Ballockatso to the devil, my dear friend Panurge, seeing it is so decreed by the gods, wouldst thou invert the course of the planets, and make them retrograde? Wouldst thou disorder all the celestial spheres, blame the intelligences, blunt the spindles, joint the wherves, slander the spinning quills, reproach the bobbins, revile the clew-bottoms, and finally ravel and untwist all the threads of both the warp and the waft of the weird Sister-Parcae? What a pox to thy bones dost thou mean, stony cod? Thou wouldst if thou couldst, a great deal worse than the giants of old intended to have done. Come hither, billicullion. Whether wouldst thou be jealous without cause, or be a cuckold and know nothing of it? Neither the one nor the other, quoth Panurge, would I choose to be. But if I get an inkling of the matter, I will provide well enough, or there shall not be one stick of wood within five hundred leagues about me whereof to make a cudgel. In good faith, Friar John, I speak now seriously unto thee, I think it will be my best not to marry. Hearken to what the bells do tell me, now that we are nearer to them! Do not marry, marry not, not, not, not, not; marry, marry not, not, not, not, not. If thou marry, thou wilt miscarry, carry, carry; thou’lt repent it, resent it, sent it! If thou marry, thou a cuckold, a cou-cou-cuckoo, cou-cou-cuckold thou shalt be. By the worthy wrath of God, I begin to be angry. This campanilian oracle fretteth me to the guts,—a March hare was never in such a chafe as I am. O how I am vexed! You monks and friars of the cowl-pated and hood-polled fraternity, have you no remedy nor salve against this malady of graffing horns in heads? Hath nature so abandoned humankind, and of her help left us so destitute, that married men cannot know how to sail through the seas of this mortal life and be safe from the whirlpools, quicksands, rocks, and banks that lie alongst the coast of Cornwall.
I will, said Friar John, show thee a way and teach thee an expedient by means whereof thy wife shall never make thee a cuckold without thy knowledge and thine own consent. Do me the favour, I pray thee, quoth Panurge, my pretty, soft, downy cod; now tell it, billy, tell it, I beseech thee. Take, quoth Friar John, Hans Carvel’s ring upon thy finger, who was the King of Melinda’s chief jeweller. Besides that this Hans Carvel had the reputation of being very skilful and expert in the lapidary’s profession, he was a studious, learned, and ingenious man, a scientific person, full of knowledge, a great philosopher, of a sound judgment, of a prime wit, good sense, clear spirited, an honest creature, courteous, charitable, a giver of alms, and of a jovial humour, a boon companion, and a merry blade, if ever there was any in the world. He was somewhat gorbellied, had a little shake in his head, and was in effect unwieldy of his body. In his old age he took to wife the Bailiff of Concordat’s daughter, young, fair, jolly, gallant, spruce, frisk, brisk, neat, feat, smirk, smug, compt, quaint, gay, fine, tricksy, trim, decent, proper, graceful, handsome, beautiful, comely, and kind—a little too much—to her neighbours and acquaintance.