Truly, quoth Epistemon, that is a pretty jolly vow of thirteen to a dozen. It is a shame to you, and I wonder much at it, that you do not return unto yourself, and recall your senses from this their wild swerving and straying abroad to that rest and stillness which becomes a virtuous man. This whimsical conceit of yours brings me to the remembrance of a solemn promise made by the shag-haired Argives, who, having in their controversy against the Lacedaemonians for the territory of Thyrea, lost the battle which they hoped should have decided it for their advantage, vowed to carry never any hair on their heads till preallably they had recovered the loss of both their honour and lands. As likewise to the memory of the vow of a pleasant Spaniard called Michael Doris, who vowed to carry in his hat a piece of the shin of his leg till he should be revenged of him who had struck it off. Yet do not I know which of these two deserveth most to wear a green and yellow hood with a hare’s ears tied to it, either the aforesaid vainglorious champion, or that Enguerrant, who having forgot the art and manner of writing histories set down by the Samosatian philosopher, maketh a most tediously long narrative and relation thereof. For, at the first reading of such a profuse discourse, one would think it had been broached for the introducing of a story of great importance and moment concerning the waging of some formidable war, or the notable change and mutation of potent states and kingdoms; but, in conclusion, the world laugheth at the capricious champion, at the Englishman who had affronted him, as also at their scribbler Enguerrant, more drivelling at the mouth than a mustard pot. The jest and scorn thereof is not unlike to that of the mountain of Horace, which by the poet was made to cry out and lament most enormously as a woman in the pangs and labour of child-birth, at which deplorable and exorbitant cries and lamentations the whole neighbourhood being assembled in expectation to see some marvellous monstrous production, could at last perceive no other but the paltry, ridiculous mouse.
Your mousing, quoth Panurge, will not make me leave my musing why folks should be so frumpishly disposed, seeing I am certainly persuaded that some flout who merit to be flouted at; yet, as my vow imports, so will I do. It is now a long time since, by Jupiter Philos (A mistake of the translator’s.—M.), we did swear faith and amity to one another. Give me your advice, billy, and tell me your opinion freely, Should I marry or no? Truly, quoth Epistemon, the case is hazardous, and the danger so eminently apparent that I find myself too weak and insufficient to give you a punctual and peremptory resolution therein; and if ever it was true that judgment is difficult in matters of the medicinal art, what was said by Hippocrates of Lango, it is certainly so in this case. True it is that in my brain there are some rolling fancies, by means whereof somewhat may be pitched