Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,126 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.

How is it, quoth Panurge, that you conceive this matter?  If you apprehend it so, that never any spoke who had not before heard the speech of others, I will from that antecedent bring you to infer very logically a most absurd and paradoxical conclusion.  But let it pass; I will not insist on it.  You do not then believe what Herodotus wrote of two children, who, at the special command and appointment of Psammeticus, King of Egypt, having been kept in a petty country cottage, where they were nourished and entertained in a perpetual silence, did at last, after a certain long space of time, pronounce this word Bec, which in the Phrygian language signifieth bread.  Nothing less, quoth Pantagruel, do I believe than that it is a mere abusing of our understandings to give credit to the words of those who say that there is any such thing as a natural language.  All speeches have had their primary origin from the arbitrary institutions, accords, and agreements of nations in their respective condescendments to what should be noted and betokened by them.  An articulate voice, according to the dialecticians, hath naturally no signification at all; for that the sense and meaning thereof did totally depend upon the good will and pleasure of the first deviser and imposer of it.  I do not tell you this without a cause; for Bartholus, Lib. 5. de Verb.  Oblig., very seriously reporteth that even in his time there was in Eugubia one named Sir Nello de Gabrielis, who, although he by a sad mischance became altogether deaf, understood nevertheless everyone that talked in the Italian dialect howsoever he expressed himself; and that only by looking on his external gestures, and casting an attentive eye upon the divers motions of his lips and chaps.  I have read, I remember also, in a very literate and eloquent author, that Tyridates, King of Armenia, in the days of Nero, made a voyage to Rome, where he was received with great honour and solemnity, and with all manner of pomp and magnificence.  Yea, to the end there might be a sempiternal amity and correspondence preserved betwixt him and the Roman senate, there was no remarkable thing in the whole city which was not shown unto him.  At his departure the emperor bestowed upon him many ample donatives of an inestimable value; and besides, the more entirely to testify his affection towards him, heartily entreated him to be pleased to make choice of any whatsoever thing in Rome was most agreeable to his fancy, with a promise juramentally confirmed that he should not be refused of his demand.  Thereupon, after a suitable return of thanks for a so gracious offer, he required a certain Jack-pudding whom he had seen to act his part most egregiously upon the stage, and whose meaning, albeit he knew not what it was he had spoken, he understood perfectly enough by the signs and gesticulations which he had made.  And for this suit of his, in that he asked nothing else, he gave this reason, that in the several wide and spacious dominions which were reduced under

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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