How Friar John comforteth Panurge in the doubtful matter of cuckoldry.
I understand thee well enough, said Friar John; but time makes all things plain. The most durable marble or porphyry is subject to old age and decay. Though for the present thou possibly be not weary of the exercise, yet is it like I will hear thee confess a few years hence that thy cods hang dangling downwards for want of a better truss. I see thee waxing a little hoar-headed already. Thy beard, by the distinction of grey, white, tawny, and black, hath to my thinking the resemblance of a map of the terrestrial globe or geographical chart. Look attentively upon and take inspection of what I shall show unto thee. Behold there Asia. Here are Tigris and Euphrates. Lo there Afric. Here is the mountain of the Moon, —yonder thou mayst perceive the fenny march of Nilus. On this side lieth Europe. Dost thou not see the Abbey of Theleme? This little tuft, which is altogether white, is the Hyperborean Hills. By the thirst of my thropple, friend, when snow is on the mountains, I say the head and the chin, there is not then any considerable heat to be expected in the valleys and low countries of the codpiece. By the kibes of thy heels, quoth Panurge, thou dost not understand the topics. When snow is on the tops of the hills, lightning, thunder, tempest, whirlwinds, storms, hurricanes, and all the devils of hell rage in the valleys. Wouldst thou see the experience thereof, go to the territory of the Switzers and earnestly perpend with thyself there the situation of the lake of Wunderberlich, about four leagues distant from Berne, on the Syon-side of the land. Thou twittest me with my grey hairs, yet considerest not how I am of the nature of leeks, which with a white head carry a green, fresh, straight, and vigorous tail. The truth is, nevertheless (why should I deny it), that I now and then discern in myself some indicative signs of old age. Tell this, I prithee, to nobody, but let it be kept very close and secret betwixt us two; for I find the wine much sweeter now, more savoury to my taste, and unto my palate of a better relish than formerly I was wont to do; and withal, besides mine accustomed manner, I have a more dreadful apprehension than I ever heretofore have had of lighting on bad wine. Note and observe that this doth argue and portend I know not what of the west and occident of my time, and signifieth that the south and meridian of mine age is past. But what then, my gentle companion? That doth but betoken that I will hereafter drink so much the more. That is not, the devil hale it, the thing that I fear; nor is it there where my shoe pinches. The thing that I doubt most, and have greatest reason to dread and suspect is, that through some long absence of our King Pantagruel (to whom I must needs bear company should he go to all the devils of Barathrum), my future