter, may, without tyin_imself to the formalities and circumstances of a legal proceeding, kill hi_n a sudden and out of hand without incurring any hazard of being attainte_nd apprehended by the officers of justice for so doing. What wonder is i_hen? Or how little strange should it appear to any rational man, if _echering rogue, together with his mole-catching abettor, be entrapped in th_lagrant act of suborning his daughter, and stealing her out of his house,
  • though herself consent thereto, that the father in such a case of stain an_nfamy by them brought upon his family, should put them both to a shamefu_eath, and cast their carcasses upon dunghills to be devoured and eaten up b_ogs and swine, or otherwise fling them a little further off to the direption,
  • tearing, and rending asunder of their joints and members by the wild beasts o_he field (as unworthy to receive the gentle, the desired, the last kin_mbraces of the great Alma Mater, the earth, commonly called burial).
  • Dearly beloved son, have an especial care that after my decease none of thes_aws be received in any of your kingdoms; for whilst I breathe, by the grac_nd assistance of God, I shall give good order. Seeing, therefore, you hav_otally referred unto my discretion the disposure of you in marriage, I a_ully of an opinion that I shall provide sufficiently well for you in tha_oint. Make ready and prepare yourself for Panurge's voyage. Take along wit_ou Epistemon, Friar John, and such others as you will choose. Do with m_reasures what unto yourself shall seem most expedient. None of your actions,
  • I promise you, can in any manner of way displease me. Take out of my arsena_halasse whatsoever equipage, furniture, or provision you please, togethe_ith such pilots, mariners, and truchmen as you have a mind to, and with th_irst fair and favourable wind set sail and make out to sea in the name of Go_ur Saviour. In the meanwhile, during your absence, I shall not be neglectiv_f providing a wife for you, nor of those preparations which are requisite t_e made for the more sumptuous solemnizing of your nuptials with a mos_plendid feast, if ever there was any in the world, since the days o_hasuerus.