How Panurge asketh counsel of Pantagruel whether he should marry, yea, or no.
To this Pantagruel replying nothing, Panurge prosecuted the discourse he had already broached, and therewithal fetching, as from the bottom of his heart, a very deep sigh, said, My lord and master, you have heard the design I am upon, which is to marry, if by some disastrous mischance all the holes in the world be not shut up, stopped, closed, and bushed. I humbly beseech you, for the affection which of a long time you have borne me, to give me your best advice therein. Then, answered Pantagruel, seeing you have so decreed, taken deliberation thereon, and that the matter is fully determined, what need is there of any further talk thereof, but forthwith to put it into execution what you have resolved? Yea but, quoth Panurge, I would be loth to act anything therein without your counsel had thereto. It is my judgment also, quoth Pantagruel, and I advise you to it. Nevertheless, quoth Panurge, if I understood aright that it were much better for me to remain a bachelor as I am, than to run headlong upon new hairbrained undertakings of conjugal adventure, I would rather choose not to marry. Quoth Pantagruel, Then do not marry. Yea but, quoth Panurge, would you have me so solitarily drive out the whole course of my life, without the comfort of a matrimonial consort? You know it is written, Vae soli! and a single person is never seen to reap the joy and solace that is found with married folks. Then marry, in the name of God, quoth Pantagruel. But if, quoth Panurge, my wife should make me a cuckold—as it is not unknown unto you, how this hath been a very plentiful year in the production of that kind of cattle—I would fly out, and grow impatient beyond all measure and mean. I love cuckolds with my heart, for they seem unto me to be of a right honest conversation, and I truly do very willingly frequent their company; but should I die for it, I would not be one of their number. That is a point for me of a too sore prickling point. Then do not marry, quoth Pantagruel, for without all controversy this sentence of Seneca is infallibly true, What thou to others shalt have done, others will do the like to thee. Do you, quoth Panurge, aver that without all exception? Yes, truly, quoth Pantagruel, without all exception. Ho, ho, says Panurge, by the wrath of a little devil, his meaning is, either in this world or in the other which is to come. Yet seeing I can no more want a wife than a blind man his staff—(for) the funnel must be in agitation, without which manner of occupation I cannot live—were it not a great deal better for me to apply and associate myself to some one honest, lovely, and virtuous woman, than as I do, by a new change of females every day, run a hazard of being bastinadoed, or, which is worse, of the great pox, if not of both together. For never—be it spoken by their husbands’ leave and favour—had I enjoyment yet of