Gargantua - François Rabelais - ebook
Kategoria: Obyczajowe i romanse Język: angielski Rok wydania: 1534

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Opis ebooka Gargantua - François Rabelais

The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (in French, La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel) is a connected series of five novels written in the 16th century by François Rabelais. It is the story of two giants, a father (Gargantua) and his son (Pantagruel) and their adventures, written in an amusing, extravagant, satirical vein.

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About
The Author's Prologue to the First Book
Rabelais to the Readers
Chapter 1 - Of the Genealogy and Antiquity of Gargantua
Chapter 2 - The Antidoted Fanfreluches or, a Galimatia of extravagant Conceits found in an ancient Monument
Chapter 3 - How Gargantua was carried eleven months in his mother's belly
Chapter 4 - How Gargamelle, being great with Gargantua, did eat a huge deal of tripes
About Rabelais:

François Rabelais (c. 1494 - April 9, 1553) was a major French Renaissance writer.

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The Author's Prologue to the First Book

Most noble and illustrious drinkers, and you thrice precious pockified blades (for to you, and none else, do I dedicate my writings), Alcibiades, in that dialogue of Plato's, which is entitled The Banquet, whilst he was setting forth the praises of his schoolmaster Socrates (without all question the prince of philosophers), amongst other discourses to that purpose, said that he resembled the Silenes. Silenes of old were little boxes, like those we now may see in the shops of apothecaries, painted on the outside with wanton toyish figures, as harpies, satyrs, bridled geese, horned hares, saddled ducks, flying goats, thiller harts, and other such-like counterfeited pictures at discretion, to excite people unto laughter, as Silenus himself, who was the foster-father of good Bacchus, was wont to do; but within those capricious caskets were carefully preserved and kept many rich jewels and fine drugs, such as balm, ambergris, amomon, musk, civet, with several kinds of precious stones, and other things of great price. Just such another thing was Socrates. For to have eyed his outside, and esteemed of him by his exterior appearance, you would not have given the peel of an onion for him, so deformed he was in body, and ridiculous in his gesture. He had a sharp pointed nose, with the look of a bull, and countenance of a fool: he was in his carriage simple, boorish in his apparel, in fortune poor, unhappy in his wives, unfit for all offices in the commonwealth, always laughing, tippling, and merrily carousing to everyone, with continual gibes and jeers, the better by those means to conceal his divine knowledge. Now, opening this box you would have found within it a heavenly and inestimable drug, a more than human understanding, an admirable virtue, matchless learning, invincible courage, unimitable sobriety, certain contentment of mind, perfect assurance, and an incredible misregard of all that for which men commonly do so much watch, run, sail, fight, travel, toil and turmoil themselves.

Whereunto (in your opinion) doth this little flourish of a preamble tend? For so much as you, my good disciples, and some other jolly fools of ease and leisure, reading the pleasant titles of some books of our invention, as Gargantua, Pantagruel, Whippot (Fessepinte.), the Dignity of Codpieces, of Pease and Bacon with a Commentary, &c., are too ready to judge that there is nothing in them but jests, mockeries, lascivious discourse, and recreative lies; because the outside (which is the title) is usually, without any farther inquiry, entertained with scoffing and derision. But truly it is very unbeseeming to make so slight account of the works of men, seeing yourselves avouch that it is not the habit makes the monk, many being monasterially accoutred, who inwardly are nothing less than monachal, and that there are of those that wear Spanish capes, who have but little of the valour of Spaniards in them. Therefore is it, that you must open the book, and seriously consider of the matter treated in it. Then shall you find that it containeth things of far higher value than the box did promise; that is to say, that the subject thereof is not so foolish as by the title at the first sight it would appear to be.

And put the case, that in the literal sense you meet with purposes merry and solacious enough, and consequently very correspondent to their inscriptions, yet must not you stop there as at the melody of the charming syrens, but endeavour to interpret that in a sublimer sense which possibly you intended to have spoken in the jollity of your heart. Did you ever pick the lock of a cupboard to steal a bottle of wine out of it? Tell me truly, and, if you did, call to mind the countenance which then you had. Or, did you ever see a dog with a marrowbone in his mouth,—the beast of all other, says Plato, lib. 2, de Republica, the most philosophical? If you have seen him, you might have remarked with what devotion and circumspectness he wards and watcheth it: with what care he keeps it: how fervently he holds it: how prudently he gobbets it: with what affection he breaks it: and with what diligence he sucks it. To what end all this? What moveth him to take all these pains? What are the hopes of his labour? What doth he expect to reap thereby? Nothing but a little marrow. True it is, that this little is more savoury and delicious than the great quantities of other sorts of meat, because the marrow (as Galen testifieth, 5. facult. nat. & 11. de usu partium) is a nourishment most perfectly elaboured by nature.

In imitation of this dog, it becomes you to be wise, to smell, feel and have in estimation these fair goodly books, stuffed with high conceptions, which, though seemingly easy in the pursuit, are in the cope and encounter somewhat difficult. And then, like him, you must, by a sedulous lecture, and frequent meditation, break the bone, and suck out the marrow,—that is, my allegorical sense, or the things I to myself propose to be signified by these Pythagorical symbols, with assured hope, that in so doing you will at last attain to be both well-advised and valiant by the reading of them: for in the perusal of this treatise you shall find another kind of taste, and a doctrine of a more profound and abstruse consideration, which will disclose unto you the most glorious sacraments and dreadful mysteries, as well in what concerneth your religion, as matters of the public state, and life economical.

Do you believe, upon your conscience, that Homer, whilst he was a-couching his Iliads and Odysses, had any thought upon those allegories, which Plutarch, Heraclides Ponticus, Eustathius, Cornutus squeezed out of him, and which Politian filched again from them? If you trust it, with neither hand nor foot do you come near to my opinion, which judgeth them to have been as little dreamed of by Homer, as the Gospel sacraments were by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, though a certain gulligut friar (Frere Lubin croquelardon.) and true bacon-picker would have undertaken to prove it, if perhaps he had met with as very fools as himself, (and as the proverb says) a lid worthy of such a kettle.

If you give no credit thereto, why do not you the same in these jovial new chronicles of mine? Albeit when I did dictate them, I thought upon no more than you, who possibly were drinking the whilst as I was. For in the composing of this lordly book, I never lost nor bestowed any more, nor any other time than what was appointed to serve me for taking of my bodily refection, that is, whilst I was eating and drinking. And indeed that is the fittest and most proper hour wherein to write these high matters and deep sciences: as Homer knew very well, the paragon of all philologues, and Ennius, the father of the Latin poets, as Horace calls him, although a certain sneaking jobernol alleged that his verses smelled more of the wine than oil.

So saith a turlupin or a new start-up grub of my books, but a turd for him. The fragrant odour of the wine, O how much more dainty, pleasant, laughing (Riant, priant, friant.), celestial and delicious it is, than that smell of oil! And I will glory as much when it is said of me, that I have spent more on wine than oil, as did Demosthenes, when it was told him, that his expense on oil was greater than on wine. I truly hold it for an honour and praise to be called and reputed a Frolic Gualter and a Robin Goodfellow; for under this name am I welcome in all choice companies of Pantagruelists. It was upbraided to Demosthenes by an envious surly knave, that his Orations did smell like the sarpler or wrapper of a foul and filthy oil-vessel. For this cause interpret you all my deeds and sayings in the perfectest sense; reverence the cheese-like brain that feeds you with these fair billevezees and trifling jollities, and do what lies in you to keep me always merry. Be frolic now, my lads, cheer up your hearts, and joyfully read the rest, with all the ease of your body and profit of your reins. But hearken, joltheads, you viedazes, or dickens take ye, remember to drink a health to me for the like favour again, and I will pledge you instantly, Tout ares-metys.


Rabelais to the Readers

Good friends, my Readers, who peruse this Book,

Be not offended, whilst on it you look:

Denude yourselves of all depraved affection,

For it contains no badness, nor infection:

'Tis true that it brings forth to you no birth

Of any value, but in point of mirth;

Thinking therefore how sorrow might your mind

Consume, I could no apter subject find;

One inch of joy surmounts of grief a span;

Because to laugh is proper to the man.


Chapter 1 Of the Genealogy and Antiquity of Gargantua

I must refer you to the great chronicle of Pantagruel for the knowledge of that genealogy and antiquity of race by which Gargantua is come unto us. In it you may understand more at large how the giants were born in this world, and how from them by a direct line issued Gargantua, the father of Pantagruel: and do not take it ill, if for this time I pass by it, although the subject be such, that the oftener it were remembered, the more it would please your worshipful Seniorias; according to which you have the authority of Plato in Philebo and Gorgias; and of Flaccus, who says that there are some kinds of purposes (such as these are without doubt), which, the frequentlier they be repeated, still prove the more delectable.

Would to God everyone had as certain knowledge of his genealogy since the time of the ark of Noah until this age. I think many are at this day emperors, kings, dukes, princes, and popes on the earth, whose extraction is from some porters and pardon-pedlars; as, on the contrary, many are now poor wandering beggars, wretched and miserable, who are descended of the blood and lineage of great kings and emperors, occasioned, as I conceive it, by the transport and revolution of kingdoms and empires, from the Assyrians to the Medes, from the Medes to the Persians, from the Persians to the Macedonians, from the Macedonians to the Romans, from the Romans to the Greeks, from the Greeks to the French.

And to give you some hint concerning myself, who speaks unto you, I cannot think but I am come of the race of some rich king or prince in former times; for never yet saw you any man that had a greater desire to be a king, and to be rich, than I have, and that only that I may make good cheer, do nothing, nor care for anything, and plentifully enrich my friends, and all honest and learned men. But herein do I comfort myself, that in the other world I shall be so, yea and greater too than at this present I dare wish. As for you, with the same or a better conceit consolate yourselves in your distresses, and drink fresh if you can come by it.

To return to our wethers, I say that by the sovereign gift of heaven, the antiquity and genealogy of Gargantua hath been reserved for our use more full and perfect than any other except that of the Messias, whereof I mean not to speak; for it belongs not unto my purpose, and the devils, that is to say, the false accusers and dissembled gospellers, will therein oppose me. This genealogy was found by John Andrew in a meadow, which he had near the pole-arch, under the olive-tree, as you go to Narsay: where, as he was making cast up some ditches, the diggers with their mattocks struck against a great brazen tomb, and unmeasurably long, for they could never find the end thereof, by reason that it entered too far within the sluices of Vienne. Opening this tomb in a certain place thereof, sealed on the top with the mark of a goblet, about which was written in Etrurian letters Hic Bibitur, they found nine flagons set in such order as they use to rank their kyles in Gascony, of which that which was placed in the middle had under it a big, fat, great, grey, pretty, small, mouldy, little pamphlet, smelling stronger, but no better than roses. In that book the said genealogy was found written all at length, in a chancery hand, not in paper, not in parchment, nor in wax, but in the bark of an elm-tree, yet so worn with the long tract of time, that hardly could three letters together be there perfectly discerned.

I (though unworthy) was sent for thither, and with much help of those spectacles, whereby the art of reading dim writings, and letters that do not clearly appear to the sight, is practised, as Aristotle teacheth it, did translate the book as you may see in your Pantagruelizing, that is to say, in drinking stiffly to your own heart's desire, and reading the dreadful and horrific acts of Pantagruel. At the end of the book there was a little treatise entitled the Antidoted Fanfreluches, or a Galimatia of extravagant conceits. The rats and moths, or (that I may not lie) other wicked beasts, had nibbled off the beginning: the rest I have hereto subjoined, for the reverence I bear to antiquity.


Chapter 2 The Antidoted Fanfreluches or, a Galimatia of extravagant Conceits found in an ancient Monument

No sooner did the Cymbrians' overcomer

Pass through the air to shun the dew of summer,

But at his coming straight great tubs were fill'd,

With pure fresh butter down in showers distill'd:

Wherewith when water'd was his grandam, Hey,

Aloud he cried, Fish it, sir, I pray y';

Because his beard is almost all beray'd;

Or, that he would hold to 'm a scale, he pray'd.

To lick his slipper, some told was much better,

Than to gain pardons, and the merit greater.

In th' interim a crafty chuff approaches,

From the depth issued, where they fish for roaches;

Who said, Good sirs, some of them let us save,

The eel is here, and in this hollow cave

You'll find, if that our looks on it demur,

A great waste in the bottom of his fur.

To read this chapter when he did begin,

Nothing but a calf's horns were found therein;

I feel, quoth he, the mitre which doth hold

My head so chill, it makes my brains take cold.

Being with the perfume of a turnip warm'd,

To stay by chimney hearths himself he arm'd,

Provided that a new thill-horse they made

Of every person of a hair-brain'd head.

They talked of the bunghole of Saint Knowles,

Of Gilbathar and thousand other holes,

If they might be reduced t' a scarry stuff,

Such as might not be subject to the cough:

Since ev'ry man unseemly did it find,

To see them gaping thus at ev'ry wind:

For, if perhaps they handsomely were closed,

For pledges they to men might be exposed.

In this arrest by Hercules the raven

Was flayed at her (his) return from Lybia haven.

Why am not I, said Minos, there invited?

Unless it be myself, not one's omitted:

And then it is their mind, I do no more

Of frogs and oysters send them any store:

In case they spare my life and prove but civil,

I give their sale of distaffs to the devil.

To quell him comes Q.B., who limping frets

At the safe pass of tricksy crackarets:

The boulter, the grand Cyclops' cousin, those

Did massacre, whilst each one wiped his nose:

Few ingles in this fallow ground are bred,

But on a tanner's mill are winnowed.

Run thither all of you, th' alarms sound clear,

You shall have more than you had the last year.

Short while thereafter was the bird of Jove

Resolved to speak, though dismal it should prove;

Yet was afraid, when he saw them in ire,

They should o'erthrow quite flat down dead th' empire.

He rather choosed the fire from heaven to steal,

To boats where were red herrings put to sale;

Than to be calm 'gainst those, who strive to brave us,

And to the Massorets' fond words enslave us.

All this at last concluded gallantly,

In spite of Ate and her hern-like thigh,

Who, sitting, saw Penthesilea ta'en,

In her old age, for a cress-selling quean.

Each one cried out, Thou filthy collier toad,

Doth it become thee to be found abroad?

Thou hast the Roman standard filch'd away,

Which they in rags of parchment did display.

Juno was born, who, under the rainbow,

Was a-bird-catching with her duck below:

When her with such a grievous trick they plied

That she had almost been bethwacked by it.

The bargain was, that, of that throatful, she

Should of Proserpina have two eggs free;

And if that she thereafter should be found,

She to a hawthorn hill should be fast bound.

Seven months thereafter, lacking twenty-two,

He, that of old did Carthage town undo,

Did bravely midst them all himself advance,

Requiring of them his inheritance;

Although they justly made up the division,

According to the shoe-welt-law's decision,

By distributing store of brews and beef

To these poor fellows that did pen the brief.

But th' year will come, sign of a Turkish bow,

Five spindles yarn'd, and three pot-bottoms too,

Wherein of a discourteous king the dock

Shall pepper'd be under an hermit's frock.

Ah! that for one she hypocrite you must

Permit so many acres to be lost!

Cease, cease, this vizard may become another,

Withdraw yourselves unto the serpent's brother.

'Tis in times past, that he who is shall reign

With his good friends in peace now and again.

No rash nor heady prince shall then rule crave,

Each good will its arbitrement shall have;

And the joy, promised of old as doom

To the heaven's guests, shall in its beacon come.

Then shall the breeding mares, that benumb'd were,

Like royal palfreys ride triumphant there.

And this continue shall from time to time,

Till Mars be fetter'd for an unknown crime;

Then shall one come, who others will surpass,

Delightful, pleasing, matchless, full of grace.

Cheer up your hearts, approach to this repast,

All trusty friends of mine; for he's deceased,

Who would not for a world return again,

So highly shall time past be cried up then.

He who was made of wax shall lodge each member

Close by the hinges of a block of timber.

We then no more shall Master, master, whoot,

The swagger, who th' alarum bell holds out;

Could one seize on the dagger which he bears,

Heads would be free from tingling in the ears,

To baffle the whole storehouse of abuses.

The thus farewell Apollo and the Muses.


Chapter 3 How Gargantua was carried eleven months in his mother's belly

Grangousier was a good fellow in his time, and notable jester; he loved to drink neat, as much as any man that then was in the world, and would willingly eat salt meat. To this intent he was ordinarily well furnished with gammons of bacon, both of Westphalia, Mayence and Bayonne, with store of dried neat's tongues, plenty of links, chitterlings and puddings in their season; together with salt beef and mustard, a good deal of hard roes of powdered mullet called botargos, great provision of sausages, not of Bolonia (for he feared the Lombard Boccone), but of Bigorre, Longaulnay, Brene, and Rouargue. In the vigour of his age he married Gargamelle, daughter to the King of the Parpaillons, a jolly pug, and well-mouthed wench. These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon 'gainst one another, in so far, that at last she became great with child of a fair son, and went with him unto the eleventh month; for so long, yea longer, may a woman carry her great belly, especially when it is some masterpiece of nature, and a person predestinated to the performance, in his due time, of great exploits. As Homer says, that the child, which Neptune begot upon the nymph, was born a whole year after the conception, that is, in the twelfth month. For, as Aulus Gellius saith, lib. 3, this long time was suitable to the majesty of Neptune, that in it the child might receive his perfect form. For the like reason Jupiter made the night, wherein he lay with Alcmena, last forty-eight hours, a shorter time not being sufficient for the forging of Hercules, who cleansed the world of the monsters and tyrants wherewith it was suppressed. My masters, the ancient Pantagruelists, have confirmed that which I say, and withal declared it to be not only possible, but also maintained the lawful birth and legitimation of the infant born of a woman in the eleventh month after the decease of her husband. Hypocrates, lib. de alimento. Plinius, lib. 7, cap. 5. Plautus, in his Cistelleria. Marcus Varro, in his satire inscribed The Testament, alleging to this purpose the authority of Aristotle. Censorinus, lib. de die natali. Arist. lib. 7, cap. 3 & 4, de natura animalium. Gellius, lib. 3, cap. 16. Servius, in his exposition upon this verse of Virgil's eclogues, Matri longa decem, &c., and a thousand other fools, whose number hath been increased by the lawyers ff. de suis, et legit l. intestato. paragrapho. fin. and in Auth. de restitut. et ea quae parit in xi mense. Moreover upon these grounds they have foisted in their Robidilardic, or Lapiturolive law. Gallus ff. de lib. et posth. l. sept. ff. de stat. hom., and some other laws, which at this time I dare not name. By means whereof the honest widows may without danger play at the close buttock game with might and main, and as hard as they can, for the space of the first two months after the decease of their husbands. I pray you, my good lusty springal lads, if you find any of these females, that are worth the pains of untying the codpiece-point, get up, ride upon them, and bring them to me; for, if they happen within the third month to conceive, the child should be heir to the deceased, if, before he died, he had no other children, and the mother shall pass for an honest woman.

When she is known to have conceived, thrust forward boldly, spare her not, whatever betide you, seeing the paunch is full. As Julia, the daughter of the Emperor Octavian, never prostituted herself to her belly-bumpers, but when she found herself with child, after the manner of ships, that receive not their steersman till they have their ballast and lading. And if any blame them for this their rataconniculation, and reiterated lechery upon their pregnancy and big-belliedness, seeing beasts, in the like exigent of their fulness, will never suffer the male-masculant to encroach them, their answer will be, that those are beasts, but they are women, very well skilled in the pretty vales and small fees of the pleasant trade and mysteries of superfetation: as Populia heretofore answered, according to the relation of Macrobius, lib. 2. Saturnal. If the devil will not have them to bag, he must wring hard the spigot, and stop the bung-hole.


Chapter 4 How Gargamelle, being great with Gargantua, did eat a huge deal of tripes

The occasion and manner how Gargamelle was brought to bed, and delivered of her child, was thus: and, if you do not believe it, I wish your bum-gut fall out and make an escapade. Her bum-gut, indeed, or fundament escaped her in an afternoon, on the third day of February, with having eaten at dinner too many godebillios. Godebillios are the fat tripes of coiros. Coiros are beeves fattened at the cratch in ox-stalls, or in the fresh guimo meadows. Guimo meadows are those that for their fruitfulness may be mowed twice a year. Of those fat beeves they had killed three hundred sixty-seven thousand and fourteen, to be salted at Shrovetide, that in the entering of the spring they might have plenty of powdered beef, wherewith to season their mouths at the beginning of their meals, and to taste their wine the better.

They had abundance of tripes, as you have heard, and they were so delicious, that everyone licked his fingers. But the mischief was this, that, for all men could do, there was no possibility to keep them long in that relish; for in a very short while they would have stunk, which had been an undecent thing. It was therefore concluded, that they should be all of them gulched up, without losing anything. To this effect they invited all the burghers of Sainais, of Suille, of the Roche-Clermaud, of Vaugaudry, without omitting the Coudray, Monpensier, the Gue de Vede, and other their neighbours, all stiff drinkers, brave fellows, and good players at the kyles. The good man Grangousier took great pleasure in their company, and commanded there should be no want nor pinching for anything. Nevertheless he bade his wife eat sparingly, because she was near her time, and that these tripes were no very commendable meat. They would fain, said he, be at the chewing of ordure, that would eat the case wherein it was. Notwithstanding these admonitions, she did eat sixteen quarters, two bushels, three pecks and a pipkin full. O the fair fecality wherewith she swelled, by the ingrediency of such shitten stuff!

After dinner they all went out in a hurl to the grove of the willows, where, on the green grass, to the sound of the merry flutes and pleasant bagpipes, they danced so gallantly, that it was a sweet and heavenly sport to see them so frolic.