Chapter 6 Why new married men were privileged from going to the wars
But, in the interim, asked Panurge, by what law was it constituted, ordained,
and established, that such as should plant a new vineyard, those that shoul_uild a new house, and the new married men, should be exempted and discharge_rom the duty of warfare for the first year? By the law, answered Pantagruel,
of Moses. Why, replied Panurge, the lately married? As for the vine-planters,
I am now too old to reflect on them; my condition, at this present, inducet_e to remain satisfied with the care of vintage, finishing and turning th_rapes into wine. Nor are these pretty new builders of dead stones written o_ricked down in my Book of Life. It is all with live stones that I set up an_rect the fabrics of my architecture, to wit, men. It was, according to m_pinion, quoth Pantagruel, to the end, first, that the fresh married folk_hould for the first year reap a full and complete fruition of their pleasure_n their mutual exercise of the act of love, in such sort, that in waitin_ore at leisure on the production of posterity and propagating of thei_rogeny, they might the better increase their race and make provision of ne_eirs. That if, in the years thereafter, the men should, upon their undergoin_f some military adventure, happen to be killed, their names and coats-of-arm_ight continue with their children in the same families. And next, that, th_ives thereby coming to know whether they were barren or fruitful—for on_ear's trial, in regard of the maturity of age wherein of old they married,
was held sufficient for the discovery—they might pitch the more suitably, i_ase of their first husband's decease, upon a second match. The fertile wome_o be wedded to those who desire to multiply their issue; and the sterile one_o such other mates, as, misregarding the storing of their own lineage, choos_hem only for their virtues, learning, genteel behaviour, domesti_onsolation, management of the house, and matrimonial conveniences an_omforts, and such like. The preachers of Varennes, saith Panurge, detest an_bhor the second marriages, as altogether foolish and dishonest.
Foolish and dishonest? quoth Pantagruel. A plague take such preachers! Ye_ut, quoth Panurge, the like mischief also befall the Friar Charmer, who, in _ull auditory making a sermon at Pereilly, and therein abominating th_eiteration of marriage and the entering again in the bonds of a nuptial tie,
did swear and heartily give himself to the swiftest devil in hell, if he ha_ot rather choose, and would much more willingly undertake the unmaidening o_epucelating of a hundred virgins, than the simple drudgery of one widow.
Truly I find your reason in that point right good and strongly grounded.
But what would you think, if the cause why this exemption or immunity wa_ranted had no other foundation but that, during the whole space of the sai_irst year, they so lustily bobbed it with their female consorts, as bot_eason and equity require they should do, that they had drained and evacuate_heir spermatic vessels; and were become thereby altogether feeble, weak,
emasculated, drooping, and flaggingly pithless; yea, in such sort that they i_he day of battle, like ducks which plunge over head and ears, would soone_ide themselves behind the baggage, than, in the company of valiant fighter_nd daring military combatants, appear where stern Bellona deals her blows an_oves a bustling noise of thwacks and thumps? Nor is it to be thought that,
under the standard of Mars, they will so much as once strike a fair stroke,
because their most considerable knocks have been already jerked and whirrite_ithin the curtains of his sweetheart Venus.
In confirmation whereof, amongst other relics and monuments of antiquity, w_ow as yet often see, that in all great houses, after the expiring of some fe_ays, these young married blades are readily sent away to visit their uncles,
that in the absence of their wives reposing themselves a little they ma_ecover their decayed strength by the recruit of a fresh supply, the mor_igorous to return again and face about to renew the duelling shock an_onflict of an amorous dalliance, albeit for the greater part they hav_either uncle nor aunt to go to.
Just so did the King Crackart, after the battle of the Cornets, not cashier us
(speaking properly), I mean me and the Quail-caller, but for our refreshmen_emanded us to our houses; and he is as yet seeking after his own. M_randfather's godmother was wont to say to me when I was a boy,—
Patenostres et oraisons
Sont pour ceux-la, qui les retiennent.
Ung fiffre en fenaisons
Est plus fort que deux qui en viennent.
Not orisons nor patenotres
Shall ever disorder my brain.
One cadet, to the field as he flutters,
Is worth two, when they end the campaign.
That which prompteth me to that opinion is, that the vine-planters did seldo_at of the grapes, or drink of the wine of their labour, till the first yea_as wholly elapsed. During all which time also the builders did hardly inhabi_heir new-structured dwelling-places, for fear of dying suffocated throug_ant of respiration; as Galen hath most learnedly remarked, in the second boo_f the Difficulty of Breathing. Under favour, sir, I have not asked thi_uestion without cause causing and reason truly very ratiocinant. Be no_ffended, I pray you.