It resteth after those things to declare,
That those shall sit content who chosen are,
With all good things, and with celestial man (ne,)
And richly recompensed every man:
The others at the last all stripp’d shall be,
That after this great work all men may see,
How each shall have his due. This is their lot;
O he is worthy praise that shrinketh not!
No sooner was this enigmatical monument read over, but Gargantua, fetching a very deep sigh, said unto those that stood by, It is not now only, I perceive, that people called to the faith of the gospel, and convinced with the certainty of evangelical truths, are persecuted. But happy is that man that shall not be scandalized, but shall always continue to the end in aiming at that mark which God by his dear Son hath set before us, without being distracted or diverted by his carnal affections and depraved nature.
The monk then said, What do you think in your conscience is meant and signified by this riddle? What? said Gargantua,—the progress and carrying on of the divine truth. By St. Goderan, said the monk, that is not my exposition. It is the style of the prophet Merlin. Make upon it as many grave allegories and glosses as you will, and dote upon it you and the rest of the world as long as you please; for my part, I can conceive no other meaning in it but a description of a set at tennis in dark and obscure terms. The suborners of men are the makers of matches, which are commonly friends. After the two chases are made, he that was in the upper end of the tennis-court goeth out, and the other cometh in. They believe the first that saith the ball was over or under the line. The waters are the heats that the players take till they sweat again. The cords of the rackets are made of the guts of sheep or goats. The globe terrestrial is the tennis-ball. After playing, when the game is done, they refresh themselves before a clear fire, and change their shirts; and very willingly they make all good cheer, but most merrily those that have gained. And so, farewell!
THE SECOND BOOK.
For the Reader.
The Reader here may be pleased to take notice that the copy of verses by the title of ‘Rablophila’, premised to the first book of this translation, being but a kind of mock poem, in imitation of somewhat lately published (as to any indifferent observer will easily appear, by the false quantities in the Latin, the abusive strain of the English, and extravagant subscription to both), and as such, by a friend of the translator’s, at the desire of some frolic gentlemen of his acquaintance, more for a trial of skill than prejudicacy to any, composed in his jollity to please their fancies, was only ordained to be prefixed to a dozen of books, and no more, thereby to save the labour of transcribing