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.