I remember to have read that Cupid, on a time being asked of his mother Venus why he did not assault and set upon the Muses, his answer was that he found them so fair, so sweet, so fine, so neat, so wise, so learned, so modest, so discreet, so courteous, so virtuous, and so continually busied and employed,—one in the speculation of the stars,—another in the supputation of numbers,—the third in the dimension of geometrical quantities,—the fourth in the composition of heroic poems,—the fifth in the jovial interludes of a comic strain,—the sixth in the stately gravity of a tragic vein,—the seventh in the melodious disposition of musical airs,—the eighth in the completest manner of writing histories and books on all sorts of subjects,—and the ninth in the mysteries, secrets, and curiosities of all sciences, faculties, disciplines, and arts whatsoever, whether liberal or mechanic,—that approaching near unto them he unbended his bow, shut his quiver, and extinguished his torch, through mere shame and fear that by mischance he might do them some hurt or prejudice. Which done, he thereafter put off the fillet wherewith his eyes were bound to look them in the face, and to hear their melody and poetic odes. There took he the greatest pleasure in the world, that many times he was transported with their beauty and pretty behaviour, and charmed asleep by the harmony; so far was he from assaulting them or interrupting their studies. Under this article may be comprised what Hippocrates wrote in the afore-cited treatise concerning the Scythians; as also that in a book of his entitled Of Breeding and Production, where he hath affirmed all such men to be unfit for generation as have their parotid arteries cut—whose situation is beside the ears—for the reason given already when I was speaking of the resolution of the spirits and of that spiritual blood whereof the arteries are the sole and proper receptacles, and that likewise he doth maintain a large portion of the parastatic liquor to issue and descend from the brains and backbone.
Fifthly, By the too frequent reiteration of the act of venery. There did I wait for you, quoth Panurge, and shall willingly apply it to myself, whilst anyone that pleaseth may, for me, make use of any of the four preceding. That is the very same thing, quoth Friar John, which Father Scyllino, Prior of Saint Victor at Marseilles, calleth by the name of maceration and taming of the flesh. I am of the same opinion,—and so was the hermit of Saint Radegonde, a little above Chinon; for, quoth he, the hermits of Thebaide can no more aptly or expediently macerate and bring down the pride of their bodies, daunt and mortify their lecherous sensuality, or depress and overcome the stubbornness and rebellion of the flesh, than by duffling and fanfreluching it five-and-twenty or thirty times a day. I see Panurge, quoth Rondibilis, neatly featured and proportioned in all the members of his body, of a good temperament in his humours, well-complexioned