Foolish and dishonest? quoth Pantagruel. A plague take such preachers! Yea but, quoth Panurge, the like mischief also befall the Friar Charmer, who, in a full auditory making a sermon at Pereilly, and therein abominating the reiteration 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 had not rather choose, and would much more willingly undertake the unmaidening or depucelating 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 was granted had no other foundation but that, during the whole space of the said first year, they so lustily bobbed it with their female consorts, as both reason and equity require they should do, that they had drained and evacuated their spermatic vessels; and were become thereby altogether feeble, weak, emasculated, drooping, and flaggingly pithless; yea, in such sort that they in the day of battle, like ducks which plunge over head and ears, would sooner hide themselves behind the baggage, than, in the company of valiant fighters and daring military combatants, appear where stern Bellona deals her blows and moves 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 whirrited within the curtains of his sweetheart Venus.
In confirmation whereof, amongst other relics and monuments of antiquity, we now as yet often see, that in all great houses, after the expiring of some few days, these young married blades are readily sent away to visit their uncles, that in the absence of their wives reposing themselves a little they may recover their decayed strength by the recruit of a fresh supply, the more vigorous to return again and face about to renew the duelling shock and conflict of an amorous dalliance, albeit for the greater part they have neither 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 refreshment remanded us to our houses; and he is as yet seeking after his own. My grandfather’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 seldom eat of the grapes, or drink of the wine of their labour, till the first year was wholly elapsed. During all which time also the builders did hardly inhabit their new-structured dwelling-places, for fear of dying suffocated through want of respiration; as Galen hath most learnedly remarked, in the second book of the Difficulty of Breathing. Under favour, sir, I have not asked this question without cause causing and reason truly very ratiocinant. Be not offended, I pray you.