Gargantua and Pantagruel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 952 pages of information about Gargantua and Pantagruel.

That word was scarcely sooner uttered, than that Gargantua with his royal presence graced that banqueting and stately hall.  Each of the guests arose to do their king that reverence and duty which became them.  After that Gargantua had most affably saluted all the gentlemen there present, he said, Good friends, I beg this favour of you, and therein you will very much oblige me, that you leave not the places where you sate nor quit the discourse you were upon.  Let a chair be brought hither unto this end of the table, and reach me a cupful of the strongest and best wine you have, that I may drink to all the company.  You are, in faith, all welcome, gentlemen.  Now let me know what talk you were about.  To this Pantagruel answered that at the beginning of the second service Panurge had proposed a problematic theme, to wit, whether he should marry, or not marry? that Father Hippothadee and Doctor Rondibilis had already despatched their resolutions thereupon; and that, just as his majesty was coming in, the faithful Trouillogan in the delivery of his opinion hath thus far proceeded, that when Panurge asked whether he ought to marry, yea or no? at first he made this answer, Both together.  When this same question was again propounded, his second answer was, Neither the one nor the other.  Panurge exclaimeth that those answers are full of repugnancies and contradictions, protesting that he understands them not, nor what it is that can be meant by them.  If I be not mistaken, quoth Gargantua, I understand it very well.  The answer is not unlike to that which was once made by a philosopher in ancient times, who being interrogated if he had a woman whom they named him to his wife?  I have her, quoth he, but she hath not me,—­possessing her, by her I am not possessed.  Such another answer, quoth Pantagruel, was once made by a certain bouncing wench of Sparta, who being asked if at any time she had had to do with a man?  No, quoth she, but sometimes men have had to do with me.  Well then, quoth Rondibilis, let it be a neuter in physic, as when we say a body is neuter, when it is neither sick nor healthful, and a mean in philosophy; that, by an abnegation of both extremes, and this by the participation of the one and of the other.  Even as when lukewarm water is said to be both hot and cold; or rather, as when time makes the partition, and equally divides betwixt the two, a while in the one, another while as long in the other opposite extremity.  The holy Apostle, quoth Hippothadee, seemeth, as I conceive, to have more clearly explained this point when he said, Those that are married, let them be as if they were not married; and those that have wives, let them be as if they had no wives at all.  I thus interpret, quoth Pantagruel, the having and not having of a wife.  To have a wife is to have the use of her in such a way as nature hath ordained, which is for the aid, society, and solace of man, and propagating of his race.  To have no wife

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Gargantua and Pantagruel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.