Cops body, I sink, I drown, I perish, I wander astray, and quite fly out of myself when I enter into the consideration of the profound abyss of this world, thus lending, thus owing. Believe me, it is a divine thing to lend,—to owe, an heroic virtue. Yet is not this all. This little world thus lending, owing, and borrowing, is so good and charitable, that no sooner is the above-specified alimentation finished, but that it forthwith projecteth, and hath already forecast, how it shall lend to those who are not as yet born, and by that loan endeavour what it may to eternize itself, and multiply in images like the pattern, that is, children. To this end every member doth of the choicest and most precious of its nourishment pare and cut off a portion, then instantly despatcheth it downwards to that place where nature hath prepared for it very fit vessels and receptacles, through which descending to the genitories by long ambages, circuits, and flexuosities, it receiveth a competent form, and rooms apt enough both in man and woman for the future conservation and perpetuating of human kind. All this is done by loans and debts of the one unto the other; and hence have we this word, the debt of marriage. Nature doth reckon pain to the refuser, with a most grievous vexation to his members and an outrageous fury amidst his senses. But, on the other part, to the lender a set reward, accompanied with pleasure, joy, solace, mirth, and merry glee.
How Pantagruel altogether abhorreth the debtors and borrowers.
I understand you very well, quoth Pantagruel, and take you to be very good at topics, and thoroughly affectioned to your own cause. But preach it up, and patrocinate it, prattle on it, and defend it as much as you will, even from hence to the next Whitsuntide, if you please so to do, yet in the end you will be astonished to find how you shall have gained no ground at all upon me, nor persuaded me by your fair speeches and smooth talk to enter never so little into the thraldom of debt. You shall owe to none, saith the holy Apostle, anything save love, friendship, and a mutual benevolence.
You serve me here, I confess, with fine graphides and diatyposes, descriptions and figures, which truly please me very well. But let me tell you, if you will represent unto your fancy an impudent blustering bully and an importunate borrower, entering afresh and newly into a town already advertised of his manners, you shall find that at his ingress the citizens will be more hideously affrighted and amazed, and in a greater terror and fear, dread, and trembling, than if the pest itself should step into it in the very same garb and accoutrement wherein the Tyanean philosopher found it within the city of Ephesus. And I am fully confirmed in the opinion, that the Persians erred not when they said that the second vice was to lie, the first being that of owing money. For, in very truth, debts and lying are ordinarily joined together. I will nevertheless not from hence infer that none must owe anything or lend anything. For who so rich can be that sometimes may not owe, or who can be so poor that sometimes may not lend?