How Pantagruel and Panurge did diversely expound the verses of the Sibyl of Panzoust.
The leaves being thus collected and orderly disposed, Epistemon and Panurge returned to Pantagruel’s court, partly well pleased and other part discontented; glad for their being come back, and vexed for the trouble they had sustained by the way, which they found to be craggy, rugged, stony, rough, and ill-adjusted. They made an ample and full relation of their voyage unto Pantagruel, as likewise of the estate and condition of the sibyl. Then, having presented to him the leaves of the sycamore, they show him the short and twattle verses that were written in them. Pantagruel, having read and considered the whole sum and substance of the matter, fetched from his heart a deep and heavy sigh; then said to Panurge, You are now, forsooth, in a good taking, and have brought your hogs to a fine market. The prophecy of the sibyl doth explain and lay out before us the same very predictions which have been denoted, foretold, and presaged to us by the decree of the Virgilian lots and the verdict of your own proper dreams, to wit, that you shall be very much disgraced, shamed, and discredited by your wife; for that she will make you a cuckold in prostituting herself to others, being big with child by another than you, —will steal from you a great deal of your goods, and will beat you, scratch and bruise you, even to plucking the skin in a part from off you,—will leave the print of her blows in some member of your body. You understand as much, answered Panurge, in the veritable interpretation and expounding of recent prophecies as a sow in the matter of spicery. Be not offended, sir, I beseech you, that I speak thus boldly; for I find myself a little in choler, and that not without cause, seeing it is the contrary that is true. Take heed, and give attentive ear unto my words. The old wife said that, as the bean is not seen till first it be unhusked, and that its swad or hull be shelled and peeled from off it, so is it that my virtue and transcendent worth will never come by the mouth of fame to be blazed abroad proportionable to the height, extent, and measure of the excellency thereof, until preallably I get a wife and make the full half of a married couple. How many times have I heard you say that the function of a magistrate, or office of dignity, discovereth the merits, parts, and endowments of the person so advanced and promoted, and what is in him. That is to say, we are then best able to judge aright of the deservings of a man when he is called to the management of affairs; for when before he lived in a private condition, we could have no more certain knowledge of him than of a bean within his husk. And thus stands the first article explained; otherwise, could you imagine that the good fame, repute, and estimation of an honest man should depend upon the tail of a whore?